Sunday, December 26, 2010

Children's Christmas Nativity Play, Dec 24, 2010

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett
Pastor of Holy Rosary Mission of Alaska

Holy Rosary in Dillingham, Alaska offered, for the first Christmas ever, a children’s nativity play during our Mass. Bernina Venua, of Dillingham, volunteered to make the play happen. This year we are blessed to have an unusually large amount of Catholic children attending Mass. Bernina picked up on this fact and decided to have a Christmas Eve children’s event.

She rounded up the children and with the help of all the children's parents,she had rehearsals. Angie Venua, Bernina’s mom, bought and donated the costumes. On December 24th, 2010, the children filed in dressed up like angels, kings, shepherds, and wise men directly after the Gospel reading and a short Homily/Introduction.

The following pictures were taken the day before Christmas Eve at rehearsal. Parents look on as Mary and Joseph take the stage.

As Bernina reads during rehearsal the angels visit Mary and Joseph.

Wisemen and shepherds gather around the infant Jesus. King Herod (the evil King as Madison, the little girl who played King Herod, called him) sits off to the far right.

After rehearsal a couple of Angels pose for picture in the basement at Holy Rosary in Dillingham, Alaska.

Thank you very much for the enthusiasm for this play. Thanks especially to the Venua family and all the parents for your support. The nativity narrative and play brought many people closer to God!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Convalidation: George and Ruth

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett
Pastor, Holy Rosary Mission Alaska

Sunday, December 12, 2010, George and Ruth Barnard were married in the Catholic Church. The couple has been married civilly for sixteen years. These kinds of events are what make a Catholic Priest very happy.

Ruth called me a few months ago and said she wanted to start receiving communion again from the Catholic Church. I set up an appointment for her and George to come in and talk.

During marriage preparation the couple fired up the computer and took the New Prepare and Enrich Exam/test/evaluation…whatever you want to call it…and scored very high. They were categorized as a “Harmonious” couple type. Not a big surprise considering they have been together for several years already.

Things just started to click into place. Baptismal certificates were obtained, permission for a mixed marriage was granted by the Archbishop(George is not Catholic, but baptized Christian), and marriage backgrounds were investigated. I gave them two homework assignments in the marriage workbook and the next week they came back with all of the assignments completed. After meeting with them four times I deemed them ready for marriage.

Although they wanted to be married on their civil marriage anniversary, December 9, I had to be in Anchorage that day so we made it for Sunday, December 12th. I reasoned with George, “George, if you accidentally miss Ruth’s anniversary on December 9th, you can always redeem yourself a couple days later on the 12th.

It was a grand occasion. The Mass was well attended, Ruth was able to receive the sacraments of Reconciliation, she received communion for the first time in many, many years, and she was married in the Catholic Church.

During a packed Mass at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, George and Ruth Barnard prepare to say their marriage vows, in front of God, for the first time.

I George, take thee Ruth...

During the vows a couple of girls pay close attention to the marriage.

George and Ruth came forward in front of the "Chair of Saint Peter" for the Nuptial Blessing.

"Lord, may they both praise you when they are happy and turn to you in their sorrows. "


Josie, from the ACE hardware, made a Salmon Igloo with Penguins made out of olives and carrots.

The food was fantastic.

Finally George and Ruth get to cut the cake.

To all married couples, please remember to pray together.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mateo Strikes Again

We at Holy Rosary Mission are fortunate to have Dr. Mateo Guarino, a Pediatrician, celebrate Mass with us in August and September.

Mateo hails from Europe and spends two months helping Children at Kanakanak Hospital in Dillingham, Alaska.

Mateo is a gifted artist and shares his God given talent with our parish and several other parishes he visits. For Holy Rosary, he has donated three stained glass windows. His most recent donation is of Saint Francis and several Alaskan animals: Moose, Caribou, Red Fox, Grizzly Bear, Trumpeter Swan, and Canadian Geese (made Sep 2010).

The three angels and the Saint Francis windows will be placed over two of the back windows in the sactuary to help focus people's attention on the altar (made Sep 2009).

Here is the Annunciation Mateo created back in 2008.

Thank you so very much for sharing your time and talent with our Catholic Church! May God continue to bless all that you do.

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Flying Dilemmas in Oct and Nov 2010

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett
Pastor Holy Rosary Mission Alaska

The last two weeks of October and the first few weeks in November of 2010 provided some flying predicaments unsurpassed for a pilot of 600 hours. During this time of the year the weather hovers around freezing and an adventuresome pilot can get it all: fog, mist, severe turbulence, snow, rain, zero degree weather, and a crystal clear sky.

In the last three weeks I have landed in fog and rain, turned around because the fog started boxing me in, missed an approach because a plow was on the runway, over flew a runway because the snow was too deep to land, and got beat up by turbulence in the mountains West of Dillingham. Bottom line though, I just plane (plain) had a great time. Flying during this time of the year is definitely an adventure, always exhilarating, and occasionally very stressful.

Before the snow set in I got a nice picture from Clarks Point in early October 2010.

Here are some of my adventures over these last few weeks. All these videos and pictures were taken within an hour flight time of Dillingham, Alaska.

During the end of October I had a very foggy and rainy landing in Clarks Point. The ceiling went down to 400 feet.

Also for Video
Click Here!

In October I tried to fly to Ugashik and Pilot Point but the fog started to box me in by the time I got to Egegik. I turned around and went back to Dillingham. This video was taken about 30 miles north of Egegik.

Also for Video
Click Here!

In November the snow set in. Here is a picture of New Stuyahok Airport in November 2010.

In November I got a very nice video of the village of Koliganek. I did a slow approach into the dirt runway. The snow, river, and mountains were beautiful.

Also for Video
Click Here.

While flying to Togiak in November I got beat up by turbulence.

Also for Video,
Click Here.

But I also got some breath taking views.

Finally, I had a missed approach into Togiak, Alaska because the snow on the runway was too deep and well, there was also a plow on the runway plowing snow.

Also for Video
Click Here!

Fly safe out there!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Holy Rosary Gray Water System Repair

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett
Pastor, Holy Rosary Mission

With help from Catholic Extension Holy Rosary Alaska Mission was able to repair its gray water system.

When the weather goes down to 300 foot ceilings and 1 mile visibility, a missionary always has work to do. My project for the last few months is repairing the basement drain. I did not really know what I was getting into, but I am learning fast.

August of 2010 we started digging by hand to try to find what was causing water to back-up in the basement. After digging for four days, we discovered an old wooden crib. Pat Durbin and Bernie Venua finally uncovered the pipe. Below, Pat Durbin searches for the crib.

The Archdiocese of Anchorage, with help from Catholic Extension, has set aside a few thousand dollars for major repairs to the property. The total estimate of the work is 3,800 dollars. Some of the work was donated by local contractors and JD Bennis, Pat Durbin, Bernie Venua, and other parishioner of Holy Rosary Parish donated time and talent.

Before Jackson McCormick brought in the heavy equipment, here is what it looked like October 26, 2010.

Before the equipment rolled in I gave Nushagak Cooperative a call and they came out to do a "locate" of the underground power and phone wires.

Jackson McCormick, a local Dillinghammer who has been installing septic systems in this area for over 30 years, sizes up the job. Jackson donated a system in the 1980's for the Cathoic Church, which is located on the other end of our graveled parking lot.

Jackson's wife helps get the back-hoe off the low-boy.

Alaskan Job Interview: Jerry, one of our neighbors, came by with his dog on a four-wheeler to ask for a job while the equipment was being un-loaded.

This is finally going to happen tomorrow, October 27, 2010 at 11:00 AM. YEAH!

Well, it did not start at exactly 11:00 AM, but by noon the crew was all present and started fueling the heavy equipment.

First Blood

After jumping down into the seven foot hole, Jerry uncovers the pipe leading out of the basement.

Gravel is then dumped around the end of the drain pipe to fill in where the old wooden crib was dug out.

JD Bennis helps out with his Bobcat.

Holy Rosary is brought into the 21st century with this cutting edge septic system technology. Jackson McCormick, who has been installing systems for over 30 years said that this new gray water system technology was, "The Cat's meow. It out-performs everything else out there." That black piece is made out of plastic and fits over the end of the drain pipe. Other pieces (4 foot 6 inch sections) are attached to that.

The new system is extended. Each hard plastic section is about four and one half feet long. It is set right on top of two or three feet of gravel.

JD Bennis dumps in another load of gravel. JD, a parishioner of Holy Rosary Parish, is donating his time and talent. Those black plastic shells on the left are layed out end to end on top of the gravel and that is basically the system, so simple!

Jerry and JD jump down into the hole and spread and level the gravel.

Next, the entire system will be covered with another foot of gravel.

Then, some kind of synthetic material is used to cover the last layer of gravel. The object is to not have any gravel showing so no dirt will touch the gravel when the system is filled in completely. By the way, those little white specks on the picture...snow. A blizzard graced us with its presence about halfway through the installation.

JD and his Bobcat.

Finally, the gray water system is filled in with dirt and packed down.

After JD smoothed out the area with the Bobcat, here is a picture of the FINAL PRODUCT.

Thank you all for your help and support of Holy Rosary Alaska Mission!

Contractors, donors, and volunteers involved in the Gray Water System:

Catholic Church Extension Society, Funding
Sr. Charlotte Davenport, CSJP, Finance, Chancery, Anchorage
Bennett Enterprises LLC, Gravel, 907-842-2270
Horizon Contractors, Gravel, 907-842-5683
Jackson McCormick Contractor, Heavy Equipment, 907-842-5364
JD Bennis Contractor and Bed and Breakfast, Bobcat, 907-842-5926
Nushagak Cooperative, Underground wire location, 907-842-5251
Pat Durbin, Maintenance Supervisor, Holy Rosary Parish
Bernie Venua, Maintenance, Holy Rosary Parish
Jerry, neighbor and Laborer

Monday, October 18, 2010

16 Year Old Shryock: Solos before Drivers License

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett
Pastor Holy Rosary Mission

Congratulations to Pat Shryock from Naknek, Alaska. The 16 year old flew solo in his parent's Cessna 172, Thursday, October 14, 2010, at South Naknek. Pat actually flew solo in the airplane before receiving his driver’s license

South Naknek is a gravel runway just across the river from Naknek. While relaxing at Saint Theresa two weeks ago I was monitoring the frequency 122.9 and heard the professional sounding young man practicing his landings in the pattern. His father Pat senior was instructing him.

Pat’s dad is a pilot for Penair in King Salmon and is a “Double I” flight instructor. Last week I asked him if Pat Junior had soloed yet. He said something like, “I think he is ready, but I don’t know if I am!”

During practice the first week of October, before he soloed, Pat junior wanted to take a couple of young ladies from high school flying with him. His flight instructor dad reminded Pat that he does not have his license yet and “I am coming with you.” Pat senior said that his son was a little distracted after the flight with the girls because he left the cargo door unlatched and had to go back and lock it up.

After Mass Sunday I asked the young aviator about his first solo flight on Thursday, October 14. He said, “I was REALLY excited.” He told me after that first landing he took-off again and did several more touch-and-goes.

Not too many people get to solo an airplane before getting a drivers license. After Mass at Saint Theresa in Naknek on Sunday, October 17, 2010, while Mary, Pat’s mom, was counting the collection, Pat and his 14 year old sister Jennifer were waiting in the car. They actually raced to the car and by the looks of it, Jennifer won. Both wanted to get a little driving practice in because both have their driving permits.

Pat and his sister Jennifer vying for that driver's seat.

Fly safe out there!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Children's Christmas Homily for 2010: Puzzle

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett
Pastor Holy Rosary Alaska Mission

It is never to early to start preparing for the Christmas Homily. Last year I used a nativity puzzle. It worked so well I decided to do it again.

The idea is to hand out each puzzle piece to families with children before the Mass begins. During the homily the children are called up one by one to to place there puzzle piece on the board. Each piece is a mini-homily, i.e. talk about the North Star, Mary, Joseph, etc. The final piece is the Baby Jesus and I will try to have the family with the youngest child bring that last piece forward.

First I got on-line and ordered a nice large nativity poster. It took a couple of weeks to get here because I am in Dillingham, AK, in the middle of the Alaskan Bush.

Next, I found an old piece of paneling and glued the poster to it.

After the poster dried to the wood paneling I took a razor blade exacto knife, a steel straight edge, and then cut the puzzle into 11 pieces.

The poster I purchased did not have a North Star so I had Katlyn, a seven year old parishioner at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, draw one, cut it out and color it. I then glued it to one of the pieces of puzzle.

I used velcro squares to attach each piece.

I put both sides of the velcro on the puzzle piece and then pressed the puzzle piece onto the board.

After pressing down firmly all around the puzzle piece I pulled it off the boar. The fuzzy half stayed on the puzzle and the other side stuck to the board.

The faimily with the youngest child gets the honor of placing the last piece in the puzzle.

Here is an outline for the Homily I will use this Christmas, Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day DLG 2010 Jigsaw Puzzle

One piece of thin paneling, one 32x24 inches
One piece of plywood 40x30 inches
One Poster: 32x24 (the bigger the better)
40 Velcro squares
One easel to put board on
Box or bag to hold the puzzle pieces
Exacto Knife
Steel ruler

Glue the poster on the paneling.

With an exacto knife, cut the nativity poster up into 12 pieces, more or less. Be sure at least one contains the entire infant Jesus.

Number each piece of puzzle (in the order you want to put them up, I am doing the border first then saving the pieces like Mary, Joseph, and Jesus until last).

Frame the plywood board that the puzzle pieces will be attached to.

Put all the pieces on the larger plywood and again, trace very lightly each puzzle piece.. Put the number of each puzzle piece on the corresponding drawn out piece on the plywood. Should be done with a pencil so that just I can see the number and the outline, not the congregation.

Use Velcro to put each puzzle piece on the board. I used a few squares for each puzzle piece, depending on the size of the piece.

Print Christmas Puzzle across the top

Hand out pieces of the numbered puzzles to children before mass or call them up during the homily and hand out the pieces. I am going to be creative here. Since it is my first time doing it I really don’t know what I am going to do yet.


Talk about the toys children get for Christmas. For example, one of the all time favorite toys is a puzzle. What kind of puzzle is this? Most children will see the Velcro dots and say “connect the dots.” If you want introduce the volunteer Christmas angel or altar server who will be putting up the border of the puzzle.

As you put up pieces of the puzzle, talk about them. If it is only a partial picture, ask the children to guess what it is.

Star of David: Led the wise men to the manger. Illuminated the way for the shepherds. Pointed to the biggest event of the world.

Angels: Appeared to the shepherds. They told them about Jesus

Shepherds: Came to see Jesus. The shepherds can is like a candy cane. Turn it the other way and it = J-Jesus

Inn Keeper: Although there was no room in the Inn in Jerusalem, the inn keeper had a manger.

Joseph: A very dependable, honorable, responsible, skillful, and religious man.

Mary: Mary was conceived without original sin so that she could give birth to a savior. She was a virgin who became pregnant with our savior. The angel Gabriel told asked her during the annunciation, if she wanted to bear the Christ child. She said yes. The savior would be fully human and fully divine.

The last piece will be the infant Jesus. Put that in and then briefly review the entire story.

Jesus: Baby Jesus. The reason we are here. Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

After Mass, process out with the picture held high.

Remember, its never to early to start preparing for a Christmass Mass.

Note: The idea for this Homily came from Msgr. Dermot R. Brennan, "Homilies Kids Can See." Our Sunday Visitor, Inc, 2002