Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ash Wednesday in Bush Alaska: 2011

By Father Scott Joseph Garrett
Pastor, Holy Rosary Mission Alaska

Ash Wednesday in the Alaskan Bush does not necessarily happen on Ash Wednesday. In Dillingham, Alaska Ash Wednesday, however, did come on Wednesday, at 12:15 PM. A half hour efore the Ash Wednesday Mass at Holy Rosary, Becky Chandler meditates in the pews while Yolanda Gage and a friend clean the windows. The green linen was then changed to purple before the Mass began. Purple stands for penance and reconciliation and reminds us to give, pray, and fast.

Ash Wednesday in Clarks Point happened on Friday, March 11, two days after Ash Wednesday. Our Cherokee Warrior II was in the Hanger in King Salmon, Alaska getting an annual inspection so I had to opt for Grant Air. The Grant pilot who dropped me off in Clarks flew a Cessna 207:

I celebrated Mass in Louise Gardener’s home in Clarks Point. Before beginning, our Catholic Church honored Louise with a hand carved statue from Italy of Saint Theresa, the Little Flower. Saint Theresa is the Patron Saint of air travel and safety so I asked Louise to pray for the safety of pilots, especially me. Here, Louise’s granddaughter, Brittany, helps Louise open the gift while Brittany’s son Jack stares at the camera.

Here Louise hold up her statue.

Saint Theresa celebrated with ashes on Saturday, March 12, at noon. I flew over with Walt in a Penair caravan and back with Pat Shryock. Below is a picture of Pat standing next to Billy Tolbert. Pat (right) and his family regularly attends Saint Theresa Catholic Church in King Salmon/Naknek.

I am a little frustrated because the best weather we have had this year has been the last two weeks and our Cherokee Warrior is in the hanger awaiting parts. Wouldn’t you know it! I told Pat Shryock, while flying back from King Salmon to Dillingham, that he will know when our plane will be fixed and ready to fly because the visibility will be 1 mile, the wind 35 knots, and the ceiling 400 feet that day.

Fly Safe out there!


AKLulu said...

Name correction: Billy Tolbert

Anonymous said...

Thanx, I'll correct the name. Fr. Scott