Monday, October 12, 2009

Celebrating the 'Leper Priest'

Tribulation Times


October 12, 2009  

(Mat 25:21) His lord said to him: Well done, good and faithful servant, because thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will place thee over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 

Father Damien statue

Image by tomeppy via Flickr

HEADLINE: Pope elevates 5 new saints, 1 for work in Hawaii

Pope Benedict XVI canonized five new saints Sunday, including a 19th-century priest whose work with leprosy patients on a Hawaiian island has been hailed by U.S. President Barack Obama as inspiring those helping AIDS sufferers in today's world.

Among the pilgrims packing St. Peter's Basilica was Hawaii resident Audrey Toguchi, an 80-year-old retired teacher whose recovery from lung cancer a decade ago was called miraculous by the Vatican.

She had prayed to Belgium-born Jozef De Veuster, more commonly known as Father Damien, who himself died from leprosy in 1889 after contracting the disease while working with leprosy patients who were living in isolation on Molokai island.

Toguchi and her doctor, Walter Chang, joined a procession of faithful bringing relics of the new saints to Benedict at the central altar of the basilica.

The pontiff said the newly canonized had given of themselves totally without "calculation or personal gain."

"Their perfection, in the logic of a faith that is humanly incomprehensible at times, consists in no longer placing themselves at the center, but choosing to go against the flow and live according to the Go

In the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace archives...

The death of Fr. Damien. Image via Wikipedia

spel," Benedict said in his homily.

Official delegations for St. Damien included King Albert II and Queen Paolo of Belgium and, for the United States, Obama's new envoy to the Vatican, Miguel H. Diaz, and Hawaii Sen. Daniel Kahikina Akaka.

Benedict praised the missionary, saying that "not without fear and repugnance, he chose to go to Molokai to serve the lepers who were there, abandoned by all," exposed himself to leprosy, and "felt at home with them."

A Honolulu pilgrim, Gloria Rodrigues, said she saw a connection between Damien and the AIDS problem today. "He was a servant of the outcast and should be an inspiration for us today to do as he did," said Rodrigues, who added she had relatives with leprosy who had been cared for on Molokai, although years after Damien's work there.

After the ceremony, the pope came out on the basilica's central balcony to greet some 40,000 faithful in the square. Speaking in French, he urged people to pray and help those involved in the battle against leprosy and "other forms of leprosy caused by lack of love or cowardliness."


Video of Canonization:

Video of the life of Saint Damian:


Life has changed for woman whose cancer cure led to canonization
Belgium, Honolulu bishop celebrate 'leper priest'
A life devoted to helping lepers

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 23- "On mad pride and unclean, blasphemous thought"

18. Do not lift up your neck, creature of earth! For many, though holy and spiritual, were cast from Heaven.   

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