Messmer to Perform ‘Damien’ Sept. 22 in West Dundee
By Pat Szpekowski, Observer Correspondent
August 31, 2017

WEST DUNDEE—While he is widely known for his powerful rendition of the National Anthem at Wrigley Field and other Chicago venues, Wayne Messmer is also an accomplished actor of many facets.  
He transforms his typical life career as a singer, financial planner, and radio/TV celebrity to assume another role that is highly significant to him and his faith.

Messmer will take on his critically acclaimed role of Father Damien, “the Leper Priest of Molokai,” in the award-winning one-man play, “Damien” by Aldyth Morris.

‘Damien’

7:30 p.m., Sept. 22,
St. Catherine of Siena
845 W. Main St., West Dundee

What: One-man play about the life of St. Damien, the priest who served lepers.

Cost: Free, but donations accepted

Matinee for students

What: A matinee performance will be held at 2 p.m., Sept. 22,  for students. Schools interested in attending are invited to contact the parish office.

Info: 847/426-2217 or www.stcatherinechurch.com

St. Catherine of Siena Parish, 845 W. Main St. in West Dundee, will host the performance at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22.  Admission is free, but donations will be accepted.

Messmer brings to life the remarkable story of St. Damien, who was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009. He has performed “Damien” since 2002 to unanimous rave reviews.

“Father Damien’s life is one of courage and strength, as well as tremendous faith,” said Messmer. “His personal sacrifice is a living, modern day example of one person’s impact on the lives of others.”

The role of Damien is meaningful to Messmer, who is a fourth degree member of the Knights of Columbus.

He fought his own battle back from despair when he was shot in the neck in a senseless and random act of violence in 1994. That has had a profound affect on the deepening of his faith.

“The Spirit of this man (Damien) inspires me to the core,” says Messmer. “I treasure every time I am given the privilege to share the heart and soul of this incredible and unique human being with the audience.”

Long a devotee of St. Damien, Messmer has actively studied Damien’s fascinating and inspiring life. With his wife Kathleen, he visited the leper community in Kalaupapa, Molokai, Hawaii, as a way of honing in on the saint’s spirit and persona.

Messmer notes that when he greets people as they leave the church or theater, their reactions are the same.

“Often, people will still see Father Damien shaking their hand instead of (me) Wayne Messmer,” he said. “It is a moment that I respect and hold in gratitude to have been able to deliver the message that God will never forget you.”

“We look forward to seeing the inspiring portrayal of Father Damien by Wayne Messmer right here in our own parish and community,” said Father Matthew DeBlock, pastor, St. Catherine of Siena Church.  

“Everyone is welcome to join us and learn how Father Damien overcame the odds,” Father DeBlock added. “He attended to the needs of thousands of tragically abandoned men, women and children in Hawaii who were beset with the incurable and thought-to-be highly contagious leprosy.”

Eventually, Father Damien also developed Hansen’s Disease or leprosy. He died on Easter Monday night, April 15, 1889.

“I am looking forward to bringing Damien’s story to everyone,” said Messmer. “This will be a most memorable day at St. Catherine’s.”