St. Catherine Church

Early History of St. Catherine Church


Forty years before the construction and dedication of the first Church of St. Catherine, Catholic education and mission work was conducted on the eastern and northern shores of Kauai.  The first priest to come to Kauai, Fr. A. Walsh, arrived at Koloa on December 22, 1841.  On December 25, 1841 Fr. Walsh celebrated the first mass on Kauai.

St. Catherine Church was solemnly blessed by Bishop Keochemann on September 2, 1887 at Kealia, Kauai, at the present cemetery site.

With the growing number of catholics, a new church was built under the direction of Fr. John McDonald on the grounds of the St. Catherine School on Kawaihau Road. The newly built St. Catherine Church was completed in 1958. 

The church was constructed for the sum of $69,000.00 plus a tremendous amount of volunteer work by the parishioners. It was blessed and dedicated on April 20, 1958 by Bishop James Sweeney and the first mass was celebrated by Fr. John McDonald.  A large donation of $15,000.00 was given by Archbishop William D. O’Brien of Chicago.

Art work for the new church features three of Hawaii’s most outstanding artists—Jean Charlot, Juliette May Fraser and Tseng Yo Ho.   

The present St. Catherine Church remains the primary Church of the 3-church St. Catherine Parish which includes two mission churches of St. Sylvester Church in Kilauea and St. William Church in Hanalei.

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