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Friday, September 25, 2009

Countdown to Father Damien's canonization

Excitement is growing over the Oct. 11 canonization of Father Damien de Veuster, the Belgian priest who devoted his life to ministering to the lepers on the Hawaiian island of Molokai.

Two special groups are headed to Rome for the big day: Eleven elderly leprosy patients who live in Kalaupapa, the peninsula on Molokai where patients were banished, and nine Boy Scouts from a Hawaiian troop appropriately called the St. Damien Troop. The groups are among the 650 pilgrims from Hawaii expected to attend the canonization.

"They're going to see their personal saint canonized," Dr. Kalani Brady, 53, who treats the leprosy patients, told The Associated Press. It's "incredibly important, incredibly personal for them," he said of the leprosy patients, who will also get a chance to meet with Pope Benedict XVI.

Click HERE to read more about the patients' visit and HERE to read about the Boy Scouts plans for the European adventure.

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