[from “Hawaii Catholic Herald”, December 23, 2011]
“Molokai blesses its long-awaited St. Damien Church in Kaunakakai”
At the church’s entrance, the chairman of the parish building committee, Stephen Petro, welcomed Bishop Silva and presented him with official documents and the key to the front door.
The bishop passed the keys to pastor, Sacred Hearts Father Clyde Guerreiro, who opened the large double wooden doors and let everybody in.
As the liturgy proceeded, Bishop Silva blessed with holy water, oil and incense, each major physical part of the church – the baptistery, the walls, the altar, the tabernacle – as it was about to be used for the first time.
In his homily, the bishop asked the congregation to engage in imaginary time travel to visualize the future demolition of the church he was now blessing, and the past dedication of its recently demolished predecessor, St. Sophia.
While these buildings embody the memories of baptisms, weddings, funerals and other spiritual events, he said true worship is not limited to a physical structure, but takes place “in spirit and in truth.”
“To reach out to the hungry, the homeless … can be acts of worship,” he said. “True worship is not tied to any single place.”
“This building we dedicate to the worship of God is important” as the place where the risen Jesus is encountered,” he said.
“That encounter here changes our hearts,” he said.
Blessings, pono and pule!!!!
Fr. Brian Guerrini, ss.cc.