Relic of Saint to Return to Hawaii


The Associated Press is reporting that a relic of a 19th-century priest who ministered to leprosy patients in Hawaii will be brought to the islands after he is declared a saint later this year in Rome.

Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva announced Wednesday that a relic of Father Damien will be displayed permanently at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, where Damien was ordained a priest in 1864.

Damien de Veuster, SS.CC. (January 3, 1840–April 15, 1889), was born Jozef de Veuster and was also known as Blessed Damien of Molokai. He arrived at the island’s infamous leper colony on May 10, 1873, and provided care for the people who had been quarantined there until he succumbed to the illness himself. Damien was buried at the Kalaupapa leprosy settlement. His body was moved to his native Belgium in 1936. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1995 (his feast day is the anniversary of his arrival on Molokai, May 10), and the Vatican announced his impending canonization in February of this year.

Damien's canonization is set for October 11 at a Vatican ceremony presided over by Pope Benedict XVI. Silva or a priest designated by him will accompany the relic as it travels from Rome to the Big Island and then to Maui, Lanai, Kauai and Molokai before reaching Honolulu on November 1.

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