Hawaii is the U.S.’ 50th state, and a popular vacation destination for millions each year.
Although there are actually over 1500 islands that make up the chain, there are only seven that attract tourists:
The Island of Hawaii (the largest…and usually called “the Big Island”, to differentiate it from the state of Hawaii as a whole), Kuai, Lanai, Maui, Moloikai, Oahu, and Niihau. Number eight, Niikhau, is privately owned and open to only a few visitors.
The Catholic influence began in 1827, when members of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary from France arrived in the Hawaiian Islands and established a mission. In November of 1837, under pressure from the protestant missionaries, King Kamehameha III expelled the Catholics from the Islands.
Then on July 10, 1839 the French frigate Artemise under the command of Capt. Cyrille Laplace sailed into Honolulu Harbor and issued a manifesto demanding among other things, freedom to practice the Catholic religion in the Hawaiian Kingdom, and Catholicism was allowed once again.
As mentioned, Hawaii is a major tourist destination, with travelers arriving both by air (Honolulu is the major international airport) and from cruise ships.
Many cruises call on the islands, and one ship..the NCL “Pride of America” is actually based here and visits four of the islands, meaning there are no “Sea Days” ….. the ship serves as your floating hotel…….you cruise at night and each day is spent in port. It gets mixed reviews on Cruise Critic, ( we think people are looking at it in the wrong way…it is really just a floating hotel). But you can read the reviews here and judge for yourself. Unfortunately, they skip Molokai, which is of great interest to Catholics, since it is the place where Saint Damien ministered to the lepers and home to his shrine.
Some cruise lines may have a Catholic priest on board for Mass (Holland America has a Catholic priest on board every cruise)…you can check those out here.
Thinking of a destination wedding in Hawaii? Be sure to read the Diocesan page regarding getting married in Hawaii.
Catholic churches and shrines in Hawaii:
There are many, many Catholic churches on the islands, in fact if you are looking for a place to attend Mass, you have the wonderful problem not of where to find a Catholic church….but rather, which one to choose! The Diocese of Honolulu, which covers all the islands, has hundreds of churches and mission churches. They even have a list of Sunday Masses shown on their map, with a list of about 80 churches to choose from.
Here are have just a few of those:
Island of Hawaii
Island of Kuai:
Island of Lanai
Lanai city: Sacred Hearts Church
Island of Maui:
Lahaina: Maria Lanakila Catholic Church
Island of Molokai:
North Shore of the island: Shrine of St. Damien of Molokai
Island of Oahu:
Honolulu: Many Catholic Churches
In addition to those listed above, you can find a complete listing on the Diocesan website here.