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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Parish History

The first sturdy church in the Aiea-Halewa area was built by a Mr. Paiko in 1860. Prior to this, a little "native-style" chapel served the area. At that time, priests would stop to tend to the need of the faithful in the area on their way out to Ewa, Waianae and points beyond. There is no record as to exactly when that first church was built. In 1860 Father Agathange Groult, SS.CC. was in charge of the district, and already over two hundred Hawaiian baptisms were recorded in the Catholic Mission's baptismal book.

Halawa got its first resident priest in 1867, Father Raymond Delalande, SS.CC., transferred from a Waialua district. The little church had been blessed on St. Patrick's day 1860 and dedicated to St. Patrick. The church was barely eleven years old when it was destroyed by fire, the little priest's residence and all. A new church was built, while Father Raymond lived at a little residence attached to the church in Waimalu, and completed in 1873.

In 1899 the Honolulu Plantation Company was formed by several Californians. A refinery was opened in 1905 which still operates today. The mill itself was closed in 1947 when the military bought up much of the cane land in the area.

The first church on Moanalua Road was built in the early 1920's after a land exchange with the Bishop Estate. Built by Kobayashi and Sons, it was handled through the Home Building Department of the firm of Allen and Robinson. Bishop Alencastre blessed the church on April 15, 1925, changing St. Patrick's of Halawa to St. Elizabeth's of Aiea. Father Otto Duching, SS.CC., had worked hard for the little church but due to failing health, he had to retire from active work in 1931.

In succession Fathers Anthony Jacobs, SS.CC., James Beynes, SS.CC., and Remy Matthews, SS.CC., were assigned to this growing parish.

Father Cyril L. Eraly, SS.CC., was appointed pastor in 1947. Devoting his main efforts to reorganizing the parish societies. His work with the young was admirable.  He so motivated them, that their attendance at the single Sunday Mass nearly filled the little church allowing little room for adults. Even after adding a second Sunday Mass, there was need for a new church.

Bishop Sweeney not only approved but helped considerably with the financing of the project. Contractor Harry N. Miura restored the church and made improvements. On Sunday, June 10, 1951 the Vicar General of the Diocese blessed the restored church, the completely remodeled rectory, a large garage for bus and car, a spacious playground and a parish hall. The original hall had been restored for the first time since its building by Father Anthony Jacobs in 1932.