Monday, December 29, 2008

Holy Rosary Visitors: 2005-2008

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett, Pastor.

Since I have been at Holy Rosary in Dillingham (August of 2005), several priests, relatives, bishops, and friends have visited us. Below are some of there pictures:

September 2005: The president of Catholic Extension Magazine Bishop Houck and the editor Judy Gerth came for a couple of days to visit the mission. Bishop Houck motivated me to get the crucifix we have hanging in Holy Rosary now. He also made a substantial donation to help repair the rectory and church.


December 4, 2006: The Most Reverend Roger L. Schwietz, O.M.I. stayed a few nights so he could install me as Pastor of Holy Rosary parish.


Christmas 2006: Retired priest Father Albert (AJ) Fisher came to cover for me in case I got stranded in King Salmon giving the Christmas eve mass. Sure enough, Father Al had to step up to the plate and take the Christmas eve Mass at Holy Rosary. I finally arrived at Dillingham as people were leaving mass. Thanx Father Al.


February 2007: Fr. Bob Morin gave a renewal retreat during Lent. He stayed for a week. Fr. Bob gave me the idea to upgrade the confessional, i.e. nice chairs, poster of the Prodigal Son, candle, and re-paint.


June 1, 2007: My Sister Brenda basically painted the entire inside of the rectory. She bought rugs and towels for the spare rooms and basically cleaned the place up. Here she is shown on a large rock at Kanakanak beach. The Venua's took her and her husband and my cousin Kristi and her husband Doug, down to the beach to look for drift wood for landscaping the grounds at Holy Rosary. Looks like Brenda is taking a well deserved break here.


June 1, 2007: My Brother in Law, Dan Wood, built the roof on the porch to the rectory. We needed Peter Pan to bend some metal. With God's helping hand, and great community involvement, he was able to get everything done, even though he did not bring any tools.


June 1, 2007: Kristi and Doug stayed for a week. They worked the entire time. They landscaped and built counter tops in the rectory kitchen.


June 2007: Fr. Joel Alamen read about the mission at Holy Rosary in Catholic Extension. He decided to fly up from California and check us out. We ended up flying to Illiamna for mass and back to Holy Rosary.


July 10, 2007: Ken Ong, a representative from Catholic Extension, came for a couple days to check out the mission. I was able to fly him to King Salmon and back.


August 2007: Deacon Felix McGuire flew into Dillingham to help me fly my airplane through Lake Clark Pass to Anchorage. The ceiling was 500 feet most of the way. I used my airplane, the Cherokee Warrior II to get my IFR rating.


August 2007: Our Seminarian, Pat Brosamer, stayed at the rectory for about a week. He is currently plugging away at his master's in theology and will hopefully one day become a priest of the Archdiocese of Anchorage. Please keep him in your prayers.


August 22, 2007: Mark Welty, a commercial Pilot down in the lower 48, was interested in visiting the Alaskan Bush. He came out to Dillingham and spent a couple of days at the rectory. We flew to Manokotak, Clarks Point, and Portage Creek.


Easter 2008: Father Bill Hanrahan, who is currently retired in Seward, Alaska, offered to celebrate Holy Week at Saint Theresa in King Salmon. We hope to get him back Easter of 2009 to celebrate the Holy Week at Holy Rosary in Dillingham.


All visitors are welcome at Holy Rosary. Please let me know if you would like to come and spend some quiet time away from the big city and have a REAL ALASKAN ADVENTURE

Monday, December 8, 2008

Baptism: Kara & Josh, Dec 7, 2008

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett, Pastor
Pictures by Angela Clark

Do you know why I know, without a doubt, that God was present and working at the baptism of Kara and Josh? We randomly chose December 7, 2008 as the date of the baptism. The gospel was about John the Baptist baptizing people in the Jordan River. It could not have been a better gospel reading for a baptism!

As a Catholic Priest I really get excited about baptisms. It is such a reward for an ordained servant of God to add new members to the flock.

Kara and Josh (sister and brother) are not infants so I was able to prepare them for Baptism (if there is such a thing), First Communion, and First Reconciliation all at once. First Reconciliation was more or less a rubber stamp of approval because, well, they were baptized, i.e. cleaned of all sin.




Kara and Josh, twelve and ten years old respectively, were quizzed for two months after every Sunday mass. My ulterior motive was to also prepare them to be altar servers. The two newly baptized have learned the names of all the sacred vessels, everything used for preparing the altar, all of the clothing priests wear, and all the posture needed during mass…and I dare you, ask them what happens to the bread and the wine!

Getting to the baptism was on the shaky side. The day before I had flown my Cherokee Warrior II to King Salmon, via Levelock. I was planning to make a stop at Egegik, but the ice fog started moving in. I cut the flight short and landed in King Salmon.

The next morning after the 9:00 AM mass at Saint Theresa, I had to fly back to Dillingham by 12:30 PM for the Baptism and Mass. I have two and a half hours to get from King Salmon to Dillingham. Dillingham is 64 miles or 40 minutes from King Salmon by airplane (no roads out here!)

Because of the ice fog, I left my Warrior II at Tibbetts Airmotive, and hooked up with Penair (they have much more experience flying than my 300 hours). Ice fog and snow delayed the Penair flight. We were finally able to get air born about 11:50 AM, giving me 40 minutes to get to Dillingham for the 12:30 Mass and Baptism. I was literally on pins and needles. I walked into Holy Rosary at 12:29 PM. Just made it!

Here are some pictures of the grand event.

Here are the parents on the left (James and June) and the God parents (Robert and Angela) 0n the right. Kara and Josh are ready to be baptized.



The Baptism of Joshua


Kara being anounted with Sacred Chrism oil. The oil (SC) was consecrated in Anchorage by the Archbishop at the Chrism Mass during Holy Week this year.


Both the parents of the two children received a special blessing. The children's mother June is shown below receiving her blessing.


This is the Body and Blood of Christ to be used for Kara and Josh's First Communion.


Kara receiving her First Communion:


Joshua receiving his First Communion


The Sacrament of Reconciliation is not so bad after all!



Kara and Josh, the newest members of Holy Rosary Catholic Church



Alethia REALLY liked the punch and cake at the potluck after the baptism. She is shown below coloring on a special table set up for children downstairs where we have our gatherings after Mass.



After the baptism at Holy Rosary during the potluck, some parishioners pose for a picture.



Congratulations Kara and Josh. We are very happy to have you as members of our Catholic Church!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Annunciation Stained Glass Piece Donated

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett, Pastor

Matteo Guarino donated a beautiful stained glass picture of the Annunciation to Holy Rosary Parish. The Angel Gabriel is announcing to the Virgin Mary that she is pregnant with Jesus. He made the stained glass image from a picture he took while traveling. He started and completed the glass while here in Dillingham.

Matteo works at the Kanakanak Hospital, here in Dillingham, during the year. He usually arrives in August and leaves at the end of November. I have had the pleasure of knowing Matteo for the three and a half years I have been pastor of Holy Rosary. He attends Mass regularly.

A very talented artist, Matteo paints with water colors, makes religious plaster art, and has drifted into creating religious stained glass. His idea for Holy Rosary is to put two stained glass pieces in the windows right behind the altar. The first piece has been made and delivered and he hopes to complete the next piece when he arrives back in Dillingham in August of 2009.

Below is the Beautiful stained glass piece of the annunciation and a few more of his watercolors. The Angel Gabriel tells the Virgin Mary that she is pregnant with the Christ Child.



A few of Matteo's water colors:





Please click on “comments” just below. I have asked Matteo to monitor these comments. If you would like to contact him you should be able to monitor the comments section and exchange information.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Smoking & Canning Wild Alaskan Salmon



By Father Scott Joseph Garrett, Pastor

One of the many fantastic benefits of being a Catholic Priest in the Alaskan bush is fishing! I love salmon, especially when it is smoked and canned. Out here one can catch the salmon in a net. All residents of Dillingham can get a free subsistence license, i.e. we can catch as many salmon as we can eat in a year, for FREE! I also clean them, fillet them, smoke and can them. It is about a three day process if done right.

There are several different ways to smoke salmon. Below is just one example. My dad taught me this method when I was growing up in Bend, Oregon. My great grandfather (who grew up in Coos Bay, Oregon) taught my dad. So, it is a special recipe handed down from generation to generation. My mom taught me how to can the salmon and my grandmother taught her.


Smoked Salmon Recipe

1. Wild Alaskan Sockeye (Red) Smoked Salmon; eight Salmon.

2. Brine: (Two to One) i.e. two cups brown sugar to one cup salt (my dad always told me to use non-iodized salt).


3. Mix brown sugar and salt.

4. Layer salmon fillets in pan coating each layer with brine.

5. Put in fridge for at least one hour (a day is fine).

6. After brine, rinse each fillet off in cold water.

7. Glaze: Place fish on oiled racks, blow fan over fish for up to 24 hours.


8. Salmon is glazed when the surface of each piece is slick on top.

9. Smoke four hours for canning (flavor intensifies when canning).


10. If not canning, smoke for eight hours.


11. Use Alder wood or what ever you prefer, i.e. cherry wood.

12. The finished product ready to be canned.



Canning Smoked Salmon:

NOTE: This canning process ONLY applies to smoked salmon. Other meats or vegetables require a different set of instructions.


· Put 1.5 inches of water in the bottom of the pressure cooker.


· Wash all the jars in the dishwasher (use ONLY wide mouth pint jars).

· Put something on bottom of the pressure cooker, preferably a rack.

· For smoked Salmon, do not put water in jars.

· Put lids and rings in a pan of hot water on the stove; do not bring them to a boil.

· Rims of jars must be spotless after putting the salmon into jars, use a clean rag.


· Do not fill jars to the top, leave 1/4th inch of free space between salmon and top. This is done so lids can seal properly.


· Put hot lids on clean rims of jars and screw ring down tight.

· Put jars in canner, put lid on canner, turn stove on high.

· Leave the pressure regulator off.

· Let steam blow out of hole for 10 minutes (important for sterilization).

· Put pressure regulator on (the little circular donut, put on 10psi).

· After the gage reads 10psi, start decreasing heat.

· Watch closely; do not let it get over 10psi or so.

· Some canners have special donut regulators that do not allow going over 10psi.

· Donut regulator: Set stove heat so the pressure regulator barely has a hissing noise.

· At 10psi, cook for 1 hour and 45 minutes.

· After 1 hour and 45 minutes, slide cooker off of hot burner and let cool.

· Do not take pressure regulator off until completely cooled, may take several hours.

· After cooker cools, take of pressure regulator, then take of lid, then take out jars.

· Cricket noise: count the number of cricket noises you hear as the canner cools.

· The cricket noise is the sound of each jar sealing.

· Set Jars on dishtowel for 20 minutes, may have to wipe them off with a damp rag.

· Tap jars on the top with tablespoon, a thud sound means that it has not sealed.

· A tight clear ringing sound means that it is sealed.


The Wild Alaskan Smoked Salmon is ready to store on your shelf for when that cold weather sets in and you are relaxing by the wood stove.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Winterization of the Holy Rosary Rectory

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett

With heating fuel going through the roof, literally, (about $7 per gallon plus tax) we at Holy Rosary decided to replace the windows in the rectory. We filled out some paper work and sent it off to Catholic Extension Society. They graciously donated money for ten new windows, some storm doors, blinds, and all the material and labor necessary to winterize the rectory.

Here is a picture of a window that is ready to by pulled out. The 60 year old window basically was ready to fall out after we removed the inside trim.



Construction work is expensive in Dillingham, Alaska. Most of the good contractors are so busy that they can never be contracted. The parishioners decided to do most of the labor saving, and this is not an exaggeration, thousands of dollars.

There are ten windows in the rectory. They were probably installed in the 1940’s. I decided to measure and order the windows and have the parishioners help me to install them.

To make a long story short, I ordered the wrong size windows. My philosophy was one size fits all. After consulting one of those hard to find Dillingham contractors I realized that I should have measured the inside of the 2X4 frame. After spending about $1,000 for shipping and a couple thousand for the windows, I had to sell them.

I put an add on the TV and announced the windows on the radio. They sold much faster than I expected. I almost broke even. Within a week after putting them up for sale I tore off all of the outside trim and hunted for the 2X4 frame and measured each window again, this time the right way. I then called up Spenard Business Supply in Anchorage and gave them five different measurements for the ten windows.

During the first snowstorm the second set of windows arrived. We unpackaged them and set them in the old church. For the two large windows (one was about seven feet by four feet) I hired King Construction. I was able to get Scott King to spend four hours helping me before he went goose hunting. We had to install the windows two stories up in the upper room above the garage. It was quite a learning experience for us. Scott King only charged me $150. I was expecting about $600. Thank you so much Scott!

After the two large windows were sealed up with silicone, screws, and foam insulation, I contacted Bernie and Pat, the Holy Rosary volunteer maintenance crew. Bernie actually took a day off work from Nushagak to help out. It was a comfortable 15 degrees outside when we started at 9:30 in the morning October 16th, 2008. It was just starting to get light outside.

Here are a few pictures of the work. Click on them to make them larger. After pulling out the old window, Bernie sizes up the situation.


Next, the old tar paper is pulled of, the nails taken out, and the frame is primed for the new window.


Bernie takes a well deserved break before attacking the fifth window of the day in 15 degree weather.


Pat Durbin inspects the installation and is well pleased with the progress.


The next morning (October 17th, 2008) I got out of bed and looked at the thermometer. I silently said a prayer thanking God for the donation of money, time, and talent to our mission out here in Dillingham. The temperature was seven degrees. Although there is still lots of trim work to do both inside and outside and a couple of storm doors to install, I was grinning from ear to ear. This year I will be ready for -30 degrees.

Please leave a comment below! Thanx, Fr. Scott

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bush Pilot Tips (2nd of 7) Gravel Strips

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett, Pastor

One fear of the bush pilot is nicking the propeller with rocks. Flying to the villages in the Alaskan Bush, the bush pilot must land and take off on gravel strips. When a propeller gets nicked with a rock a qualified A & P mechanic must file it down to prevent the crack from becoming larger. This is similar to stopping a crack on the windshield of your car. Parts of propellers have been known to break off in flight if the cracks where not properly cared for. A propeller breaking off 2000 feet above the ground is tragic.

The more filing that is done to the propeller, the smaller it gets. Imagine a boat propeller. If the blades of a boat propeller were filled down the propeller blades would be smaller and the boat would not go as fast through the water. Not a big deal. But when the blades of an aircraft propeller become smaller, the speed and power are less, and the aircraft may eventually stall out in midair. A very big deal!

Here are a few tips that I have picked up from numerous different bush pilots in the Bristol Bay area. They are shocking in their simplicity, yet extremely important in there implementation.

One: If there is no wind the bush pilot has the option to land on either end of the gravel strip. Chose the end that will enable you to taxi to the parking area without having to do a 180 in the gravel. Turning around on a gravel strip kicks up rocks that could nick the propeller. In the picture below, set up your approach for the end of the runway at the top right. After landing you should have plenty of time to slow down and turn into the parking spot, which would be on your right if actually landing(shown in the picture below on the left). No 180 necessary. CLICK ON THE PICTURES TO MAKE THEM LARGER.


Two: While taxing on a gravel strip, keep the yoke pulled back as far as possible. The propeller is higher off the ground when the yoke is pulled back and there is less chance that the spinning propeller will suck up rocks.

Three: Make a concrete slab for your home base parking spot. For small aircraft, Dillingham airport does not have a paved parking area. However, thanks to the late Father Jim Kelly, several concrete slabs have been made. Gravel can get sucked up into the propeller when the aircraft is first started up. The concrete slab prevents that from happening. I was lucky enough to rent a space that had one of these concrete slabs. As you can see in the picture, I always park with the propeller over the pad.


Four: Park the airplane into the wind in graveled parking areas. If there is no concrete pad available, parking into the wind helps prevent gravel from flying up into the propeller at start up. As you can see in the picture, the windsock shows little wind so I was not concerned about the direction the nose of the airplane was pointed when I chocked up.


Five: Try not to stop after landing until you have reached the parking area. Each time a bush pilot stops and then starts back up on a gravel runway, there is potential for loose rocks to fly up and crack the propeller.

A propeller for my Cherokee Piper Warrior II is about $2,500. I will be getting my propeller replaced at my next annual inspection in February of 2009. I do not know when the last time my propeller has been replaced. Since I have owned it, my mechanic has been filing it down for three years and says its time for a new one…no complaint from me.

Next Bush Pilot Tip will be about winter flying. Please leave a comment below (click on comment) and if there is anything you would like me to discuss, or have any tips of your own, please let me know. Have a fantastic day and safe flying in the Alaskan Bush!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bush Pilot Tips (1st of 7): Wind

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett

One of the difficulties in bush flying is telling which way the wind is blowing. Wind is important to a bush pilot for many reasons.

A plane needs to land into the wind and take off into the wind. If a plane takes off with a tail wind it may not get the lift required to become airborne. Just recently a plane leaving Shannon’s pond tried to take off with a tail wind, a little over weight, and did not clear the trees at the end of the runway, luckily no one was killed.

There are only a few brave pilots who fly year round. Bush pilots normally own one plane and charter flights to remote villages, for example Van Air, Bay Air, and Shannon's Air. Steve is a pilot who flies year around for the larger Penair. He is one of the pilots who have been flying me around since I lost my engine.


In an emergency landing a bush pilot needs to quickly determine the direction of the wind in order to extend the glide length of the airplane. Most people do not realize that single engine airplanes can glide without power. The length of an un-powered airplane glide distance depends on how high the aircraft is when the engine fails and the wind. If the plane is flying into the wind the glide length will be longer and the pilot has more time to locate a safe place to land.

When flying in the Alaskan bush there are not many indications to tell the pilot which way the wind is blowing. Out in the middle of the tundra there are no flags on top of buildings, no dust, or plastic bags blowing down the highway. Some of the small villages do not have windsocks.

Views from the cockpit render little indication of wind direction while bush flying.


So just how does a bush pilot determine which way the wind is blowing? One of the easiest ways to tell wind direction is by looking at the water. There is only one catch, this only works when the Alaskan lakes are not frozen up.

The late Father James Kelly showed me how to read the wind on the water. He said there was normally a flat glassy space on one side of a lake. The other side had ripples going all the way to the edge.

Here are a few pictures of what the wind looks like to an Alaskan bush pilot flying around in the tundra.


Here the wind is blowing from the bottom of the picture to the top.


Notice the slick/glassy water on the bottom.


Two more good examples of wind direction.