Historic church spared by the Maui fires towers above ash and rubble: ‘It’s like a miracle’

The wildfires that have devastated the Hawaiian island of Maui are among the deadliest in over a century, with 96 confirmed deaths and an expected increase in the death toll.

The fires have destroyed thousands of acres of land and caused an estimated $5.5 billion worth of damage to Lahaina, KHON-TV reported.

Despite this tragedy, one historic structure remains standing defiantly amidst the ash and ruin in downtown Lahaina.

It appears that Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, established by Fr. Aubert of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Mary and Jesus in 1846, has been spared from the worst destruction caused by the smoke and flames.

Viral footage taken out front shows that while its surroundings have been reduced to smoldering verges, collapsed buildings, and immolated trees, the church remains largely untouched.

USA Today reported that this modern stone structure was completed in 1873 after its original adobe building with grass hut chapels had been constructed some 27 years earlier.

Msgr. Terrence Watanabe, pastor of St. Anthony’s, reported to the Pillar that the historic church Maria Lanakila (Our Lady of Victory) in Lahaina Town was spared from a destructive fire that consumed the rest of the town.

Serving between 700 and 800 families, this church is rumored to have artwork gifted by King Kalakaua or his sister Queen Liliuokalani.

While the rectory appears to have sustained some damage, Sacred Hearts School had its roof torn off.

“For us, it’s like a miracle,” Watanabe told the Star Advertiser. “When we saw the news and saw the church steeple rise above the town, it was a great sight to see.”

“May She be the beacon of hope…to help the rest of the community,” said parishioner Jeffrey Chang, reported the New York Post.

The pastor of the Waiola Church, Fr. Kuriakose Nadooparambil, has indicated that all of his staff have been able to escape the fire unscathed and find a temporary residence with members of the Catholic community in Central Maui.

Sadly, the church itself was not so fortunate, having been completely destroyed in the fire.

Anela Rosa, a lay minister of Waiola Church, shared with USA Today the devastating news that the church has been completely destroyed.

The church, which celebrated its 200th anniversary in May and is the final resting place of the Kingdom of Hawaii’s royal family, as noted on their website, lost its social hall, sanctuary and annex.

Here is an image of the incredible scene:

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7 thoughts on “Historic church spared by the Maui fires towers above ash and rubble: ‘It’s like a miracle’

  1. Jorg Aadahl August 15, 2023 at 10:53 am

    What utter nonsense! So, if there were a “god”, why wouldn’t she avoid this disaster, instead of just saving a church?
    No end to superstition! Grow up people and stop believing in made-up childrens’ stories!

    1. Lawrence M August 21, 2023 at 6:48 am

      Pity that people like you can’t see the deeper truth and yet you think you know enough or what’s really going on in our brief material lives! Very sad but an individual choice is made.
      Intensive education may help you but sound like you have a long way to go. We should all pray for the lost.

  2. Elie Mae August 15, 2023 at 12:34 pm

    It is a Gods; miracle. The FBI and Wray will be sending agents to prove the Catholics caused the fire.

  3. Lawrence M August 15, 2023 at 1:02 pm

    Yes this should clearly be taken as a sign from above, as God is omnipotent while ever watching! This “Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Mary and Jesus” since 1846 has offered much faith and prayer which God is completely aware of and what we see in all these things down here through our eyes is blurry or uncertain.

    But to God who sees and knows all things what may seem so tragic and impossible or unfinished to us while so painful; yet these things are touched by the Joy, Peace and God’s Glory in Heaven, because Jesus overcame this world, even death!

    While even though we witness the stark reality of how there aren’t truly permanent happy endings to all events or stories here on earth, we are promised that God’s “kingdom to come” and “life everlasting” will be totally joyous and blissful

    We must therefore realize that we should try our best to look past the devastation, because that is but a temporary state or experience for we in the material finite world and condition. But, our inheritance for being a part of this, where “we are children of God” and therefore should seek to “serve His will,” because that truly makes all of this worthwhile, “providing everlasting life for those with faith in Him!”

    2 Timothy 1:68 “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. 8So do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me, His prisoner. Instead, join me in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.”

    This miraculous symbol standing amidst all that devastation is saying to us, we don’t understand enough or the why right now, but we can plainly as well as mysteriously see that God is here, even or perhaps right now especially in this hard, uncertain place of shattered hopes and dreams. This again points out how all these things including our flesh lives are temporary and mere vapor like our physical temporary short lives mentioned in this following Scripture.

    James 4:13-15 “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business, and make a profit.” 14You do not even know what will happen tomorrow! What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord is willing, we will live and do this or that.”

    But His ever-present “Love and Divine Purpose” will be never-ending for us by and through our faith in Him! Amen.

    Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

    Psalm 39:5 (amplified) “Behold, You have made my days as [short as] hand widths, And my lifetime is as nothing in Your sight. Surely every man at his best is a mere breath [a wisp of smoke, a vapor that vanishes]! Selah.”

  4. Drosack August 15, 2023 at 2:53 pm

    A miracle would have been the church burning down with no one in it, and all the people that died in that fire were still alive.

  5. Uncle Art August 16, 2023 at 8:22 am

    IDK it’s funny that it’s 3 separate pictures made to look like one. I see Green trees on the right side of the church and not too much to see on the left. How about a wide photo so we can see if the fires were even close to it. Or even if it was in the same neighborhood. This looks like a propaganda photo as far as I can see.
    It wouldn’t be the first time they lied & scammed public

  6. Uncle Art August 16, 2023 at 8:23 am

    IDK it’s funny that it’s 3 separate pictures made to look like one. I see Green trees on the right side of the church and not too much to see on the left. How about a wide photo so we can see if the fires were even close to it. Or even if it was in the same neighborhood. This looks like a propaganda photo as far as I can see.


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