Hawaii

Geography and History

Hawaii (Hawai'i in Hawaiian) is located on an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean made up of 122 islands, situated some 2,000 miles southwest of San Francisco. These islands were originally inhabited by Polynesians 1500 to 2000 years ago.

The 1778 arrival of British explorer Captain James Cook is believed to be Hawaii's first contact with Europeans. After a series of battles that ended in 1795, King Kamehameha the Great subjugated all the kingdoms of the archipelago under his rule, a dynasty that ruled until 1872.

Catholic Missions

The first Catholic missionaries arrived in Hawaii on July 7, 1827. Ten years later, under pressure from the protestant missionaries, King Kamehameha III expelled the Catholics from the Islands. The turning point came on July 10, 1839 when the French frigate Artemise came into Honolulu Harbor and issued a manifesto demanding among other things, freedom of the Catholic religion in the Hawaiian Kingdom.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, on the island of Oahu (Hawaii), on December 7, 1941, the United States entered World War II. In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th and last territory to become a state of the United States.

Shrine of Our Lady of Peace

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace stands on land which was given to Catholic missionaries by King Kamehameha III (Kauikeaouli) when the mission was established in 1827.

In 1843 the little chapel became a cathedral, and today Our Lady of Peace is invoked in the whole archipelago. Our Lady of Peace is represented with a dove and an olive branch. The feast day of Our Lady of Peace is observed on July 9th.

The title "Our Lady of Peace" was added to the Litanies of Loreto (liturgical prayers) by Pope Benedict XV. Our Lady of Peace or Queen of Peace is a title of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Roman Catholic Church.

Saint Damien de Veuster and the Brotherhood of the Molokai

The Shrine of Our Lady of Peace is also the site of the ordination to the priesthood of Saint Damien de Veuster, ss.cc. on May 21, 1864. At that time, the Hawaiian population was being plagued by Hansen's Disease or leprosy as it was known at that time. Those infected were sent to Kalaupapa Settlement on Molokai to remain forever. Saint Damien requested to serve in Kalawao where the most desperate patients were housed. Even before he was diagnosed as having leprosy he used the term "we lepers" in his sermons for he wished to identify with them as a means of bringing them to Christ. He refused to let their lives be swept into despair.

Founded in 1990 by Rev. Thierry de Roucy, "Heart's Home" (Points Coeur) is an international non-profit Catholic organization. In the footsteps of Saint Damien, volunteers work a presence of consolation at the side of the most wounded human beings in the world, primarily children, at the grassroots level. Some of these volunteers choose to permanently commit themselves to spreading Jesus' compassion.

Therefore, Fr. de Roucy founded the Brotherhood of the Molokai Congregation in 1995. This fraternity was placed under the patronage Saint Damien of Molokai. Saint Damien is world-famous for his work with lepers on the Kalaupapa peninsula, Molokai. (See http://usa.heartshome.org/)

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See: Official site of the Cathedral Our Lady of Peace: www.cathedralofourladyofpeace.com