Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bush Baptisms: Bristol Bay Alaska

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett

Bristol Bay Alaska incorporates over 30 villages. During my first four years as Pastor of Holy Rosary Mission, we have baptized 30 children into our Catholic Faith.

The children were from many different cultures and backgrounds including Yupik, Hispanic, Thai, Filipino, Hawaiian, and Caucasian. The baptisms took place in remote Alaskan villages such as Sand Point, Levelock, Naknek, Clarks Point, and Dillingham. These villages could only be reached by airplane.

Here is a picture of our Cherokee Warrior II Airplane that I flew to most of the villages for the baptisms. This picture was taken Saturday, September 13, 2009 at the Levelock, Alaska airport.

Little Joanna was the first infant I baptize as pastor of Holy Rosary Mission (December 17, 2005). It was celebrated in Levelock, Alaska, which is about 40 miles East of Dillingham and has a population of around 70 residents. The baptism was done on the Bowden’s Kitchen Table. Little Joanna is shown on the left being held by her mother Napitie Bowden. Bonita is being held by a former Levelock teacher Becky Korwes.

Hugh Russell was baptized July 9, 2006. He is shown being held by his Godparents Jeffrey and Anne Marie. Hugh is the child of Mark and Joan Reynolds.

Venice Rain was baptized way out on the Allutian chain in a small village called Sand Point. Venice was baptized in a cannery, August 30, 2006. After clearing out the cannery cafateria, Venice, her mother Shawna, and a few friends are shown awaiting the baptism.

One baby had the longest name I have ever encountered. His name is Malulanimekealoha Henry Burton Heyano. Try putting that one in the Baptismal register! This infant was baptized July 17, 2007. Sorry folks, no picture of Malul……

This next infant, also baptized on a kitchen table is Travallian Alfred Dalton. His mother Justine Wassily is shown holding him over the baptismal font. You don’t see many of these pictures around! Travallian was baptized in Clarks Point, Alaska June 20, 2008

Katelynn was baptized August 17, 2008 in Dillingham, Alaska. She is shown below waiting for the lighted candle, which Aileen, her Godmother, is lighting from the Easter Candle. Also shown are parents Michael and Diana (right) and Godfather Patrick.

Joshua was baptized in Dillingham December 7, 2008. He and his sister both were baptized and received First Communion.

Kara, Josh's sister, is shown below just after receiving the Sacred Chrism oil. Her mother June is shown on the far left and Godfather Robert on the right.

Samuel James was baptized June 12, 2009 at Saint Peter the Fisherman in Clarks Point, Alaska. Clarks Point is 12 miles South East of Dillingham and can only be reached by air (boat in the summer). The church does not have heat so it can only be used for a couple of months during the summer. His mother Brittany Wassily is holding Samuel while Godparents Mariano and Justine look on.

Kristina, Halle, and Raydon were baptized at Holy Rosary in Dillingham, Alaska July 27, 2009. The children's mother Christine is also shown. For me as a mission priest in a remote area where there are few inhabitants, this was an extremely rewarding and God-filled experience.

Thank you to all the families who allowed me to baptize their children into our wonderful Catholic faith. It has been an honor!

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