History of our Parish


In the year 1841, Fr. Arsenius Robert Walsh, a Sacred Heart priest, was the first of the Catholic priests to enter the Puna District which comprised then the communities of Mountain View, Olaa, Kurtistown, Pahoa, Kalapana, Opihikao as well as other villages along the coast. Fr. Walsh also made stopovers in Puna on his tours of the Big Island. During these visits he baptized those who were prepared, assisted at marriages, visited the sick and comforted the dying. Priests after him would visit the district periodically after him. 
Father Damien Joseph De Veuster was assigned to the Puna District in August 1864, where he remained until March 1865. He built the first house for priests and a grass hut chapel in Kapa'ahu (near Kalapana). He also built four or five chapels during his stay in Puna.
Father Clement Evrard succeeding Father De Veuster and built the first stone church in 1867, replacing the hut chapel built by Father Damien. It is believed that the stone church was based on a plan made earlier by Father Damien.
In 1898 Father Bonaventure Loots, who replaced Fr. Evrard in 1882, built a temporary church in Pahoa and named it Our Lady of Mount Carmel which was later replaced with a wooden structure named Sacred Heart Church.

Father Evarist Gielen, who arrived in Puna in 1927, relocated the Pahoa Sacred Heart Church to its present site and dedicated it in 1929. Shortly, after the dedication of the Pahoa Sacred Heart Church, he began constructing a church in Kalapana which was dedicated in April 1931 and named Star of the Sea. Fr. Evarist is credited with having built three churches in Puna: Sacred Heart Church, Pahoa (1929); Star of the Sea, Kalapana (1931); St. Theresa, Mountain View (1936).

The Sacred Hearts Fathers were the first to evangelize Puna into the Catholic faith. For 103 years they planted the seed of faith in Puna and gave Sacred Heart Church its beginning.

Hawaii Pilgrimage to the Canonization of St. Damien of Molokai




 We the people of Sacred Heart Parish in Pahoa, are a community of faith.  We believe we are called by God to be disciples of Jesus Christ in the Church, which He founded.  We have been called by God, our Father to praise reverence and service Him in His family.  We are support to one another in the salation of our souls.  We do this by Liturgical WORSHIP, RELIGIOUS EDUCATION, Parish STEWARDSHIP, OUTREACH programs and SOCIAL ACTIVITIES.