Molokai History:

[from Hawaii Catholic Herald, February 4, 2011]

Ground Broken for Kaunakakai’s Long-Awaited Church

When complete, the church will not have ornamentation or stained glass windows, the architect said. “It will be a shell, functioning, legal, in still skeletal form, a very utilitarian building.”

But it will have built-in the potential for artistic enhancement and adornment as the parish grows, he said.

The design “reflects the new liturgy, not replicating the past, said Frank Skowronski, the architect, a Catholic who helped with the design of St. Theresa Church in Kihei, Maui. The ideas for the Molokai church come from the parish building committee, he said.

“The design is mostly theirs,” he said. “We were here to make it work, to make it stand up, to adhere to the budget, to make it happen.”

The church will cost more than $3 million to build. Nordic Company is an Oahu-based 70-year old local company contracted to build the new church. The on-site project engineer is Danyelle Kahanaoi who is from Molokai. John Baranski of Nordic said the company will use as many Molokai workers as possible, though some specialized expertise will have to come in from Oahu and Maui.

The Kaunakakai church will be the main church of the St. Damien Parish, which encompasses all of topside Molokai. The parish has three other churches – St. Vincent Ferrer in Maunaloa on the west side, and on the east side, Our Lady of Seven Sorrows in Kaluaaha and St. Joseph in Kamalo. Masses are no longer celebrated in the tiny Kamalo church.

Blessings, pono and pule!

Fr. Brian Guerrini,