Honolulu Location Veteran’s Day Service and Social
Order of Malta – Hawaii November 3-5
By: Darryl Wong (Hospitaller – Hawaii)
Hawaii Auxiliary and The Order of Malta Hawaii members were joined with other Western Association members coming from Arizona, California, Utah, and Washington as we look to bring more awareness of the Order to Hawaii.
The weekend started with a welcome dinner from all those traveling from the West Coast to Hawaii. The Order of Malta Hawaii members, Tom Cabrinha, James Wong and John Henry Felix were in attendance at Darryl and Teresa Wong’s home as well as prospective new members Jerry Correa and Terry Walsh as Dame volunteers Tracy Gonsalves and Melody Paulsen helped prepare 100 Lourdes Water bottles for distribution at the Veterans Day Sunday Service held on November 5, ,2017.
On Saturday, November 4, 2017 Fr. John LeVecke and Janice Nguyen (President) of the Hawaii Auxiliary held a brainstorming session at Bishop Museum on a care giving pilgrimage to the home of two of our most well known caregivers in the United States. Saint Damien and Saint Marianne Cope of Kalaupapa, Molokai, Hawaii who gave their lives to serving and caring for the (Hansen Disease) Leper’s for most of their adult lives. The Western Association members in attendance were treated to a history of Christianity and Catholicism in Hawaii by Fr. Lane Akiona and further input from Ret. Chaplain Fr. Jim Danner prior to being treated to a cultural tour at Bishop Museum by prospective member Glenn Mederios who currently acts as President of St. Louis School in Honolulu (grades 6-12). Mr. Mederios and fellow St. Louis School Supporter Tom Cabrinha were able to provide members with additional history to reflect upon in the island State.
Saturday evening the members of the Western Association were hosted by Mark and Ana Maria Albert at their Kahala home where members were treated to a talk by Audrey Toguchi’s (90) experience in canonizing Father Damien. There she shared with members her deep devotion to Father Damien as she reflected as a girl in 3rd Grade seeing the removal of Father Damien’s remains to Belgium and the crying of all those who loved him so much. He brought dignity to their sick and provided them comfort no matter what their condition was.
On January 9, 1998 Audrey was operated on to remove a hemotoma only to discover she had 3 months to live having been diagnosed with a rare deadly cancer called Lipo Sarcoma. She had people praying for her from all over the islands when she received the news. She did not want to go through chemotherapy but instead went to Kalaupapa and went before Fr. Damien asking for intervention. Her prayer went something like this…”Please Father I have a cancer. You are a loving Father and I know if I ask you for help something will be done because you have excellent connections with our God in heaven.” Sure enough on the next visit to her doctor the doctor asked her, “What did you do?” The doctor could not find any trace of the cancer and Audrey was healed.
The weekend ended up with a two hour Veterans Day service at Holy Family Church in Honolulu where Fr. John LeVecke serves as pastor. The mass was celebrated with Bishop Larry Silva presiding over the service that included the blessing of a new alter and cross cut from a monkey pod tree on the Church’s property. All the veterans in attendance were adorned with flower leis distributed by the Western Association. After the Sunday services were completed, Fr. John Shimotsu, Chaplain for the Pacific blessed the newly designed coins of the Order of Malta that were distributed to all veterans in attendance.
Thanks to those visiting Western Association members including Chancellor Michael Grace and Bob Barbarowicz, the Hawaii Auxiliary and it’s Hawaii members have a mission that will assist in expanding the Order Of Malta in Hawaii and work towards providing a pilgrimage for its care giving members.