Photos have surfaced of an unscathed Catholic church standing amidst the ravaging fires that have engulfed the island of Maui in Hawaii.
It was built in 1846 and currently serves between 700–800 families on the island.
“For us, it’s like a miracle,” Monsignor Terrence Watanabe told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
A new photo shows that Maria Lanakila Catholic Church is still standing amid the ashes and devastation left by the massive fire that destroyed much of Lahaina, Maui this week pic.twitter.com/NSXCfUnvMK
— Jack Poso 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) August 11, 2023
“When we saw the news and saw the church steeple rise above the town, it was a great sight to see.”
The inferno has tragically claimed the lives of at least 93 individuals and inflicted severe damage upon residences and establishments.
Maria Lanakila Catholic Church was fortunate to be preserved. Parts of the island have turned to ash.
“We won’t know until we get in there and make an assessment,” Watanabe said.
The church was founded founded by Rev. Aubert Bouillon of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in 1846.
The Maria Lanakila Catholic Church remained untouched by fires that destroyed most of the town in Maui. pic.twitter.com/C03c7WP2Zh
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) August 12, 2023
A nearby Catholic school, Sacred Heart Schools, suffered significant damage.
“We’ve got an area that we have to contain that is at least 5 square miles and it is full of our loved ones,”Maui Police Chief John Pelletier said.
At least 2,200 buildings were damaged or destroyed in West Maui, of which 86% were residential.