History of the Parish

Saint Raphael Catholic Church in Koloa is a parish of the Roman Catholic Church of Hawaii in the United States. Located in Koloa on the island of Kauai, the church falls under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Honolulu and its bishop.

The oldest Catholic Church in Kauai, St. Raphael's was founded in 1841; two years after Catholics were granted religious freedom in Hawaii after the French threatened Honolulu. Father Arsenius Walsh established the parish.

The first stone chapel was built by Father Walsh in 1842.  In preparation for the Centennial anniversary in 1941, the Chapel sanctuary was rebuilt by parishioners. 

The present sanctuary of St. Raphael's Church in Koloa, Kauai was completed in December 1854, however the blessing did not take place until October 24,1856 to coincide with the feast day of St. Raphael the Archangel. In 1933 the bell tower was removed and a permanent adobe tower was added to the left of the sanctuary.  In 1936 Father Philibert enlarged and renovated the church to double its seating capacity.
The original rectory was completed in 1850, one of four stone structures built by Father Walsh during his 17 years in Koloa. This structure burned down in 1900.  Parishioners decided to restore the historic structure and transform it into a parish hall in 1939.   The building is now used for religious education
There are two grottos dedicated on the grounds of St. Raphael, Kauai.  The first was constructed in the 1880 over the mouth of a lava tube.  Originally dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes, in was modified in 2008 to be the Risen Christ. It is located some distance makai of the church and can be found at the end of today's stations of the cross.  Every Easter Sunday, Mass is held here at daybreak.
The second, which is dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes was completed and blessed in 1941.  The figure of the Blessed Virgin looks serenely down from the grotto wall at the left upon a statue of St. Bernadette as she appeared on February 11, 1858 in Lourdes, France.
As a result of Hurricane Iniki in 1992, funding was made available to build the new Church just Makai of the original church.  It was formally blessed in 2012.

On June 25, 2008, Fr Napoleon Andres, M.S. presided and was assisted by Fr. Edison Pamintuan, M.S. in the consecration of the Stations of the Cross at St Raphael.

The creation of the Stations of the Cross on the grounds at St Raphael was inspired by Sonny Gerardo in a suggestion to Fr. Edison about eighteen months prior to the completion of construction. Fr. Edison then laid out a design which meanders from near the new church and ends at the "Risen Christ Grotto".  The pathway is about 1,500 feet (500 meters) long.


175th Anniversary Celebration Events

Saturday, July 23rd Koloa Plantation Days - Hapa Trail Walk

Our 175th Celebration Series successfully kicked-off on Saturday, July 23rd as we welcomed over 300 island residents, guests and visitors for the famous Koloa Plantation Days Hapa Trail Walk. The parishioners of St. Raphael Church provided coffee, water, pastries and donuts to all participants.

Saturday, July 30th Koloa Plantation Days Parade

“Planting the Seeds that Nourish the Soul”  was the theme of the 2016 Koloa Plantation Days Parade. This year’s parade honored St. Raphael Church as the Parade Grand Marshall as we celebrate our “175 Anniversary” on December 25, 2016. The float won "Best in Parade" award. Watch the video of the parade, to share in the experience of the day.  In addition, Millie Curtis and the rest of the performers, entertained the parade goers with their beautiful songs and music. We are hoping that all parishioners were able to experience this spectacular event. Read more

Saturday, December 3rd 175th Anniversary Carnival and Celebration

The Celebration was a joyous event.  Thank you to the hundreds of people who came out to help us celebrate under a beautiful calm, sunny day.  Father Arlen's offering to St. Clair, the patron saint of weather proved to be highly successful.  While flood alerts were issued all around Kauai, we were blessed with a beautiful day.  Father's blessing of attendees was followed by a continuous stream of top notch entertainment.  The craft fair had over 30 crafters and the rummage sale had hundreds of items.  All were busy from the start.  We cannot forget the great food that was available for all to enjoy.  We thank the donors to our silent auction - it was a great success! It was great to see priests around the island and our invited dignitaries who helped us celebrate this historic event.  Many thanks to all the volunteers who put in tireless hours to make this event a great success.  A special thanks goes out to Brenda Sameshima and the celebration committee who organized a great event.

Sunday, December 25th 175th Anniversary Celebration

On Sunday, December 25th, we were honored to welcome our parishioners and visitors to mark the 175th Anniversary Celebration of St. Raphael Church. We began our celebration with mass at 11:00 a.m. on Christmas Day followed by our 175th Anniversary Luau on the lawn area.  Great food and live entertainment was a blessing for all who joined in.  See the article in the Garden Island News for photos and details



Download the Guide for touring the historic grounds while on site.

Printed copies are available inside the front entrance of the historic church