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Return To Kalaupapa

Community Contributed

By Father Pat Killilea, St Francis Church, Kalaupapa

Makani Kai touched down right on time and we taxied in to Terminal 1 at Kalaupapa’s ever-friendly airport. I was immediately greeted by Rev. Richard Matsushita, his lovely wife, and some members of our neighboring Congregational Church who were seeing others off to Topside. Then one lovely young lady presented me with a beautiful lei and I responded with a hug and a smooch. After one month away, I was home again in Kalaupapa.

One month prior to this day, United Airlines and Aer Lingus had carried me on their broad wings to my homeland in Ireland, where I had enjoyed three-plus weeks in the company of family and friends in County Galway. While there, I did most of the cooking for my brother, Frank, and myself and, believe it or not, neither of us got sick as a result. I drank two cups of tea (instead of coffee) each morning and two more at tea time each evening and still had no trouble sleeping until 7:30 every morning. And didn’t I have to get out of bed during the night (if you get what I mean).

After leaving my family and homeland on July 9, I spent some days in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, where I celebrated Sunday Masses at St Mary’s, my former parish, as well as at the local nursing home. I also had the pleasure of baptizing a little infant girl, Alanah Moran. I had an interview for the Diocesan Anchor paper by that delightful St Mary’s parishioner and Anchor writer, Becky Aubut. After taking advantage of these days of grace to visit some longtime friends, I again took to the friendly skies of United and winged my way back to Aloha land where I was pampered for a couple of days by our Sacred Hearts Sisters in Kaimuki.

While in Massachusetts, I had heard about the storms which had visited these Hawaiian Islands but on landing here on Aug. 17, I did not witness any damage in Kalaupapa. Praise the Lord and Saints Damien and Marianne.

Here in Kalaupapa I awaited the arrival of a recliner chair shipped earlier this month on the annual barge and donated by Father Chris Keahi from St Michael’s Church in Waialua. It was delivered this morning by two lovely Hawaiian girls. Mahalo nui loa, Father Chris. Come and visit Kalaupapa soon and enjoy the ease and comfort of your chair. I’ve enjoyed it already. The prodigal son has returned to Kalaupapa.

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