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President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. has issued a presidential proclamation to order the hoisting of all Palauan flags at half-mast during the funeral of the late Jesuit Priest, Father Wayne Pius Tkel, on Saturday, January 12.

Father Tkel passed away on New Year’s day in Peleliu State at the age of 55.

Tkel is survived by his brothers, Matthew Rudimch and Leo Tkel and his sisters, Mathilda Tkel, Clara Tkel, and Leona Tkel.

“The people of the Republic of Palau express deep sadness for the passing of this remarkable man and further pay tribute to his invaluable contributions to the Catholic Church, his fellow Christians, the community, and teachings of the Word of the Lord,” the proclamation reads.

Tkel was born in Koror on September 3, 1963 to his father Frederick Ngirakesau Tkel and his mother Juana Rudimch.

He entered the Manresa Jesuit Novitiate and pronounced his first vows as Jesuit on February 2, 1992. He then studied Philosophy at the Ateneo de Manila in the Philippines for the next three years and later taught religion at Xavier High School in Chuuk from 1995 to 1998.

It was on October 6, 2001 when Father Tkel was ordained a deacon at St. Peter’s Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  He was then ordained a priest by Reverend Amando Samo, Bishop of the Caroline Islands, on June 22, 2002.

For most of his life, Tkel served as pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes in Peleliu and Our Lady of the Rosary in Angaur. He also served as Vicar of Catholic Schools for Palau and worked as a campus minister and teacher of religion at Mindszenty High School and conducted leadership training in Koror.

He was also served as superior of the Jesuits in Palau as a regional and community consultor for the Jesuits of Micronesia from 2009 to 2019.