A community in Maui, Hawaii, has been devastated by the recent wildfires, but a local church is now a beacon of hope.
Authorities are working to assess the damage the massive blaze left behind, as more than 200 homes, businesses, and historic landmarks have been destroyed, USA Today reported Friday.
However, one church was seemingly protected as the flames closed in around it.
Maria Lanakila Catholic Church, located in downtown Lahaina, is still standing as of Friday, the office of St. Anthony’s parish, which is nearby, confirmed to the newspaper.
Msgr. Terrence Watanabe said, “The church, Maria Lanakila [Our Lady of Victory], is still standing, as is the rectory. The school’s been a little bit affected. They’re still not allowing people to drive into Lahaina.”
Video footage shows the church against a backdrop of blue sky. As the camera pans away, the clip shows charred debris strewn across a parking lot and what appears to be smoke rising from the ground:
Watanabe said it was difficult to say how much damage the church suffered. Although it looks fine from the outside, inspectors may want it torn down if there is significant structural damage on the inside of the building.
However, the fact the building is still there has offered locals a glimmer of hope during so much loss.
A Catholic church reportedly remains untouched by the wildfires as a symbol of hope in Hawaii
Around 67 people have died in the wildfires that has almost totally destroyed the Lahaina town in Hawaii’s Maui. While according to local reports coming out, Maria Lanakila, a Catholic… pic.twitter.com/y1zGUKfvgO
— Sachin Jose (@Sachinettiyil) August 12, 2023
The recent wildfires destroyed approximately 80 percent of the historic town of Lahaina, and Hawaii Gov. Josh Green (D) said the town was “gone,” according to Breitbart News.
Aerial video footage shows the devastated area as smoke rises into the sky:
Maria Lanakila was established in 1846, and the stone church seen today was completed in 1873, per the church’s website.
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 pic.twitter.com/NSXCfUnvMK
— Jack Poso ???????? (@JackPosobiec) August 11, 2023
“This structure replaced the old adobe building and grass hut chapels that originally served the community of Maria Lanakila,” the site reads.