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Tuesday, February 1, 2005
>> Chanter Franklin Pao led a contingent of the Royal Order of Kamehameha and Na Wahine Hui O Kamehameha into the church. The Hawaiian groups commemorated Cope's response to a call for help from the kingdom of Hawaii when she brought six other nuns here in 1883.
>> Kalaupapa resident Nancy Brede said: "You don't have to be a Catholic to appreciate what she did. Each patient was special to her." Brede, husband Jimmy and Bernard Punikaia, all former Hansen's disease patients, took seats reserved for "family" with Sisters of St. Francis and Honolulu physician Paul DeMare, a great-great-grandnephew of Cope.
>> "It's history," said the Rev. Darrow Aiona, pastor of an Episcopal church. "Mother Marianne is very inspirational. We need all the saints we can get. We need people dedicated to healing rather than making wars."
>> Geri Adams and husband Reid of Kailua brought three grandchildren along. "We want them here so when she's a saint, they can look back and remember being part of her celebration." Mele Adams, 11, her brother Chase, 8, and cousin Tay-Micah, 7, laid yellow roses on the linen-draped casket.
There was a mood of hushed excitement and celebration in the church. A procession past the casket began two hours before the farewell Mass and continued for an hour afterward. People laid hands on the casket and pressed rosaries and holy cards against it. Several placed leis and flowers on it, pausing to bow or pray.
"Why do we, as a church, go through all the trouble to have someone declared a saint?" said the Rev. Thomas Gross, Catholic diocese administrator, in brief remarks. He presided at the Mass along with 10 other priests and Bishop Joseph Estabrook, a top Catholic chaplain in the U.S. military.
"We need heroes of faith," Gross said. "We need people who exemplify what it means to be Christian." Saints "remind us to look for the extraordinary in the ordinary, to look for holiness where we may least expect it," he said.
Cope is expected to be beatified -- declared "blessed" -- by Pope John Paul II later this year in the church's second step to sainthood. Franciscan leader Sister Grace Anne Dillingschneider told the Hawaii crowd that "she is going to a place where she will be loved equally as well. She will be known and honored by the church throughout the world."