Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Over 134,000 infected with leprosy in 2008-09

New Delhi, India: Nov. 24th: There were over 134,000 new leprosy infections in 2008-09 but the number is slowly decreasing in India, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said in the Rajya Sabha Tuesday.

"Leprosy related cases are not rising in the country. On the contrary, the reported cases are declining over the years," Azad said adding that his ministry has taken several steps to reduce the burden of this ailment. According to health ministry data, 260,000 leprosy cases were reported in the country during 2004-05. The year after the cases sharply dropped to 161,457 but there after the decline is relatively slow. While 139,252 cases were reported in 2006-07, in 2007-08, the number of new infections was 137,685.

In the last financial year (2008-09), 134,181 new people were infected by the disease which causes deformity in limbs and renders one handicapped. The minister said that under the National Leprosy Eradication Programme, several steps have been taken to treat and rehabilitate these patients. He said all primary health care centres and government dispensaries have been asked to provide medicine free of cost to them.

"(Government is) providing funds for non-constructive surgery services to leprosy affected persons free of cost for disability correction," Azad added.

Medical Blog: December 1st: - On 25 January 2010, an appeal will be made to the world to end the stigma which blights the lives of millions of people affected by leprosy. Launching from Mumbai in India, a country where the leprosy burden is the largest in the world and where 134,000 new cases of the disease were detected last year, the Global Appeal 2010 will be endorsed by figures from the corporate world willing to demonstrate their concern for this denial of human rights.
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.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Oct. 10th - Basilica sopra Minerva

On Oct 10th, the evening before the Canosation of Fr. Damien, his religious family and the pilgrims who had travelled to Rome, came together for a Prayer/Adoraton Service. The video shows highlights of the service. For the best Internet Blog on St. Damien see

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Oct. 12th - Damien Canonisation - Basilica of St John Lateran

On Monday Oct. 12th. the day following the Canonisation of Fr. Damien de Veuster in Rome, the Damien pilgrims gathered at the Bascilica of St. John Lateran for a Mass of Thanksgiving led by Cardinal Danniels of Malines/Brussells.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Inspirational Video

Two clips from this new inspiritional video using the words of Damien and reflecting on what motivated Damien in giving of himself for the sake of his lepers.

The 46 min video is available at a cost of $30/€21 from

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Louvain Celebrations

Louvain, Belgium October 17th. - With the announcement of the date of Damien's canonization we began to organize the celebration of this great event in the city of Louvain. At the beginning, the idea began to circulate of the Damien Today project. The announcement of the Damien Year was one of the first initiatives. Elsewhere, the dean’s office in Louvain and the City council, also started talking about it. Along the way the government of the Flemish province of Brabant joined in as well. There were different dates and ideas, but in a joint meeting between the three parties, it was agreed that there would be a single celebration on October 17th. For the Congregation this date was ideal because brothers and sisters who were in Europe on the occasion of the canonization could be present. Meetings were arranged, everything was arrnged to the last detail, e-mails from the dean’s office did not stop arriving. Plan B was talked about in case of rain. The city government was fully at the disposal of the organizers of the celebration. The preparation was so thorough that nothing could go wrong.
The city was decked out in the days before the celebration with flags and banners with the phrase: DAMIAN INSPIRES. Photos of Damian, particularly those relating to his remains being brought to Belgium were exhibited at strategic points. Louvain became DAMIAN CITY.
The 17th arrived. Movement was already felt from days before in the Damien Centre with the arrival of vestments for the celebrants, about 80 including 30 Picpus Fathers and international guests. Sometimes we looked with some concern at the sky. A little rain and a cloud make us consider Plan B. But in the end the weather was nice, then came the event.
With everything ready at half past four in the afternoon the procession started to take us from the Damien Center to the church of San Pedro, in the heart of Louvain. A large photo of Damian was carried on the shoulders of a group of scouts, two brass bands, a group carried the Tremolo flags, a group from French Polynesia, and a long line of priests, among others, formed the procession that was intended to recall the journey that the remains of Damian took in Louvain in 1936. The Vicar General of Malines-Brussels Archdiocese presided over the celebration, accompanied by the Superior General of the Congregation and the Dean of Louvain.
Once in the church of St. Peter, full to the brim, the first part of the celebration began, a liturgy of the word and the explanation of why we were there: in 1936, Damien's body spent the night in that church, where tribute was made before being transferred to the Church of the Picpus Fathers. The procession resumed its journey, going through the streets of Brussels, towards the church of St. James, where there is a statue dedicated to Fr. Damian, the first in Belgium. There the mayor of the city paid tribute to Damien, apologizing because maybe it was not Damian's will to be away from his brothers and sisters in Molokai, but the fact of having Damian in the city, reminded the mayor, is a wakeup call for us to remember and live the values that he lived, especially tolerance and giving to the marginalized. Some children also read their stories and impressions about Damian.
After the wreath was placed, the procession moved on again, in the direction of Damien Square, opposite the chapel of San Antonio, Church of the Picpus Fathers in Louvain, where Damien's tomb is. Along the way, perhaps it was not the same crowd as in 1936, but the faces present in the audience were very diverse and also their reactions. At the entrance to the Square, the priests went to a nearby parking lot to make way for the people who came behind the group, far more than expected.
At seven o'clock in the afternoon the third part of the celebration began. A word of welcome by Father Francis Gorissen, provincial of the Picpus Fathers in Flanders, put the celebration in context: the church in this square witnessed the entry of young Joseph De Veuster to the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts in 1859. He must have prayed in it many times. And from this place brother Damian left for the missions in the Sandwich Islands in 1863, stopping in Paris and Bremen. At the celebration, excerpts of letters from Damien were read in French, Netherlands and English, languages in which he communicated with his superiors, his family and friends. A trumpet, a hammer, a bottle of medicine, a cross and a coat reminded us how Damien gave back lost joy, built houses and coffins, healed the sick, spoke of God's love for the small and unprotected and was a sign of welcome for the lepers of Molokai. As a gesture of solidarity, the collection of the celebration was given for a project of the SS.CC. sisters in Mozambique that targets vulnerable people affected by AIDS. Despite the intense cold, more than 2000 people stayed until the final conclusion. The Superior-General thanked the city and the local church for the celebration; He did this in Spanish with the efficient translation of Frits Gorissen. Subsequently, the Superior General, gave her thanks as well. A word from them in Flemish would not have been a bad thing.
Then everyone was invited to go to visit the final resting place of St. Joseph Damien De Veuster, the official name of Father Damien for us all. A small reception at City Hall ended the day.
Juan Carlos Tinjaca,
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.

Celebrations at Tremeloo

Tremeloo, Belgium: October 4th: - The village of Tremeloo had the honour of opening the festivities in Belgium around the canonization of Father Damien.

On Sunday, October 4th I was among two thousand other "fans" of Damien in a large tent near the birthplace to celebrate the Eucharist which was presided by Cardinal Danneels in the presence of bishop Silva from Honolulu and Mgr. Berloco, the apostolic nuncio. With King Albert II and Queen Paola, there were many political figures of our country, but also many foreigners, including a group of 400 Hawaiians who gave colour to the assembly with their costumes, songs and “lei” that they offered to the priests and the royal couple. The Cardinal in his homily referred to the birthplace of the new Saint. but especially insisted on the fact of what this Saint has given to us. “What made Damien a saint? questioned the cardinal, “people? No, it was God did it”. This primate of the Belgian Church invited us to be thankful and appealed to the people that we must learn to pray and not only admire this heroic man, soon to be “Saint Damien of Molokai”. The Cardinal finally addressed the Hawaiians by thanking them. “Because”, he said “we gave birth to Damien so that he could come home. But you have given us as a Saint”.

This celebration described by newspapers as “a wonderful event” ended by an interview with Mad. Toguchi showing her gratitude to God who, through Damien wanted to be concerned about a "modest woman" such as she is. The miraculously cured woman told me later that she gave thanks for having known Father Damien SS.CC. thanks to the sisters present during her youth in her school in Hawaii.

Following this celebration the cardinal inaugurated a new statue of Damien in the garden of his birthplace. During the afternoon we participated in a bringing to mind the various stages in the life of Damien expressed through songs, dances and stories. The day continued with festivities, which included the whole village where our SS.CC. sisters and brothers discovered the Belgian style of popular festivity.
Sr. Hilde Reynders,

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.


Students on Plgrimage

Louvain, Belgium: Oct. 1st: - On Thursday, October 1st about 1400 students and 180 teachers from the school “Damiaaninstituut” Aarschot set off to officially hand over to the Picpus fathers boxes which they had made to hold the relics of Father Damien.

After travelling the 20 km between Louvain and Aarschot, the young people all dressed in T-shirts decorated with a large picture of Father Damien, crossed the city on foot to reach Damien Square opposite the Chapel of St. Anthony. This journey symbolized the distance between Tremolo and Molokai.

Fr Frits Gorissen, provincial of the brothers in Flanders, and several brothers welcomed the young people and expressed his joy and gratitude for this collaboration for the canonization of Damien. Before blessing the two boxes Father Frits explained to the young people that a relic serves as a sign to keep alive the memory and spirit of the life of the saint who is venerated. Within this festive environment the assembly listened with great respect. Several young people had the opportunity to say before the cameras and the many journalists what Father Damien meant in their own lives. The director of Damiaaninstituut thanked all the students and teachers and explained how his school will continue in concrete ways this year which had given them a true patron Saint of the school.

At the end of this celebration, before the procession set off again to Aarschot, someone dressed as Father Damien made a final speech to young people. “Being a saint or being the greatest Belgian was of little interest to Damien”, he said. “The only thing that Damien asks is that you continue his work”.

Challenged by these words, the 1400 young people paid their respects once again to the relics of their future patron Saint future. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Royal Salute to a Saint

St. Damien’s relic before his statue at the State capitol. His bond with the alii was celebrated as his relic is carried to the state Capitol and Iolani Palace. CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM

Honolulu Star Bulletin: Nov 02, 2009 - The peasant pastor received a posthumous royal welcome of banners, processions and pageantry yesterday in a "Tribute to St. Damien" that brought hundreds of people to the Iolani Palace grounds. St. Damien De Veuster's endearing bond with Hawaiian alii was remembered as he was honored for his 16 years of compassionate service in Kalaupapa, Molokai, where leprosy patients, most of whom were Hawaiians, were isolated. He died of the disease in 1889 after 16 years in the remote settlement. His open-hearted charity to people of all cultures and faiths won applause by speakers who included a Belgian diplomat, local elected officials and interfaith religious leaders.

About 800 people gathered at the public celebration, which followed two weeks of religious observances centered on a relic of the man who was declared a saint last month. Members of Catholic organizations brought the koa box containing Damien's heel bone three blocks from Our Lady of Peace Cathedral. They bore it on a koa platform shaped like an outrigger canoe, symbolic of the priest's travels as a pastor on Oahu, Hawaii and Molokai. The parade was met at the palace gate by chanters Puakeala Mann and Ikaika Bantolina, who gave welcoming oli. The procession included feather-caped members of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, escorted by the Royal Guard of the Hawaii National Guard. Other Hawaiian societies wearing their colors lined the driveway to the palace, which was draped in bunting, Hawaiian flags and a large banner with the Kalaukaua crest. "It was from the palace that Damien received royal support for his efforts," said Abigail Kawananakoa, who traces her lineage to the last monarchs. She recalled correspondence between Damien and Queen Kapiolani and then-Princess Liliuokalani, who "saw the grim sadness and devastation visited on the people there." Damien's letters detailed clothing and other supplies he sought for patients, and the alii responded, she said.

Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels and Hawaii Catholic Bishop Larry Silva joined Kawananakoa on the bandstand to watch the proceedings, which included hula, music and a parade of speakers. Jan Matthysen, Belgium's ambassador to the United States, told the crowd, "We Belgians cherish our connection to Hawaii" -- a connection rooted in Damien. "It was interesting to see how strongly Father Damien is still in the hearts of the people. It's wonderful to see," Matthysen said at the end of the festivities. "In every way, by every definition, St. Damien is a hero," said House Speaker Calvin Say. He "will be an illustrious, permanent humanitarian in the pages of history ... cherished as Hawaii's most benevolent patron of the sick and needy."

Scott Whiting of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recalled Damien's writings that mentioned Mormon elder Jonathan Napela as his "yoke mate" in caring for the afflicted people. "He fostered a true spirit of community between faiths and cultures and did so in the most trying of circumstances," Whiting said. "In honoring one man, we also honor the thousands of people -- patients and workers -- who, despite disease and despair, reached out to one another in love and compassion," said the Rev. Charles Buck, Hawaii conference minister of the United Church of Christ. "In celebrating Father Damien, we celebrate the strength and resiliency of the human spirit, seen over and over in the last 150 years, by patients who triumphed over hardship and hopelessness ... all the unnamed saints of Kalau-papa who show us that even in horrible times, humans will do the right thing. "Let us walk in their footsteps by offering to each other the persistent hope and insistent encouragement to live fully and love courageously," Buck said.

The relic was escorted into the palace throne room by Kawananakoa, Silva and Danneels for a brief stop not open to the public. Mann chanted prayers as it was taken to the statues of Queen Liliuokalani and Damien on state Capitol grounds. Catholic relic-bearers led the dwindling procession back to the cathedral, where more than 1,000 people had started the day's festivities at a noon Mass celebrating All Saints' Day. The relic is now secured in a shrine inside the cathedral, where services to venerate the relic will be held daily through Friday.
By Mary Adamski

Hawaiian NEWS ABC KITV - Watch Video of Celebration >>>>>>

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.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hawaii Celebrates New Saint - Return of Relic

Bishop Clarence "Larry" Silva kissed the reliquary holding the relic of St. Damien yesterday after it arrived at Honolulu Airport. Silva placed the relic into a koa carrying case which was being supported by Randy King and the Revs. Alexander and Lane Akiona.
Honolulu, Hawaii: Oct. 31st.
—Hula, chants and prayer will greet a heel bone of one of the Catholic Church's newest saints when it arrives in Honolulu this weekend. The celebrations are the culmination of weeks of ceremonies and celebrations marking the Vatican's canonization of Belgian-born Joseph de Veuster, or Father Damien, in Rome earlier this month.

Damien has long been a saint to the people of Hawaii for caring for exiled leprosy patients in the mid-1800s when no one else would, and then contracting and dying of the disfiguring disease himself. The priest's appeal spreads beyond the Catholic Church. Gov. Linda Lingle, who is Jewish, said Damien showed what it was like to do good without regard for personal gain. "I think he serves as an example and role model to everyone of what is a life of selfless service," Lingle said. "It means a lot that people recognize that he was a saint and he was here in our state. He lived among us and died among us."

Church officials have been carrying the heel bone relic around the state for the past few weeks. The bone reached Kalaupapa on Saturday, where it was welcomed by about a dozen patients still living on the remote peninsula. The state of Hawaii stopped forcibly exiling patients to Kalaupapa in 1969. On Sunday, church officials are due to take the relic to mass at the Honolulu cathedral where Damien was ordained in 1864. They'll then take the bone, carefully protected in a wooden box, to Iolani Palace where Hawaiian royalty who supported Damien's Kalaupapa efforts once lived. Chanters are due to deliver welcoming words and dancers are to perform hula. Representatives from different religious faiths, including the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ and the Mormon church, are expected to speak.

Catholics say the relic - which will be permanently held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in Honolulu - will connect worshippers to Damien. "It's sort of a reminder that Damien was a real person, that he's with us," said Patrick Downes, a Honolulu diocese spokesman. "It's akin to visiting someone's grave, or having a lock of hair, or some kind of reminder, a physical reminder, a connection to the actual person." The Rev. Lane Akiona, a member of the Sacred Hearts congregation that Damien belonged to, said the relic will push people to follow in his path. "It challenges us as members of his order to be as courageous as he was, even when it means that we will be alone," said Lane, who is the pastor of St. Augustine Church in Waikiki.

Damien's body is interred in a marble tomb in Belgium, where it was taken in 1936 after being exhumed from his original Kalaupapa grave. Another relic, Damien's right hand, was returned to Hawaii and reburied in Kalaupapa after he was beatified in 1995. Church leaders picked Damien's right hand to bring back because it's the one he used to bless, care for, and bandage the sick. The bone's tour stopped at many of the spots critical to Damien's time in Hawaii. It spent about a week circling the Big Island, where Damien lived for nine years before going to Kalaupapa. On Maui, the relic was taken to St. Anthony's Church in Wailuku, where Damien heard Kalaupapa's patients needed help and where he volunteered for the mission.

Damien arrived at Kalaupapa in 1873, the year the Hawaiian Kingdom began strictly enforcing its isolation policy and started exiling patients there in large numbers. The infrastructure to care for patients at the new leprosy settlement was virtually nonexistent. There were no homes to live in and no doctors to treat the sick. There was no dock, so ships delivering new groups of people for quarantine would dump patients in the water and force them to swim ashore. The patients, many profoundly ill, had to forage for meals and sleep out in the open. Doctors, when they did come, would refuse to touch the patients. In contrast, Damien built homes, planted trees, and bandaged patient wounds. He aggressively lobbied the Hawaiian government and the Catholic Church for more help, raising public awareness about their plight.

"What Father Damien found there was a place where people had lost their individual dignity and their sense of living in a decent society because of the way they were treated and how they were left there," Lingle said. "He really brought new life to the people. He brought them a sense of hope, of faith, of purpose." Damien was diagnosed with leprosy 12 years after he arrived. He died four years later, in 1889. By Audrey McAvoy Associated Press Writer
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.