Catholic Church commends PCC in honor of Napela

Soon after the Catholic Church canonized Saint Damien of Molokai in October 2009, largely for his 19th century work at the leprosy or Hansen's Disease quarantine settlement on the isolated Kalaupapa Peninsula, senior service missionaries in the Polynesian Cultural Center's Hawaii Mission Settlement began wondering how they might add that information to the exhibit in the small, thatched-roof chapel that tells how Christianity came to the islands.

They had no idea, however, that the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Honolulu would respond by presenting the PCC and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with a unique certificate "in gratitude for the collaboration" of St. Damien and Jonathan Napela, a traditional Hawaiian ali'i or chief who was among the earliest converts and leaders in the Sandwich Islands Mission. The lives and stories of the two men became inseparably entwined at Kalaupapa in the 1870s.

The Most Rev. Clarence "Larry" Silva presented the certificate to Von D. Orgill, president and CEO of the Cultural Center, and Area Seventy Elder Scott D. Whiting, during a meeting on May 7, 2010, that began with flower lei greetings and a Hawaiian chant. Also participating in the presentation were Father Marc Alexander, Vicar General for the Honolulu Diocese; Steven C. Wheelwright, president, Brigham Young University-Hawaii; R. Eric Beaver, president and CEO of Hawaii Reserves Inc., and his assistant, Steve Keali'iwahamana Hoag; John A. "Jack" Hoag, Hawaii public affairs director for the church; and Elder Marshall and Sister Jolene Ogden, the service missionaries, as well as several other PCC officers and leaders.

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