[from Hawaii Catholic Herald, May 20, 1966]
In 1937, a new church was built in Kaunakakai to replace the old chapel. Mrs. Sophie Cooke gave the sizeable donation of one thousand dollars. For her generosity, Bishop Stephen Alencastre, SS.CC. blessed the new church on July 4, 1937 and dedicated it to St. Sophia.
Between 1929 and 1944 the Kaunakakai church was served by the priests who lived at Hoolehua. It was not until November 1944 that Bishop Sweeney appointed Father Sebastian Konze, SS.CC. as the first resident pastor. Father performed his first baptism in this full-fledged parish on December 20, 1944. At this time, the priest lived in a converted hall next to the church. From his Kaunakakai rectory, the resident priests cared for the two remaining missions at Kamalo and Kaluaaha on the East End of the island.
Father Octave Igodt, SS.CC. succeeded Father Sebastian in December, 1947 and worked diligently for fourteen months until Father Rudolph Vercammen, SS.CC. replaced him in January 1949. In 1950, Father Rudolph built a new rectory a mile from the church on the beach. Three other pastors lived in this beach rectory after Father Rudolph. They were Father Paul Gay from July, 1951 to August 1955 and Father Anthony O’Brien, SS.CC. until July, 1956. Likewise, Father Albert Leunens, SS.CC. lived here for a time until he completed a new modern two-story rectory next to the church in 1957. Father Albert was pastor from July, 1956 to October, 1962. Since then, through today (May, 1966), Father John Van Gils has been pastor.
[…….to be continued]
Blessings, pono & pule!
Fr. Brian Guerrini, ss.cc.