Saturday, September 18, 2010

Father Tom visits Holy Rosary Mission

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett
Pastor Holy Rosary Mission

Holy Rosary Mission was fortunate to have Father Tom Lilly, (one of the ten diocesan priests assigned to the Archdiocese of Anchorage) visit Holy Rosary Mission from September 10th to the 14th.

Father Tom and I both started Mount Angel Seminary the same day in August of 1996 and were both ordained the same day, May 14, 2003. Fr. Tom’s first assignment is Saint Elizabeth Anne Seaton (SEAS), the parish with the largest number of people in the diocese. My first assignment is the largest mission, geographically, in the diocese. We both started our first assignments in the summer of 2005.

Fr. Tom and I just before graduating from Mount Angel Seminary.

After five years of threatening to come to Bristol Bay, Fr. Tom was finally able to break away from his the busy SEAS. We gave him quite the adventure.

The first day, Friday, September 10, we flew to Clarks Point, Alaska for Mass. Fr. Tom sat in Louise Gardener’s dining room as he held Brittany’s baby, Jack.

We then flew over to Manokotak. Here is a video of Buzzing the closed old landing strip at Manokotak.

Next we flew to the crash site of the late Father Jim Kelly, and back to Dillingham. After visiting the Flight Service Station, we discovered the coordinates to the Senator Steven’s crash site. We flew the seventeen miles north and circled while taking pictures and videos. Father Tom said a prayer over each of the crash sites.

Here is a short video over and around the Senator Stevens crash site.

Here is a beautiful mountain lake right above the Ted Stevens crash site

A western view from the Senator Stevens crash site.

The next day we jumped in the Cherokee Warrior II about 9:00 AM and headed for King Salmon. Along the way we did a GPS approach in to New Stuyahok. Fr. Tom is a private pilot with about 100 hours. The last time he flew a small airplane was over 20 years ago. I decided to let him get back into practice and fly the approach. He did a fine job!

Next we landed at Levelock, Alaska because there was dense fog over the King Salmon runway. We descended through clear skies until about 200 feet above the Levelock runway. There was a thin layer of fog that we had to zip through before landing. We walked the mile and a half to the small village and waited for an hour or so for the fog to lift in King Salmon.

Well, the fog never lifted so Fr. Tom and I flew back to Dillingham. When the fog finally lifted I left Fr. Tom in Dillingham and I flew to King Salmon. Plan B was to divide and conquer. We figured if the fog came back the next morning I would be stuck in King Salmon and could not get back to do Mass in Dillingham. Sure enough, the next morning after Mass at Saint Theresa in King Salmon I was stuck. Fr. Tom ended up celebrating Mass for the people at Holy Rosary in Dillingham and partaking in the delicious potluck without me.

Monday, the 13th of September, we finally flew to King Salmon. Fr. Tom wanted to check out the Air Force base and I wanted him to visit Saint Theresa. On the way back Fr. Tom finally had a “reasonable” non-assisted landing in Dillingham. It was about his third attempt. Yeah Fr. Tom.

Fly safe out there.

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