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  • Writer's pictureFr. Scott Haynes

Hope from Heaven: Maui Church Survives Fire Untouched

Fr. Scott A. Haynes



Maria Lanakila Catholic Church on Waine street is seen untouched in the aftermath of a wildfire in Lahaina, western Maui, Hawaii on August 11, 2023. One Catholic journalist said it had become a “symbol of hope” for local people.


A Catholic church narrowly escaped destruction from the wildfires which raged across the Hawaiian island of Maui this week, with one online influencer saying it has become a “symbol of hope” for local residents.


Video and photos (see here) posted on social media show the historic Maria Lanakila church, which was founded in 1846, apparently unscathed despite surrounding buildings and vegetation having been incinerated. The church is located in the town of Lahaina, which was largely wiped out by the fire with more than 1,700 buildings reported burned.


On Friday authorities confirmed the death toll on Maui had risen to 80, with firefighters continuing to tackle infernos in what has become the deadliest natural disaster in Hawaiian history. A 20-second clip taken in front of Maria Lanakila was posted on X, formerly Twitter, by Sachin Jose, a self-styled ‘Catholic journalist’ with more than 112,000 followers on the platform.


He wrote: “A miracle? … According to local reports coming out, Maria Lanakila, a Catholic church in Lahaina has remained untouched by the fire. Maria Lanakila, which translates to Our Lady of Victory has become a symbol of hope for the residents.”


A photograph of the church, taken from the road out front which acted as a firebreak, was shared on X by Jack Posobiec, a conservative writer with 2.2 million followers who edits the right-wing Human Events news site.


He commented: “A new photo shows that Maria Lanakila Catholic Church is still standing amid the ashes and devastation left by the massive fire that destroyed much of Lahaina, Maui this week.”


Newsweek has reached out to Maria Lanakila for comment by telephone and online contact form. Speaking to The Pillar, a Catholic news outlet, on Friday, Terrence Watanabe, the pastor of the nearby St. Anthony’s parish, confirmed the church was still standing.


He said: “Basically what we know is the fact that all of Lahaina Town has been consumed by fire. It’s all gone. The church, Maria Lanakila, is still standing, as is the rectory. The school’s been a little bit affected.”


According to the Maria Lanakila’s official website it was first established in 1846, with the current stone structure being completed in 1873. It contains a number of old paintings which the website says were “possibly gifts from King Kalakaua or his sister, Queen Liliuokalani.” Kalakaua and Liliuokalani were the last two rulers of the independent Kingdom of Hawaii, which was annexed by the United States in 1898.


Videos shared on social media on Thursday and Friday revealed the extent of the destruction on Lahaina, a beachside resort town which had a population of 12,702, according to the 2020 U.S. census.


On Friday the scale of the infernos sweeping across Maui could be viewed in infrared pictures taken from space, by NASA’s Operational Land Imager.


In thanksgiving for this grace from heaven, pray the Litany of Our Lady of Victory.


Litany of Our Lady of Victory


Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of Heaven. Have mercy on us.

God, the Son, Redeemer of the world. Have mercy on us.

God, the Holy Spirit. Have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, One God. Have mercy on us.


Our Lady of Victory, pray for us.

Victorious daughter of the Father. Pray for us.

Victorious Mother of the Son. Pray for us.

Victorious Spouse of the Holy Spirit. Pray for us.

Victorious servant of the Holy Trinity. Pray for us.

Victorious in crushing the serpent’s head. Pray for us.

Victorious over the children of Adam. Pray for us.

Victorious over all enemies. Pray for us.

Victorious in your wedding to St. Joseph. Pray for us.

Victorious in the birth of Christ. Pray for us.

Victorious in the flight to Egypt. Pray for us.

Victorious in your exile. Pray for us.

Victorious in your home at Nazareth. Pray for us.

Victorious in finding Christ at the temple. Pray for us.

Victorious in the mission of your Son. Pray for us.

Victorious in His passion and death. Pray for us.

Victorious in His Resurrection and Ascension. Pray for us.

Victorious in the Coming of the Holy Spirit. Pray for us.

Victorious in thy sorrows and joys. Pray for us.

Victorious in thy glorious Assumption. Pray for us.

Victorious in the angels who remained faithful. Pray for us.

Victorious in the happiness of the saints. Pray for us.

Victorious in the message of the prophets. Pray for us.

Victorious in the testimony of the patriarchs. Pray for us.

Victorious in the zeal of the apostles. Pray for us.

Victorious in the witness of the evangelists. Pray for us.

Victorious in the wisdom of the doctors. Pray for us.

Victorious in the deeds of the confessors. Pray for us.

Victorious in the triumph of all holy women. Pray for us.

Victorious in the faithfulness of the martyrs. Pray for us.

Victorious in thy powerful intercession. Pray for us.

Victorious under thy many titles. Pray for us.

Victorious at the moment of death. Pray for us.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. Hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. Have mercy, O Lord.

Pray for us, blessed Lady of Victory. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:

O Victorious Lady! thou who has ever such powerful influence with thy Divine Son, in conquering the hardest of hearts: intercede for those for whom we pray, that their hearts being softened by the rays of divine Grace, they may return to the unity of the true Faith. Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

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