Sunday, July 25, 2010

O Captain, My Captain

Captain Morro and a young pilot bring us safely home to Auki.

One of the legends of our visits to Auki is Lui Morrosini, known to all as Captain Morro. For more than 10 years Morro has been the driver of the bishop's boat all around Malaita. Morro has accompanied Bishop Chris and his predecessor, Bishop Gerald Loft, on all their pastoral visits to the villages of the diocese, and is often referred to as the "auxiliary bishop of Auki," the eyes and ears of the diocese. Morro knows everyone and all their stories, stories he relates with a master raconteur's skill and timing. Morro likes nothing better than talking and laughing long into the night. A great-hearted man with a very hearty laugh, Morro's best stories are always told at his own expense.

Morro has been a great friend to the Brothers during our visits to Auki, our guardian and protector on sea and land. He proudly wears his Marianist "uniform," the yellow shirts we leave behind after each MAST program, on special occasions. A talented singer, Morro eagerly awaits the arrival of a new CD from the Kellenberg students and then teaches the songs to the young people in his village.

Here's a classic Morro story: Back in the late '90s, he was driving an Australian priest around the diocese for a renewal program. In one village a man named Francis insisted on serving as translator from English into the local language called LangaLanga. (This is Morro's language as well.) Unfortunately, Francis's English was not very precise. At one point in his talk, the priest described how a thousand years ago monks were already telling the story of Jesus as missionaries. Francis told the congregation that a long time ago monkeys in the trees knew how to speak about Jesus. The people were confused but listened politely. At the end of his talk, Father announced that their would be an all-night vigil in the church. Later in the evening hundreds of people arrived. Father was delighted at first, but the people were soon disappointed, even disgruntled. Francis had told them there would be all-night videos!

Morro and friends with Bishop Chris's "canoe," the John Paul II and its 40 horse engine.

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