Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Corpus Christi in 1894 was not observed with full solemnity.

The Governor, Emilio Galisteo, was erecting a new building for the principal school in all the Marianas, the Colegio de San Juan de Letrán, founded by Sanvitores more than 200 years before.

In order to get the building project done, the people of Hagåtña were tasked with providing the manual labor. In those days, Chamorros had to put in a certain number of days working on public projects in place of paying taxes. But, because this was happening very close to the feast of Corpus Christi, when Chamorros build Lånchon Kotpus (outdoor altars) for the Corpus Christi procession, the people could not attend to that religious project. Corpus Christi came, but no låncho. For us, it would be like Christmas without a tree, or New Year's without fireworks - but worse! A Christmas tree and annual fireworks are not obligations to God, but a låncho on Kotpus is!

Perhaps due to the rush job, the lime used for the walls of the new colegio was improperly made and, when an earthquake and heavy rains afterwards combined to put pressure on those walls, they came tumbling down.

The Chamorros saw it as an act of divine retribution for the failure to observe the feast of Corpus Christi with the complete attention it deserved.

What's also interesting is that some anonymous critic wrote words to that effect and posted it on the front door of the Hagåtña church.

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