Wednesday, May 10, 2023


By Tim Rohr

Fr. Dan Mulhauser, S.J. passed from this world to the next a few days ago. He was 96 years old. And if you were a Catholic in Guam in the 1980's to the early 1990's, his was a familiar face. 

Fellow Jesuit, and long time friend of Fr. Dan, Fr. Fran Hezel, S.J., composed a nice remembrance of him. In his remembrance Fr. Hezel recalled that he had learned when he first met Fr. Dan in 1955 that Fr. Dan had lost one lung "in the service." Fr. Hezel followed that revelation with "None of us ever imagined Dan in a military uniform."

It would be easy to mistake Fr. Dan for a pacifist given his always saintly peaceful manner, which he apparently emanated even as far back as 1955. However, at least from my experience with Fr. Dan over several years, I would say that it was impossible to mistake Fr. Dan for anything or anybody other than a good priest who lived his entire priesthood in deep union with Jesus Christ.

If Fr. Dan had a personal leaning this way or that, one never knew what it was (or at least I didn't) because he never spoke about himself or what he "thought" about things. Fr. Dan always directed every bit of his energy and attention toward whomever he was with.

Fr. Dan was never a celebrated speaker, writer, or even a homilist, and he wasn't one of those "welcome everybody" engaging types when he said Mass. Yet, there was always an overwhelming expression of love for this priest wherever he went, a love that never waned and even grew after Fr. Dan moved on from Guam and Micronesia nearly thirty years ago. 

I was blessed to have Fr. Dan in my life for several years after my wife and I first moved to Guam in 1987. At the time, Fr. Dan was the chaplain for UOG Catholic Campus Ministry, and we (my wife and I and our first child), had moved into a tiny apartment on a rundown little dead end street about a three minute walk from Campus Ministry. 

It wasn't long before Fr. Dan learned I was a graduate of a Jesuit university (Loyola Marymount Univ. in Los Angeles) and that I had been involved in music ministry. So I was immediately recruited to lead the singing at the "English" Mass at Campus Ministry. (I believe the other was in Chuukese). 

The chapel was small. It was one of those modular homes we in Guam refer to as "J&G" homes - converted into a chapel. Fr. Dan celebrated Mass at a coffee table, usually sitting, and I, with my guitar, sat a few feet away. 

It helped that I knew all the St. Louis Jesuit songs ("Be Not Afraid, Here I am Lord, One Bread One Body, etc.) And I did know them all, and by heart. I had spent my years at Loyola constantly involved in music ministry and church choirs playing and singing those songs. And then after graduating from LMU and moving to the Virgin Islands I continued to do the same both as a high school music teacher and as church choir director at the local Catholic Church. 

So it was a wonderful thing to begin our new life in Guam, so far away from everything and everyone my wife and I knew, by moving right into the Catholic Campus Ministry community and playing those wonderful Jesuit songs while a wonderful Jesuit priest said Mass. 

I don't remember a single thing Fr. Dan ever said during a sermon, and I heard a lot of them, but I very much remember how he said Mass. Sitting only a few feet away from him he was easy to observe. He said most of the Mass with his eyes closed or down. And when he looked up, he didn't look at the people, at least not in a personally engaging way. He appeared to look beyond or above the people or perhaps even into them, seeing Jesus in every person present. At least that's the feeling I got at every Mass.

Even after later moving to Tumon and eventually to Barrigada Heights, we continued to attend Mass at Campus Ministry in Mangilao. I don't think we stopped going to Mass there until about 1994 when we moved to Agat and by that time Fr. Dan had moved to Palau to shepherd vocations there. By then I had frequent business in Palau and always made it a point to spend time with him. 

While at Campus Ministry, Fr. Dan baptized our 2nd, 3rd, and 4th child. This picture of him holding our 3rd child, Christopher, only minutes after Fr. Dan baptized our son, speaks volumes about who Fr. Dan was. He's holding Christopher as if he's my son's grandfather - or even as his own child.

Another thing I remember about those days at Campus Ministry with Fr. Dan was how no one ever wanted to leave after Mass was over. Fr. Dan would hang out with everyone outside the little modular home-chapel and we'd talk and talk and talk while all the kids (and there were many in those days) played and played and played. There was no need to have any "greeters" or welcoming committee. Fr. Dan was that. 

I think that there was such a warm community there not just because it was small, but because Fr. Dan drew us all into a right worship of Jesus when he said Mass, which I believe he was able to do not through any "extras" (some will know what I mean), but because he was such a deeply holy priest. 

Those were beautiful days. And I will never forget them. Thank you Fr. Dan. And may His angels lead you into paradise. Here's a few more pictures of that wonderful time at Campus Ministry with you.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful eulogy! Fr. Dan indeed was and is a saint. If heaven exists surely he will reach there fast. He certainly was very welcoming and inclusive. At Thanksgiving he gathered a lot of us "strays" without family and had a big Thanksgiving for us all.

    I have thousands of memories of Fr. Dan throughout the years. The most important was him interceding for me with AB Apuron, and helping AB Apuron and I understand each other and become friends.