[from Hawaii Catholic Herald, May 20, 1966]
The distance from Kaunakakai to Kamalo, St. Joseph’s Church and a mission of St. Sophia’s is eleven miles, but the road is good. St. Joseph’s was built in 1876 by Father Damien and is still in use today. It never had a resident priest but it did serve a large congregation in the Kamalo area with its important boat landing. This was the second church built by Father Damien on the “top-side” or the leeward side of the island.
Further eastward along the coastline stands Our Lady of Sorrows in Kaluaaha, which was the center of the Molokai Catholic Mission for many years. Nearby was the Pukoo landing, which frequently welcomed the missionary priests crossing the channel from Lahaina, Maui. One of the first resident priests on Molokai was Father Burgermann, SS.CC., who stayed at Kaluaaha. Unfortunately, he was sickly. Thus Father Damien would journey through the Wailau Valley from the Leper Colony at Kalawao to assist the Catholics in the East End. Father Damien built Our Lady of Sorrows Church in 1874, when he was still a robust man. One of his most faithful helpers was a Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Poaha, whose children still live in the Kaunakakai area.
Blessings, pono and pule!
Fr. Brian Guerrini, ss.cc.