Monday, June 14, 2010

Archbishop Schwietz Visits Holy Rosary Mission

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett
Pastor Holy Rosary Mission

This week Archbishop of Anchorage Roger L. Schwietz, OMI, visited Holy Rosary Mission from Thursday, June 10th to Sunday June 13th. His main job was to confirm those individuals who were ready to be confirmed. In the Alaskan Bush, where there are no roads leading from village to village, confirmation for a Bishop is a bit more involved. Here are some of the highlights.

Thursday, June 10th

Although the King Salmon were not yet running, a few trickled into Bristol Bay on their way to the Nushagak River. The Archbishop and I put the subsistence net out. Much to our dismay, the 14 foot tide was not quite high enough to cover our net. Never-the-less, all was not lost. We reasoned that we were not “skunked” because we never got the net wet!

Friday, June 11th

Archbishop Schwietz had a brilliant idea: leave the net out over night because there was a 19 foot tide at 4:00 AM. We got up early Friday and like magic two small King Salmon appeared in the net (eight and six pounders).

We then had the plane ride of our lives when we asked John Paul Bouker, a well known bush pilot, to fly us out to the mountain where Father Jim Kelly died. John was actually flying just behind Father Kelly when he crashed into the mountain in the Spring of 2001. The Archbishop and I took several pictures of the mountain and vowed to start raising money to set up some kind of memorial in the exact location of Father Kelly’s death. The mountain is approximately 23 miles Southwest of Dillingham near the small village of Manokotak.

Here is John Paul Bouker in Manokotak loading up a few more passangers. He did not charge the Archbishop and I to fly us out to the mountain and back.

Here is the mountain where Father Jim Kelly died, looking to the south west from Manokotak. Here are the GPS coordinates for the crash sight:

N 58 degrees 55.940'

W 159 degrees 15.681'

Here is another picture of the mountain looking toward the North. There are three visible small patches of snow still on the mountain. The patch of snow on the right (about in the middle of the picture) is where he crashed.

After John Bouker dropped us off in Dillingham, we jumped in our Cherokee Warrior II and flew to Clarks Point, which is about 12 air miles to the Southeast of Dillingham.

Before Mass at Saint Peter the Fisherman in Clarks Point, Alaska, Archbishop Schwietz chats with some of the villagers.

Louise Gardiner, one of the Elders in the village, was able to make it to the Mass. Also shown are Justine and Betty Gardiner in the front and Mariano and Christopher Floresta behind them.

The Archbishop stands in front of our Cherokee Warrior II at the Clarks Point, Alaska airport.

That evening, after returning home to Dillingham, Archbishop Schwietz made a delicious concoction out of roasted garlic, toasted sesame oil, Montreal Steak Spice, and Wright Smoke Flavor. He then brushed that mix onto the fresh King Salmon we caught that morning and baked it to perfection…YUM!

Saturday June 12th

We filed a flight plan and were in the air by 9:00 AM. First we flew back toward Manokotak to the mountain where Father Kelly crashed. I wanted to be sure all the coordinates in my GPS were accurate. The mountain is not that easy to spot unless you know exactly where it is. Next, the archbishop took over the controls of the Warrior II and piloted us from Manokotak, past Clarks Point, Portage Creek, Levelock, Naknek, and all the way to King Salmon where his first confirmation was scheduled. We tied down the airplane at the East Ramp, jumped in the Subaru, and drove the six miles to Saint Theresa Parish.

Deacon Harry Moore, Isabel Babiak, and Archbishop Schwietz pose for a picture before the confirmation Mass at Saint Theresa in Naknek, Alaska.

After the Confirmation Dylan and his family stand for a picture with the Archbishop. From left to right is Mike and Stephanie Brady, they Dylan and Archbishop Schwietz.

Debi Tibbetts was Dylan's sponsor.

It's a small world. The Archbishop runs into a person he knew from down in the lower 48. She was working in Naknek for the summer.

After Mass, Jennifer Shryock makes a hasty retreat down to the basement to lead the potluck blessing.

After the nice potluck in the basement of Saint Theresa, we flew back to Dillingham. I rushed off to a house blessing and when I got back, the archbishop was preparing another fabulous dinner. This time it was smoked salmon, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and parmesan cheese all mixed into pasta. It was a great way to end the day.

Sunday, June 13th

The next confirmation Mass was only a few feet away from the rectory in Dillingham at Holy Rosary Church. We walked over to the Church and prepared for confirmation. It was a grand celebration with a wonderful potluck following. After two adults were baptized, four people were confirmed into the Catholic Church at Holy Rosary.

Joshua Weiland is the first to be baptized.

Next, Jim Ingram is baptized.

While addressing the newly baptized, Brian holds the book for Archbishop Schwietz.

Jim Ingram and Josh Weiland receive the "Light of Christ." Terri Hill is shown on the right and is Josh's sponsor.

Those to be confirmed await the Sacred Chrism

Jim Ingram is first to be confirmed.

Next is Joshua Weiland.

Golda (Ingram) Weiland is confirmed next. Golda and Joshua were married in the Church two weeks ago, May 30, 2010.

Kara is confirmed by Archbishop Schwietz.

From right to left are Kara Ingram, Archbishop Schwietz, Joshua Weiland, Golda Weiland, and Jim Ingram, all new members of our Catholic Church.

From left to right are the sponsors and newly confirmed, Angela Clark, Kara Ingram, The Archbishop, Josh Weiland, Terri Hill, Golda Weiland, Dee O'Connell, Jim Ingram, and June Ingram.

Archbishop Schwietz returned home on the 1:30 PM Penair flight. We will miss him and look forward to his next visit.

Fly Safe out there!

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