2009-10-15 12:53:27

New Zealanders sending icon of St. Damien to Hawaii

(October 15, 2009) New Zealand Catholics are sending an icon of one of the church's newest saints to the church in Hawaii. Depicting St. Damien de Veuster, the icon will be given to Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu in November on behalf of Bishop Patrick J. Dunn of Auckland. St. Damien dedicated his life to those afflicted with leprosy, now known as Hansen's disease, in Molokai, Hawaii. The icon was on display the evening of October 11 as 150 people gathered to remember the life and legacy of a man being canonized half a world away the same day. The event included a screening of "Molokai -- The Story of Father Damien," hosted by the NZ Catholic, New Zealand's national Catholic newspaper. Because of the time difference, the film finished shortly before the start of the canonization Mass in St. Peter's Basilica for the five new saints, St. Damien and Sts. Jeanne Jugan, Zygmunt Felinski, Francisco Coll Guitart and Rafael Arnaiz Baron. Created locally by artist Jenny Trolove of the Studio of John the Baptist, the icon was blessed prior to the screening by Msgr. Bernard Kiely, administrator of Auckland's St. Patrick's Cathedral. It will be delivered by Dennis Augustine, the NZ Catholic's advertising and promotions manager, when he visits Hawaii. Msgr. Kiely urged New Zealanders to embrace St. Damien as "a saint of the Pacific."

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