A small catholic church in Waikiki has big plans to build a museum for Hawaii's first saints.
The church has now passed the first hurdle in its mission to honor Saint Damien and soon-to-be saint Mother Marianne.
The Damien and Marianne Heritage Center is quietly tucked away on the second floor of the building that fronts St. Augustine by-the-sea on Kalakaua Avenue.
But in about a year, the church plans to open a two-story, 3,000 square foot museum that would be able to house hundreds more photos and first class relics of Saint Damien and Mother Marianne.
"It’s more of an educational component that we're looking at and also have pride in sharing who we are and to utilize these two saints as models for us to journey in faith," said Father Lane Akiona.
On Thursday, church members packed the city council's zoning committee meeting in support of the museum and a renovated parish hall.
"The museum and the amenities that the new structure and facility would provide will be an asset that will pay dividends back to our community," said parish member Cynthia Vaillancourt.
The museum right now welcomes about 1,000 visitors a month and charges no admission fee.
The $3-to-$5 million price tag for the new museum will be paid for through donations.
Right now, the only opposition to the museum is from one of the owners of the neighboring apartment complex, Foster Tower. The concern is about the building’s height.