Celebrating our Faith during COVID-19

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Healing & Acting with Care; Sharing Sunlight & Starlight

August 17, 2020

From the Office for Social Ministry

As we all continue to cope with impacts of the current pandemic, our Holy Father posed the following question during his August 5th papal address: “In what way can we help heal our world?”  One of the simplest ways we can start is by staying safer at home and acting with care; and by practicing physical distancing, proper hygiene, as well as refraining from large social gatherings.

Recent spikes in COVID-positive cases and deaths on Oahu have prompted Mayor Kirk Caldwell to impose the ACT WITH CARE – DO NOT GATHER order until at least September 4th. This means staying home as much as possible except for essential activities; and if you must meet face-to-face with family and friends from different households, please follow these Department of Health “Tips for Socializing Safely – Hawaii Style” that include recommendations to meet outdoors (preferably one-on-one); staying at least 6 feet apart and greeting each other with a wave or a shaka instead of a hug.

While some young children may have trouble adapting to the realities of life with COVID-19, the Hawaii STEM Community Care Coalition offers the KEIKI HEROES program to help kids learn about the virus and how to adopt safety habits. Through kid-friendly stories based on values of kindness and compassion, this website teaches young students to prevent the spread of the disease in a way that is fun and easy to understand. Feel free to download and share these coloring sheets that focus on wearing a mask and washing your hands.

Other ways to help heal the world and act with care is to share sunlight and starlight with families affected by incarceration. Recently, the Women Community Correctional Center-WCCC has cancelled all in-person visits–– making it extremely difficult for moms in prison to stay connected with their keiki. Special diocese-sponsored reunions such as the annual “Star Light Star Bright” and “Sun Light Sun Bright” events during Christmas and summertime have also been called off this year. Thankfully, the Oahu Going Home Consortium-OGHC (which involves volunteers from parishes, non-profit organizations and government agencies) is doing its best to address the pain of separation by organizing two sets of gift care-packages for children and caregivers from Kauai, Maui, Molokai, Oahu and Hawaii to go out in September and December. The OGHC call these healing efforts: “Sun Light Sun Bright in a Bag” and “Sending Love from Star Light Star Bright.”  OGHC is collecting support for at-home and in-school learning for children through gift cards to their caregivers. To help heal the hurt in these families by embodying the values of faith, hope and love, and supporting the dignity of all human persons, please visit the OSM page on “Sunlight-Sunbright 2020”  or the Diocese website . Mahalo.

The Hawaii Department of Education has also modified its Oahu’s public school schedules to institute online learning for at least the first four weeks of the fall semester. Neighbor island schools  will follow a similar schedule, except for those on Molokai and in Hana, Maui.

Together we can all help in the healing process “as disciples of the Lord Jesus” to continue his “work of healing and salvation in a physical, social and spiritual sense.” To read the full text of Pope Francis’s Catechesis: To Heal the World, please visit the Vatican website. Mahalo!