Crowds in Honolulu honor St. Damien's relic - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Crowds in Honolulu honor St. Damien's relic

Nelson Befidel Nelson Befidel
Marilyn Bevins Marilyn Bevins

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HONOLULU (Hawaii News Now) - Hundreds gathered to see a piece of history unfold in downtown Honolulu on Sunday.

The faithful flocked to the church where Saint Damien became a priest, nearly a century and half ago.

That historic church is now the final resting place for a relic of Hawaii's first saint.

It's a homecoming many of Hawaii's faithful have been waiting for since he passed away 120 years ago.

A procession honoring Saint Damien's relic, marched through Iolani palace. Hundreds came out to see the koa box containing the heel of the Belgian-born priest.

"It's very emotional, I think it tells a very important story about Hawaii's history and growing up in Molokai, I think it's very touching to be here today," said Nelson Befidel, who grew up on Molokai.

Among those who came out were Lieutenant Governor Duke Aiona and Princess Kawananakoa.

As the relic made its way through the palace grounds, and at the Damien statue at the Capitol, many reflected on Saint Damien's legacy in Kalaupapa, where he gave his life ministering to Hansen's Disease patients.

"He's an excellent role model for all of us to follow, his sacrifice and his love for humanity no matter what their station in life was," said Marilyn Bevins, an Aiea resident.

The relic is now at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, where it is permanently laid to rest, and displayed so Saint Damien can always be remembered.

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