Father Damien's canonization an inspiration for local charity

Father Damien's canonization an inspiration for local charity

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

HONOLULU (HAWAII NEWS NOW) - It's been nearly a month since Father Damien became Hawaii's first saint.

One charitable organization's leader is using his experience at the canonization ceremony to highlight the need for more outreach programs.

Jerry Rauckhorst is the president and CEO of Catholic Charities Hawaii, a group that provides helps and services to 60,000 people every year.

And a new campus in Makiki will help them serve even more.

Keeaumoku Street in Honolulu is the new and improved Catholic Charities campus. Five different locations are now housed there.

"Now catholic charities will be at the Clarence TC Ching campus," said Jerry Rauckhorst, president of Catholic Charities Hawaii. "Because of that, when people come to Catholic Charities, they will have the full array of services."

Something else is also housed there -- the newly found inspiration Jerry Rauckhorst brought back with him from his trip to Rome.

"What we're hoping to do is to look at those values we aspire to, and to look at the relationship and experience that selfless service," said Rauckhorst.

From helping seniors to young children, Rauckhorst feels his organization is ready to take the next step of following Saint Damien's lead.

"That's the same thing Catholic Charities does on an everyday basis," said Rauckhorst. "We work with a lot of the outcastes of society today, whether that be because of poverty, or drugs or alcohol or some bad choices they've made in their lives."

And with this new all-in-one facility, Rauckhorst hopes to serve Hawaii's less fortunate even better.

"The inspiration that we feel today is an inspiration that is real, meaningful and makes a difference to us," said Rauckhorst. "A year from now, five years from now, 25 years from now, that we're still carrying out that legacy."