A Catholic Monthly Magazine

Death of a Marist

Fr Falani (Frank) Terry SM

Born in Apia, Samoa, 25 June 1953
Professed in Wairiki, Fiji, 2 February 1975
Ordained in Suva, Fiji, 25 October 1981
Died in Suva, Easter morning, 12 April 2020

Fr Falani Terry SM was the son of George Terry and Ana Maria Pauna of Apia, Samoa. He was baptised on 7 July 1953 and was confirmed on 13 August 1961 at the Moamoa Catholic church, Apia, Samoa. It was when he was a student at Chanel College that Falani generously responded to the call to religious life and priesthood.

From Chanel College he entered the Novitiate of the Society of Mary in 1974 at Tutu, Taveuni, Fiji. After novitiate, he began his seminary training in 1975. He completed philosophy in 1976 and theology in 1981 at the Pacific Regional Seminary, Suva, Fiji. In the same year, he was ordained to the priesthood at the Pacific Regional Seminary.

His first appointment was to Safata Parish, Samoa in 1982 and then to Chanel College in 1983. Due to the need for educators for the Province, Falani was called to pursue further studies in the University of the South Pacific in 1984 and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1986. He was then posted to Chanel College in 1987 where he served for the next 12 years. In 1992 Fr Falani became the first Principal of Chanel College from Oceania Province when the NZ Province passed on the baton of managing Chanel to Oceania. He was also appointed as the Regional Superior of the Samoa Region from 1993 to 1998.The need for philosophy lecturers at the seminary was the impetus for Fr Falani to pursue a Licentiate in Philosophy at the Gregorian University, Rome, which he successfully completed in 2001.

As a lecturer in philosophy, he began teaching from 2002 to 2003 in the Bomana Seminary, Papua New Guinea. From Bomana, Fr Falani was appointed to the Pacific Regional Seminary (PRS), Suva, Fiji, in 2004. During his time at PRS he lectured in philosophy and he also became the Academic Dean in 2009 – 2014 and from 2018 until his death. Fr Falani was also a member of SPATS (South Pacific Association of Theological Schools) from 2009 – 2020. He became the leader of the SPATS Accreditation Committee and he helped in accrediting various theological colleges in the Pacific Islands. Through the untiring efforts of Fr Falani, PRS became the first theological school in Fiji to be fully accredited by the Fiji Higher Education Commission. At his death, Fr Falani was a core member of the accreditation team.

Having been released from hospital, Fr Falani was awaiting surgery when he died on the morning when Christians everywhere celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. His Requiem Mass took place at the Pacific Regional Seminary Chapel on Friday 17 April, after which he was laid to rest in the Old Suva Cemetery.

Tributes paid to him included:

A fine philosopher, a great orator, a dramatic deliverer; A wonderful Marist … Whenever he preached, I am all ears; Fr Falani, your name will always be remembered at Chanel College when it comes to the inter-collegiate English competition; He is GREAT in so many ways, a great Marist, confrère, professor, preacher and advisor; He has been an inspiration to many of our students and an esteemed and respected colleague for our faculty and staff at PRS. It has been a joy to be in his presence and he will be missed immensely; Thank you, Falani, for the gift of knowing you. You were one of my favorite preachers. He held everybody spellbound. May the Word of Life that you so passionately preached welcome you to his Eternal Home…

May he rest in the eternal peace of the Risen Christ. Amen.

Profile and Appointments

Primary education
1959 – 1967 : St Francis Xavier,
Vanila Samoa
Secondary education
1968 – 1973 : St Peter Chanel College, Moamoa, Samoa
Tertiary education
1975 – 1981 : Pacific Regional Seminary, Suva, Fiji
1984 – 1986 : University of the South Pacific, Fiji
1999 – 2001 : Gregorian University, Rome, Italy
1982 : Safata Parish, Samoa
1983 : Chanel College, Samoa
1987-1998 : Chanel College
1992 – 1998 : Principal, Chanel College
1993 – 1998 : Regional Superior, Samoa
1999 : Renewal, Futuna Retreat Centre, Wellington, NZ
2002-2003 : Marist College, Bomana Seminary, PNG
2004-2020 : Pacific Regional Seminary, Suva, Fiji

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