Blessed Marianne Close to Sainthood

Monday, December 19th, 2011

Molokai’s Blessed Marianne Cope, who served in Kalaupapa with St. Damien, came one step closer to sainthood last Tuesday when Vatican officials attributed a second miracle to her intercession, according to the Syracuse, N.Y.-based Sisters of St. Francis.

Now all that remains before her canonization is Pope Benedict XVI’s approval, expected sometime next year.

A group of cardinals and bishops in Rome confirmed a medical board’s decision that the recovery of a woman from a fatal health condition was inexplicable, and due to a miracle of Blessed Marianne, according to

My Fair Church

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

From a hand-fed cockatiel to a two-night stay on Maui, participants in the live auction at the Damien Catholic Parish Country Fair didn’t leave empty-handed. The event, an annual fundraiser for the new Catholic church under construction, has been going on longer than parishioners can seem to remember.

The goal is to raise $20,000 to $24,000 during the event, said Father Clyde Guerrero. The parish has raised about $2.2 million since they began fundraising for the new church in 1995, he said. With the help of a $1.45 million loan, the structure in central Kuanakakai is nearly complete. A dedication service is being planned for Dec. 9 of this year, Guerrero added.

Singing Their Praise

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Singing Their Praise

In addition to dozens of Molokai residents, more than 50 people from Oahu also attended the event through their own religious organizations. They were treated to performances by worship bands from Kaunakakai Baptist Church (above), Molokai Baptist Church and King’s Chapel, as well as a set by Hawaiian Christian singers Barrett and Tara Awai.

Dawn O’Brien, a DJ for radio station 95.5 The Fish, emceed the free event, which also featured mini-golf, bean bag tossing, face-painting and other fun for keiki, and food made by church members.

The Beat Goes On

Monday, August 1st, 2011

The Beat Goes On

Names of deceased love ones on slips of paper fluttered in the breeze while Japanese paper lanterns softly lit the dusk. Beneath them, Taiko drums pounded in a dizzying rhythm that reverberated into the ground. Yellow kimono-clad performers beat the great drums, their sticks a blur.

send them on their way,” said Koki Foster, a board member of the temple.

The Buddhist tradition of the Bon dance originates from the story of a disciple of Buddha. When he found out through his supernatural vision that his deceased mother was suffering in the realm of the “hungry ghosts,” he asked the Buddha how he could relieve his mother of her torment. The holy man told him make offerings to the monks who had just completed their summer retreat. The disciple did this, and his mother was released from the realm of the hungry ghosts. He danced with joy, and that dance became known as the Bon dance.

The Molokai temple, built by plantation workers, hosts a variety of weekly and seasonal events, including mochi pounding at New Year’s, meditation sessions, aikido classes and the Bon Festival, according to Foster.

“It keeps alive Japanese cultural aspects on Molokai,” she said.

Blessed Marianne Closer to Sainthood

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Blessed Marianne Closer to Sainthood

The second miracle needed for Molokai’s Blessed Marianne Cope to be declared a saint was medically approved last week. The ruling marks a significant step toward her canonization.

The Vatican’s medical board pronounced that there is no medical explanation for the cure of a woman who had suffered from an illness previously believed terminal and incurable. The identity of the woman and other details have not yet been disclosed.

The announcement was made last week by the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse, NY, home of Blessed Marianne’s religious community, the Sisters of St. Francis. The next step in the verification of the miracle is the examination and approval of the Vatican’s theologians, who will decide if the healing was the result of prayer to Blessed Marianne.

If they do attribute the incident to Marianne’s intercession, the case will be evaluated by a board of cardinals and bishops. The pope will then make the final decision whether or not to approve the miracle, which could be followed by Blessed Marianne’s canonization.

The first miracle attributed to Marianne, which resulted in her beatification (given the title “blessed”), was approved by the Vatican in 2004. The case involved the medically unexplainable recovery of a dying New York girl after prayers were said to Blessed Marianne.

Blessed Marianne came to Hawaii in 1883 to establish nursing care for patients of Hansen’s disease. She worked in Kalaupapa – alongside St. Damien at the end of his life – for 30 of the 35 years she served in Hawaii, and died on the peninsula in 1918. 

Molokai Youth to Serve in the Holy Land

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Molokai Youth to Serve in the Holy Land

Community Contributed

By Gaellen Quinn

Last fall, Sasha Ritte-Juario applied to do a Youth Year of Service at the Baha’i World Center in Haifa, Israel. She knew to get accepted was probably a long shot – every year, hundreds of Baha’i youth from around the world apply.  But with high hopes, she sent out her application and essay about her life and community service.

In December, the acceptance phone call came. Youth who are accepted to serve at the Baha’i World Center can be assigned, among other tasks, to work in administration in the world-famous Baha’i gardens (inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List – see more at or as guides for the more than half a million tourists who visit the Baha’i World Center each year. The youth are provided with room and board and a small monthly stipend, but are responsible for their own personal expenses and transportation to and from Israel. Sasha will leave for Israel on June 13.

Founded more than a century and a half ago, the Baha’i faith has spread around the globe. Members of the Baha’i faith live in more than 100,000 localities and come from nearly every nation, ethnic group, culture, profession and social economic background.

Baha’is believe that throughout history, God has revealed Himself to humanity through a series of divine messengers whose teachings guide and educate us and provide the basis for the advancement of human society. These messengers have included Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad. Their religions come from the same source and are in essence successive chapters of one religion from God.

Baha’u’llah, the latest of these messengers brought new spiritual and social teachings for this time. He taught the oneness of God, the oneness of the human family and the oneness of religion.

The youth accepted to serve at the Baha’i World Center get a unique opportunity to experience this unity first-hand because they meet and work with others from many diverse cultures and backgrounds. At any one time, youth serving there can hail from Africa, India, Europe, Asia, North and South America or the islands of the Pacific.

Crane Action at St. Damien

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Community Contributed

What is going on behind that black fence across from the post office? Resurrection. Behind the construction fence at 115 Ala Malama, there is an intense construction effort underway to build the new St. Damien of Molokai Catholic Church. Since early January, Nordic PCL Construction has been hard at work constructing a new worship center for the Molokai Catholic Community on the recent ashes of the old St. Sophia plantation church, scheduled for completion in December. This week, concrete walls will be raised into place with a crane.

A Living Church

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

A Living Church

It was a solemnity and emotional groundbreaking ceremony as members of the Molokai Catholic Parish, community members and dignitaries bade farewell to the charred remains of St. Sophia Church to celebrate new beginnings. The blackened Crucifix and Stations of the Cross were laid to rest under the future alter of St. Damien Church, and parishioners gave their final blessing by throwing flowers.

The Bishop of Honolulu, Reverend Larry Silva told the story of how he was given a wooden cross carved from the wood of a monkey pod tree planted by St. Damien at Our Lady of Seven Sorrows.
“So it is we plant a seed today to grow not just into a building but into a living church. This isn’t just for the people here today but for generations to come.”

Foundations of Faith

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Foundations of Faith

After 16 years of planning, praying and waiting, the St. Damien Parish is finally seeing the first signs of construction on a new church, on the site of the former St. Sophia church in Kaunakakai. Last week, community members, parishioners and construction workers gathered to clear the ground and began erecting a dust fence to ensure safety of the construction area, according to Gil Hoopii, Senior Superintendent of Nordic PCL Construction, the company contracted to build the new church.

“It’s happening before our eyes and it’s almost like a miracle,” said Leoda Shizuma, council chair of St. Damien Parish.

In keeping with Father Clyde Guerreiro’s goal of holding a Christmas Eve service in the new church this year, the structure is expected to be completed by October, said Hoopii.

“I won’t be taking vacation for a while but it’s unbelievable – feels great,” said Guerreiro, dressed in overalls to help with the ground preparations.

As construction began, “All I could think about was praise be Jesus, Alleluia!” said Shizuma. “It’s been a long dream for a lot of people in our parish.”

Community members may stop by the next door Damien Center for construction updates in the coming months.

Father Damien’s St. Joseph Church Rescued

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Father Damien’s St. Joseph Church Rescued

Community Contributed

By Maria Sullivan, St. Damien Parishioner

St. Joseph Church at Kamalo is a State Historic site and one of the most visited on Molokai.  Each year more than 4,000 Hawaii residents, visitors and pilgrims visit the church, built in 1876 by Father Damien and the Kamalo community. Today, due to the grace and generosity of many people, this 134-year-old church is being saved, so it can continue to tell the story of Molokai, and of one of its most famous residents, Father Damien. 

In addition to his work with the Hansen disease patients on the Kalaupapa peninsula, Father Damien also served as pastor and church builder for the Catholic faithful who lived on topside Molokai.  Of the churches built by Father Damien, St. Joseph Church at Kamalo remains in the most original condition.  However, due to time, weather and termites the church was at risk of being lost. A windstorm this past April complicated matters by blowing off the cross and tearing a large, gaping hole in the church’s eight-sided steeple spire.

There are still substantial costs ahead to evaluate the structural integrity of the steeple, and to reinstall a new top spire. Father Guerreiro and the parish are hopeful that donors will come forward and join the parish in its effort to “Save the Steeple” at Father Damien’s historic St. Joseph Church.

Help Save the Steeple
Make your check payable to: “St. Joseph Church Fund”
Attn: Fr. Clyde Guerreiro
Saint Damien Parish-St. Joseph Church Fund
P.O. Box 1948
Kaunakakai, HI  96748
For more information about the church and project, contact Maria Sullivan, St. Damien Parishioner (808) 553-5181;