Wednesday, August 12, 2015


Philip Holzmeister

Lay missionaries - men and women who are neither priests, nor religious brothers nor sisters - have been a part of Church ministry since the first days of the Church in the times of the Apostles.

Many times they get little to no attention. So, it's not surprising that many people outside of the older people of Yoña would have heard of Philip Holzmeister.

He was one such lay missionary who have a large part of his life to the parish of Saint Francis in Yoña.

Having attended Saint Francis School myself for six years, I remember seeing Phil, but I had no idea who he was and why he was always seen at Saint Francis Church.

His brother, Father Adrian Holzmeister, was a Capuchin priest. Through him, Philip learned about the Guam mission and its many needs.

It was a time of tremendous building projects - churches, rectories, schools and convents - as Guam was recovering from World War II and as the island population expanded.

Saint Francis Church & School, Yoña

Phil found himself going to Yoña to help Father Alvin LaFeir, one of the primary "builder missionaries." The photo above shows the huge parish complex that Father Alvin spearheaded. Most of the labor came from the volunteer parishioners. Phil certainly had a lot of work to do every day. His work included physical and manual labor in the construction and thereafter the maintenance of the parish buildings.

Phil was a quiet man who drew no attention to himself. As a lay missionary, he was not paid a salary but the Capuchins took care of all his material needs, which were few.

When Phil died, he was buried alongside the Capuchin friars in Togcha.


He gave his life to the Church on Guam.
even his body lies in our soil.

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