St. Damien relic arrives


POSTED: Sunday, October 18, 2009

Catholic churches around the state will hold special masses, healing services and even parades to celebrate a relic of St. Damien that arrived in Honolulu yesterday.

The relic—a bone from Damien's heel—will be celebrated on the Big Island today at the Immaculate Conception Church in Holualoa and St. Michael's Church in Kailua-Kona.

It will travel to Maui Saturday where there will be services at several churches in Kihei, Kahului and Wailuku before it goes to Hana, where a midnight mass will be celebrated. A celebration will also be held at the Maui War Memorial Gym next Sunday.

The relic arrives in Lanai on Oct. 27 and will visit churches on Kauai Oct. 28 through Oct. 30.

A special service will be held Oct. 31 at Kalaupapa, where Damien ministered to the leprosy patients banished to Molokai.

;[Preview]  Saint Damien relic arrives in the islands

The heel bone of Saint Damien has arrived in Hawaii where it will take a tour throughout the state before being installed in the Our Lady of Peace Cathedral in Downtown.

Watch ]


The relic will also be part of a multi-faith celebration of St. Damien at Iolani Palace on Nov. 1, before it is enshrined at Our Lady of Peace Cathedral in downtown Honolulu.

The veneration of a relics dates back to early followers of Christ, who worshiped in the catacombs of Rome, near the graves of martyrs.

The relic is encased in a glass box with a papal seal held within a wooden box made in Damien's home of Belgium.


        Full schedule of the relic's travel schedule

The relic will be on display in Hawaii inside a koa wood box, known as a reliquary, made to hold another Damien relic, bones from the saint's right hand, brought back to Hawaii in 1995. That relic is now buried in Damien's original grave next to the church he built in Kalaupapa.

A padded canvas bag protected the box as it sat on the seat next to Sacred Hearts Father Lane Akiona yesterday on a flight from Honolulu to the Big Island.

“;I brought it from Rome to Detroit to San Francisco,”; said Akiona, who is from Molokai and in the same order as Saint Damien. “;This is a very special honor for me to be able to share my brother with the local church here in Hawaii.”;

On Oct. 11, Pope Benedict XVI presented the relic to Hawaii Bishop Larry Silva after St. Damien de Veuster's canonization in Rome.

“;A relic is normally a piece of bone of the saint or blessed. We venerate it just as the native Hawaiians honor the iwi of their ancestors or we visit the remains of our loved ones in the cemetery,”; Silva said in a news release earlier this year. “;The presence of the relic draws us closer to the person in the hope that we can be inspired to love God and give ourselves for our neighbor even as Father Damien did.”;