After saying this, Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come! Give glory to your Son, that the Son may give glory to you. You have given him power over all humanity, so that he may give eternal life to all those you entrusted to him. For this is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and the One you sent, Jesus Christ.
I have glorified you on earth and finished the work that you gave me to do. Now, Father, give me, in your presence, the same glory I had with you before the world began.
I have made your name known to those you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they kept your word. And now they know that whatever you entrusted to me, is indeed from you. I have given them the teaching I received from you, and they accepted it, and know in truth that I came from you; and they believe that you sent me.
I pray for them. I do not pray for the world, but for those who belong to you, and whom you have given to me. Indeed, all I have is yours, and all you have is mine; and now they are my glory. I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I come to you.
The saint we are remembering today is better known as Fr. Damien, the name he received when he made his religious profession in the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. He was born in Belgium in 1840 and died in 1889 at Molokai, Hawaii, USA.
In 1864 he was sent to Honolulu, Hawaii, was ordained a priest there and served 8 years as a missionary on the islands of Puna and Kohala. In 1873 he volunteered to go and work at a leper colony on the island of Molokai. There, alone during 10 years with 800 lepers, he served as physician, counselor, teacher, house-builder, sheriff, grave-digger and undertaker in order to transform their prison into a home. He effectively fought the immorality, drunkenness and lawlessness all around him. By 1884 he himself had contracted leprosy and, as a leper, continued to serve his brother lepers for the next 5 years, until his death. He would often say in his homilies, “we lepers,” and his congregation could see from his deformed hands and face that he had truly become one of them. This great man is the patron of lepers and those with incurable diseases, particularly AIDS.
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