Hawaiian Pilgrims Alight Here in Utica
October 18th 2012 · 0 Comments
By Ellen Miekam Benton
St. Joseph & St. Patrick Church was the first stop for 96 pilgrims from Hawaii when they arrived in Utica on Sunday, Oct. 14th. They came to see the childhood parish and hometown of their beloved St. Marianne Cope in route to her canonization this coming Sunday, October 21 at The Vatican.
Three touring busses pulled up in front of the church at 702 Columbia Street on schedule for their Sunday Morning Prayer Service at 9:00 a.m. led by Bishop Larry Silva of the Diocese of Honolulu. The group praised and worshiped God in word and song accompanied by Calvin Keoni Liu at the piano.
Immediately following the Prayer Service, Ms. Bonnie Fazio and Mr. Paul Antonik presented a guided tour of the art and architecture of the Romanesque-style church which was constructed in 1882. The church is adorned from the apse, the dome above the altar, with its reproduction of Raphael’s Disputa to the narthex (also known as the vestibule) with stained-glass windows designed by the Tyrolese Art Glass Works of Innsbruck, Austria. Along the upper wall of the nave rest carved medallions of the Apostles and life-sized standing angels. Statues of many beloved saints are located throughout the church including the newly acquired statue of St. Marianne Cope. The statue of St. Marianne is of carved wood by Polish sculptor Piotr Michalek.
The main altar of the church weighs sixty tons. It was erected in 1889 by the Jenny and Nelbach Monument Company of Utica. It is made of Italian marble, Numidian marble, and Mexican onxy.
No church would be complete without an organ, and St. Joseph’s & St. Patrick’s is no exception. The beautiful organ located in the choir loft was acquired from the Kimball Organ Company. Its sounds provide beauty and reverence to the hymns that are sung during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The journey from Hawaii to New York and Rome is evidence of the love and gratitude for St. Marianne Cope by all of the pilgrims, but especially for the nine Hansen’s disease (formerly leprosy) patients. Before leaving the church, a plaque containing the names of the patients was presented by Bishop Silva to Fr. Richard E. Dellos, Pastor of St. Joseph’s & St. Patrick’s.
The visit continued with a stop at 620 Schuyler Street, the site of St. Marianne’s childhood homestead. In spite of the rain, cold temperatures, and some jetlag, the excitement of the pilgrims brought warmth to the scene. No doubt, St. Marianne was watching over her flock with great joy and happiness.
Their tour of Utica continued to Historic Old St. John’s Church, where St. Marianne received her First Communion and Confirmation, a stop at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, of which St. Marianne was a founder, and concluded with a visit to St. Joseph’s Cemetery, the final resting place of St. Marianne’s parents, Peter Koob and Barbara Witzenbacher Koob.
The morning’s activities culminated with a sit-down luncheon at Mother Marianne’s West Side Kitchen organized by Vicki Montalbano, Director. The contingent of nuns, priests, healthcare providers, media representatives, and faithful dined in an atmosphere of excitement and congeniality. The dining room buzzed with excitement as everyone strove to get to know each other. Many new friendships were established and many could be heard exchanging names and contact information.
Planning began in June; the event was organized by the members of the St. Marianne Cope Committee headed by John Pletl, Parish Trustee, and Rose LaBuz was the coordinator. Travel arrangements for the pilgrims are under the direction of Sister Alicia Damien Lau, OSF, Director of Health Care in Kalaupapa, HI, and Randy P. King of Seawind Tour & Travel, Inc., Honolulu, HI.
If there is one word to describe the feeling of the event it is “enthusiasm” which is from the Greek and means “to be inspired by God.” The intense, eager enjoyment could still be felt as the pilgrims boarded their busses for their return to Syracuse and their visit to the Motherhouse and St. Marianne Cope Museum. By then, the sun was shining on the foothills of the Adirondacks for them to enjoy as they made their way west on the New York State Thruway. It felt like we were saying “Aloha” to friends we have know and loved for a long time. The perceptible connection between guests and hosts was palpable; some even had tears in their eyes waving to each other as the busses pulled away from Mother Marianne’s West Side Kitchen. Who knows? One day our paths may cross again—“A hui hou kakou” which means “Until we meet again.”
Below are photos taken by Jolene M. Crossley-Tarkowski. More images are available here.