Aloha Saint Damien: It’s Almost Time!

This is an ongoing blog about Father Damien by Molokai Dispatch reporter Megan Stephenson.

First, a quick rundown of the Father Damien celebrations here on Molokai. St. Sophia Church in Kaunakakai is hosting a canonization celebration on Saturday, Oct. 10. Mass and Damien Novena at 6pm; potluck dinner and entertainment at 7:15pm; viewing of a Damien documentary at 9pm; and live screening of the canonization mass from the Vatican at 10pm.

I am also searching for contemporary news on Father Damien. There are two popular and notable blogs about the upcoming canonization: Countdown to St. Damien by the Honolulu Advertiser, and the Saint Damien Boy Scouts of Hawaii. Both are in the action: sending photos, videos and information back to Hawaii about the Belgian celebrations and (soon) the canonization ceremony in Rome.

One of the things the Advertiser reporter, Mary Vorsino (who is traveling with Honolulu Diocese Bishop Larry Silva) pointed out was how difficult it is to gauge how popular Father Damien is outside the Catholic, Belgian or Hawaiian worlds. A Google News search of ‘Father Damien’ brings up mostly articles from Catholic publications, Hawaiian publications, and a few AP article syndicated to other newspapers like the Philadelphia Inquirer. Not many US publications are picking up on this event.

But there are only eight American saints, and six Blessed persons ‘adopted’ because of their service to America, including Father Damien and Mother Mary. Out of over 10,000 saints by the Catholic Church in the past millennia, less than 20 people associated with America are astounding!


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