About Us

History:

Saint John Apostle and Evangelist Catholic Church was officially founded by Bishop John J. Scanlan on July 15, 1969.  The new parish was formed out of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish in Wahiawa and Saint Joseph’s in Waipahu.  The formation of the new parish was necessitated to serve the needs of Catholics in the rapidly expanding area of central Oahu in a new community called Mililani.  This community was swiftly changing the scenery of central Oahu.  Pineapple and sugar cane fields were being replaced with homes.  The original plan called for 17,000 units in a planned community of approximately 65,000 people within twenty years.

The communities of Waipio Acres, a few homes in Melemanu Woodlands and the communities of Seaview and Crestview already existed.  On the site chosen for the construction of Mililani Town, several Worker Camps along with Kipapa Elementary School already existed.  The rest of the land was strictly agricultural.  Now a city was being built.  A new church was required to serve the Catholic community and the many Catholic families in the new huge planned community.

In May 1969, the Diocese of Honolulu purchased 1.9 acres of land adjacent to the already constructed Village Center North.  Bishop Scanlan appointed Father Anthony Pascale to build the new parish.  The first mass in the new parish was celebrated on September 14, 1969 at the Makai Chapel of Mililani Mortuary.  The Mililani Mortuary and Memorial Park, Inc. allowed Father Pascale to celebrate mass each Sunday for his new flock.  Their generosity continued until the construction of the parish church building. 

May 17, 1970 stands out as a significant day in the history of the new parish.  On that date the ground was broken and blessed for the construction of the new church.  At that time, the church cost $398,200.

Although the pews, the permanent altar, the statues, the organ and other furnishings had not arrived, the church was dedicated on the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Mother on August 15, 1971 by Bishop Scanlan at a concelebrated Mass with Father Pascale, Father Nagai of Our Lady of Sorrows and Father Jacobs of Saint Joseph’s Church,

Slowly the furnishings arrived and the parish continued to grow in size as Mililani Town grew.  On the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Mary in 1973, Saint John Apostle and Evangelist Parish held its formal blessing and unveiling of their long awaited statues of the Blessed Mother and Saint John.   Father Edward Turner, pastor, blessed the new sculptures. 

Immediately following the blessing of the statues by new Pastor Father Edward Turner, mass was celebrated.  After mass, many of the parishioners came together in the new fire station across the street from the Church for refreshments and Hawaiian entertainment.

During this same time period, the Diocese bought a house on the corner of Alo Place and Kipapa Drive for $38,600.  This house, conveniently close to the church, served as the rectory.  The hope was that one day the parish would be able to have a rectory and a parish center near the church.  This dream became a reality in December, 1979 with the completion of a new rectory and a parish center.  Beyond buildings, our parish grew.  St. John’s grew from a few hundred families in the early 70s to 2,400 registered households in 1998.  The Parish serves an estimated 12,500 Catholics in the surrounding area. 

Our church and art reflect the glory of God and our faith but is strengthened by years of wonderful priests.  Eight pastors have shepherded the flock at Saint John’s since its beginning from Father Pascale to Monsignor John Mbinda:

            Father Anthony Pascale                            July 1969 – August 1972

            Father Edward Turner                                 September 1972 – July 1986

            Father Gary Secor                                       August 1986 – June 1998

            Father Nathan Mamo                                  July 1998 – June 1999

            Father Gordian Carvalho                           July 1999 – December 2006

            Father Adrian Gervacio                              January 2007 – June 2007

            Father Manuel Hewe                                  July 2007 – June 2011

            Monsignor John Mbinda                            July 2011 – Present

All of our priests are truly a blessing to us.  All that we, St. John Apostle & Evangelist Church, are and have would not have been possible without their guidance. 

 

Faith Lived in Building & Art:

From the very beginning, St. John’s was blessed with wonderful artists working to ensure this place of worship artistically revealed the Glory of God.  The architect selected for the Church design was Vladimir Ossipoff who was Hawaii’s most respected modern architect.1 Ossipoff’s designs are known for the seamless integration of building and site with elegant orchestration of circulation, clever management of views and creative mix of modern and natural materials. 2

Assisting in Ossipoff’s vision, United Construction was the contractor, Alan Rowland was hislead architect, and the structural design engineer was Don Shimazu of SSFM International.  To complement hisdesign, a world-famous artist, Jean Charlot, was commissioned for the Stations of the Cross.  Charlot did many artistic religious works throughout the US affirming his love of the liturgical arts and stating that “The best art is none too good for God.” 3  St. John’s Way of the Cross, featured in Charlot’s collection, is a Styrofoam reverse sculpture consisting of 14 panels, each 20 x 16 inches, cast in situ with the cement wall in February 1971. 4 

On August 15, 1971, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Bishop Scalan dedicated the Church.  On the same feast day in 1973, the parish formally blessed and unveiled our Blessed Mother and Saint John statues.  Both statues are originals by the internationally renowned sculptor Signor Francesco Bonanotte in Rome, Italy. 

The abstract sculpture of Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist depicts Saint John with his Gospel in his hands reaching our and following the Holy Spirit in flight.  The abstract statue of the Blessed Mother shows her rising from the earth (the material world) to her rightful place of the heaven (the spiritual world).  Both statues were done in bronze.

The colorful faceted glass window featuring nine sections of colored glass set in colored cement with the form of a cross, near the baptismal font, was designed by the renowned artistisan Erica Karawina, in 1970, who has “blessed Hawaii with splendid works in stained glass - stunning in purity and brilliance of color.”5  

From 2003-2004, the church went through a yearlong renovation that cost $2.4 million.  The airflow and space were enhanced by the installation of bi-fold glass doors on the sides of the Church, new ceiling fans, a lanai addition, and the walkways were cemented.  Lighting throughout the campus was updated, the restrooms were relocated, additional campus storage areas were built, and a handicap ramp was built into the altar area. A new baptismal font was added at the entrance to the church.

On July 29, 2004, a large panel with three sculptures carved from linden wood, was installed behind the altar. The three-panel work was fabricated at the prestigious Demetz Art Studio in Italy through The Judson Studios in Los Angeles, CA. One panel features Saint John, another depicts the Blessed Virgin, and Jesus is at the center hanging from the cross. 6 

The previous Cry Room was redesigned to serve as our Blessed Sacrament Chapel with etched & faceted glass windows, seating, a new tabernacle, crucifix, and a prayer candle.  The windows and the tabernacle were fabricated at the prestigious Demetz Art Studio in Italy through The Judson Studios in Los Angeles, CA.

The etched glass above the entrance to the chapel is of the Lamb of God and the windows inside the Chapel portray six major Catholic saints: St. Francis of Assisi, St. Clare of Assisi, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Pius X, & St. Paul, the apostle.

A 36-inch tall statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe was donated to our parish and was placed in the Chapel on December 18, 2006. 

The canonization of two beloved Hawaii Saints gave our parish the opportunity to memorialize them with the support of worthy artisans.  After Father Damien de Veuster was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 11, 2009, the Parish commissioned a statue from Artesanos Don Bosco of Peru and Victor Amez was the artist who sculpted the statue. The wooden statue shows St. Damien holding a cross; the statue was blessed in the church in 2010.

When Pope Benedict XVI canonized Mother Marianne Cope on October 21, 2012, the parish commissioned another statue, similar in design, from Artesanos Don Bosco.  The statue of St. Marianne shows her with children by her side and in her arms. This statue was blessed in the Church in May, 2013.

 

References:

1 http://honolulumuseum.org/ossipoff/

2 http://liljestradhouse.org/home.html

3 Sacred Art Pilgrim: http://sacredartpilgrim.com/collection/view/12

4 http://library.manoa.hawaii.edu/departments/charlotcoll/murals/carlotmurals.php

5 koagallery.kcc.hawaii.edu/collections/collections_publicart.html

6 Ka Nupepa, Volume 33, Number, 21, October 13, 2004, “Church Celebrates Renovation”