Christmas in Kalaupapa
By Father Pat Killilea, St. Francis, Kalaupapa
It was some minutes after 8 p.m. on Christmas Eve. We had just celebrated our first Christmas Mass in company with our sisters and brothers from our neighboring Congregational Church. Led by members of the St. John Vianney Choir visiting from Kailua, we sang the Hawaiian Doxology after the Blessing, then ended our Mass with a rousing chorus of “Go Tell It on the Mountain That Jesus Christ is Born.” Now it was time to gather in our parish hall, which is said to be part of St. Damien’s original Kalaupapa town church. There we shared in a magnificent meal prepared by these same members of the St. John Vianney Choir. I wish they would visit us more often! The next morning, being Christmas Day, we again assembled for the celebration of Mass at 9 a.m.
December had been a month of many notable happenings for us. I myself had spent a few days on Topside Molokai visiting my Sacred Hearts Brothers, my classmate, Father Bill Petrie, who is pastor of St. Damien as well as ambassador to the world, his venerable assistant and honorary mayor of Nassau in the Bahamas, Father Mike Kelly, and Brother Charlie Kahaaanui, world famous landscaper. They serve good food on Topside. I should visit there more often. I also visited our Sacred Hearts Sisters in Kaimuki and while there, risked my life in the dentist’s chair. I also purchased some cat food for Maka our neighborhood cat. He lives the life of Riley.
In December, we celebrated the birthdays of Winnie Harada and Edwin Lalepali, and welcomed John Arruda for the holidays. I think he actually came to supervise the decoration of St. Francis Church for the Christmas celebration. Being 90 going on 19, he has earned that distinction. In December also we bade a fond farewell to two of our National Park personnel. Kellie left us to join her husband David in Colorado and Tim departed for California to place a ring on his bride’s finger. We wish both aloha and say mahalo for all their contributions to Kalaupapa.
We do not anticipate any wild celebration here to usher in the New Year but I would not be at all surprised if Mr. Heineken and Miss Corona make the rounds. Even Sean Bailey may show up! In any case (no pun intended) we rejoice in the spirit of this Christmas season and say Hau`oli makahiki hou to all of you. Aloha.