A FAR-FLUNG LAND, A CATHOLIC SCHOOL AND A PAPAL BLESSING

A FAR-FLUNG LAND, A CATHOLIC SCHOOL AND A PAPAL BLESSING

I had a truly wonderful experience of the Catholic Church – the word ‘catholic’ meaning universal – during my recent vacation in Hawaii and I’d like to share that special event with you today.

One of my many close friends in Honolulu is Sr. Davilyn ah Chick, OSF, a Franciscan of the same Order as St. Mother Marianne Cope. In fact, Sr. Davilyn had a role in the 2012 canonization of Mother Marianne and in the return in 2014 of her remains to Honolulu’s Our Lady of Peace cathedral from the Franciscan motherhouse in Syracuse, New York.

During every visit I make to Hawaii, Sister Davilyn has always filled my mind and heart with many stories of the island, of Saints Damien and Marianne and of the small Catholic school where she is now principal – Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Ewa Beach on the island of Oahu.

I can’t tell you how many times she has met my flights from the mainland when I come for my annual visit. On several occasions I did not know in advance that she was coming and I was surprised to find her at luggage claim, wearing a big smile and bearing a beautiful floral lei!

On my visit last year, Sister mentioned an upcoming anniversary and wondered if I could arrange for a papal blessing. I assured her that was possible and she gave me some dates for the school and parish. I went to the office of papal charities and ordered a beautiful, hand-made blessing dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help and the school that is the focus of this story.

I was so excited to see Sister Davilyn and my special friend and host in Honolulu, Jan McKinney, at the airport that I completely forgot to give her the blessing the day I arrived. However, two days before my departure Jan called Sister to ask if she would be at the school that day as I had a gift for her. Jan said we’d arrive about 11:30.

When we got to OLPH, we discovered that Sister Davilyn, in the half hour that had elapsed between Jan’s phone call and our arrival, had arranged an all-school assembly! If anyone could do that in 30 minutes, it would be Davilyn.

Sister accompanied us outside to a small stage area where she introduced Jan and me, asking me to say a few words about living in Rome, covering the Vatican and meeting Popes. I gave a nutshell presentation, after which Sister announced that I had brought a papal blessing from Rome for the church and school, holding up the blessing for all to see.

I explained how papal blessings are made, how the office of papal charities works and spoke briefly about a man I’ve known for years, the papal almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, whose signature is on every papal blessing.

I told the students how Cardinal Krajewski knows the names of over 300 homeless people
and has a great dedication to them. On countless occasions he and several Swiss Guards
(who wear regular street clothes, not their fancy uniforms) leave the Vatican with items for
the homeless such as food, backpacks, sleeping bags and so on. Once, the cardinal got 400
umbrellas left behind at the Vatican Museums and brought them to the homeless during a
very rainy winter.

It was wonderful to see the delight on the faces of students and staff but for me, the best part was yet to come. I still marvel that Sister Davilyn organized everything in 30 minutes!

The sixth grade class joined us onstage and gave us a wonderful gift as they led the school in reciting the Prayer of St. Francis, delivering the school mission and singing the school song. I was sure people in Honolulu heard the choir of voices from Ewa Beach!

Following that presentation (and I could not help but see how Sister Davilyn was beaming with pride), teachers and several students from each class came onstage and gifted Jan and me with lovely leis – dozens of leis as you will see from the photos! It was fun to receive a hug from each student and bend over so they could place the leis on my shoulders, returning the hug.

The final act of this wonderful and unexpected school assembly was the group photo. Sister Davilyn, holding the blessing, and Jan and I were in the center, and the longer the staff took photos, the louder the students cheered. At one point I joked, telling the students that I had just received a phone call saying they heard the cheering in Rome.

I will never forget this very special morning and I fully intend to share a group photo and a lei with Cardinal Krajewski. If he lets me take a photo, I will post that as well.

In the meantime enjoy these photos taken by OLPH staff:

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VATICAN INSIDER: WILL HAWAII HAVE A THIRD SAINT? – POPE FRANCIS TO VISIT THAILAND AND JAPAN IN NOVEMBER

VATICAN INSIDER: WILL HAWAII HAVE A THIRD SAINT?

This week I have prepared what I hope is a fascinating and informative special for what is normally the interview segment of Vatican Insider. I think you all know my love, my passion actually, for the magnificent land that is our 50th state, Hawaii. I have developed a true Hawaiian “ohana,” a family, on my ten trips to this paradise and we all have one thing in common – our love for Hawaii’s two saints, Fr. Damien and Mother Marianne Cope, and our hopes for a possible third saint.

I note that, since 2008 and my first visit to Hawaii, I have spent years researching the lives and works of Saints Damien and Marianne, including covering their canonizations in Rome, respectively 2009 and 2012. And Hawaii may well have a third saint – Brother Joseph Dutton. He was not a religious brother but rather received that name from Fr. Damien himself who told Joseph one day as they worked together on Kalaupapa, “You are like a brother to everyone here.” (images: Hawaii Catholic Herald)

On June 23, 2015, Bishop Larry Silva of Honolulu approved the statutes of the Joseph Dutton Guild, identified in church terms as a “Private Association of the Faithful with Juridic Personality,” with the mission of spreading knowledge of and devotion to Ira “Brother Joseph” Dutton, as well as addressing the financial and logistical needs for his cause for sainthood.

With my interest in and enthusiasm for the story of Joseph Dutton, I was asked to be a member of that guild. I attend one of the four annual meetings in person, and the other three gatherings via conference call. I was in Honolulu for the Guild’s August 28 meeting.

Here is the Dutton Prayer (Inspired by the Teaching of Pope Francis): God our Father, by the grace of conversion you raised your servant, Joseph Dutton, from the darkness of war, betrayal, addiction, and despair to the liberating joy of charity in the service of the abandoned and isolated chronically ill. Therefore we humbly ask you to allow him to intercede today for all who suffer on the periphery of human existence. May he pray especially for us in our urgent need for __________________________. In doing so may he be listed among your saints in heaven, if it is for your glory and the building up of your kingdom on earth. Amen
With ecclesiastical approval by Bishop Larry Silva, Bishop of Honolulu


IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: https://www.ewtn.com/radio/audio-archive (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

POPE FRANCIS TO VISIT THAILAND AND JAPAN IN NOVEMBER

The Holy See Press Office today announced Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Thailand and Japan from 19 to 26 November. He will be the second Pope to visit these two Asian countries, after Pope John Paul II.

By Isabella Piro (vaticannews)

The Pope’s next Apostolic Journey will see him visiting two Asian countries: the Kingdom of Thailand, from 20 to 23 November, and then Japan from 23 to 26 November, where he will visit Tokyo, Nagasaki and Hiroshima. A detailed program of the visit will be announced later.

Thailand
The motto of the first stage of the Apostolic Journey is “Disciples of Christ, Missionary Disciples”, and is a reference to an important anniversary. 2019 marks the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the Apostolic Vicariate of Siam, erected in 1669. (Logos from Vatican media)

This event is represented in the logo prepared for the visit. Beneath a smiling Pope Francis is a boat that symbolizes evangelization. Its three sails recall the Trinity. The stylized representation of Our Lady’s hand supports the vessel. Finally, a golden cross invites the whole Thai Catholic Church to be a witness to the Good News.

The Asian Continent
In January this year, Pope Francis sent a message to the meeting of Presidents of the Doctrinal Commissions of the Bishops’ Conferences of Asia, and a delegation of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in Bangkok. He wrote: “You are gathered in Asia, a vast and multiform continent, marked by religious, linguistic and cultural diversity, in order to reaffirm our common responsibility for the unity and integrity of the Catholic faith, as well as to explore new means and methods of witnessing to the Gospel in the midst of the challenges of our contemporary world.”

Japan
The theme of the Apostolic Journey to Japan focuses on the protection of life and Creation, and is quoted from a phase in “A prayer for our earth” at the end of the Pope’s Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ on caring for our common home.

In that document, the Pope encourages us to respect both the dignity of each person, but also the environment. This is particularly poignant in a country like Japan where the nuclear threat, as we read in the description of the motto, “remains a persistent problem.”

Three flames of three different colors characterize the logo: a red flame recalling the martyrs, the foundation of the Church in Japan, a blue flame representing the Blessed Virgin Mary who embraces all humanity as her children, and a green flame symbolizing both the nature of Japan, and the mission to proclaim the Gospel of hope. A red circle, like a sun, embraces all life, and symbolizes love.

 

PAMPERED IN PARADISE

PAMPERED IN PARADISE

After 10 days in California with my sister Gail and her family, I am now in Honolulu where I will spend time with some very good friends and, importantly, attend a meeting tomorrow in diocesan offices – a very important meeting about which I will write at a later date.

I called this column, “Pampered in Paradise” because that is exactly how I feel whenever I am in Hawaii. This is my ninth visit and yet, in so many ways, it also seems like the first time. I love to explore, to visit sites I know and discover new places as well.

I feel pampered with the slower pace of life here and the leisure time one has on a vacation to, as Hawaiians say, “hang loose.” If I were any more relaxed than I am at this moment, I’d have to invent a new word to describe it. I cherish the time I have to take leisurely walks along Waikiki beach, savor a prosecoo and delightful meal in places so beautiful you just want to prolong the meal time, or sit in a comfortable chair in the International Market Place, half indoors, half outdoors, half modern architecture, half botanical gardens – so special it has to be seen to be believed! Pix later

Yesterday I posted photos on Facebook of my delightful lunch at the Mariposa restaurant in the Nieman Marcus store at the stunning Ala Moana Shopping Center, near one of Honolulu’s many parks and marinas.

Here are some pix from lunch today at the Beach Bar Under the Banyon Tree at the wondrous, ultra luxurious Moana Surfrider Hotel. To stay here must mean to be really pampered!

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VATICAN INSIDER IN HAWAII: THE AUGUSTINE EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION

VATICAN INSIDER IN HAWAII: THE AUGUSTINE EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION

My guest for the interview segment this week is Sue Ferandin, the vibrant and wonderfully caring executive director in Hawaii of AEF – the Augustine Educational Foundation – a foundation whose mission is to make Catholic education more affordable for families in Hawaii.

Sue and I met during my recent visit to Honolulu when Bishop Larry Silva invited me to attend the September 13 AEF donor appreciation reception. She was a speaker at this event, as was the bishop. I was enthralled by her words and her mission. I told Sue I’d love to have her as a guest on Vatican Insider to speak about AEF and her work.

When we spoke in her office at the St. Stephen Diocesan Center on September 20, I told her I was still very, very touched by last week’s reception, in particular the young people whom I met who were recipients of AEF scholarships and aid. In fact, one of the young people, Brittany, also addressed the group at the reception, and her story brought tears to not a few eyes. You will hear Sue and I talk about that.

The students who receive AEF aid attend a retreat every year. This year one of their activities was to make a cross and to explain in writing what the colors they used meant, what went through their mind as they made the cross and what the cross tells people about themselves. These wonderful young people – whose lives have been changed by AEF and who themselves are changing lives – decided to give the proceeds of the cross sales to Make A Wish foundation in Hawaii.

I bought four of the crosses – one for me and three for very special destinations. Here are the stories of those crosses and the young people who made them:

To learn more about this amazing foundation, visit their web page: http://www.augustinefoundation.org/

IN THE UNITED STATES, you can listen to Vatican Insider (VI) on a Catholic radio station near you (stations listed at http://www.ewtn.com) or on channel 130 Sirius-XM satellite radio, or on http://www.ewtn.com. OUTSIDE THE U.S., you can listen to EWTN radio on our website home page by clicking on the right side where you see “LISTEN TO EWTN.” VI airs at 5am and 9pm ET on Saturdays and 6am ET on Sundays. On the GB-IE feed (which is on SKY in the UK and Ireland), VI airs at 5:30am, 12 noon and 10pm CET on Sundays. Both of these feeds are also available on the EWTN app and on http://www.ewtnradio.net ALWAYS CHECK YOUR OWN TIME ZONE! For VI archives: http://www.ewtn.com/multimedia/audio-library/index.asp (write Vatican Insider where it says Search Shows and Episodes)

FROM ADMIRAL TO AMBASSADOR, A CHANGE OF COMMAND

FROM ADMIRAL TO AMBASSADOR, A CHANGE OF COMMAND

An acquaintance of mine, four-star Admiral Harry Harris, Jr. CINCPAC (Commander in Chief Pacific) yesterday at a Change of Command ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, turned command over to Navy Adm. Philip Davidson.

As are most military ceremonies, I could attest how inspiring it was because a friend sent me the DOD link to the video of the ceremony and I enjoyed “returning” to a base I know well, having a number of Navy friends in Honolulu. It was also fun to see another friend, Fr. John Shimotsu as he gave the invocation.

I first met Admiral Harris when he commanded the Sixth Fleet and was based in Naples and Gaeta. We met on a day that was dedicated to a former Navy Chaplain, Fr. Vincent Capodanno, who was killed in Vietnam on September 4, 1967. Ceremonies were held in Gaeta (where the Capodanno family had roots) in September in 2011 to mark that anniversary and there was a large component of the Sixth Fleet present for the daylong events that began with a Mass presided by Cardinal Raymond Burke.

Actually the day began with breakfast at a hotel garden where many of the guests were staying who had come from Rome for the occasion. That was the first time I met Adm. Harris and his wife Bruni – we shared a few other moments during the day and then had lunch aboard the USS Mount Whitney. Not a lot of time but enough to begin to understand what a thoroughly delightful person Harry Harris was, as well as one of the most brilliant people to ever command a Navy fleet. A bit of that came out in conversations but I had also started to follow his career through a mutual friend of ours – and it was Ted who sent me the link to the Change of Command ceremony.

We next met several years ago at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. I was in Honolulu on my by-now annual retreat to this island paradise. I knew Adm. Harris had been here for a few years and I emailed him and asked if I could come by and say “aloha,” and so it was that we re-connected in his office. I remember quite well that part of our conversation focused on the cause for canonization of Fr. Capodanno: the admiral wanted to understand what a cause was and asked at what stage was Fr. Vincent’s cause.

“Souvenirs” of the visit:

Also present was out mutual friend, Navy chaplain Fr. Shimotsu.

Admiral Harris’ illustrious 40-year career with the Navy ended yesterday, but President Trump has nominated him to be the U.S. ambassador to Korea, thus a life of service will continue.

I am sure that, at some point in his time as ambassador, he will be able to meet the Holy See’s new ambassador to Korea. Archbishop Alfred Xuereb.

I’ll be praying for both of them.

PS. Following is a link to the DOD video of the Change of Command ceremony. If you have military in your family, you might enjoy this. I found it riveting because I know Admiral Harris, I know the Navy base and I know Honolulu. What is really worthwhile are the speeches of the outgoing and incoming commanders and that of Defense Secretary James Mattis, especially if you are interested in US foreign and defense policy.
https://www.dvidshub.net/video/603673/pacom-change-command-ceremony

OF FAMILY REUNIONS…..…AND VOLCANOS

OF FAMILY REUNIONS…..

I returned to Rome Friday after a wonderful visit with family, including a First Communion celebration for my great-niece Cece, a visit to the 4th grade classroom of my great-nephew Emory, 10, at St. Monica’s school in Whitefish Bay near Milwaukee, a birthday party for his 12-year old brother Cole, a touch of pre-graduation celebrations for soon-to-be 14-year old Brogan and a May crowning ceremony.

St. Monica’s is one of the most vibrant parishes and schools I’ve ever encountered. I keep up with news and events through my niece Christie and, when I’m at their home, by talking to the kids or visiting the school. Mass is the first order of the day every Tuesday but on the Tuesday after a First Communion celebration, there is the annual May crowning ceremony.

Did I mention sports – soccer and baseball games and track and field! The four kids are on the go every waking moment or so it seems. Never a dull moment during my Wisconsin stay!

Stay right here as I’ll have a really wonderful story for you tomorrow about St. Monica’s 4th grade class and a special assignment they were given!

My time in Fox Point and Whitefish Bay was a mini family reunion with my niece Christie and her husband Bryan, Christie’s two sisters, their husbands and children (I have 23 great-nieces and -nephews and No. 24 is due June 11), Bryan’s folks and several of his sisters and my own sister Gail and her husband Paul who were in town from California.

A few photos of the countless happy moments with all the generations present –

I start with this beautiful description of his family by Brogan –

And then – let the celebrations begin!

……AND VOLCANOS

I am sure most of you have seen images of the eruption of the Kilauea volcano on the Hawaiian island of Hawaii, called the Big Island by residents. I’ve been following the news because of my many friends in the islands, though almost all of them are on Oahu or Molokai. However, one good friend, Maryknoll Father Clyde Phillips lives on the Big Island and I wrote to ask about the situation.

If his name seems familiar to some of you, Fr. Clyde was in Rome for many years and often could be found saying Mass at Santa Susanna in the years before that church closed and Americans moved to St. Patrick’s.

Father Clyde answered yesterday just before leaving California where he had been on assignment. He wrote: “My brother has been keeping me abreast of the situation with the volcanic eruptions. I feel sad for those who lost their homes, now over 2 dozen and counting, as well as those displaced by the lava flows. As for me, I live about 45 miles from the eruptions and our area is considered safe as we are along the Hamakua Coast. But of recent days, the Volcano National Park is closed as they expect a catastrophic eruption to happen. Again, I am safe but others living the area are not. The 6.9 earthquake did no damage to the house as it is made of wood as it weathered the quake. But things were moved around in the house and no breakage.”

Even since that email, more fissures have been noted in the volcano and continual evacuation alerts are going out. We must remember these people in our prayers. One friend told me that a volcanic eruption is far worse than a hurricane or tornado that destroys a home because volcanic eruptions and lava flows destroy more than homes – they destroy the land – there is therefore no land on which to rebuild.