[from The Catholic Herald, June 25, 1937]
His Excellency Stephen P. Alencastre To Bless New St. Sophia Church At Kaunakakai, Molokai
Even excepting Kalawao in the Molokai Leper Settlement, no other island has so many memories of Father Damien’s missionary labors than the Island of Molokai. For when in 1873 Father Damien became the resident priest of the settlement, he also had charge of the few Catholics scattered over the rest of Molokai. Up to that time Molokai was occasionally visited by a priest from either Oahu or Maui, especially during Easter time. Neither did the Catholics of Molokai have any [permanent] churches before 1872. Services were held in temporary chapels made of grass.
Father Damien at once went to work with his well known vigor and enthusiasm, and in a short time had built chapels at Halawa, Moanui, Kaluaaha, Kamalo and Pelekunu. Of these churches those of Kaluaaha and Kamalo are still in use. With the shifting of the population there is no longer need for a church in some of these places, whereas new churches had to be built in other places, such as Kaunakakai.
Blessings, pono and pule!
Fr. Brian Guerrini, ss.cc.