Saturday, March 19, 2011


Way up towards the ceiling, on both sides of the nave of the church, are circular stained glass windows with the advocations from the Litany of Saint Joseph written in Chamorro.  You can just make out in this photo the words "Må'gas i Sagrada Familia," or "Head of the Holy Family."

The most significant historical feature of Inarajan's church is the tomb of Father Jesus Baza Dueñas, beheaded by the Japanese on July 12, 1944.  Pale' Dueñas had been pastor of Inarajan just before the war and remained there during the war.  Suspected of having information about American radio man George Tweed, he was apprehended by the Japanese, tortured and eventually killed.  He met his death in Tå'i, in the general vicinity where the school named in his honor stands today.  After the war, with the help of eye witnesses, Monsignor Oscar Lujan Calvo located the grave, identified the body and had the remains respectfully interred in the church he pastored.  You can see that he was buried in the sanctuary of the church, not far from the tabernacle.

The metal plaque marking his grave says the following :


"In pace et honore hic jacet Rev. Dns. Jesus B. Dueñas tempore bello occisus die 12 a Julii 1944 hic inter suos sepulturam invenit die 21 a Martii 1945." 

Which more or less means : In peace and honor here lies the Reverend Sir Jesus B. Dueñas, slain in time of war on July 12, 1944;  his grave was discovered on March 21, 1945. 

Secular or diocesan priests like Father Dueñas were given the honorable title, in Latin, "Dominus" which means "lord" or "master."  Perhaps the English word "Sir" would get closer to the intended meaning.  "Dominus" became "Don" in Spanish, to bestow honor on men of higher rank.

Father Dueñas died at the young age of 33, traditionally believed to be the same age when Christ died.  He had been a priest for just six years.

The church as seen right after World War II

The present church in Inarajan was built in 1940 by the Spanish Capuchin Pale' Bernabé de Cáseda.  It used to have the words "Ite ad Joseph" written above the main church doors.  That phrase means "Go to Joseph," because just as Saint Joseph was the protector of the Virgin and Child, we ought to seek him as our defender, the patron of the universal Church.

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