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Performer turned priest plays great saint

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Father Evanko performs one-man show about selflessness

By Nathan Rumohr
The B.C. Catholic
Father Edward Evanko. BCC file photo.
St. Damien of Molokai contracted leprosy after serving a leper colony on that Hawaiian island. A former actor, now a Catholic priest, is going to pay homage to the saint once again with his one-man show.

Ukrainian Catholic priest Father Edward Evanko will perform Damien at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Agassiz May 10.

Father Evanko, who's performed the play worldwide, thought he was out of show business for good after his ordination in 2005, but an act of charity pulled him back in.

"I got involved with Damien initially to help raise funds for a priest friend," said the former Broadway performer.

Father Evanko's friend had just received a kidney donated by his father, who suffered a complication after the surgery and had part of a leg amputated.

To help with medical costs, Father Evanko performed three shows of Damien, which raised enough money for his friend's family. Priests who saw Father Evanko's success with the play requested he help raise money for their parishes' needs.

St. Damien of Molokai (1840-1889) is remembered for serving the leper colony of Molokai in Hawaii. The missionary saint fed the poor, sheltered the homeless, and conducted proper burial services for the outcast lepers. He eventually contracted leprosy, which took his life.

"I'm impressed that Father Damien volunteered for a mission that had an uncertain future," said Father John Tritschler, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish. "I'm sure he knew in the back of his mind he could end up with leprosy, but he saw a need and answered it."

Tickets for the Agassiz production of Damien are available from Wilma, 604-796-8901.

Last Updated on Sunday, 29 April 2012 09:02  

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