.- Relics of the newly canonized St. Damien de Veuster, the Leper Priest of Molokai, will be presented for veneration by the faithful in Detroit, San Francisco and near Oakland, California as the Bishop of Honolulu carries them back to Hawaii.
The nineteenth century Belgian priest of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary ministered to those isolated to the Molokai leper colony in Hawaii. After sixteen years in service to them, he died of leprosy at the age of 49.
His canonization took place on Sunday.
"Not without fear and loathing," Pope Benedict XVI remarked at the canonization, "Father Damien made the choice to go on the island of Molokai in the service of lepers who were there, abandoned by all. So he exposed himself to the disease of which they suffered.
“With them he felt at home. The servant of the Word became a suffering servant, leper with the lepers, during the last four years of his life."
"To follow Christ, Father Damien not only left his homeland, but has also staked his health so he, as the word of Jesus announced in today's Gospel tells us, received eternal life."
The figure of Father Damien, Pope Benedict added, "teaches us to choose the good fight –not those that lead to division, but those that gather us together in unity."
The priest’s remains were returned to Belgium in 1936.
According to the Diocese of Honolulu's website, Bishop Larry Silva is taking the relic of the Hawaiian saint to three locations on his way back from the canonization in Rome. St. Damien's relic will stop at Detroit's Blessed Sacrament Cathedral from Tuesday to Wednesday, St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco on Thursday evening and St. Joseph's Basilica in the Oakland diocese on Friday. Bishop Silva will arrive with the relic in Honolulu on Saturday.
In addition to hosting the relic, St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco will host a daytime performance of the one-man play “Damien,” written by Aldyth Morris and performed by Casey Groves.
For more information on the opportunities to venerate the relic of St. Damien, visit, http://www.fatherdamien.com/Oct 2009 itinerary.pdf