Benedict XVI has connection with Hawaii

Pope canonized Damien, Marianne

Published  5:01 PM HST Feb 11, 2013
HONOLULU -

Catholics in Hawaii have a special place in their hearts for Pope Benedict XVI.

It was his predecessor, John Paul II, and Mother Teresa who made it their personal campaigns to see Father Damien de Veuster made a saint.

Neither would live to see the day.  The task was turned over to the former Joseph Ratzinger, Benedict XVI, who declared Damien canonized three years ago in St. Peter's Basilica with the Kalaupapa patients, Hawaiian royalty and 500 island pilgrims watching on.

Pope Benedict XVI furthered his island connection by beatifying Marianne Cope as one of his first declarations.  That's the step below sainthood.  So, it must have been with great gratification that he finally got to add her name to the Catholic pantheon of saints last October.  No one could have guessed then it would be his final canonization.

The pontiff's frailty was noted by the Hawaii delegation, many of whom saw him stride unaided just three years previously for Damien's canonization.

The demands of the office were evident, yet, many in the church were hoping that Benedict's knowledge and past experience with Hawaii saints would fast-track the canonization campaign for Brother Dutton, who many believe is destined to join Damien and Marianne.

Although Benedict will be cloistered in his retirement, many island Catholics are hoping he will lend his influence and prayers to see Hawaii celebrate yet another sainthood.

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