Wednesday, March 21, 2018


former Pastor of Inalåhan

The parish of Saint Joseph in Inalåhan had no shortage of Chamorro hymns to their patron saint. But its first Chamorro pastor, Father Jesús Baza Dueñas added one more to the repertoire. Dueñas was assigned to Inalåhan by Spanish Bishop Olano in 1940.

Bill Paulino, church organist who plays in this video, was told by an older parishioner, a contemporary of Fr Dueñas, that the lyrics were composed by the priest.

Frank Cruz, organist at the Hagåtña Cathedral, also credited the hymn to Fr Dueñas.

Because this hymn was composed just before the war, it is not found in Påle' Román's Lepblon Kånta (Church Hymnal) which was published several years before this hymn came about.


San José patronon-måme, goggue i famagu'on-mo.
(Saint Joseph, our patron, defend your children.)
Atan ya un chachalåne i umå'ågang na'ån-mo.
(Watch and guide those who call on your name.)

1. San José i finatai-mo u na' metgot i anti-ho.
(Saint Joseph, your death will strengthen my soul.)
Ya hu måtai gi kanai-mo yan i gråsian i Lahi-mo.
(And I will die in your hands and in the grace of your Son.)
Cha'-mo Saina didingu yo' siha gi chinatsaga-ko.
(Don't leave me Father among my troubles.)
I aniti dulalak gue' chågogo' giya guåho.
(Chase away the devil far from my soul.)

2. Gi oran i finatai-ho, yo'ase' un atan yo'.
(At the hour of my death, look at me kindly.)
Ya un nå'e yo' grasiå-mo ya hu måtai måhgogong.
(And give me your grace and I will die peacefully.)
Chåhlao Saina i anti-ho gåsgagas gi me'nå-mo.
(Receive, Father, my soul in purity before you.)
Ya entrega i Lahi-mo gi tronu-ña tagåhlo.
(And give it to your Son at His throne on high.)


The devotion to Saint Joseph looks at more than one attribute of the saint. This hymn focuses on one of them, that Saint Joseph is the patron of a happy death. The lyrics of this hymn always revolve around that theme.

Saint Joseph is the patron of a happy death because, according to tradition, he died with Jesus and Mary at his bedside. What better kind of death can a Christian hope for than to die with Jesus and Mary, and now Joseph, close at hand.

It's interesting that this hymn about a happy death was composed by a priest who met an untimely and undeserved death at the hands of the Japanese during the war. But Dueñas was at peace with his expected execution. He told Joaquin Limitaco, present at a house where Dueñas was held in custody and beaten up, that God would be his deliverer, for he had done nothing wrong.

Model for all Christian deaths

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