Skip to comments.Catholic Church in Hawaii being entirely financed by "mystery" donor: 10 acres, $10 million
Posted on 12/04/2007 12:01:36 PM PST by jobim
I am seeking some input on the following: On the Big Island of Hawaii, on the more rural south & east side, a woman has stepped forward to provide a new Catholic Church. She has already purchased the 10 acres, and has stated that she will provide the $10 million building costs, covering everything except pews and some minor interior furnishings.
She has enlisted 2 teams of architects to draft 2 designs, both of which will be domed structures (ie the entire structure will be in the shape of a dome). When the bishop approves , these 2 designs will be given to the parishoners to choose one.
In other words, a lady none of us has ever met, not from here, is building us a church without the input of any parishoner. Has anyone gone through a similar episode? She has built 9 other churches, on the mainland, in Canada, and in Singapore. I was able to ferret out from our contact person that she is affiliated with a 1500 seat Ave Maria Church in Colorado, with a school attached, as well as with a church in St. Bernard's Parish District in New Orleans.
Some of us are concerned that a modernist church may be the result, but without any backround knowledge, we will be presented with a choice between 2 round churches, and who knows what else on the interior.
Maybe you should just be thankful.
Agreed. Some people just want to give in anonymity. Nothing necessarily nefarious about that. Seems to me that this gift is a whole lot better than giving $10 million to her pet Fifi in her will.
If you all (the parish) don’t like either design, you can always ask the Bishop to reject the gift. She could take her money to a place where it would be more welcome.
Yes indeed, there is the possibility that this will all be in accord with God’s purpose. God does expect us to live “witily” as Thomas More says to his daughter in the film, and a church is a lasting legacy. For this reason, we want to be assured that it reflects our Catholic faith. It is the mystery surrounding this venture, as well as the round design, that gives some of us pause.
It’s probably a simple design with a low $/SF. I would suggest that she simply doesn’t think the building is “The Church”.
There is a very large, growing church in the Bellingham, WA area that is basically a VERY LARGE metal building, that is modestly finished on the inside. The Pastor and the members decided thay’d rather have a building they could pay off in a few years and use the money not spent on an elaborate building for expanding the Kingdom of God.
Isn’t it wonderful that such church place priorities on serving God rather than having a “beautiful” building?
She’s providing two designs. You think a Roman Catholic is who has already purchased 10 acres and is willing to spend $10 million on construction wants a building that did not meet the NEEDS of the local parish. I didn’t say desires, but needs.
Tradition is vastly overrated. Jesus didn’t have a fancy building, so why does a church need one?
OK, you win. I can’t expect you to be in sympathy with my concerns, as it is just a building to you. But I’m not Protestant.
If you truly believe that both of the two designs are not in keeping with the traditions that you want passed down to future generations in your parish, reject them, with a nice thank you for the woman who would have donated them to your parish. Then raise the money for a church building and land that is more in keeping with your parish’s beliefs.
Maybe she thinks there’s a LACK of GRATITUDE in that area!!
Some things actaully changed with the coming of Christ.
The first question, I suppose, is the Bishop. Is he modernist, traditional, or flexible. If a modernist, a traditional design would be out, anyway. Either of the other two, you have a shot.
If the entire building is in the shape of a dome, I don’t really see how it could be anything but modern. If it is a building with a dome, it could easily be traditional.
Finally, I’ll give you some advice:
1) Pray. Pray that the design be one that glorifies God and encourages worship.
2) If the bishop is open to traditional, contact his office, and request that the architects be encouraged to propose traditional elements.
Yes, what you say is right, but again, this will be the bishop’s decision, not the parishoners’. And as I said, I believe the majority will go along with the gift aspect, be grateful for whatever is given. A few of us would like to influence it toward traditional Catholic architecture if possible, if what is planned is, in fact, modernist in design (inside and outside).
I am sensitive to what you say. I think whatever most have heard about all of this, they are in fact grateful. Some of us feel responsibility toward future Catholics that a church that represents Catholic tradition be built. It’s a delicate walk to be cautious, yet be open to accepting of a gift.
Thanks for your research. I had seen this, and it appears to be the only Ave Maria online.
Thanks for your thoughts. The bishop’s stance on this is unknown to me. The diocese has long been run by modernists. I think your 2 suggestions are wise: the 1st always needs our greater focus; the 2nd is what we will do - just unsure of whether to proceed now before the designs are before us, or to wait until that time.
How wondrous are your Scripture citations! From these verses do we gain our insights into how to build for the Lord. And from our Holy Father’s great books The Spirit of the Liturgy and A New Song for the Lord. Thank you for the inspiration!
I’d probably write a nice, humble letter to the Bishop before any designs are submitted, personalizing how traditional internal layout helps me in a proper focus on worship, and how I’ve read that traditional forms and structures are attractive to young folks.
The worst that is likely to happen is that you will be ignored, and at best it might serve to get the issue on the table.
(Disclosure, if you haven’t run across be on the religion board before - I’m a Calvinist that embraces traditional forms and architecture.)
Oh really? "My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of theives"?
I understand the Temple was pretty fancy. So were the Synagouges.
I would wait to see the designs. They could not be more awful than the pre-fab hangars some parishes have been building.
Honestly, the Catholic tradition of beautiful places of worship hasn’t been in vogue in Hawaii for some time now. It seems “expedient” and “cheap” are the buzzwords for most new construction.
Sounds like you know the islands well. Goethe said that architecture is frozen music, and I might extend that to say architecture is frozen theology. And what we witness in the islands is a me-centered theology. It’s been a long lonely confrontation these years I’ve been joined in battle here.