She introduced me to a number of home schooling moms and some of their children. She also gave me a beautiful white lei.
My friend was a bit taken aback I think at the warm reception I was given. I think he was rather stunned that a group of people would be waiting to me; frankly, I was surprised myself, though grateful.
The festivities at the Capitol Building included a prayer by His Excellency, Bishop Larry Silva, the introduction of essay winners about the courage of Fr. Damien, the National Anthema and the Hawaii State song and a Fr. Damien impersonator (but not in this order). The celebrations ended with the placing of flowers on a statue of Blessed Damien.
Afterwards the large crowd that had assembled slowly began making its way to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace a few blocks away.
I collected my vestments from the car and dropped off my lei only to be given another lei by Bishop Silva in the sacristy. I wasn't really sure if I should keep it on during the Mass or not. As I looked about the sacristy I saw several priests - though not all - wearing leis with their vestments. His Excellency also wore a lei and so I figured when in Rome...
Throughout the Mass you could sense the vibrancy of the faith of the people of Hawaii. It really was beautiful. They pray well here.
The Bishop gave an excellent homily expounding on the Gospel of the Good Shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep. He reminded us that shepherds raise sheep to be eaten. When Christ the Good Shepherd gave himself as food for his sheep - rather than the other way around - the world was turned upside down. Those of us who follow Christ are called to do the same: to spend our lives for others, and this Blessed Damien did.
On a side note, I seem to be having trouble taking any decent pictures while in Hawaii. I'll try to pose better from here on out. I've also uploaded more pictures to my webshots site.