† Fr. Gaston DIELS sscc (Hawaii)
Gaston Francis Diels was born in Kessel, Province of Antwerpen, Belgium on December 16, 1919. Gaston entered the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts and was professed on September 15, 1942 in Tremelo, Belgium. He was ordained in Zandhoven on July 25, 1947.
Gaston arrived in Hawaii on September 5, 1951 and was assigned to Hauula, Oahu for orientation and enculturation. On July 18, 1952, Gaston was appointed the Associate Pastor of Holy Family Church, Paia, Maui. He was assigned to Immaculate Conception Parish, Lihue, Kauai, a year later and then to St. Joseph Church, Waipahu, Hawaii.
On February 1, 1962, Gaston was appointed to Sacred Hearts Center, Kaneohe, Hawaii as novice master to those wishing to become lay brothers. At the same time he began to train lay people as electricians, masons and carpenters. In 1964, Gaston became provincial procurator and was elected as Hawaii’s delegate to the General Chapter of 1964 and again in 1970. He became General Econome for the Congregation in 1970. After six years, Gaston requested and was given permission to return to Hawaii. He served as the Associate Pastor of St. Patrick and in 1979 became the administrator of Sacred Heart Church in Hoolehua, Molokai. In 1980 he was asked to take on the responsibilities of provincial treasurer.
After 47 years of active service, Gaston requested and received permission to join the retirement community at St. Patrick Monastery in Honolulu. During these years, he began to use his skills as a master wood craftsman. He designed and built altars, candle stands, tabernacle stands and backdrops as well as the display cases for the Damien museum.
Due to poor health, Gaston was sent to a nursing care home in Waialua, Hawaii. On September 26, 2008 he was sent to Wahiawa General Hospital in failing health. He was anointed by the provincial and on Saturday, September 28, 2008, at 11:55 AM, died peacefully in his sleep.
Gaston’s funeral will be held at St. Patrick Church, Kaimuki, Hawaii on Wednesday, October 8, 2008 with a funeral Mass at 7:00 PM. He will be buried at Hawaiian Memorial Park Cemetery on Thursday, October 9, at 9:00 AM.