Catholics appeal for help as Maui recovers from deadly wildfires
August 17, 2023
Honolulu Bishop's message for the Maui Wildfires
On August 11, Bishop Larry Silva, Bishop of the Honolulu Diocese in Hawai'i, published this letter to Catholics in Hawai'i and beyond:
Peace be with you!
Today our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by the devastating wildfires that have ravaged the island of Maui. As a community of faith, we are called to come together and provide unwavering support to those who are suffering. It is in times like these that our collective love, faith, and compassion can make a tremendous difference.
In 2008, the Hawai'i Catholic Community Foundation (HCCF) was established as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation to support our parish and school communities. We have set up a dedicated webpage for donations to go directly to HCCF to support the relief efforts for our fellow community members affected by the Maui wildfires. This is an opportunity for us to show our solidarity as a Catholic faith community and lend a helping hand to those who have lost so much.
You can make a tax-deductible contribution by visiting the following link: https://tinyurl.com/MauiCatholic. Every donation, no matter the amount, will play a crucial role in helping to rebuild lives and restore hope.
Let us also remember the power of prayer. In our collective prayers, we ask for strength, resilience, and healing for the fire victims and their families. May we find the grace to rebuild our families, their livelihoods, and the physical structures that were lost. Let our faith guide us as we navigate the challenges ahead, knowing that with the grace of God, all things are possible.
May God bless you all abundantly, and may our efforts bring comfort and hope to those in need. Maria Lanakila (Our Lady of Victory), pray for us!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Larry Silva
Bishop of Honolulu
Rev. Msgr. Terrence Watanabe
Vicar Forane of Maui-Lanai
According to OSV News, Catholic Charities Hawai’i in the Honolulu Diocese has also appealed for donations to help the agency meet housing, food and other needs of what could be thousands of victims from wildfires raging on the island of Maui that wiped out an entire town and drove people to seek refuge in the ocean.
More than 11,000 people were evacuated as wildfires burned the historic town of Lahaina “to the ground,” as numerous news outlets reported. Maui County officials confirmed Aug. 12 that at least 93 people have died, with two of them identified.
“We can only imagine the distress and heartache that many are currently experiencing from the destructive wildfires on Maui, and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted,” said a statement posted on the website of Catholic Charities Hawai’i, which urged people to make a donation to the agency for Maui relief at catholiccharitieshawaii.org/maui-relief.
“As a community of hope we can help those in need to overcome this tragedy and rebuild their lives through recovery efforts. Thank you for your consideration and for your continued support as we navigate through this challenging time together,” the agency said.
As the fires continued to burn and as the death toll continued to rise, Pope Francis offered his prayers, his encouragement to firefighters and rescue workers, and invoked “upon all the people of Maui Almighty God’s blessings of strength and peace,” according to a telegram sent by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, to Cardinal-designate Christoph Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States.
Maui Catholics are also saying that the ‘miraculous’ survival of a Maui Catholic Church is being seen as a sign of hope amid the destruction.