St. Sylvester Church
Early History of St. Sylvester Church
The first resident priest at Kilauea was Fr. Hubert Sylvester Stappers, who arrived in December 1871. At Kilauea, Fr. Stappers built a church and small rectory, dedicating the church to his patron, St. Sylvester.
The original church was located on the site of the present cemetery. The church existed there till 1906. At that time a land exchange with the Kilauea Sugar Company moved the church site to the eastern bank of the Kilauea river fronting Kauai Belt Road. The church building was moved from the original site to this location in 1906. The church was moved on a railroad car pulled by a train on tracks which ran in front of the two sites.
Throughout the years the original church was enlarged and remodeled to accommodate the increase in parishioners. Today this location is marked only by its two large Poinciana shower trees and the concrete steps which lead to the entrance of the old church.
In 1956, the old church was considered beyond repair and plans for a new church began. The new location adjacent to Kilauea School, known as the old Scott property and over an acre in size, was acquired in a land exchange from Kilauea Sugar Company.
The new church, octagonal in shape was designed by John McAuliffe and Edward Bauer. The church was built for $26,000.00. Volunteer labor contributed greatly to the low cost of building the church.
Art work of Hawaii’s famous artist, Jean Charlot, was again used for the stations of the cross. The church seats 350 people all within 30 feet of the altar. The material for the church combines unique use of lava rock, redwood and cedar. Fr. Robert Logrip celebrated the first mass in the new St. Sylvester’s Church.