Parish Prayers Answered

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.

“I think we accomplished that,” he said, addressing the crowd seated in wooden pews after the church’s first Mass was held Friday night. Among other groups and individuals, Guerreiro thanked the island’s youth for being an inspiration.

“This is the place you will be married, and your children will be baptized here…” he said.

During the dedication, a relic of St. Damien was placed under the new wooden alter “so [his] presence may be with us always,” according to Bishop Silva. And as hundreds of Molokai parishioners sang “Christ, Be Our Light,” the interior lights of the church were turned on publicly for the first time.

“Long live this new temple in Kaunakakai dedicated to St. Damien of Molokai,” concluded the bishop in his homily.


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