Pictured from left to right: Fr. Thomas B. McGrath, S.J., from Guam; Fr. Kenneth Urumolug, S.J., from Satawal; Fr. John Hagileiram, S.J., regional superior, from Yap; Fr. Eddy Anthony, S.J., from Indonesia; and Fr. Dan Mulhauser, S.J.
As the twin-engine Beechcraft touched down on the island of Falalop in the western Pacific, passenger Daniel Mulhauser, S.J. noticed that the airport outside his window doubled also as the post office. Thus began his June 2009 visit to the fascinating Ulithi atoll, which secretly served as the world’s largest U.S. Naval base for about seven months during World War II. Once known for its “Murderer’s Row” and its sunken (leaking) oil tanker, the region now braces to face the impacts of sea-water change.
Freshly “retired” as Le Moyne's chaplain to the alumni, (he notes with characteristic wit: “retirement just means they aren’t paying me anymore for doing the same things”), Father Dan’s purpose on this trip was to participate in the ordination of Kelly Yalmadau and Moses Tashibelit, two of his former students who have now become fellow priests. Father Dan served as director of a small seminary, St. Ignatius House of Studies, on Guam, from 1980-86 and from 1998-2002. His friendship with these two men dates from his later years there.
Traditional dances by both men and women’s groups were performed at the ordination.
Too small to even be depicted on most maps, Falalolp (pop. 700) is described by Wikipedia as “the most accessible" of the four inhabited islands out of the forty islets which comprise the Ulithi atoll in the Caroline Islands.
It was on Falalop that the ceremony took place, presided over by Cardinal Roger Mahony from Los Angeles. Bishop Amando Samo of the Caroline Islands was the ordaining prelate. The Episcopal Vicar for Yap State , the Rev. Kenneth Urumolug, S.J., from the island of Satawal , and the Rev. John Hagileiram, S.J., from Yap , assisted. Both the ceremony and the celebration afterward incorporated key elements and symbols from local religious practices, including Ulithi stick dancing by women and men in grass skirts.
This sense of the Society’s respect for the diversity of religious expression in the world is certainly a theme that Le Moyne students would appreciate, based upon their studies in the College’s core curriculum. And those of our students and faculty who study global patterns of climate change, including rising sea levels globally, and water surges (with attendant salt water damage to taro crops) in the Micronesian region specifically, will appreciate the light which Father Dan’s trip sheds on our interdependent, global ecosystem. Read more about Ulithi: its World War II history and the impact on the island of climate change.