Every few months, I get a fund-raising letter from the Catholic Bishop of Northern Alaska.
The letter inside always starts with “A Most Difficult Mission.” You gotta think so.
I looked it up. The “Diocese of Fairbanks”:http://www.cbna.info/ includes 40 parishes spread over 409,849 square miles. Cold miles.
The Archdiocese of New York, which serves 2.5 million Catholics over 10 counties, covers 4,683 square miles.
The Diocese of Fairbanks is served by Bishop Donald Kettler, 24 priests, three brothers, 20 sisters, nine Jesuit volunteers, 35 ordained deacons (11 retired), and seven deacon candidates. The picture shows the diocese offices.
There’s one elementary school and one middle/high school. Another 2,616 children receive religious instruction — over 409,849 square miles.
The diocese has needs. Real needs.
Saint Theresa’s parish needs a 4-wheeler ATV so that Fr. Stan Jaszek can minister in Aniak, Alaska, “a Yup’ik Eskimo remote village located on the south bank of the Kuskokwim River in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in the Interior of the State.”
Brother Justin needs a new Monitor stove for his residence “so he can stay warm this winter.”
Immaculate Conception parish in Kalskag, Alaska is a Central Yup’ik Eskimo village that needs a new deep water well because its shallow well “has been deemed unhealthy by the local government.” The cost: $12,000.
In the remote bush villages of western Alaska, villages rely on VHF radio for information and announcements. VHF radio. Blessed Sacrament parish in Scammon Bay, Little Flower of Jesus parish in Hooper Bay and Sacred Heart parish in Chevak do not have VHF radios and need them to announce worship times, catechism, adult faith sharing, etc.
To review the diocese’s needs or to help out, go “here.”:http://www.cbna.info/items/items.php
A most difficult mission, indeed.