Story and photos by Patrick Downes
Hawaii Catholic Herald
Construction workers built a temporary 16-foot high white wall in the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in January to block off the sanctuary, the focus of “phase two” of the ongoing $15 million restoration of the 175-year-old church.
The entire sanctuary area is also swathed in translucent plastic sheeting to contain the dust from the renovation.
Phase two had originally been scheduled to start last October. It is hoped that the work will be completed in time for the cathedral’s 175th anniversary celebration Aug. 15.
For the next seven or eight months, Masses are being celebrated with 12 fewer rows of pews, reducing seating capacity by about 100 people. The church, including its upstairs “gallery” areas on both sides and back, ordinarily holds about 600 people.
Included in this stage of construction will be the expansion of the sanctuary floor, the restoration of four stained glass windows, the creation of burial vaults for bishops, electrical upgrades, outdoor landscaping, and more.
Plans to move the remains of two bishops already buried under the sanctuary — Bishop Louis Maigret, who built the cathedral, and Bishop John J. Scanlan, the second bishop of the Diocese of Honolulu — to the new crypt area were put off because of the difficulty of the task.
Phase 2 will also create an opening on the cathedral’s mauka-side for a door to a future reliquary chapel, a small side room which will house the relics of St. Damien de Veuster and St. Marianne Cope.
The work will also see the connection of the “chill water line” from the central air-conditioning system on the roof of the chancery building next door.
Phase one, completed in November 2015, saw the repair and reinforcement of the galleries, which had extensive termite damage.
The final phases, three through six, will include the building of the reliquary chapel, renovations to the interior, new pews, a new tile floor, cleaning of the vaulted ceilings, restoration of the pipe organ and more landscaping.
Among the goals of the restoration, according to the Cathedral Renewal Campaign website, is to “honor and invoke the 19th century time period of St. Damien and St. Marianne,” who both used the church, which is recognized officially as a historic building.
Emulating the 19th-century look will be new flooring tile, an octagonal ambo or pulpit, old-fashioned confessionals, oil lamp-style lighting fixtures and the remastering of the original oil-painted stations of the cross.
New additions will be a marble altar and matching marble baptismal font; also a new sound and video system.
Well-known liturgical expert De La Salle Christian Brother William Woeger is the primary consultant for the restoration project.
Honolulu-based Mason Architects Inc. and RDG Planning and Design of Omaha, Nebraska, both of whom have experience in church restoration, created the renovation plans. Trinity Management Group LLC is the project manager and Constructors Hawaii Inc. the lead contractor.
For more information about the Cathedral Renewal Campaign or to make a contribution go to www.HonoluluCathedralRenewal.org. Click on the “Learn” button, or select “Renewal Campaign” to view the campaign video. Email: CRC@rcchawaii.org, or call 585-3329.