“Love Never Faileth”

Henry Hori as seen in a family photo before he was sent to Kalaupapa.
Photo courtesy of the family of Henry Hori

The 2010 annual meeting of Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa was dedicated to Henry Hori, the carpenter who led the construction of the Kalaupapa Cross that stands high atop Kauhako Crater in the middle of the peninsula.
Henry Hori was near death in the Kalaupapa Hospital in 1945 when he prayed to God and vowed that if he recovered, he would build the biggest Cross he could. Henry regained his health and set about to keep his promise. With the help of the Kalaupapa Lions Club, the 20-foot tall Cross was dedicated in 1956. Henry chose a Biblical passage that was etched on the base of the Cross:
Love Never Faileth.
Unfortuately, the young family that Henry had to leave behind in 1936 when he was diagnos ed with leprosy knew nothing of his miraculous recovery or of the Cross. Too many years of separation had gone by and the family no longer felt the bonds of ‘ohana. Henry Hori’s daughter, Melvia, always felt that something was missing in her life because she never knew her father like other children did.
It wasn’t until nearly 40 years after the Cross had been built that the Hori family learned about their kupuna’s life. Wesley Hori, Henry Hori’s first-born grandson and the nephew of Melvia, set off for Kalaupapa to find out about him. When Wesley visited the Cross, he saw that it was in dire need of repair – the rebar was exposed, the cement was chipped and the paint was dull.
Over Easter weekend in 2000, Wesley, Melvia and others in the family flew to Kalaupapa to restore the Cross. Once again, the Kalaupapa Lions Club helped erect the scaffolding and provided the paint. The Horis did the same type of work that their father and grandfather had done decades earlier. The Cross was finished just in time for Easter Sunrise Services.


The Hori family gathers around the cross that was inspired by their kupuna, Henry Hori. Photo by Wayne Levin

Flash forward to 2010: Eight members of the Hori family —three generations—came to Kalaupapa to attend the annual meeting of the ‘Ohana where they expressed what it meant to walk the land where their kupuna had such an impact. Included was a grandson who carries on the name of Henry Hori.
Great-grandchildren Julia Ching and Bryce Irvine offered a musical tribute to their ancestor.
“We knew that Grandpa was here, but I don’t think we understood the scope of all that he did,” said Julia. “I feel so honored to be part of his legacy.”
The highlight of the visit, of course, was when the family gathered at the foot of the Cross that was Henry Hori’s thanks to God for giving him life. Together, they read the words he left for them more than 50 years earlier:
Love Never Faileth.


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