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News from Damiaanvandaag (Brs)

     Since December 2013 you have not read anything about us. We apologize; December with the Christmas celebrations, January and February have been kind of quiet time for us.
     In January the process of empting the Damien Museum in Tremelo has begun. Some objects have been stored in the big convent in Leuven where Patrik Jaspers, the person responsible for Damien Documentation Center, is cataloguing them. Patrik and Ruben Boon, persons in charge of the Damiaanvandaag Project, have also started to restore a small music book, which is possibly from the time of Father Damien. He might have used it in his chapel in Molokai.
     We had some visitors as well, they were people interested in spending a day with Damien. Some of the visitors were children from the parishes of Haasrode-Blanden, who are following the confirmation program,  and a group of young people from Antwerpen.
     March, on the contrary, has been a very busy month. It is the month of the pilgrimages to Saint Joseph. Around 6000 people, some coming in groups, some on their own, came to visit the Church of Saint Anthony, which is the chapel of the convent of the brothers in Leuven, which since 1869 was declared a National Sanctuary of Saint Joseph; thanks to the initiative of the superior of the moment. The pilgrims are known in town as the Jefkes, and this year they were invited to reflect upon how to live the faith inspired by the example of Saint Joseph and Father Damien.
     On the 9th of March we got the visit of the Damien Youth, generations 1, 2 and 3. Damien Center in Leuven was the final point of their yearly Lenten journey. This group has been in existence for more than fifteen years and is guided by Fr. Louis Hermans and sister Antony Hardi. The original members of the group are already married and having children. They keep their tradition of getting together several times during the year, inspired by Damien, and they bring their children: babies, toddlers, and teenagers.
     On the 15th of March the “Kei-Hart Supper from the heart” day took place. It was a joint initiative of Damiaavandaag Project and the Youth Pastoral Commission of the Flemish-Brabant Vicariate. More than 150 people, mostly boys and girls who follow the confirmation program (10-12 years old), participated in the day. Some groups took part in workshops of awareness about different problems in our society, guided by Amnesty International; some others went to several facilities in the city that care for the elderly, the sick, and the homeless. The day ended with the celebration of a youth liturgy at Father Damien Chapel.
     Damiaanvandaag also goes outside the premises of Damien Center in Leuven. Our exhibitions about Father Damien have visited several parishes in Landen y Kersbeek. Also our workshops and activities around Father Damien are presented in other places, when we are requested, such as the case on the 22nd March. One of the members of our team went to Finisterre church in downtown Brussels to participate in a day dedicated to the works of mercy. The activity was organized by the Youth Pastoral Commission of the Vicariate of the city. There the kids could participate in a workshop and they could visit a place in the city where they saw actual works of mercy being ministered. The figure of Father Damien one example of the workers of mercy.
     Finally, on the 15th April we are going to start our Damien Blog, as part of the activities that are programed by Damiaanvandaag Project to celebrate the Damien´s Year. Any participation, small article, a prayer, a testimony or reflection will be more than welcome. We are also building our Facebook page. We will give you the link to our blog or our Facebook page when they are available.     

We wish all our readers a very Happy and Holy Easter.