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Hope that Leads to Justice

February 6, 2023

From the Office for Social Ministry

At this year’s Diocese of Honolulu Red Mass, Hawaii politicians gathered with Bishop Larry Silva to ask for blessings in the new legislative session. Rob Van Tassel, CEO and President of Catholic Charities Hawaii, served as the Red Mass featured guest speaker. In his talk, ‘Hope that leads to justice’ the theme of the Red Mass - Hawaii Catholic Herald Mr. Van Tassel quoted the late Pope Benedict XVI: “Charity cannot take the place of justice that has been denied.” He also shared how charitable works were connected with advocacy for justice in the history of Maryknoll missionary sisters establishing Catholic Charities Hawaii after World War II.

“The sisters witnessed the struggles of immigrant workers and became strong advocates of plantation workers’ rights. Though humble, they were never silent. They worked with civic leaders to create legislation establishing fair wages, just working conditions and workforce housing.” The Red Mass talk lifted up the ways that charity and justice go hand in hand. “Just as 75 years ago, when the Maryknoll sisters fought for plantation workers’ rights, so do we advocate and work today for the right of every person to have safe and decent housing, a fair wage and access to health care.”

In closing, Mr. Van Tassel posed this challenge to all assembled: “Charitable acts are critical for the relief of suffering, but they have little effect on the political or economic status quo. Our bigger challenge is to recognize that justice requires political action. The cure is the act of reshaping social structures so that all members of society develop to their fullest human capacity.” During this legislative session, the Diocese Office for Social Ministry-OSM encourages all to read the inspiring full text of this year’s Red Mass talk in the Hawaii Catholic Herald Hawaii Catholic Herald e-Edition Hawaii Catholic Herald 02/03/2023 e-Edition 8

And for more on how to participate in and support Catholic Charities Hawaii’s many services and advocacy efforts, please visit www.catholiccharitieshawaii.org. Mahalo!