Saturday, July 4, 2009

Students 'Walked where Father Damien walked'

Honolulu Advertiser: July 4th: Chris Kanamu stood yesterday at the steps of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, where Father Damien was ordained, as he talked about how he's been moved by the life of the Belgian priest known worldwide for his service to Hansen's disease patients.

"He gave up his life to help people," said Kanamu, 14, one of 68 incoming Damien Memorial School seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders who went on a walking tour of Downtown yesterday to retrace the footsteps of their school's namesake. The students, dressed in slacks, button-up shirts and ties, also draped lei on the Father Damien statue at the state Capitol as part of an orientation to the school.

The all-boys school annually introduces its incoming high schoolers to Father Damien during a summer program. But this year, in anticipation of Damien's elevation to sainthood in October, the walking tour was added to the orientation. Damien high school division principal Michael Weaver said the tour was meant to drive home for students that Damien was a real person who did amazing things. "He's not just a guy who lived 1,000 years ago. He's not a made-up fairy tale," Weaver told the students, while they stood outside the cathedral. "He's a person that lived one hundred and some years ago who made the ultimate sacrifice for people." Weaver added, "That's what we expect of you."

Weaver led the tour, the culmination of several weeks of orientation classes that included readings on Damien. Students sat in pews at the cathedral, listening to Weaver and asking questions and also gathered outside the Catholic Diocese in Honolulu. Weaver said the walking tour will likely become a tradition. It was added this year as part of several events students at Damien Memorial School are doing to celebrate Damien's canonization.

The Rev. Damien de Veuster was ordained at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in May 1864. He arrived in Kalaupapa nine years later to minister to Hansen's disease patients, and died in 1889 from the disease. The Congregation of the Sacred Hearts priest will be elevated to sainthood Oct. 11 in Rome.

Jacob Glasgow, 14, said the walking tour yesterday helped drive home for him the contributions Damien made — and not too long ago. "We walked where Father Damien walked," he said.
Reach Mary Vorsino at
No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Mozlink’ for any or all of the articles/images placed here. The placing of an article does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

No comments: