First Anniversary of Sainthood
By Father Pat Killilea, St. Francis Church, Kalaupapa
As we waited at Kalaupapa Airport’s terminal, I couldn’t help but think of the story about the bishop who was greeting parishioners at the Cathedral on the last Sunday prior to his becoming Archbishop of the neighboring Archdiocese. As he shook hands with a little old lady, she shed a tear and in a broken voice said, “The new bishop won’t be as good as you.” Flattered by this greeting, the bishop replied, “Nonsense, my dear, he will be a great bishop.” To which she replied, “No, really. I mean it. I’ve been here for six different bishops and each one has been worse than the last.” This lends credence to that old saying, “It could happen to a bishop.”
On this occasion, we eagerly awaited the arrival of our own good bishop, Bishop Larry Silva. He was to join us at St. Francis Church in Kalaupapa for the celebration of the first anniversary of the canonization of St. Marianne Cope. Bishop Larry was supposed to be on the first plane… or the second plane… or the third. I was getting concerned that he had gotten a better offer for dinner for the day! Then he finally stepped down from the last plane and I breathed a big sigh of relief, because he was to be our main celebrant for the Mass at 10 a.m. I was not prepared to fill in for him — much better to be delayed a little than not to come, Bishop. After all, it can happen to a bishop.
St. Francis Church was filled with worshipers for the celebration of Mass as we remembered the canonization of St. Mother Marianne one year ago. We were delighted that Sacred Hearts
Provincial, Father Jonathan, was able to be with us, as well as seven of our young Sacred Hearts priests from India. We were also joined by several Franciscan Sisters from Honolulu as well as many of the laity from Oahu. Bishop Larry gave his usual spirited homily and the congregation raised their voices in song.
After Mass, we all gathered in the church hall or on the church steps for fine food and drink provided by the good Sisters of St. Francis. Bishop Larry sat on the church steps engaging our young Indian priests in animated conversation. Of course, this did not surprise me one bit since this is typical Bishop Larry in relaxation or in action. Long live Bishop Larry.
At 1 p.m. , Bishop Larry boarded Makani Kai’s plane for the return trip to Honolulu. He was accompanied by our indispensible master of ceremonies, Sister Helene, as well as others. Bishop was on his way to give the invocation at another celebration in just a few hours. This time, his plane took off on time, which sometimes can happen to a bishop.