Wednesday, August 28, 2013



The sanctuary of San Dionisio Church in Humåtak, sometime after the War.  It seems to me, RIGHT after the War.  The reason?  There isn't even a tabernacle, the sacred receptacle of the Blessed Sacrament.  No sanctuary lamp.  Most unusual for a Catholic church.

If this had been a simple chapel, what is known elsewhere as a chapel of ease, meaning a place where Mass could be said occasionally, this is would make sense.

But San Dionisio was a de facto parish since the 1680s.  A tabernacle would be expected here.

During the War, I would not be surprised at all if the tabernacle had been removed by the priest himself. 

Father Marcian Pellett, an American Capuchin, was pastor of Malesso' and Humåtak in 1941 and actually hid in the hills when he heard that the Japanese had attacked Guam.  Then he realized he had better turn himself in and went back to his konbento (rectory).  He may have had time to remove the Blessed Sacrament for fear of desecration by the Japanese, in both of his churches. 

If it had not been Father Marcian, perhaps it was Father Dueñas, the pastor of Inalåhan, who divided Guam into two sectors - north and south - with him responsible for the south and Father Calvo the north.  Since he was severely restricted in his ministry by the Japanese, he may have removed the Blessed Sacrament in Humåtak and Malesso'.


The rectangular windows are now gothic and transparent, adding natural light to the sanctuary.  For many years after the war, these windows were filled in and became niches for statues.

The wooden altar rail (komutgatorio) has been removed since the period after Vatican II.  The roof, too, which flew off almost every big typhoon, has been replaced by a permanent one.  The floor has been re-tiled.  Very handsome church.

The roof of this church blew off twice when I was acting pastor once then pastor in Humåtak.  The first was in December of 1990 (Typhoon Russ) and the second in December of 1997 (Paka).  It's true that the tin roof was easily blown away, but it was also easily replaced by a new tin roof at a cost of about $5000 with free labor if the parishioners did the work.

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