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Flanders: Damien Award

The 2024 solemn celebration of Damian in the Chapel of Saint Anthony of Louvain was presided over by the new Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels, Monsignor Luc Terlinden. Concelebrating was the rector of the church, Father Ferry Indrianto sscc and the new superior of the delegation, Juan Carlos Tinjacá sscc. 

After the celebration of the Eucharist, the Fathers of the Sacred Hearts presented the annual "Damian Prize", which this year went to the parish of Saint Francis in Leuven, where parishioners work closely with people in need and support them with all kinds of initiatives throughout the year.


Damian Award


"Damian gave his life for others and he did it by taking care of the simplest things, like marbles for the orphans of Molokai. That's what the Damian Prize is about today. Giving back with simple things and making people happy for who they are. We are always interested in projects run by small-scale volunteers. Small initiatives, but ones that bring a lot of happiness to the people who benefit from them. The Damian Prize is awarded to people who make others happy, to vulnerable people, to people who do not count in our society or who are in difficulties," said Father Juan Carlos Tinjacá, Superior of the Flemish delegation of the Fathers of the Sacred Hearts.

The Damien Prize is a bronze work of Damien created by Leuven artist Willy Peeters.


The Parish of Saint Francis (Leuven)


The Damian Prize 2024 is awarded to the parish of Saint Francis in Leuven. It describes itself in the following way: "We are not a large parish, but a parish that tries to have its heart in the right place. To do this, we not only reach out to parishioners, but also, for some years, to people from outside the parish. From cooking during the holidays, we now cook from November 1st to April 1st. This period corresponds to the opening of the night shelter. We want to lend a hand to people in difficulty in our own city. specifically offering meals to the homeless, collecting food parcels, collecting clothes during Lent, accompanying a refugee family, selling products in aid of the Winksele or Aarschot refugee shelter, supporting the Michotte bar (on Fridays, people can meet and eat in the parish hall, with the help of people with disabilities from Lovenjoel). These are small initiatives that make sense for certain target groups whose lives are not always easy. And as a parish team, we believe that is very important. And yes, without a doubt it is something that corresponds well with what Father Damian himself would have wanted."


In many ways, the project team from the parish of Saint Francis in Leuven follow in Damian's footsteps. Through many modest and useful initiatives, they support those close to them. "That is why today, we, the Fathers of the Sacred Hearts, brothers of Damien, want to thank you for your selfless work and your exemplary example. Thank you to the people of the parish of Saint Francis because, in the words of Bishop Terlinden, "You have found your Molokai in the poor, the little ones, the marginalized of Leuven and its surroundings”. You are magnificent and well-deserved winners of the Damian Prize 2024," said Father Juan Carlos Tinjaca, superior of the Flemish delegation of the Fathers of the Sacred Hearts. 


After the ceremony, we went to the crypt near Father Damien's tomb to observe a moment of silence and thanksgiving.


The celebration ended with a brief reception. The archbishop stayed and joined the community for something to eat. 


Link to the gallery: https://photos.app.goo.gl/SKh4sFbpWWkeJFvp7