The first Catholic priests arrived at Honolulu on 9 July, 1827. They were the Rev. Alexis Bachelot, prefect Apostolic, the Rev. Abraham Armand, and the Rev. Patrick Short. The first two were natives of France, and the third of Ireland. All three were members of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, called also the Society of Picpus, from the name of the street in Paris in which its mother-house is situated. They had been sent by Pope Leo XII. On July 13, 1827, the first recorded Mass is celebrated on Hawaiian soil in Honolulu.
Protestant missionaries had arrived from New England as early as 1820, and had gained the king and chiefs over to their cause. As soon as the priests began to make converts a fierce persecution was raised against the natives who became Catholics. They were ill-treated, imprisoned, tortured, and forced to go to the Protestant churches, and the priests were banished. Fathers Bachelot and Short were taken to a solitary spot in Lower California, far removed from any human habitation. Brothers Leonard Portal and Melchoir Bondu remain at the Honolulu mission.
In 1836 the Rev. Robert Arsenius Walsh, an Irish priest of the same Congregation, arrived at Honolulu, and through the intervention of the British consul, was enabled to remain on the islands in spite of the ill-will of the Protestant party, which wanted to send him back on the vessel in which he had come. Being a British subject, he is permitted to remain but is prohibited from converting the native Hawaiians. In later years he establishes the first Catholic missions on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, and Niihau. He is called the “Apostle of Hawaii.”
In 1837 Fathers Bachelot and Short returned from California, but religious persecution still continued. In the same year there arrived from France the Rev. Louis Maigret, who afterwards became bishop, and first Vicar Apostolic of the Sandwich Islands. He was not permitted to land, but was obliged to leave the country, together with Father Bachelot. who was in very feeble health. On Dec. 5, the sickly Father Bachelot, Hawaii’s first Catholic missionary, dies at sea. He is buried on the tiny reef island of Na, off Ponape, in the Caroline Islands.
On 9 July the twelfth anniversary of the arrival of the first Catholic priests, the French frigate "Artémise", Captain Laplace, arrived at Honolulu. A few hours after anchoring dispatched one of his officers to present the king the following summary request: (1) that the Catholic religion be declared free; (2) that all Catholics imprisoned on account of their religion be set at liberty; (3) that the government give a suitable site at Honolulu for a Catholic Church; (4) that the king place in the hands of the captain of the "Artémise" the sum of $20,000, as a guarantee of his good-will and peaceful mind, said sum to be restored when the French Government should feel satisfied that the above conditions had been fulfilled. Hostilities were to commence if the king failed to comply within forty-eight hours with the terms of this manifesto, a document later called “Laplace’s Manifesto.” Kamehameha III concedes. All the conditions were readily accepted, and peace was concluded. From this time the Catholic priests have enjoyed a tolerable amount of liberty; but the Protestant missionaries and their friends have been identified with the Government and have had the important positions, using their influence as well as the government emoluments for the advancement of their cause.
VICARIATE APOTOLIC OF ORIENTAL OCEANIA (1840-1847)
In the year 1840 there arrived at Honolulu the Rt. Rev. Bishop Rouchouze, first vicar Apostolic of Oriental Oceania, appointed to this office in 1833, and having jurisdiction not only in Hawaii, but also in Tahiti, the Marquesas, and other islands. He was accompanied by-three other priests, one of whom, Rev. Louis Maigret, had been refused a landing at Honolulu in 1837. On 9 July 1840, ground was broken for the foundation of the present Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace. On the same day 280 catechumens received baptism and confirmation, and in December ordained Sacred Hearts Father Bamabe Castan to the priesthood, the first ordination in Hawaii. In January, 1841, Bishop Rouchouze returned to France, in search of labourers and resources for his mission.' He was successful in obtaining a number of priests and sisters of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts. They left France in 1841 — with a cargo of supplies on the schooner "Mary-Joseph", owned by the mission; but, unfortunately, the vessel was lost with all on board, not one surviving to tell the tale. This was a severe blow for the young mission, and retarded its progress for man years.
On January 24, 1841, Father Maigret celebrates the first Mass on Maui in Lahaina. On December 25, 1841, Father Walsh celebrates the first Mass on Kauai in Koloa, establishing a mission on that island. On July 31, 1842, Father Walsh celebrates the first Mass on Niihau, beginning a mission there.
On 15 August, 1843, the newly-finished cathedral of Honolulu was solemnly dedicated, and 800 Catholics received Holy Communion. It is one of the oldest Catholic cathedrals in continuous use in the United States, the oldest building structure in “downtown” Honolulu and the oldest existing Catholic church in Hawaii.
On April 21, 1846, Fathers Modest Favens and Barnabe Castan begin a mission on Maui. About 4,000 Hawaiians, already instructed in the faith by lay catechist Helio Mahoe and others, eagerly welcome the priests and are baptized. On October 18, 1846, the first Mass on Lanai is celebrated by Father Modest Favens.
About this time Oriental Oceania was divided into three vicariates Apostolic: Tahiti, Marquesas, and Sandwich Islands.
VICARIATE APOSTOLIC OF HAWAIIAN ISLANDS (1847-1941)
On 11 July, 1847, Pius IX appointed the then prefect of the mission, the Very Rev. Luis-Désiré Maigret (1847-1882), first vicar Apostolic, to succeed Bishop Rouchouze and take charge of the Sandwich Islands Mission as a separate vicariate. In 1848, the name was changed to Vicariate Apostolic of Hawaiian Islands. From this time on the mission made slow but steady progress, in spite of the odds it had to contend with.
First Vicar Apostolic - Bishop Luis-Désiré Maigret (1847-1882)
Made a bishop in 1847, Bishop Maigret’s jurisdiction was limited to the Hawaii mission. He completed the cathedral planned by his predecessor in 1843; founded the island’s Catholic school, Ahuimanu, in 1846; and brought in Hawaii’s first nuns, the Sacred Hearts Sisters, in 1859. In late 1869, he attended the First Vatican Council in Rome.
The Protestant ministers found the ancient belief of the aborigines in their idols already shaken and partly discarded (owing probably, to the fact that foreigners broke the dreaded taboos without incurring the wrath of the gods). They taught the Hawaiians to wear clothes, and to read and write the Hawaiian language. After having translated the Bible and given it to the natives, they considered the latter civilized and Christianized, and proceeded forthwith to develop the resources of the country. But this Christianity was superficial. The life — philosophy of the weak and inconstant natives was to shun work and enjoy all the pleasures within reach. If the foreigners had offered them but one form of Christianity and had illustrated it by their good example; if, above all, the efforts at educating these grown-up children had been directed more towards correcting the evil tendencies of their hearts than cramming their minds with knowledge, the aborigines would certainly have received the blessings of Christianity, lived by it, and multiplied. But it was quite otherwise. The mild climate; the inheritance from their fathers of an unrestrained, easygoing, indolent character; the bad example of all classes of foreigners, who brought and spread the germs of disease; the contradictory teachings of the man Christian denominations which tried to establish their respective creeds on the ruins of that of their rivals; the wrong principles of an education which instructs the mind but neglects the heart; the absence of the spiritual aids and remedies of which the Church is the dispenser, to regulate irregular desires of the heart, all these causes combined to produce one dire result, namely, the gradual extinction of the Hawaiian race.
In matters relating to education the Catholic mission of Hawaii has not been inactive. From the very start it established, wherever feasible, independent schools in charge, or under the supervision, of the priest. In 1859 the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary arrived at Honolulu to take charge of a boarding and day-school for girls, which has developed into an institution with 36 Sisters, 66 boarders, 125 day-scholars who pay, and 420 in the free department. In 1883-84 the Brothers of Mary, from Dayton, Ohio, took charge of three schools for boys: St. Louis's College at Honolulu, St. Mary's School at Hilo, and St. Anthony's School at Wailuku. The day-schools for girls at Wailuku and Hilo are in charge of the Franciscan Sisters from Syracuse, New York. The latest addition to the educational work is the new boarding and day-school for girls at Kaimuki, and the Catholic orphanage at Kalihi. Besides work of education the Catholic mission has had also a great share in the work for the lepers. In order to stop the spread of this loathsome disease, the Hawaiian Government established a settlement for the lepers on the Island of Molokai. Bishop Maigret ordained Father Damien de Veuster in the Honolulu cathedral on May 14, 1864, and in 1873 assigned him to Molokai. On May 10, 1873, Father Damien arrives at Kalawao on Molokai’s isolated Kalaupapa peninsula to care for the Hansen’s disease patients who were abandoned there by government edict to die. He stays to transform a lawless, discarded community into one of compassion, dignity and care for those forced to live there.
On September 30, 1878, the first Portuguese immigrants arrive in Hawaii from the Azores. By the end of the century, more than 18,000 will settle in the islands. Among the new arrivals are the great grandparents of the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Honolulu, Bishop Clarence Silva. With the decrease of the Hawaiian population, Catholic missionary efforts shift to these newcomers.
On June 11, 1882, Bishop Maigret dies. An outstanding Catholic leader, he labored 42 years in Hawaii, 35 years as bishop. His administration saw the Catholic conversion of the Hawaiian people rivaling the Protestant efforts. The builder of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, he is buried below its sanctuary. Bishop Bernard Hermann Koeckemann (1882-1892) succeeds him as the second vicar apostolic of the Hawaii Vicariate.
Second Vicar Apostolic - Bishop Bernard Hermann Koeckemann (1882-1892)
German-born Bishop Herman Koeckemann was a brilliant scholar. He arrived in Hawaii in 1854 as a young priest and was assigned continually to the Honolulu mission. He was made coadjutor bishop, one designated to follow the present bishop, on Aug. 21, 1881, to assist the aging Bishop Louis Maigret.
Bishop Koeckemann became Hawaii’s second vicar apostolic following Maigret’s death nearly a year later. With the quickly diminishing population of the native Hawaiians, his administration saw a new apostolate with the growing Portuguese immigrants. He strongly promoted education, introducing the Marianist Brothers to staff Catholic boys’ schools in Honolulu, Wailuku and Hilo. He welcomed Mother Marianne Cope and her Franciscan Sisters of Syracuse to work with Hansen’s disease patients in Honolulu and Molokai.
The bishop’s relationship with Father Damien was stormy at times but he always showed a fatherly concern for the great “Apostle of Molokai.” On April 15, 1889, Father Damien dies and is buried beside his church, St. Philomena’s in Kalawao, Molokai.
Bishop Koeckemann died shortly after been stricken with paralysis on Feb. 22, 1892. He had hoped to be buried next to Bishop Maigret in the cathedral crypt but was finally laid to rest under the tall iron cross in the Catholic cemetery on King Street in downtown Honolulu.
Third Vicar Apostolic – Bishop Gulstan Francis Robert (1892-1903)
On June 3, 1892, Bishop Gulstan Ropert is appointed the third vicar apostolic of the islands.
Father Gulstan Ropert came to Hawaii from France in 1868 and was assigned to Hamakua on the Big Island where he immediately fell in love with the Hawaiian people. He made Waipio Valley his center and had Father Damien, his neighbor in Kohala, build a couple of chapels there.
After 15 years in Hamakua and nine years in Wailuku, Maui, he was appointed bishop, despite all his protests. He followed his predecessor in supporting education with the building of Catholic schools and assisted the Franciscan Sisters with their hospital program at Kalaupapa, Molokai.
In December, 1892, Bishop Gulstan constructed an impressive two-story residence for the mission fathers on the cathedral grounds and, fronting it, he erected the statue of Our Lady of Peace that still stands today in the cathedral courtyard.
Gulstan’s administration witnessed the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and the eventual annexation of Hawaii by the United States. The bishop was a good administrator, mild-mannered, and extremely kind and patient. Many say that his disposition suited well the quiet conducting of the affairs of the Catholic mission through Hawaii’s disturbing political era. After patiently bearing an illness for several years, Gulstan died on Jan. 4, 1903. He is buried next to Bishop Herman Koeckemann at the King Street cemetery.
Forth Vicar Apostolic – Bishop Libert Hubert John Louis Boeynaems (1903-1926)
Bishop Libert Boeynaems came from Belgian to Hawaii in 1881 and spent his first 14 years here on the island of Kauai before being assigned to Wailuku, Maui.
Appointed bishop on July 25, 1903, he initiated many building projects throughout the missions three major churches were built during his office: Sacred Heart Church, Punahou. (1914), St. Joseph Church in Hilo (1919), and the renovation of St. Anthony in Wailuku (1920).
St. Anthony’s Orphanage in Kalihi Valley (1909), St. Anthony’s Orphanage, Wailuku (1923), and Father Louis Boys’ Home, Hilo (1916) were all part of his building program. He also had an ambitious plan to convert the Fort Street cathedral into an impressive Gothic structure.
In 1910 Bishop Boeynaems constructed an ornate Gothic porch fronting the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace as a first phase of his proposed plan to renovate the church.
On Aug. 9, 1918, Mother Marianne Cope dies of natural causes.
Fifth Vicar Apostolic - Bishop Stephen Peter Alencastre (1926-1940)
Born of Portuguese parents in Porto Santo, near Madeira, the future Bishop Stephen Alencastre migrated to Hawaii with his family when he was just an infant, living on Hawaii, Kauai, and later on Maui.
Desiring to be a priest, he was sent to Europe for his seminary studies. He was ordained a priest at our Fort Street cathedral on April 5, 1902. In l9l3, he was assigned to the Punahou mission in Honolulu and the following year constructed the present Sacred Heart Church on Wilder Avenue. On April 29, 1924, Father Alencastre became a coadjutor bishop to the sickly Bishop Boeynaems, succeeding him upon his death in 1926.
The new bishop, Hawaii’s fifth and last vicar apostolic, realized the changing times and saw the need for training island boys for the priesthood. He founded the first St. Stephen’s Seminary in Kalihi Valley. Bishop Alencastre also did some major renovation to the Cathedral, importing the marble main altar to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Catholic Faith in Hawaii in 1927.
Alencastre was also responsible for the continual building of schools and churches in the islands. In 1929, he divides the Honolulu Mission into nine “quasi-parishes”.
In 1936, at the request of the Belgian government, Father Damien’s body is exhumed from Kalaupapa and transported to Belgium, his home country.
On Nov. 9, 1940 Bishop Alencastre died of illness on board a passenger ship returning to Hawaii from Los Angeles. With his passing, the mission era of the Catholic Church in Hawaii came to an end.
DIOCESE OF HONOLULU (1941)
Pope Pius XII decided that the Hawaiian Islands no longer needed a missionary church. Rather, its flourishing Catholic community was mature enough to be administered as a fully independent body of its own. The pope canonically erected the new Diocese of Honolulu on January 25, 1941.
First Diocesan Bishop – Bishop James Joseph Sweeney (1941-1967)
Father James J. Sweeney of San Francisco was named by Pope Pius XII on May 20, 1941, as the first bishop of the newly established Diocese of Honolulu. He was 42.
Bishop Sweeney’s appointment occurred seven months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. During the war, he organized a Crusade of Prayer where the children of the diocese each adopted one of the many servicemen who flooded the islands and prayed for him and his safety. The bishop confirmed nearly 400 troops during this time, visited hospitals, and expanded St. Francis Hospital to improve medical facilities for the civilian population.
Catholic education blossomed under Bishop Sweeney. When he was appointed in 1941, there were 19 Catholic schools.
By his 25th anniversary, the diocese had two seminaries, 10 Catholic high schools and 30 elementary schools with 17,150 students enrolled. Bishop Sweeney also established the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) to teach the faith to children attending non-Catholic schools. By 1966, there were 22,613 students in religious instruction class from the public schools.
Sweeney also created many new parishes: 10 on Oahu, six on the Big Island, three on Maui, one on Lanai, two on Kauai, and one on Molokai.
To increase the number of priests for the diocese, Bishop Sweeney purchased the Harold Castle home in Kailua and turned it into St. Stephen’s Seminary in May 1946.
He built up the diocese’s Catholic Social Service, reorganized Catholic Charities in 1943 and again revamped it in 1948.
With his auxiliary Bishop John J. Scanlan, Bishop Sweeney also attended the first session of the Second Vatican Council 1962.
On June 19, 1968, Bishop Sweeney dies in San Francisco.
Second Diocesan Bishop - Bishop John Joseph Scanlan (1968-1981)
Born in County Cork, Ireland, in 1906, and serving San Francisco since his ordination in 1930, Bishop Scanlan was named auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Honolulu in 1954. He attended sessions of the Second Vatican Council starting in 1962 until their completion in 1965. In 1967, Pope Paul VI appointed him apostolic administrator of the diocese when illness forced Bishop Sweeney to retire.
Upon Bishop Sweeney’s death the next year, Bishop Scanlan was named the second Bishop of Honolulu. As bishop, he created four new parishes in Hawaii and built nine churches. He welcomed Hawaii’s increasingly diversified ethnic mix by establishing Masses in different parishes in Korean, Filipino, and Vietnamese, and also and helped to establish a Samoan Catholic Council.
Bishop Scanlan was responsible for inviting nine new religious communities to serve in the diocese in schools, hospitals, outreach, and the contemplative life.
Bishop Scanlan lead a public demonstration against a proposed abortion bill in the rotunda of the State Capitol in 1970, and after the bill became law, he was an outspoken proponent for the respect and reverence of life. As a response to the abortion issue, he opened the Mary Jane Pearson Center for unwed mothers and their babies, inviting the Sisters of the Good Shepherd to Hawaii to operate the facility in 1976.
In 1981, he ordained the diocese’s first class of permanent deacons.
Bishop Scanlan ordained Bishop Joseph A. Ferrario as his auxiliary bishop in 1978.
Bishop Scanlan retired at the mandatory age of 75 in 1981, remaining as apostolic administrator of the diocese until Bishop Joseph A. Ferrario was appointed bishop in 1982.
Third Diocesan Bishop - Bishop Joseph Anthony Ferrario (1982-1993)
Born in Scranton, Pa., Bishop Joseph A. Ferrario came to Hawaii as a Sulpician priest to teach at St. Stephen’s Seminary, a position he held for nine years.
After then joining the diocese, he held various administrative positions including the directorship of the Catholic Youth Organization. As head of CYO for five years he helped recruit island teens and young adults to serve hundreds of disadvantaged children in camping and summer fun programs.
In 1978, after serving as pastor in two Oahu parishes, Father Ferrario was ordained auxiliary bishop to Bishop John J. Scanlan, succeeding him four years later in June, 1982, as the third Bishop of Honolulu.
Under the goals of “outreach, unity and renewal,” Bishop Ferrario reorganized Catholic Charities, established the Office for Social Ministry, and various ethnic ministries, encouraged parish renewal, and actively promoted the concept of stewardship in the diocese.
A strong supporter of liturgical renewal, Bishop Ferrario established the Office of Worship and encouraged the updating of church interiors.
He also established the St. Augustine Educational Foundation to provide tuition assistance for children in Catholic schools.
During his 11 years as bishop, he established two new Oahu parishes. In 1985, he donated church land in Maui to establish transitional housing for Oahu’s growing population of beach people.
Catholic Charities continued to pioneer progressive transitional shelters on three islands offering not only a place for the homeless to live, but also vocational, medical and counseling services.
Bishop Ferrario retired on Oct. 13, 1993 because of ill health.
Forth Diocesan Bishop - Bishop Francis Xavier DiLorenzo (1994-2004)
Philadelphia native Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo was the auxiliary Bishop of Scranton when Pope John Paul II named him to be administrator of the Diocese of Honolulu immediately upon the retirement of Bishop Joseph A. Ferrario.
He served as administrator for year before the pope appointed him as the fourth Bishop of Honolulu.
Installed on Nov. 30, 1994, at the Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa, Bishop DiLorenzo introduced a diocese-wide parish renewal and review program called the “Welcoming Parish.” The program involved the bishop visiting each parish for meetings with parishioners and parish leadership, a liturgical celebration and a discussion of the parish’s strengths and needs.
On June 4, 1995 Pope John Paul II beatifies Father Damien in Brussels, Belgium.
In June 2000, Bishop DiLorenzo convened the diocese’s second synod to prepare the church in Hawaii for the 21st century through the drafting of 12 major proposals. Youth ministry and religious education were the top concerns of the synod delegates.
The bishop also increased and strengthened the diocese’s ministry to newly arrived immigrants, in particular the Filipinos, Vietnamese, Samoans, Hispanics, Koreans, and Chinese. He substantially increased the number of clergy from the Philippines, first to work among Hawaii’s Filipino Catholics, then to staff many of Hawaii’s parishes.
After nearly 11 years in Hawaii, Bishop DiLorenzo was appointed by the Holy Father to be Bishop of Richmond, Va. He was installed in Richmond on May 24, 2004.
On May 14, 2005, Cardinal Saraiva Martins beatifies Mother Marianne Cope in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome.
Fifth Diocesan Bishop – Bishop Clarence Richard Silva (2005-present)
Pope Benedict XVI appointed Clarence Richard Silva, the first native-born person in the episcopacy of the Hawaiian Islands to become a Bishop of Honolulu on May 17, 2005. He also became the second person of Portuguese ancestry in the episcopate since the Msgr. Stephen Peter Alencastre. Formerly the Vicar General of the Diocese of Oakland, Silva was ordained to the episcopate and installed as bishop at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center Arena on July 21. Over 3,500 were in attendance, making it one of the largest events held by the Diocese of Honolulu in its history.
The principal consecrator was William Joseph Levada, Archbishop of San Francisco and newly-appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The ordination and installation ceremony was the last official ceremonial function as metropolitan bishop over the Province of San Francisco for Levada. Also in attendance were Gabriel Montalvo Higuera, Archbishop Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, and Anthony Apuron, Archbishop of Agana.
O Estado do Havaí (The Aloha State), território americano desde 1900, foi admitido à união em 1959, tornando-se o 50º Estado. Sua Capital é Honolulu, na ilha de Oahu.
O Estado encontra-se 3.200 Km ao sul da parte continental dos Estados Unidos. Assim como o Alasca não tem divisa com nenhum outro estado americano.
As ilhas formam uma única diocese, com sede em Honolulu, desde 1941. É integrante da Província Eclesiástica de San Francisco, na Califórnia.
É o Estado amerciano com menor número de cristãos, apenas 28,9% da população; destes 18,8% são católicos e 10,1% são protestantes. Os demais dividem-se em adeptos de religiões locias, em budistas e hinduístas. Há ainda um número pequeno de judeus e muçulmanos.
Diocese de Honolulu