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Celebration of the Feast of Damien (Belgium)

The Feast of St. Damien in Leuven began with a solemn concelebration, presided over by the Dean of the pastoral zone of Leuven, together with Jef Tops, superior of the delegation, and Juan Carlos Tinjaca sscc, pastor of St. Michael. The mixed choir "Trinitas" brightened the celebration.

After the celebration, Jef Tops, SSCC, presented the annual Damien Award.  The Damien Prize is awarded annually to a person, group or organization that stands out in a special way - in the spirit of Damien - for their efforts and commitment to vulnerable human beings, people who really don't count or don't count enough in society. Consideration is given primarily to small-scale, volunteer-based initiatives. The award itself is a bronze statue of Damien by Leuven artist Willy Peeters.

This year, the Damien prize was awarded to (W)armkracht vzw, an association in which people with and without experience of poverty "work together" to combat poverty and exclusion. The group is located in and around Vilvoorde (region surrounding Brussels). Everyone, regardless of age, language, race, philosophy of life or gender, has the opportunity to participate in joint activities. (W)armkracht also wants to be a meeting place for everyone, with a positive attitude towards others, supported by many volunteers.

Father Jef Tops, superior delegate of the SSCC Fathers, put it this way: "Damien was attentive to everyone without distinction, especially the most vulnerable people. He brought people together, organized all kinds of activities, which made people feel valued and encouraged them to believe in their own worth. Warmkracht is also committed to working for and with the most vulnerable, regardless of age, language, race, philosophy of life or gender. Warmkracht’s many volunteers bring people together, promote encounters, organize numerous activities, create new opportunities, restore self-confidence, surround people with warmth and give them strength, like Damien. That is why they deserve this Damien Award 2022".

After the celebration in St. Anthony's Chapel, the representatives of "Warmkracht" went to Damien's crypt, where they had a group photo taken.

In short, it was a beautiful celebration that resulted in a worthy winner of the Damien Award.