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St. Michael’s looking to future

From left: Richard Leander, building committee chair; Mark Lively, architect; Dave Powell, project manager; Bishop Larry Silva, Rev. Anthony Rapozo, Rev. Juan Pablo Galeano, Cynthia Taylor, pastoral associate; Jay Torioka, project manager and Pastor Konelio Faletoi. (Photo courtesy of Tony Ambut)

Hawaii 24/7 Staff

Parishioners of St. Michael the Archangel Church gathered in late September to break ground for a new Kailua-Kona church campus. The Most Reverend Bishop Larry Silva presided over the festivities that attracted a crowd of more than 600.

The North Kona congregation has been worshipping in a tent since the historic church was damaged beyond repair by the October 2006 earthquakes.

The 1850 landmark was decommissioned and demolished in 2009 and parishioners rallied to form a Building Fund Drive and work toward a new church campus.

Facilities will be built in phases with construction of the $7.1 million, 9,455-square-foot church to be complete in about 18 months.

The second phase of the project will include an 11,030- square-foot parish hall, parking lot and landscaping that will be tackled when more funds are realized.

During the homily, Bishop Silva told attendees, “We are the living stones from which Christ builds his church.”

Comparing building of the new campus to the many steps needed to grow and process beans for a single cup of Kona coffee, Bishop Silva encouraged parishioners to be ready for the work ahead.

“As we break the ground for this new church, we pray the church’s foundation will be firm…like the foundation in our faith in Jesus Christ,” he said.

Participating in a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony were Bishop Silva, pastoral staff and a handful of project representatives. They included Pastor Konelio Faletoi, Rev. Anthony Rapozo, Rev. Juan Pablo Galeano, Cynthia Taylor, pastoral associate; Richard Leander, building committee chair; Mark Lively, architect; Dave Powell, project manager with contractor John Metzler; and Jay Torioka, project manager.

St. Michael’s Kailua-Kona services currently are in a tent in the Honokohau Industrial Park. Masses will also continue to be celebrated in the parish’s North Kona mission churches: Immaculate Conception in Holualoa, Holy Rosary in Kalaoa, St. Peter’s By-the-Sea in Keauhou and St. Paul’s in Honalo.

St. Michael the Archangel Church is part of the North Kona Catholic Community that includes Immaculate Conception Church in Holualoa, St. Paul’s Church in Honalo, St. Peter’s Church in Keauhou and Holy Rosary Church in Kalaoa.

Church History

St. Michael the Archangel began in 1840 with the arrival of two French priests, Fr. Robert A. Walsh and Fr. Louis Mary Ernest Heurtel.

The first Catholic mass was held on Hawaii Island in Kona on July 5, 1840 at a location inside the present Kona Plaza Shopping Arcade. A grass hut once used for worship still stands on church grounds.

In 1850 the church building, a familiar structure in Historic Kailua Village, was erected.

However, following irreparable damage to St. Michael’s church resulting from the October 2006 earthquake, the building built of lava rock and coral sand mortar; had to be demolished.

In 2010, a new architectural plan was completed and necessary approvals and permits to rebuild were obtained. Salvaged items including stained glass windows and the bell from the original church will be incorporated in the new church.

An Outreach Center and Parish Center will provide much-needed space for St. Michael’s community assistance programs.

Parish reserves of $2 million plus insurance and fundraising to date of $2.3 million means there is still $2.8 million needed to complete the first phase.

For further information, call 326-7771 or visit www.onecatholicohana.org.

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