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Architectural drawings under way for new St. Michael’s church

MEDIA RELEASE

St. Michael the Archangel Church is moving forward with its goal to build a new church campus to accommodate its parishioners and offer expanded outreach services for the needy in the Kona community.

Demolition of the earthquake-damaged, 1850 church building is complete and local archeologist Bob Rechtman secured the remains of Father Joachim Marechal, who was buried under the church in 1859. The remains will be re-interred under the future church building.

Architectural drawings are in the works for the new, energy efficient church building, which must adhere to modern flood zone and earthquake codes. Construction materials from the former church are being included in the new church’s design, such as the stained glass windows, lava rock and the 1853 bell from France.

The community has requested the new church resemble the original St. Michael’s. In addition, a combination community/administration center and a social services outreach building with an upstairs apartment for priests will be on the campus, along with parking. The termite-ridden, former convent building will be leveled; however, the historic church cemetery will not be disturbed.

As St. Michael’s facilities are expanding, it is unfortunately necessary to remove or relocate some of the property’s trees. However, local landscape architect David Tamura will plant trees native to Kona after construction is complete.

Wood from the felled rear monkeypod trees will be used for the church’s new interior furnishings. In the front, a banyan tree, which was planted in the 1990s, must be removed. An arborist has deemed the monkeypod next to the driveway as dying and unsafe, so it must be removed. The other monkeypod trees will remain. Some palm trees on the three-acre property have already been relocated to the church grounds in Holualoa.

“We hope to have a new church that can accommodate up to 400 people at any one time,” said Richard B. (Dick) Leander, Jr., chairman of the parish’s Planning and Building Committee. “We will also have an outdoor area between the buildings for social events. We plan to use the space effectively.”

St. Michael the Archangel Church is part of the North Kona Catholic Community that includes Immaculate Conception Church in Holualoa, St. Paul’s Church in Honalo, St. Peter’s Church in Kahaluu and Holy Rosary Church in Kalaoa. NKCC serves more than 1,000 families and a steady stream of visitors, many who return year after year.

The parish recently released a book that chronicles its history, including the background of St. Michael’s Church, “North Kona’s Catholic Heritage….remembered.”

For information, call 326-7771. For updates on construction, visit the parish’s Web site: onecatholicohana.org

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