Maui Surprises: St. Joseph’s Catholic Church
When you drive past Hana to the back side of Maui, where the car rental agencies don’t want you to go, the narrow, rough roads allow you to see rocky coasts, steep drop-offs, pounding waves, Charles Lindbergh’s grave, cattle, only a few people–and in Kaupo, one of Maui’s oldest churches. For nearly 100 years, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, established in 1862, served a thriving community of Native Hawaiians, ranchers, fishermen, and farmers.
According to Friends of St. Joseph, missionary Catholic priests evangelized on Maui beginning in the mid-1800s. Making use of local building materials, residents dove for coral and ground it into cement. Even today, this cement holds together the original stones of St. Joseph.
Bishop Louis Maigret blessed St. Joseph Church on June 29, 1862.
When the Kaupo population dwindled to only a few families in the 1970s, St. Joseph closed and fell into disrepair. However, during the late 1980s and early 1990s, church members restored St. Joseph and rededicated it on July 6, 1991.
In 2011, Friends of St. Joseph celebrated the 150 year anniversary of St. Joseph Church.
Whenever there is a fifth Sunday in a month and you are in Kaupo, be there by noon if you would like to participate in a St. Joseph mass, which is followed by fellowship–and a potluck. March 31, 2013, should be the next mass and celebration–but check with the Catholic church in Hana before driving all the way to Kaupo.
In the meantime, you may wander the grounds whenever you get to Kaupo.
* photos by me