Here is a month-by-month review of the Catholic news in Hawaii in 2021 as reported in the Hawaii Catholic Herald.
A Jan. 8 memo from the Diocese of Honolulu said it would not “mandate” the COVID-19 vaccine for persons who work in Hawaii’s Catholic parishes, schools and other ministries, but strongly recommended those who were eligible to receive it to do so.
Brandee Menino, director of HOPE Services and anti-homelessness activist on the Big Island, was the keynote speaker at the Red Mass, Jan. 19, in the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace.
The Diocese of Honolulu and the Knights of Columbus joined the Hawaii Life Alliance, the state’s leading pro-life non-profit organization, in a virtual March for Life on KALO TV, Jan. 22. Bishop Silva celebrated a “Mass for the Protection of Life” at the Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa in Kalihi followed by adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Jan. 21 with limited in-person attendance.
Maryknoll School announced that its new school president would be alumna Shana Tong, a longtime school administrator who had been serving as the interim head of school since fall 2020.
On several different dates on various islands, 13 men were ordained permanent deacons for the Diocese of Honolulu in January and February.
Catholic Charities Hawaii successfully handled millions of dollars in COVID-19 rental assistance requests over the Christmas 2020 timeframe.
In a Feb. 1 letter to the “People of God of the Diocese of Honolulu,” Bishop Silva extended his dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass for the sixth time, from Feb. 16, the day before Ash Wednesday, until Holy Thursday, April 1. This was later shifted to Easter Sunday.
On Maui, Molokai and the Big Island, instead of the customary single event per vicariate for the Rite of Election, the rite was held at each parish on Feb. 21, the first Sunday in Lent. Lanai had no catechumens this year. Kauai held a single Rite of Election on Feb. 20, and Oahu had two on Feb. 21. Hawaii had a total of 150 catechumens, according to the diocesan Office of Worship.
Opening day of school at St. Theresa School in Honolulu. Blessing of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish’s “new” building.
The first of four inquiry weekends for prospective permanent deacons and their spouses began the weekend of March 12-14.
The celebration of the 500th anniversary of the introduction of the Catholic faith to the Philippines was marked in the Diocese of Honolulu with an evening Mass, tempered by the pandemic, at the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, March 16.
On March 25, during the Mass on the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, Bishop Larry Silva introduced a new “Order of Naming” during which mothers and fathers are given an opportunity to name the babies who died through miscarriage and receive a special blessing.
The Diocese of Honolulu’s pioneer class of eight permanent deacons, ordained Dec. 5, 1981, marked the end of an era with the retirement of its last active member, Deacon Ronald Choo, on March 30.
The Diocese of Honolulu hired three experts in the areas of construction, property management and accounting to help the diocese and parishes in those areas where experience is a necessary and valued asset. Caven Raco is the new, part-time facilities services advisor. Lee McCluskey is a full-time facilities manager. Michele Lum is a full-time parish accounting manager. Deacon Raffy Mendoza also serves as an accounting manager for several Catholic schools.
Many local Catholic schools reported an increase in enrollment numbers due to the pandemic and parents tired of online learning and of how public schools have handled the school year.
Diocese of Honolulu-affiliate HOPE Services Hawaii broke ground April 16 for the Sacred Heart Affordable Housing Project, the first affordable housing development dedicated to kupuna in the Big Island’s Puna district.
Father William Kunisch II, a former Lutheran, became the diocesan ecumenical/interfaith officer as of April 21. He previously held the role from 2007-2010.
Paul Pierce, a Maui local boy, was ordained a priest for the Neocatechumenal Way in Miami on May 8.
Ese’ese “Ace” Tui was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Honolulu on May 21 at the Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa.
Deacon Modesto Cordero, the Diocese of Honolulu’s director of the office of worship since 2012, relocates to California to be closer to family. Father Alfred Omar Guerrero replaces him in the position.
A one-page edict, dated, read and posted by Bishop Larry Silva on May 29, stated that he had received a formal written request “to initiate the cause for beatification and canonization of the Servant of God Joseph Dutton, layman.”
The Marianist priests and brothers left St. Anthony Parish in Wailuku, Maui, on June 30, 2021. The Marianists staffed St. Anthony School for 138 years and the parish for 45 years.
Hawaii’s oldest Catholic school, St. Ann School in Kaneohe, closed on June 4 at the end of the academic year due to enrollment and financial issues.
As St. Ann School closed, its principal Mandy Thronas-Brown became the new associate superintendent of Hawaii Catholic Schools.
Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet Kristina DeNeve made her temporary vows on June 15 at the Holy Family Chapel in St. Louis, Missouri. DeNeve was the Diocese of Honolulu’s Office of Religious Education coordinator for adult faith formation and evangelization from late 2012 until mid-2018.
Gov. David Ige on June 16 signed into law SB 697, a Hawaii State Senate bill naming the first month of the year “Kalaupapa Month.”
Father Lane Akiona was elected June 23 by his religious community as the superior of the United States Province of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
Parish priests on retreat break for a group photo. Campus of St. Ann School in Kaneohe, which closed last year. Bishop Larry Silva blesses the casket of Army chaplain Father Emil Kapaun, Kansas candidate for sainthood whose remains were identified at Punch-bowl Cemetery. A young catechumen signs the Book of the Elect. Bishop Silva on virtual Respect Life Day.
On July 3, Bishop Larry Silva blessed a newly purchased three-story commercial office building that added much-needed space to Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in urban Honolulu.
At several Masses of the Holy Spirit on Oahu and the neighbor islands on Aug. 4, Catholic school employees gathered to mark the start of the new school year.
St. John Apostle and Evangelist Church in Mililani marked its 50th anniversary on Aug. 15 and celebrated with a Mass and installation of its new pastor, Father Anthony Rapozo, on Aug. 14.
Hale Kau Kau, on the grounds of St. Theresa Church, Kihei, marked 30 years of serving hot, nutritious food daily to the poor of south Maui.
An arson fire damages a storage room and all the early learning center classrooms at St. Philomena Church and School in Salt Lake on Oahu.
The Diocese of Honolulu marked its 80th anniversary on Sept. 10, the day in 1941 on which it was elevated from a vicariate to a diocese and Bishop James J. Sweeney installed as its bishop.
Hawaii bid aloha to the remains of Father Emil Kapaun, a U.S. Army Korean War chaplain and candidate for sainthood, with an evening Mass celebrated by Bishop Larry Silva Sept. 23 in the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace honoring the priest who died 70 years ago in a North Korean prisoner of war camp. The U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced on March 4 this year that it had identified the priest’s remains among those of unidentified soldiers long interred at Punchbowl national cemetery. After the Mass, the remains were returned to the priest’s home Diocese of Wichita.
Bishop Larry Silva re-introducing his annual appeal, the Bishop’s Circle, under the new name ‘Ohana in Christ, and started a new approach to raising financial support for crucial church ministries. Each parish has a new target goal of 25% of its current annual assessment — the amount it gives yearly to the diocese to help cover diocesan operations.
Matthew Lonoikamakahiki Wah Tim Yim, a former parishioner of Holy Trinity Parish in Kuliouou and local boy, was ordained a transitional deacon for the Jesuits on Oct. 23 at Oakland’s Cathedral of Christ the Light.
Paul Pierce, originally from Maui, is ordained a priest for the Neocatechumenal Way in Miami. Hale Kau Kau marks 30 years. Matthew Yim, a former parishioner of Holy Trinity Parish in Kuliouou, was ordained a transitional deacon for the Jesuits. Permanent deacon ordination.
John Akau, seminarian of the Diocese of Honolulu, took his first formal step toward priesthood during his Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders on Nov. 10 at Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wisconsin.
Holy Family Catholic Academy, which is near the Honolulu International Airport and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, and many of its families was affected by petroleum contamination of the Red Hill well supplying them with water around Thanksgiving.
After Gov. David Ige lifted social distancing requirements as of Dec. 1, the diocesan COVID-19 Task Force announced churches no longer have to observe distance seating but congregants are still required to wear masks. The Big Island kept its distancing rules in force.
Bishop Larry Silva celebrated eight pre-dawn Misa de Gallo “rooster” Masses at eight parishes on Kauai and Oahu, continuing his annual observance of the popular Filipino Advent tradition. He also celebrated two pre-Christmas Simbang Gabi “night” Masses.