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Lt. Governor Aiona announces change in law to establish May 10 as Saint Damien Day in Hawai‘i

MEDIA RELEASE

HONOLULU – Lt. Governor James R. “Duke” Aiona, Jr. today announced the signing into law of SB 2740, which he proposed during the legislative session to establish May 10 as Saint Damien Day in Hawai‘i.

“This day will commemorate the life and accomplishments of Saint Damien, whose service and ministry has perpetuated the Spirit of Aloha and has offered hope and inspiration to past, present and future generations,” said Lt. Governor Aiona, who presented the legislation, signed into law today by Governor Linda Lingle as Act 10, at an event to celebrate the change in law.

Joseph de Veuster, who would later be known as Father Damien of Moloka‘i and Blessed Damien de Veuster, was a Roman Catholic missionary who sacrificed his life in service to those suffering from Hansen’s Disease in Kalaupapa on the Hawaiian island of Moloka‘i.

Damien was canonized as Saint Damien by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on Oct. 11 in Rome. The Lt. Governor and Mrs. Aiona traveled to Rome with a Hawai‘i delegation to witness the canonization and represent the people of Hawai‘i.

Saint Damien was granted a memorial feast day, which is to be celebrated annually on May 10. The legislative measure proposed by the Lt. Governor amends Hawai`i Revised Statutes Section 8-8 to reflect Damien’s recent confirmation of Sainthood and his corresponding feast day.

“Though Saint Damien passed away on April 15, 1889, his legacy lives on,” added Lt. Governor Aiona. “In Hawai‘i, he remains a spiritual hero and an icon of love, compassion, courage, humility and humanitarian service.”

The Lt. Governor was joined by representatives of Hawai‘i Family Forum, Hawai‘i Catholic Conference, Damien High School, St. Ann’s Church, Sacred Hearts Academy, Knights of Columbus and the Saint Damien Troop of the Boy Scouts of America.

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