Guam: its heartbeat of faith

world | Apr 20, 2007 | By Tom Serafin

The book "My Way of Life: The Summa Simplified for Everyone" by Walter Farrell and Martin Healy states that “…the love is ours because we have given it”. I realized a long time ago that love is something that can only be given; you really can’t wait around for it to come to you. I taught my daughter that true love is in the act of giving not receiving.


During the “2007 Relics of the Passion Tour” in March and the beginning of April on the island of Guam, I experienced a profound presence of faith and love with which I was unfamiliar. I witnessed it in every parish, rest home, care facility, hospital, school, and even in juvenile hall and prison. I found that the religious discipline practiced by the faithful, and participating Church ministries, alike is overwhelming.


There were three re-occurring questions from people I met:


1.       How long have you been collecting relics?

2.       What happens to them when you die?

3.       Are you hungry, do you want something to eat?


It only took three days to realize that the Chamorro culture of Guam celebrates death and the opportunity to eat and have a party with the same reverence and enthusiasm. Since the 17th century, Catholic churches have been the center of village activities. Even today, every village has its patron saint whose feast day is celebrated with an elaborate fiesta, which the entire island is invited to attend. Family groups still hold christening parties, fandangos (weddings, novenas, funerals, and death-anniversary rosaries). 


I have fond memories of the people of Guam; I’ll highlight a few of the very special moments of



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