OFFICE FOR SOCIAL MINISTRY
“We need to cling to this example of an authority that is authentic, humble, honest and self-giving rather than self-serving. We find it in Christ the King, who longs for us to live in the ways of his Kingdom of justice, love and peace.” (Bishop Larry Silva, homily for the Feast of Christ the King, Nov. 24)
It is fitting that the Feast of Christ the King marks the last Sunday before Advent because it helps us focus our hearts during the holiday season to be more “self-giving rather than self-serving.” It also provides us an opportunity to prepare for the coming of the “authentic, humble, honest” Christ the King in the form of a vulnerable child born in a stable.
In the weeks leading up to Advent, the Hawaii Catholic Herald has “talked story” about the various ways our parishioners have been encountering God with the vulnerable. Whether it’s through efforts to end family homelessness with HOPE Services Hawaii on the Big Island, or to accompany women returning from prison through the Pua Foundation, we have witnessed inspirational stories of self-giving acts. We have also seen images and read articles of selfless volunteers who have helped legal migrant residents through citizenship workshops at St. Joseph Parish in Waipahu and giving of themselves through parish food pantries linked to community gardens, filling backpacks for kids and senior boxes for kupuna.
These are just some examples of authentic, humble, honest and self-giving forms of servant leadership to honor our Christ the King who told us: “Whatever you did to the least of these you did to me.” (Mt 35:40) Other examples of parish social ministry in this spirit of Christ the King include:
Families with Special Needs: Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Honolulu, on the second Sunday of the month at 11 a.m., and St. Raphael Parish in Koloa, Kauai, on the third Sunday at 11:30 a.m., extend a warm welcome to families with members with special needs participating in the Ohana Mass. Whether a family member is a child, kupuna or any age in between, the doors are open to all as the community encounters God in shared vulnerability and celebrates being one body in Christ, one Ohana. This special parish ministry is also exploring expansion into family religious education through faith sharing groups and innovative collaborations with the Special Olympics.
Kupuna: In December, St John the Baptist Parish, Kalihi, food pantry will host its holiday luncheon for their patrons and the recipients of monthly senior food boxes. Several of these kupuna participate in GPS (God’s Precious Seniors), gathering regularly to listen to guest speakers, to pray and reflect, to engage in simple chair exercises and enjoy refreshments. Other parishes are also encountering God in celebrations with elders. St. Damien Parish on Molokai, for example, prepared and served Thanksgiving lunch at Home Pumehana, a housing complex for the elderly in Kaunakakai.
Cancer Support: Several parishes host cancer support ministries including Holy Trinity, Kuliouou, at 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Monday of the month, and Sacred Heart Parish, Waianae, at 7 p.m. on the second Friday. Some parishes have volunteers who offer support as needed. They include St. Damien on Molokai, Our Lady of Good Counsel in Pearl City, Maria Lanakila in Lahaina and Christ the King in Kahului. Call your parish office for assistance.
Advent is a good time to volunteer in parish social ministry as one Ohana honoring the Holy Family and the coming of our King as a vulnerable child who calls us all to servant leadership. For more information about how you can participate in authentic, humble, honest and self-giving ministry, please go to the Office for Social Ministry website www.officeforsocialministry.org.
Your friends at the Office for Social Ministry
Read the article direct through The Hawaii Catholic Herald here.