Elizabeth (Isabel) was a Spanish princess who was given in marriage to King Denis of Portugal at the age of twelve. She was very beautiful and very lovable. She was also very devout, and went to Mass every day. (Catholic-org)
Queen Elizabeth died on July 4th, 1336. She was 65 years of age, perhaps somewhat older, and had incorporated into her passage through this earth prayers, sacrifices, interventions for peace among monarchs, acts of worship, and works of mercy too numerous to mention in this brief piece.
Almost three centuries after her death, His Holiness Pope Urban VIII inexplicably broke his reported vow that there would be no canonizations during his Pontificate: He canonized St. Elizabeth of Portugal on Holy Trinity Sunday, May 25th, 1625. (SaintsCatholic)
Centuries later, Portuguese began arriving in Hawai‘i in large numbers to work on plantations in 1879. Many continued to be employed by the plantations even after their contracts had been fulfilled.
Others, however, sought to take up independent work and on Maui turned especially to farming and ranching. The middle slope of Haleakala is an exceptionally fertile region and many people of Portuguese ancestry settled here, some homesteading the land.
Before long, this growing Catholic community felt the need for a priest. In 1882 James Beissel, a priest from Prussia, was assigned to Makawao, and his district extended from Ulupalakua around to Huelo. At some time between 1894-1897, he designed the Holy Ghost Church in Kula and supervised its construction. (NPS)
The two acres of land on which it was built were donated by Louis and Randal von Tempsky in Waiakoa, and the building was financed by weekly auctions of cattle by local ranchers. (Kula Catholic Community)
The octagonal shape of the structure, according to local belief, derives from the fact that it corresponded with the shape of a replica of the crown of Queen Elizabeth of Portugal, which the church housed.
The crown of St. Elizabeth plays an important role-in the Portuguese community’s Holy Ghost celebration. According to folk beliefs in the Azore Islands, from which many of Hawaii’s Portuguese population immigrated, Queen Elizabeth gave the Catholic Church her crown after she had prayed to the Holy Ghost and her people were delivered from famine. (NPS)
The richly decorated altar and the Portuguese language Stations of the Cross were commissioned by Father Beissel in 1895 and were carved by the famous artisan and master woodcarver, Ferdinand Stuflesser, from Groden, Tirol, Austria.
Shipped in nine separate crates around the Cape of Good Hope to Hawai‘i, the altar and stations were hauled by oxcart from Kahului Harbor to Waiakoa and reassembled by the faithful members of the parish.
They are recognized now as examples of museum-quality ecclesiastical art of that time. In January of 1899 Bishop Ropert Gulstan of Honolulu arrived to officiate at the formal dedication the church. (Kula Catholic Community)
This frame church, the only known nineteenth-century octagonal-shaped building in Hawai‘i, is approximately sixty feet in diameter. Its steep, corrugated-metal hipped roof is surmounted by a mock clerestory with a blind arcade and terminates with a steeple supported on a round-arched arcade with a balustrade.
Tuscan columns serve as corner posts for the eighteen-foot-high, tongue-and-groove walls, six of which have round-arched stained glass windows. The interior is a large octagonal space with the chancel at the north end opposite the entrance and choir loft.
Four central Tuscan columns carry an octagonal rib-vaulted, tongue-and-groove ceiling. The stations of the cross are unusual in that they are inscribed in Portuguese rather than Latin or English. (SAH Archipedia)
In 1991, under the leadership of Father Michael Owens, a major restoration of the church and altars was initiated, requiring the closure of the church for about one year. In 1995, the parish was able to celebrate its Centennial year in its resplendent, restored condition.
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