Thursday, October 4, 2012


Sorry, non-Catholics but early October is loaded with saints, so here's another Chamorro hymn.

This was taken at a nobena in Saipan.  It was interesting because Saint Francis of Assisi is not as venerated there as on Guam.  When the Capuchins got to Saipan in 1907, there were already two churches with patrons, and the population was too small (5,000) to establish a third church, possibly under the patronage of Saint Francis, founder of the Capuchins.

Then the Jesuits took over in 1921.  When the Capuchins returned in 1946, no new churches were named after Saint Francis.

But since Francisco is a popular name among Chamorro men, as in the case of this elderly gentlemen who caries on this nobena tradition, some Saipanese know this hymn, although they sing it slightly differently from us on Guam.

What I absolutely love about this family, which is so typical of Saipanese church singing in general, is they belt it out at top volume.  You have to have good lungs, and they sing as if they mean it.  I love popular devotions done with gusto!  As an American missionary said of Chamorros back in the 70s, when Chamorros sing their traditional hymns, no written words are needed; they know it from memory, and when they sing, they raise the roof of the church.  I love it.


Mames na Tåta, ma sen gofli'e hao / sa' un fa'maulek i fumatoigue hao.
(Sweet Father, you are very much loved / because you bring out good things to those who come to you.)

O San Francisco!  Hungok i ginagao i linahyan taotao i umagånge hao.
(O Saint Francis!  Hear the prayers of the crowds of people who call on you.)

Compare now with the Guam version...

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