Thursday, September 29, 2011


September 29 is the feast of Saint Michael the Archangel, Patron of Talofofo.  Well, I guess it is only fitting that God's Archangel be patron of God's Country.

"Michael" is Hebrew, derived from the question "Who is like God?"  The El in Micha-el is the Hebrew generic term for the deity or God.  Notice how -el pops up frequently in names like Daniel, Gabriel, Israel and so on.

This angel has that name because he did battle with Lucifer who claimed to be equal to God.  Michael opposes this hubris with the question : Who is like (equal to) God?  The answer : No one.

This theology is reflected in one of the Chamorro hymns to San Miget Atkånghet.

Håye si Yu'us?  Taichilong si Yu'us.
(Who is God? God is without equal.)

San Miget Atkånghet, hungok magogof
(Saint Michael the Archangel, be pleased to hear)

i in sangan på'go na tinayuyut.
(the prayers we now say.)

San Miget Atkånghet, chomma si Satán
(Saint Michael the Archangel, push back Satan)

sa' i manganite ti yan-ñiha ham.
(because the demons do not love us.)

Before the war, Talofofo was a mission chapel under Inarajan parish.  I'll have to dig more to verify or debunk, but if the first chapel was built after 1935 and if the devotion started only then, I wouldn't be surprised if Saint Michael was chosen to be the patron because the new bishop at the time was Bishop Olano, whose first name was Miguel Ángel, or Michael Angel.

Chamorro Prayer to San Miget Atkånghet
(this was said after every Low Mass back in the day and to this day in the traditional Latin Mass)

San Miget Atkånghet, goggue ham gi mimu, pattang ham gi tinailaye yan i ginadde' i manganite siha.  Si Yu'us u tinago' gue', in tatayuyut hao man umitde, ya hågo, må'gas i ehetsiton långet, dulalak nu i yiniusan minetgot-mo guato sasalåguan si Satanås yan i pumalo na man chatante ni i manailaye, na manlalayao gi tano' ha na' kekefanailaye i ante siha.  Taiguennao mohon.

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.  May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.  Amen.

goggue = defend
gi mimu = mumu means "fight" or "battle"
pattang = to block or shield
ginadde' = gadde' means to "ensnare, trap"
manganite = anite means "demon." Man+anite = manganite = demons (plural)
ehetsiton = ehetsito means "army," borrowed from the Spanish ejército.  Stress is on the 2nd syllable : e-HET-si-to.
dulalak = chase away
yiniusan = divine.  From "Yu'us" or God.  Yiniusan = godlike
chatante = ånte means "spirit."  Chat means a defect in quality.  So, "bad spirits."
na' kekefanailaye = tailaye means "evil."  Ke means "to try to, to attempt." Na' ketailaye = trying to make evil.

One of our faithful readers points out where to hear the original Spanish version of this hymn :

1 comment:

  1. Hi Pale Eric,

    You can find the original version of the song "Haye si Yuus" in Spanish at this address: