Thursday, August 11, 2016

Around the Mission First Week in August 2016

The first week in August was fantastic around the Saint Paul Mission, based at Holy Rosary in Dillingham, Alaska.

Although it rained most of the week, the church lawn and the cemetery lawn did get mowed.

I was able to have Mass at Clarks Point (Saint Peter the Fisherman) on Friday and King Salmon Naknec (Saint Theresa) on Sunday.  After waiting for the fog to lift in Dillingham, I was flew over to Clark's with about two minutes to spare before mass.  We celebrated mass in Clark Point's brand spanken new community center.  We hope to raise money for a new Catholic Church building to go next door to the new center.  The old church, built by Mariano's father (Mariano Floresta pictured below) is around fifty years old and falling apart.



Above, Judy and Mariano..  Juliana also attended.

Here is a short video as I was flying over to Saint Theresa from Clark's Point.



YOU CAN ALSO CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO.

The cemetery is looking very nice after all the rain and a little tender loving care.




I am currently getting ready to travel to Bethesda, near Washington, DC, for mission talks to raise money for our Saint Paul Mission.  We have confirmed on weekend, September 17 and 18, and are working on September 10 and 11. Here is a brief outline of some of the points I will be talking about.  If you have any suggestions, please feel free to comment:

CATHOLICS:
Alaskan Catholic Population:
136,000 square miles (twice the size of Texas)
33,000 Catholics
4.2 Catholics per square mile
29 parishes/missions
21 in remote areas
10 Archdiocesan priests, 11 temporary and ordered priests
8 priests short

CHALLENGES
Roads: No roads to connect some 30 villages in the Mission
Airplanes: Villages rely on airplanes for food, supplies, ministry
Geography: Catholics live far apart
Anchorage to Dillingham is 350 miles
Anchorage to Dutch Harbor mission 796 miles
Weather: Weather is unpredictable, severe, -30, gail winds, ice, snow, freezing rain
Culture: Yupik Eskimo, some Hispanic, Filipino, and Caucasian
Mass Frequency: Sometime never, once a year, once a month

COST OF TRAVEL
$1,300 every visit, i.e. Anchorage-Dillingham-King Salmon Round Trip
$1,000 Round Trip to Dutch Harbor, Alaska.
$15,000 per year to budget Airplane for priest pilot

PRIEST SHORTAGE
Every Catholic, by law, has the right to the sacraments
We are eight priests short
We have two seminarians
Cost per seminarian: $50,000 each/year

CONCLUSION:
Where does the money go?
1.    Travel to remote villages.
2.    Education for seminarians

3.    Your donation will help Catholics in remote areas to receive sacraments.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

First Two Months Back at the Saint Paul Mission, Dillingham, Alaska.

After five years at Sacred Heart in Wasilla, Alaska, I have been re-assigned back to the Mission in Dillingham. Father Kelly started the mission in the early 1990's and was killed in a plane crash 11 years later while flying to celebrate a Mass in Togiak, Alaska. Fr. Kelly named this Mission "Saint Paul Mission," from the bible scripture about taking the Gospel "to the ends of the earth." After five years away, here is what I have been doing my first two months back: (See Pictures Below)

1. Set up mass times for Holy Rosary in Dillingham, Alaska and Saint Theresa in King Salmon/Naknek. Mass will be every other Sunday. A communion service will be celebrated on the "other" Sunday. Flew to Saint Theresa three times to celebrate Mass and Clarks Point twice.

2. Set up mass for Clarks Point, Alaska. Mass will be every Friday at noon in their new community center.

3. Organized and cleaned the Sacristies, kitchens, and basement storage in both Saint Theresa and Holy Rosary churches.

4. Painted the basement floor and entry way at the Holy Rosary Rectory.

5. Spent a couple days in the cemetery leveling grave sites, filling in sunken grave sites, mowing, and trimming.

6. Organized the office in the rectory (installed scanner, weeded through old material, updated computer software, and simplified). Cleaned out the garage and organized all of the tools.

7. Ordered a dump truck load of gravel and spread it over the parking lot.

8. Cleaned the bathrooms, caulked around the showers, and replaced the shower heads, and replaced the shower curtains.

9. Had a youth retreat from Sacred Heart do a community service retreat.

10. Cut down a bug kill tree behind the church with the chain saw.

11. Built a smokehouse. I went to the Dillingham Land Fill, got an old freezer, and converted it.

12. Hung up flowers around the rectory and Nora from Cracker box donated flowers for the sign.

13. Went fishing for Reds (sockeye salmon) with Pat Walsh.

CONVERTED FREEZER TO SMOKE HOUSE



ORGANIZED AND CLEANED UP CHURCH AND RECTORY



CUT DOWN A TREE BEHIND HOLY ROSARY CHURCH



NORA FROM CRACKER BOX DONATED SOME FLOWERS



SPENT A COUPLE DAYS IN THE CEMETARY



WENT FISHING WITH PAT WALSH



ARRIVED THE LAST DAY OF THE SACRED HEART COMMUNITY YOUTH RETREAT AT HOLY ROSARY IN DILLINGHAM



PAINTED THE BASEMENT FLOOR HOLY ROSARY RECTORY



ROUNDED UP A FEW ALTAR SERVERS