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God's Love and Compassion Shown on Maui

October 16, 2023

From the Office for Social Ministry

This year’s synod is meant to be an inspiring pastoral experience of “accompaniment”– praying, listening, and walking together. Pope Francis said this synod assembly is an opportunity for the church to reflect the way God is closely present in the world. “Let us keep going back to God’s own “style”, which is closeness, compassion, and tender love. God has always operated that way.”

One shining example God’s close, compassionate, tender loving presence in the wake of the Maui wildfires continues to be the school of Maria Lanakila parish in Lahaina, now located at the Sacred Hearts Mission church in Kapalua. The school is a beacon of hope sharing a healing spirit of resilience among faculty, parents, and students who lost loved ones, homes and livelihoods. They parish school is inspiring others to participate in this close, compassionate, tender process of “accompaniment” by supporting the parish efforts to help provide tuition and rebuild the school. For ways on how to help, please visit www.shsmaui.org.

The Diocese is also supporting this healing listening process with all the Maui parishes through the initiation of a Spiritual and Health Care Ministry. Bishop Larry Silva recently formed a task force to develop a Handbook for Prayer and Reflection saying: We pray that this Spiritual and Mental Health Ministry will bring Christ's healing and health to many!” Maui parishes have begun organizing their Spiritual and Mental Health ministry with persons impacted by the wildfires. Catholic Charities Hawaii will also be providing trauma-informed professional mental health counseling services. Indeed, the active healing presence of Christ through the Church in Maui is a vital part of the Synod experience of accompanying and listening to the Spirit and each other on our journey of faith together. For more on these efforts, please visit the Diocese website www.catholichawaii.org , the Hawaii Catholic Foundation website, www.hawaiicatholiccommunityfoundation.org and Catholic Charities Hawaii website, www.catholiccharitieshawaii.org.

As Bishop Larry’s reminded us in his inspiring first homily on Maui after the fires. “We who have the blessing of believing in God and in the power of the Lord Jesus also have a responsibility to stand in the midst of winds and fires of grief and frustration to amplify … this tiny voice of God that indicates his never-failing presence and care for us … so that this whispering voice of God will be our guide and our hope.” Mahalo.