Celebrating Hawaii's first saint - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Celebrating Hawaii's first saint

Father John Shedlock Father John Shedlock
Nellie Dang Nellie Dang

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Pope Benedict the 16th presided over a mass in the Vatican Saturday night Hawaii time, for Father Damien, one of five new saints.

He's the man who dedicated his life to care for those with leprosy on Molokai. A group from Hawaii made the trip to Rome for the ceremony.

The actual mass took place inside the Vatican, but some 30,000 worshipers gathered in Saint Peter's Square to watch the mass from big screens.

Here at home, many gathered at churches Sunday morning to celebrate Hawaii's first saint.

About a hundred people took part in a special mass celebration at Saint Stephen Catholic Church in Honolulu. For one priest, it was his very first time here and one he'll soon never forget.

Father John Shedlock was one of four priests at Sunday's service at Saint Stephen Catholic Church.

The visiting New Mexico priest says he was supposed to go to Rome, but settled for Hawaii instead.

Nonetheless, he was impressed with what he witnessed.

"The beauty of it is that seeing families coming together, not just adults, but young people as well and that to me, I think expresses a tremendous faith and thanksgiving for a man who gave of his time to serve the people of Hawaii," Father Shedlock said.

Father Shedlock says Saint Damien not only makes people from Hawaii proud, but worshippers from across the globe as well.

"It gives us, each of us a sign of hope, that no matter what we're assigned in terms of our vocation or career, that we have that opportunity to do something that perhaps has been neglected," Father Shedlock said.

A little more than a hundred people came to show their support for a man who gave so much of his life to the less fortunate.

"Very touching, I think it was really such a great person, was nice to hear how much he did for the people of Hawaii, especially Molokai," Churchgoer Nellie Dang said. "It made me more thoughtful and caring."

For Dang, Sunday's service was the highlight of her 40-plus years belonging to the catholic church.

"We all should try to do better and give as much as we can, do as much and we can for others," she said.

After the mass celebration, many stayed and took part in a bake sale, country store and wine tasting.

"His prayer life is what got him through it, that's what gets us all through, is our prayer life, honest, you believe me, Duane? I'll see you at church on Sunday," Father Shedlock said with a smile.

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