A new Catholic church dedicated to Blessed Father Damien De Veuster is being planned in Hawaii following news that the Vatican has attributed a second miracle to the priest who ministered to Hawaiian lepers.
“I see it as a stop for many pilgrims and visitors who want to learn something about Father Damien and Mother Marianne and the Kalaupapa history,” said Maria Sullivan, parishioner and chair of the Blessed Damien Church Building Fund, according to the Molokai Times.
She added that Hawaii Catholics are excited about Father Damian’s pending canonization, the details of which will be determined in early 2009.
Father Clyde Guerreiro said reaction to plans for the new church has been “very positive.”
“I think many believe a new church would be a welcome addition to Kaunakakai,” he explained.
So far $1.3 million of the budgeted $3 million has been raised, to which will be added the proceeds from a fundraising gala dinner and the hosting of a Country fair.
Father Guerreiro said the new church will need a minimum of 250 seats to accommodate large events and holidays.
The church dedicated to Blessed Father Damian is planned to replace the present church, St. Sophia, was built in 1937 and holds about 150 people.
Francis E. Skowronski, the architect working on the project, has been creating various models with the church, though structural plans have not been finalized.
During his life Bl. Father Damien built four churches on the topside of Molokai.