Over 100 years ago Father Damien deVeuster, (St. Damien of Molokai) a Belgian priest, began working with lepers on Molokai, a small Hawaiian island.

Father Damien found a source of fresh water in the mountains and developed a system to bring it down to the colony. He built the first sanitation system and clinic. He and the lepers constructed a chapel for worship.

Each Sunday Father Damien would begin his sermon with these words: “You lepers know that God loves you.” This went on for years. Finally, one Sunday Father Damien began his sermon this way: “We lepers know that God loves us.” Father Damien had contracted leprosy. Yet he went on loving and serving until his death in 1898.

Even as Father Damien cast his lot in with the lepers, Jesus, Emmanuel, invested Himself totally in us sinners. “He was bruised and wounded for our sins. He was lashed, and we were healed.” “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel’”

Submitted by Fr. Joseph Dovari