The historic Maria Lanakila Catholic Church in downtown Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, is now a beacon of hope amid the devastating destruction caused by the recent widespread wildfires.
More than 200 homes, businesses, and landmarks have been lost, but the church miraculously remains standing and unscathed, providing the community with a glimmer of hope amid the blistering destruction.
“The church, Maria Lanakila [Our Lady of Victory], is still standing, as is the rectory,” said Msgr. Terrence Watanabe. “The school’s been a little bit affected.”
A Catholic church reportedly remains untouched by the wildfires as a symbol of hope in Hawaii
Around 67 people have died in the wildfires that has almost totally destroyed the Lahaina town in Hawaii’s Maui. While according to local reports coming out, Maria… pic.twitter.com/VxRzN1wX16
— Sachin Jose (@Sachinettiyil) August 12, 2023
However, authorities say the true extent of the damage won’t be known until inspectors enter the building. If the inside is significantly damaged, the building may need to be torn down.
The church, which was established in 1846, is one of the oldest churches in Hawaii and is considered to be a symbol of the state’s history and faith.
Despite the utter devastation that has been wreaked upon the town, locals have expressed immense gratitude that Maria Lanakila is still standing.
Video footage captures the church, seemingly unscathed, against the backdrop of what is left of the town–charred debris and what appears to be smoke rising from the ground.
Commenters on the video wrote “A miracle, and a testament to God’s Glory” and “Wow. Standing up after the Fire. Glory to God.”
Hawaii Gov. Josh Green (D) estimated that 80 percent of the historic town of Lahaina has been destroyed and, at one point, described the town as “gone.”
Red Cross Hawaii is currently responding to the blaze and providing food, shelter, and other critical recovery services and assistance to area residents impacted by the wildfires.
At this time, the community is coming together to assess the damage caused by the wildfire and aid in the recovery process, with some onlookers viewing Maria Lanakila as a symbol of hope and a reminder of faith during such a difficult time.