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Sacred Heart Shelter Blessing


Yes, this eruption destroyed a lot of things, but this eruption also brought Puna together. ~Harry Kim, Hawaii County Mayor

Dozens of community partners and volunteers from public, private and government agencies gathered together on Saturday June 30, 2018 to bless the opening of the Sacred Heart Shelter, a newly-constructed community of 20 micro-homes dedicated to provide temporary housing for lava evacuees in need. Despite the many stories of loss due to Mount Kilauea’s continued eruptions, the new homes are inspiring new hope in Puna.

It takes a community … and look what happened — in less than 30 days, one vision in one leadership team — THIS HAPPENED! ~Brandee Menino/CEO, HOPE Services Hawaii

It literally took a village to build this special village! Community organizers, state and county leaders, volunteers, contractors, painters, designers, funders, soldiers from the Hawaii Army National Guard, and dozens of businesses came together to celebrate the unprecedented and historic collaboration of multiple entities accomplishing a single purpose on catholic property owned by the Diocese of HonoluluGovernor David Ige, Hawaii County Mayor Harry KimCongresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Brigadier General Kenneth Hara were among the many dignitaries in attendance.

Hawaii people can be described simply as . . . “Generous, Heart, Fo’ Real!” ~Carol Ignacio, Community Advocate

Carol Ignacio, a volunteer board member of HOPE Services Hawaii and former Executive Director of the Diocese of Honolulu Office for Social Ministry (OSM), was also present to witness one of her long-term dreams come true. In 2011, Ignacio spearheaded the concept of recycling old structures from a former transitional shelter operated by Catholic Charities Hawaii in Kawaihae and rebuilding them into affordable housing units for kupuna on the Sacred Heart Pahoa Parish grounds. The initial strategy was to plant the seeds needed to make an impact on the homeless and affordable housing crisis on Hawaii island. Although it took 7 years to grow the vineyard of laborers and community partners, Ignacio’s dream has finally become a reality!

Rev. Robert Stark, current OSM Director, likened the Sacred Heart Shelter to Jesus’s parable of the multiplication of fish and loaves. He says it is amazing to see people follow in the footsteps of Saints Damien and Marianne by “recognizing their own vulnerabilities and still having the capacity and compassion to help the most vulnerable in our midst.”

May God bless all those who continue to work behind the scenes to help those most in need!

Glory be to him whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. ~Ephesians 3:20

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