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Father Damien and the Church Choir

Responsorial Psalm 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b

R. (see 4a) The Lord takes delight in his people. Sing to the LORD a new song of praise in the assembly of the faithful. Let Israel be glad in their maker, let the children of Zion rejoice in their king. R. The Lord takes delight in his people. Let them praise his name in the festive dance, let them sing praise to him with timbrel and harp. For the LORD loves his people, and he adorns the lowly with victory. R. The Lord takes delight in his people. Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy upon their couches. Let the high praises of God be in their throats. This is the glory of all his faithful. Alleluia.

R. The Lord takes delight in his people.


The Lord takes delight in his people.

The opposite of hope is despair. Imagine the torment the people of Kalawao and Kalaupapa went through. They were rounded up like criminals throughout the Hawaiian islands, separated from their homes, friends and families and taken to Moloka'i, an isolated settlement. Their crime was that they had an infectious disease known as Hansens disease or leprosy. At that time in the 19th century there was no cure. Alas, there is now a cure!

The leprosy island was a place to die. There was no adequate housing nor a good water system. The inhabitants lost their dignity once they contracted leprosy but lost all hope in the poor living conditions imposed on them by their government. Father Damien, who spoke the Hawaiian language, did not cower to the officials but advocated for the human rights of his flock. In time he built houses, constructed a water system, planted trees and crops. He organized schools, bands and even choirs for the children and adults. He provided medical care including the bandaging of their open sores and buried the dead.

He taught them love. The more love he showed them, the more the people loved. He went from village to village spreading the Word of God.

Twelve years later he was diagnosed with leprosy and died of the disease at the age of 49. He generously gave his whole life for the Kingdom of God.

He wrote,

" I am gently going to my grave. It is the will of God, and I thank Him very much for letting me die of the same disease and in the same way as my lepers. I am very satisfied and very happy."

He was canonized in 2009. He is an inspiration to those in the medical field, priests and missionaries, witnessing the love of Jesus. And God did not fail him. The inhabitants of the island loved their most famous priest. He gave them hope, a reason to sing and the means to have a good productive life. He taught them about God's love and therefore they were able to face death with confidence of eternal life.

God Bless You


PAPA Foundation
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