Honolulu Star-Bulletin: “The date has not been set yet for the canonization of Father Damien DeVeuster, but Hawaii Catholics are making plans for festivities here and in Rome. Pope Benedict XVI is expected to declare the priest a saint no sooner than next fall, a date that will not be set until a February meeting of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the Vatican.” Full story here.
Posts Tagged ‘Father Damien’
The San Francisco Chronicle reports here that Hawaii is wrestling with a dilemma. Father Damien, the priest who selflessly cared for lepers until the disease took his life, lived in Kalaupapa. While Hawaii is nothing if not a tourist destination, Kalaupapa “is sacred ground with a history of disease, suffering and isolation.” With Father Damien’s canonization likely next year, Kalaupapa, which still cares for people with leprosy, is being sought out by pilgrims and tourists. Thus the dilemma.
“The priority is the patients. That’s why we have to approach this very delicately,” said state Sen. J. Kalani English. “Their privacy is paramount, their security is paramount, their dignity is paramount.”
A complicating factor: the Vatican-approved miracle that will bring Father Damiem sainthood came to a cancer sufferer who traveled to Kalaupapa to pray for healing — and was inexplicably healed.
Hard to set aside talk of saints today when a new one with American ties will soon be named: Father Damien, a missionary priest from Belgium who cared for lepers in Hawaii in the 19th century before contracting the disease himself and dying at age 49. Pope Benedict XVI, who canonized Padre Gaetano Catanoso in 2005 in his first-such ceremony, cleared the way this week for Father Damien.
Hawai’i magazine.com reports: :“Father Damien—born Jozef de Veuster in 1840—arrived in Honolulu from Belgium in 1864. Working with Catholic missionaries, he was eventually moved by the plight of thousands of Hawaii leprosy patients sent by government order to Molokai’s isolated Kalaupapa peninsula. Father Damien moved to Molokai in 1873 to live among the sufferers and minister to them. He would spend the rest of his life on the island. After contracting leprosy—now known as Hansen’s disease—he died in 1889.”