Venny Villapando, Exec. Producer, V.V.Visions, Inc. graciously invited Easter, my visiting mom and I to a special screening of a new Father Damien documentary. This documentary is scheduled to be shown on local television channels just prior to the live canonization coverage by EWTN. More details here
Updated New Dates:
"The Story of Saint Damien of Molokai, Sacred Hearts Priest" will also be shown on primetime Sunday, October 11, 8-9pm on KALO-TV38 (Oceanic Cable Chan. 25).
Saturday, October 10, 9pm, Oceanic Cable OC 16
Sunday, October 11, 1pm, " " " "
Sunday, October 11, 4:30pm, KWHE-TV14 (Oceanic Cable Channel 11)
Sunday, October 11, 8pm, KALO-TV38 (Oceanic Cable Channel 25)
The special screening was held at beautiful St. Ann's Church in Kaneohe this morning.
The documentary began with a message from Bishop Larry Silva of the Diocese of Honolulu.
It then proceeded to give a brief history of the founding of The Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (SSCC). Amazingly, it was founded in Poitiers in France, in 1800, by Henriette Aymer de la Chevalerie and Pierre Coudrin during the time of the French Revolution!
It was to this particular order that Joseph de Veuster, of Belgium was drawn to and eventually joined.
Then there was a little coverage about Father Damien's family background back in Belgium. He came from a very devout Catholic family of farmers. He had a brother and two sisters who became Ursuline nuns. His brother as most everyone knows was a priest.
The documentary continued with a little history of the Catholic Church in Hawaii. It was really good that this history was included because even though Catholics are presently in the majority in Hawaii, at one time Hawaii was anti-Catholic. It really is impressive that the persistence of the first missionaries from France, were able to establish parishes. Yet with God's help and guidance, that is exactly what they did.
It was to these Hawaiian Islands that Father Damien came as a seminarian. He was ordained a priest at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace. His first assignment was on the Big Island in Puna.
The Bishop at the time, Maigret, needed to send a priest to the leper colony on the island of Molokai. Four priests volunteered and Father Damien was the first to go. He was supposed to go for a few months and then another priest would replace him. As you all may know, that did not happened.
The documentary makes it quite clear the love that Father Damien had for the Hawaiians, especially those on Kalawao on Molokai. They loved him too. This documentary also makes it clear that not everyone liked Father Damien.
What I liked about this particular documentary is that it tried to stay true to the whole story of Father Damien. He was a real man with real feelings and emotions; he was a real priest, not one wearing a halo and he was a real saint in that he gave his life for his friends.
The documentary also shows the interview with Audrey Toguichi and her doctor. It is because of divine providence as Bishop Silva pointed out, that a woman from Hawaii's cure is what has made the upcoming canonization of beloved Kamiano, possible.
After the documentary, we were fortunate to have Father Herman Gomes, SSCC, an expert on the life of Father Damien, have a question and answer session. I learned from Fr. Gomes that even though Father Damien was a poor student, he was able to speak five languages: Flemish, French, Ecclesiastical Latin, English and conversational Hawaiian.
So a big mahalo to Venny for the invitation and to Fr. Gomes for a very interesting morning. I look forward to his talk at Sacred Heart Church next week.