St. Damien of Windsor, CT Celebrates Merger with Two Mile Procession
Posted on June 7, 2018
Photos & Article by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com
Clergy and parishioners from St. Damien of Molokai church in Windsor, Connecticut walked in a two mile procession along Palisado Avenue June 3, to celebrate the merger of three Catholic parishes in town. Escorted by two Windsor Police cruisers, the group walked and snag hymns on what was a sunny, hot and humid day making their way to River Meadow Farm for an afternoon picnic.
Large open tents were set up in the middle of a field at the farm and attendees were greeted with the offering of Hawaiian-style leis in recognition of the merged parish’s namesake. Approximately 300 parishioners were expected to turn out, according to church member Ann Walsh.
Among those giving out the leis was parishioner Anita Mips.
“The merger has taken place over two years and it’s doing so well,” Mips said, explaining the impetus for the procession and gathering.
Headed by Rev. John Melnick, St. Damien, 379 Broad Street, is said to be the merger of St. Gabriel’s, St. Joseph’s and St. Gertude’s.
“We didn’t know what name we would be given – the bishop decided,” added Mips.
The afternoon gathering included colorful garb, plenty of food, a pig roast, games and music.
* St. Damien was a 19th Century Roman Catholic priest and missionary. A CNN report notes that Father Damien, who was born Josef De Veuster on January 3, 1840 in Belgium, devoted his life to caring for the ostracized who were sick with leprosy on a leper colony in Hawaii. Eventually Father Damien contracted the disease and died of leprosy on April 15, 1889. Pope Benedict XVI named Father Damien a saint in 2009. He is considered the patron saint of outcasts and lepers.