Thursday, June 7, 2012


For three years in the 1990s, I would cover Santa Rita parish for 2 or 3 months.  It may seem like a short time but it didn't take me long to form close friendships with many wonderful people there.

There's always been something special about Santa Rita people which goes back to their roots in Sumay, where Naval Station is today.  Even the Spanish missionaries wrote about this special flavor of the Sumay people : very devout Catholics who took their religion seriously; kind, respectful, loving.

This is borne out in this lady's testimony of her life growing up in pre-war Sumay.

When I covered the parish in Santa Rita, weekday Mass, which is not obligatory, was always well-attended.  The pre-Mass devotions drew people to church an hour before Mass.  The people prayed the devotions and sang the hymns with fervor.  Santa Rita at one time had one of the largest Niño group on Guam for a middle-sized village.  Well over 100 people, of all ages, even the young altar boys, gave up their time on Christmas, New Years and other days to take the Niño around the village.

The people are generous.  All I needed to do was give a slight hint that I liked something, and by that afternoon or the next morning, I would find a bag or box of it at my door.  When I think about what is best about Chamorro people, I think of Santa Rita.

I miss my summers in Santa Rita.

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