On the wings of the wind

“On the wings of the wind He will carry us home ‘till our journey will end on Heaven’s shore.”

Perhaps these opening lines from the Bellamy Brothers expressed the feelings of the crew of the Canoe Hokule’a as they left the shores of Tahiti on May 17, 2017 and sailed homeward at the end of their worldwide trip. Perhaps it was part of their feelings on this afternoon as they sailed westward from Kalaupapa to Honolulu. 

On Monday under sunny skies they had sailed into our waters and landed on our shore where so many Hansen’s Disease patients had landed over the years gone by. They were men and women tanned by the sun and bronzed by the winds. They were immediately welcomed by members of the National Park Service and ate a hearty meal at McVeigh Hall.

On Tuesday night they were our special guests at our annual spring concert in Pasqual Hall, the movie house first dedicated in 1916 and rededicated after restoration in 2012 by our senator of fond memory, Daniel Anoye. This, our second concert, was spearheaded, directed, and produced by Debbie Davis, the bookkeeper at the Care Home. Debbie also was the emcee for the evening. Several members of our Kalaupapa community displayed their talents in song, dance, and musical instruments while Meli Watanuki provided food and refreshments. 

When my vocal cords began to betray me, Balladeer Rick “Doc” Schonely came to my rescue with some libation which definitely was not holy water. At the end of our presentation Debbie called on our honored guests from the visiting canoes to sing for us and they responded with great gusto. 

Thursday afternoon brought sunny skies, light breezes and calm waters. Many of us land lubbers converged on the peer and the shoreline to watch as the crews of the canoes prepared to sail. As the horn sounded, the flotilla of canoes pulled away slowly into deeper water, unfurled their sails, and with crews waving farewell from the decks, sailed toward the western horizon. On the wings of the wind He would carry them home ‘till their journey would end on Oahu’s shore.


Anchor columnist Father Killilea is pastor of St. Francis Parish in Kalaupapa, Hawaii.

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