A church in Father Damien's name - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

A church in Father Damien's name

Father Clyde Guerreiro Father Clyde Guerreiro
Frank Skowronski Frank Skowronski
Audrey Toguchi Audrey Toguchi

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

MOLOKAI (KHNL) -- His life and efforts on Molokai have inspired people from around the world.

Now the name and works of Father Damien are helping to build a special church on the friendly isle.

Many know Father Damien for his work with hansen disease patients in Kalaupapa.

But he was also instrumental in building churches around Molokai.

He built four of them and two of them still exist.

Now, Damien is the inspiration for a new church being planned on the site of a 70 year old decrepit sanctuary.

"Its pretty run down, termite eaten, just needs to be demolished and we need a new church," said Father Clyde Guerreiro, with the Blessed Damien Parish.

On Saturday night, hundreds gather on Oahu to raise money for the much needed Molokai church. The current place of worship is not only falling apart, its bursting at the seams.

"The parish is having modest growing pains. There are somewhere between 250 parishioners we have to house and the existing structure is barely 80-85 people," said Frank Skowronski, the architect designing the new church.

Already $1.3 million have been raised of the $3 million needed for the bigger church that will be named after Father Damien.

When completed, it will be the only one in the state named after this soon to be saint. Who made it his life's work to help comfort those in need.

His work still continues, Audrey Toguchi was healed from terminal cancer after praying to Father Damien. She's at this event, not just to share her story of survival and faith, but to share her love of Father Damien.

"Father Damien loved everyone and he worked hard to make sure they were treated special. They needed the love and care that they deserved," said Toguchi.

And it is that love that is helping to build a much needed church on Molokai.

The fundraiser and donations are expected to move them another hundred thousand dollars closer to the goal of building and then opening the church in time for Christmas Mass in 2011.

If you would like more on the Father Damien church effort go to

www.damienchurchmolokai.org

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