09/04/2014 16:18

Fr. Francis MIHALIC (PNG-USW) 08.12.01; 16-37-39-43-44

Fr. Francis was the eldest son of Frank and Anna Katharina Haschalk from Renovo, Erie, Pennsylvania. He entered the Society in Gerard in 1931, went through his novitiate in East Troy and Techny, where he was ordained in 1944. A talented linguist, he pursued linguistic studies at the universities of Oklahoma and Michigan. He took up the post of Latin and

Greek teacher with that of assistant nov­ice master before embarking for PNG in 1947, together with the first group of 45 SVD American missionaries assigned to the Far East after the war.

Stricken with tuberculosis in 1950, he returned to the US to recuperate, trans­lating the New Testament into Pidgin during his convalescence. Upon his re­turn to PNG he began work on the country's first bi-lingual newspaper, W ANTOK, which became New Guinea's national newspaper.

An expert in Melanesian Pidgin, he wrote the Jacaranda Dictionary, and the Grammar of Melanesian Pidgin, which became the norm for spelling and stan­dard issue in all government departments inPNG.

For his achievements, he was awarded the Order ofthe British Empire medal of merit. From 1961-68 he took over as vice rector ofNemi and the first director ofthe renewal courses there. His transla­tion of Fr. Josef Alt's edition of Fr. Arnold Janssen's letters to Australia and New Guinea was his last linguistic achievement.

He went back to California for his retirement in 1999, where he died peace­fully, due to kidney failure, on Dec. 8.

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