New Catholic Priest for Kalaupapa

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

New Catholic Priest for Kalaupapa

July 11 marked what Kalaupapa’s new Catholic priest believes is the fulfillment of his destiny. Father Patrick Killilea was installed as the pastor of the peninsula’s St. Francis Church, replacing Father Ambrose Sapa, who was reassigned to serve on Oahu.

Father Patrick Killilea (left) was installed on July 11 as the new pastor of Kalaupapa’s St. Francis Church by Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva (center). Photo by Mark Miller.

“My story really begins in Kalaupapa in the summer of 2004,” said Killilea, a native of Ireland who had been serving in Massachusetts. He had come over to Kalaupapa to visit fellow members of the Sacred Hearts order — of which St.…

Catholic Parish Gets New Priest

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Catholic Parish Gets New Priest

As a high school student in Arizona at the age of 16, Father William Petrie read a biography of St. Damien in school. That’s what started the priest’s journey in the Catholic faith, which has culminated in his installation as pastor of Molokai’s St. Damien Parish last Tuesday.

“That book inspired me so much that I decided I was going to become a priest and work with leprosy patients,” he said. “And it all came true.”

Bishop Larry Silva and Father William Petrie (right) at his installation at St. Damien Church. Photo by Catherine Cluett

He entered seminary and joined the order of the Sacred Hearts, of which St.…

Leaving a Legacy of Faith

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Leaving a Legacy of Faith

Well-loved priest to move from Molokai.

By Catherine Cluett

While most Catholic priests are known for their spotless black cassocks and distinctive clerical collar, Molokai’s Father Clyde Guerreiro is often found in work-worn denim overalls, a construction tool in hand.

Father Clyde Guerreiro, standing at the current site of the new St. Damien Church before it was constructed. Photo by Catherine Cluett

Described by parishioners and community members as self-deprecating, down-to-earth, quick to laugh, a handyman and a visionary, Guerriero is fulfilling his childhood dream of priesthood. As a member of the Sacred Hearts order, he has been serving on Molokai for five years.…

Mother Marianne’s Canonization Date Set

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Mother Marianne’s Canonization Date Set

The nun who served Hansen’s disease patients who were exiled to Kalaupapa for over 30 years will become a saint in a canonization ceremony to take place on Oct. 21 of this year, the Vatican announced last Saturday. Molokai’s Mother Marianne Cope was green-lighted for sainthood by Pope Benedict XVI in December, after confirmation of a second miracle was attributed to her.

Now, the date is official for Mother Marianne to join St. Damien as Molokai’s second saint. Residents of Kalaupapa have already been planning for the celebration, and some will travel to Rome for the canonization.

Five others will also be canonized the same date as Mother Marianne, including Kateri Tekakwitha, a Mohawk Indian from New York state.…

Parish Prayers Answered

Monday, December 19th, 2011

In the soft glow of dusk and new lights of the bell tower, hundreds gathered in front of the recently-completed St. Damien Catholic church in Kaunakakai last Friday to celebrate its dedication.

Father Clyde Guerreiro led the throng through the doors for the first time, followed by Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva, a host of visiting priests and many Molokai parishioners. The parish has been planning and fundraising for the new worship structure since 1995, with a goal of holding Mass in the church on Christmas Eve 2011, according to Guerreiro.

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.