Presentation on early Church history next week


The public is being invited to a presentation by Fr. Francis X. Hezel, SJ that will explore the early history of the Catholic Church in the Marianas, to be held at 6pm on Tuesday, Nov. 10, at Charley’s Cabaret of the Pacific Islands Club.

Titled “The Founding of the Church in the Marianas: A Clash of Cultures,” Hezel’s presentation will provide an overview of the establishment of a Catholic mission in the Marianas in 1668, an event that signaled the beginning of intense Western presence on the islands.

Fr. Francis X. Hezel

Fr. Francis X. Hezel

The troubled years that followed, marked by intermittent outbreaks of violence, has been referred to by historians as the “Spanish-Chamorro Wars.”

It was during this 30-year period that a group of Jesuit priests and lay helpers, protected by a small military garrison, sought to convert the indigenous Chamorros to the Catholic faith.

According to standard textbooks, missionary efforts led to utter devastation—forced conversions, rapid cultural change, precipitous population decline, and the loss of Chamorro identity.

Drawing on his own recent research, Hezel will present a more nuanced overview of this critical period in Marianas history, one that recognizes divisions within the Spanish party as well as the local Chamorro population.

Hezel’s presentation is co-sponsored by the Lay Ministry’s Program of the Diocese and the Northern Marianas Humanities Council. It is open to the public and free of charge.

For more information about this upcoming event, contact Council staff at 235-4785 or visit the council’s website at (NMI Humanities Council)

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