11 May 2007

A Tale of Two Leis

This morning when I arrived at the Capitol Building in Honolulu I was very happy to be greeted and welcomed by A Catholic Mom in Hawaii.

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.


  1. Don't know why you'd be surprised by the welcoming committee. It's a welcoming place and your reputation preceded you.

  2. The "National Anthema"? Haha... I think all the excitement about the Pope an excommunication is getting to you =)

  3. My husband got a lei like that for speaking at the conference he went t while we were there. He brought it home, hung it up and it dried and lasted almost 5 years.

    You look like you are enjoying your trip in spite of your shoulder.

  4. Jeffrey: You're right; it is a very welcoming place. I could stay here...

    Andrew: Ooops! I need a secretary.

    Ellen: We've put one of the leis in the freezer (at least I think we did) so I can take it home next week to show people). I hope it lasts.

    Even with the shoulder, I'm having a great time. Today we're going hiking to look at waterfalls.

  5. Nice post Father! I like the photo you got with the bishop. I was so happy to be able to receive Holy Communion from you. Did you get a chance to speak to the tall young priest? He is Father Jason our associate pastor. Oh, BTW, I tagged you for a meme on my blog.

  6. I was introduced to Fr. Jason, but I spent most of the time before the Mass talking with Fr. Gary. I'll hop over to your blog for a look at that meme.

  7. Oh! Fr.Gary is in charge of vocations. BTW, I forgot to mention that we have a May crowning this morning at Sacred Heart on Wilder Avenue, across from Punahou School, at 9am if you can make it. It is an annual event by the Legion of Mary and always beautiful. Sorry for the late notice.