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Hawaii Holiday Season Highlights Vulnerable Persons

December 4, 2023

From the Office for Social Ministry

At the heart of the Christmas season is the Nativity Scene and at its center are the images of a young houseless migrant couple, Mary and Joseph seeking shelter in a stable where their newborn son, the infant Jesus lays in a manger. These sacred images draw our hearts to focus on the vulnerable persons in our midst. From families seeking refuge in the midst of ravaging war in the Middle East, Ukraine and Africa, to those fleeing catastrophic wildfires from the Amazon to Maui, the world is full of compelling examples that move our hearts, crying out for our prayers and actions.

Here in Hawaii, the holiday season has plenty examples of how the vulnerable persons in our midst not only contribute their gifts to society, but draw out the best in others. These examples include the monthly 'Ohana Mass celebrated every 4th Saturday which incorporates the contributions of “specially gifted persons” and the Christmas Keiki Day in the Women’s Community Correction Center in Oahu where the children and care-givers related to incarcerated women have a holiday celebration with their moms which includes puppet shows and Christmas Carols and family gifts with Santa all organized by Christian volunteers from nearby communities.

This year in particular the vulnerability of persons impacted by the Maui wildfires is drawing the compassionate attention and generosity of persons throughout the diocese who are contributing to recovery efforts such as the Sacred Hearts School Tuition Assistance at https://hicathcomfdn.org/SHSTuition, the Hawaii Catholic Community Foundations Maui Wildfires 2023 - Relief, Recovery and Rebuild Fund at www.hawaiicatholiccommunityfoudantion.org, and Catholic Charities Hawaii Maui Relief Fund at www.catholiccharitieshawaii.org. On the Big Island, the community has come together in Pahoa to provide  formerly houseless kĹ«puna their first Christmas in the new permanent affordable rental housing which HOPE Services Hawaii just opened in time for the holidays www.hopeserviceshawaii.org. There are dozens of parish food pantries and social ministries throughout the diocese that offer all opportunities to accompany, serve, and celebrate with vulnerable persons, which in deed is the heart of the Nativity Scene and Christmas holidays.

For more information on social ministry opportunities, please visit www.officeforsocialministry.org. This holiday season let us pray and act so that hopefully our hearts will be moved and enlarged by our experiencing the dignity vulnerable persons like the Holy Family in our midst and encounter Emmauel, God with us.” Mahalo!