Hawaii gears up for Blessed Damien’s sainthood

In mid-October Hawaii Catholics will get their first saint when the Belgian-born missionary priest Blessed Damien de Veuster is canonized along with Blessed Jeanne Jugan, founder of the Little Sisters of the Poor, and three others.

Father Damien spent the last 16 years of his life caring for patients with Hansen’s disease, or leprosy, on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. This article  in the Hawaii Catholic Herald, Honolulu’s diocesan newspaper, gives just a glimpse of the priest’s impact. It recounts the recent visit to Hawaii by an 85-year-old woman whose father suffered from Hansen’s disease and was cared for by the soon-to-be saint.

Church ministries to jobless continue

CNS has written before — in blogs and news stories — about church groups reaching out to the unemployed.  These programs continue to pop up in church basements around the country as people continue to feel the effects of the economic tailspin.

Recent articles in The Catholic Voice, Omaha’s archdiocesan newspaper, and the Arkansas Catholic, Little Rock’s diocesan paper, show how this important church ministry not only provides the unemployed with practical tips but also gives them spiritual support.

Mike Geppart, organizer of a jobless support program at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Omaha, said many people are currently facing unemployment for the first time and are dealing with a lot of anxiety, fear and uncertainty.

“Obviously you’re going to be discouraged and are almost embarrassed by it and therefore you don’t reach out,” he said. “But you need to reach out to helpful programs that are out there.”