Sunday, July 31, 2011

I PATRONON HAGÅTÑA

Statue of Saint Ignatius of Loyola
Hagåtña Cathedral
Feast Day : July 31

Why is there a statue of Saint Ignatius of Loyola in the Hagåtña Cathedral?  Blessed Diego was a Jesuit and Saint Ignatius founded the Jesuits, formally known as the Society of Jesus.

But the real reason there's a statue of Saint Ignatius in our Cathedral is because he is the patron of Hagåtña.

"What?" I hear you say?  "But I thought it was the Dulce Nombre," one says.  "Or the Immaculate Conception," another says. 

The patroness of the church is Dulce Nombre de María, the Sweet Name of Mary.  But Blessed Diego chose Saint Ignatius (in Spanish and Chamorro - San Ignacio) as the patron of the city.

Hagåtña was, in fact, called San Ignacio de Agaña by the Spaniards.  Its central district, where the seat of power was, both civil (the Governor's palace) and ecclesiastical (the church), was in the district of San Ignacio.  The district of San Ignacio today would include the Cathedral, the Administration Building, the Agaña Post Office, Skinner Plaza and all the way west to just before the Julale Shopping Center.


An old Spanish document from the early 1800s shows how the City was called San Ignacio de Agaña
In Spanish, I and Y sound the same, so it was sometimes spelled Ygnacio.

Before World War II, the people of Hagåtña celebrated the annual fiesta of San Ignacio, with a novena ending on July 31st with a procession.  In the Chamorro hymnal, the Lepblon Kånta, there are seven Chamorro hymns to San Ignacio - seven!  That means the people were singing a whole lot more to Saint Ignatius than we are today.  Today, as a matter of fact, one has to search high and low for someone who even knows the melody to any of these hymns.

One of the hymns opens with these words,

"Tuna, Hagåtña, i nina'en Yu'us..."  "Praise, Hagåtña, the gift of God..."

A second hymn says,

"O San Ignacio, Gogguen Hagåtña, i inagång-ña ekkungok!"  "O Saint Ignatius, Guardian of Hagåtña, hear her cry!"

It was only after the war, when even the name of the district, San Ignacio, was forgotten, that the feast day was no longer observed as a parish event.  I hope we can reclaim this part of our Chamorro-Catholic heritage.

En Español

Patrimonio olvidado de nuestra historia Hispano-Chamorra, ya no se celebra la ciudad capital de Guam su fiesta patronal del santo guipuzcoano, Ignacio de Loyola.  Eligido patrón de Agaña por el misionero fundador, el P. Sanvitores, jesuita, la ciudad se llamaba "San Ignacio de Agaña" por la mayor parte de su historia bajo la bandera española.  El barrio más importante de la ciudad, donde residían las tropas españolas y donde se encontraban la iglesia parroquial y el palacio del gobernador, fué él de San Ignacio. Lamentablemente, no queda ningún recuerdo de todo esto, salvo una imagen del santo en la Catedral actual.  Apenas saben la gente por qué existe esa imagen en ella.

1 comment:

  1. Your dear postulant knows the melodies for both hymns! =)

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