Wednesday, August 27, 2008

ROCK Solid in Catholic Faith

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett, Pastor

At Holy Rosary we decided we needed something to reveal our Catholic identity, like a statue of Mary centered on a huge rock.

We love the church building at Holy Rosary. It is simple, beautiful, and spiritual. What we don't like about it is that although it looks like a church, it is hard to determine whether or not it is a Catholic Church. One of the ways we know it is a church is by a small three-foot cross on the building's roof. Note in the picture it is barely visible.

The first thing we want people to know as they drive or walk through our parking lot is that our church is a Catholic Church. Hundreds of people drive through the parking lot to pump their containers full of clean, pure water. We have the coldest and purest water in town! Also, there is a large influx of fishermen and hunters who drift through the Holy Rossary parking lot during the summer and fall.

A statue of Mary would definately make our church look Catholic. We decided to order a reconstructed 140 pound marble statue from Italy. We wanted it to be a statue that represented Holy Rosary. Fr. Endal, back in the 1940's, named our church after Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima. So, we purchased that statue.

Jesus said to Peter, "On this rock I shall build my Church." A rock is very old and long lasting like our 2008 year Catholic tradition. What a coincidence, the rock weighs a little over 2008 pounds, one pound for each year of our tradition. Also, a rock represents something solid, as in "solid in your faith." Rocks are simple, strong, and durable, which are all Christian ideals. Rocks are not perfectly round. And do you know what, we are not perfect either, neither was Saint Peter and all the apostles.

So, putting Our Lady of Fatima together with the 2000 pound Nome rock (which actually is the color of the cloud that Mary stands on in the original statue of Fatima) seemed like a match made in heaven.

Back in the early nineteen hundreds, the city of Dillingham needed to calm the waves down so the harbor could be used by the many fishing vessels. Dillingham decided to build a jetty. Since they needed rocks, the city of Nome, Alaska barged over thousands of tons of them, hence, Nome rocks. Dillingham used these rocks and had quite a few left over. An anonymous Dillinghammer ended up purchasing them and he donated one to Holy Rosary.

Moving a 2120-pound rock in Dillingham, Alaska is not an easy feat. Thankfully, several generous people have donated their time, talent, and money to make it all possible. Here are a few people who were involved: One anonymous donor not only gave us the rock but pulled it out of the pile and prepared it to be picked up; Bobbie, Nora H., and Angela C. were needed as consultants to find out a good spot to locate the huge one ton Nome rock; Jimbo and Warren moved the rock about 10 miles north of Dillingham to Holy Rosary and then positioned it on the lawn.

The statue still has to be attached to the rock. Thomas Clark and I set it on top of the rock just to get some pictures. To attach the rock permanently, we have to drill a hole in the rock, insert some re-bar in the rock with enough poking out to fit in the hole drilled in the bottom of the statue. Tricky stuff! This should be completed in a week or so.

Here is the pile of rocks that THE ROCK was chosen from. Several pictures follow.
If you want to make them larger, please click on them.

Next, a chain was wrapped around it and then pulled out of the pile.

The loader carried the Nome rock over to the truck and gently rested it on the flatbed.

The Nome rock was then weighed. It weighs 2, 120 pounds.

Jimbo and Warren loaded up the Nome rock and hauled it to Holy Rosary. The two then postitioned the straps on the rock and Warren, with Jimbo directing, drove the forks of the lift through the straps.

The rock was then hoisted up and taken to the lawn. The fork lift backed down the narrow road that leads to our cemetery.

As Warren weaves the huge machinery through the trees, Jimbo directs him to the drop off zone. The flower pot marks the middle of the lawn where the rock will rest.

A job well Done. Warren (left) and Jimbo (right) pose for a shot after donating their time and talent to our Catholic Church.

Thomas Clark and I carry the statue out of the rectory. We want to place it on the rock to see what it will look like. We can't wait to see it. The final product is within our grasp!

We load it into a wheel barrow and carefully roll it over to the church lawn.

I struggle to position the 140 pound statue on the huge rock.

It looks perfect, very peaceful. Angela Clark said, "I can't even imagine it not being there now. It is like it has always been there."

Angela Clark and her son Thomas pose for a picture in front of our new monument.

Thomas Clark and I pose for a picture.

Before we carry the statue back into the rectory to await its permenant attachement and blessing ceremony.

Attachment Step 1: Early the next morning before his day time job, Henry S. stops by Holy Rosary to drill a hole in the rock with his specialized drill. This is the first of several steps needed to attach the statue permanently to the rock. Henry was instrumental in building the church back in the 1980’s. His commitment to Holy Rosary has been a blessing to us all!

Attachment Step 2: That afternoon Pat D. drops by after he has lunch at the Senior Center. He measures the depth of the hole in the rock and the one in the statue and buys a heavy metal bolt. He then cuts it off and files it. The bolt will be inserted in the rock and statue and cemented. Pat is one of those guys everyone needs around the church. He has helped me with every project I have undertaken, from building porches to renovating the rectory to mowing the lawn. He basically puts the church first above all other things in his life. His is an inspiration to us all!

For more about the statue blessing and some information about praying the rosary, please see Angela Clark's story below.

Blessing of the Statue
By Angela Clark

The Blessing of our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima statue will be at Holy Rosary Catholic Church at Airport Road and Emperor Way on Sunday, September 28th after Mass at 1:30 p.m. The public is (always) invited and welcome to attend. Refreshments and snacks will be served following the Blessing.

The beautiful hand carved marble statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary was made in Italy and will be installed onto a large Nome, Alaska rock at the entrance of Holy Rosary Church.

Holy Rosary Church is named after the Holy Rosary. Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of Fatima statue has a rosary around the Blessed Virgin Mary's neck. This is a replica of how Mary appeared to 3 children in Fatima, Portugal in 1917 where the Blessed Mother, Mary taught the importance of recitation of the rosary to the 3 children to share with the world. The Blessed Virgin Mary's, Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, Portugal was witnessed by more than 70,000 people in and near Fatima on October 13, 1917.

The Rosary is an ancient series of scriptural prayers based on meditations of scriptures, called Mysteries. The "Joyful Mysteries" are scriptures which reflect on Christ's birth. The "Glorious Mysteries" reflect on His resurrection, and the "Sorrowful Mysteries" reflect on his passion and death. The "Mysteries of Light" reflect on Christ's public ministry, and were added by Pope John Paul II in 2003 in order to more fully enter the life of Christ through the rosary.

Holy Rosary parishoners pray the rosary together after Mass one Sunday of each month.


Anonymous said...

Father Scott that is a beautiful post and a beautiful statue! Thank you for your hard work

Anonymous said...

Your welcome. I am so glad you like it. Fr. Scott

Anonymous said...

It looks beautiful! Thanks for your hard work and devotion! I hope to see it in person one day.
Jason, St. Nicholas Parish, North Pole, AK.

Holy Rosary Mission said...

Hey Jason, thanx for checking out the website. Tell my "buddy ole pal" Father Ross Tozzi hi for me...Fr. Scott