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Catholic Northwest Progress
Seattle, Washington
April 16, 1965     Catholic Northwest Progress
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April 16, 1965

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Easter ,..,' In Noble Little Churche s at End of Continent By Ed Fortier ANCHORAGE, Alaska-- The geographic range of the Roman Catholic Church will be symbolized by Jesuit missionaries as they offer Easter Mass in the farthest north Catholic church in the United States and one of the most westerly churches on the North American continent. Small in size but of cathedral dimensions in spirit are the noble little churches which serve the all-Eskimo congregations at Point Barrow, farthest north town in the U.S., and at-Tununak on Nelson Island, which Juts into the Bering Sea farther west than Honolulu. Located only 200 yards from the Arctic Ocean, St. Patrick's church in Barrow is a monument to the late Father Tom Curmlngham S J, one of the most renowned of the Jesuits' Far North corps. Father Tom wanted to erect a church at Barrow more than a quarter century ago. But a shortage of money and lumber iff the treeless land frustrated his efforts. Finally, in 1954, he acquired a surplus Navy Quonset hut located six miles from Barrow. He cut it in half, and with assistance from both whites and Eskimos hauled the building to its present site. The Jesuit located some surplus lumber 175 miles to the south at Umlat. He scraped up the money needed to buy the lumber and fly it to Barrow. Eskimos contributed both labor and money in helping to erect the central section. Father Tom built the altar for the 70-by-20 foot chuFcho As he explained at the time, he became a car- , penter "along the way." A 350-pound bell was acquired for St. Patrick's from the Northern Pacific Railway, and tailed for its first MaSs I Easer Greeings from Home Services, Inc. Appliances And Furniture Finest Service Departmeat GI. ,4-3'95; ] 16- 104th N.E. Bellevue ACE Bulldozing Co. EXCAVATING Free Estimates SH. 7-1000 13420 N.E. 16fh Bevue ,j pVl. SHOP CORNER SCREENS GLASS SCREENS COPPER - BRASS 129 106h N.E. Bellevue GL. 4-6118 I i i i Easter Greetings from SKI MARINA Sales & Service GL. 4-7966 939- 104th N.E., Bellevue PANCAKE -CORRAL Unique Pancakes - Waffles Our Specialty GL. 4-8888 1606 Lake Wash. Blvd. Bellevue Happy Easter Arthur's Bakery GL. 4-9661 138- 107th N.E. Bellevue :ii: In August, 1955. Father Tom's life and 24 years of Alaskan mission service ended in the church of his dreams shortly after he said Mass on Sept. 3, 1959. He was found dead in the church after a heart attack. In carrying Christ to the villages that dot the wilder- ness in this vast state, the Jesuits must travel by dog- team, plane and snowmobile-- and always with danger. The missionary who will offer EasterMass at Barrow is Father Frank X. O'Brien SJ, Jesuit Chaplain for the DEW (Distant Early Warning) Line, which extends around Alaska's Arctic perimeter and into Canada as a shield against sudden air attack from over the North Pole. Father O'Brien last said Mass at Barrow March 7, when he promised St. Patrick's small congregation he would return during Holy Week, and be available for Mass and confessions, especially on Easter Sunday. "That promise," explained Father O'Brien, "is, of course, contingent on weather conditions and plane ser- vice. If at all possible and, God willing, I certainly shall be there." The Holy Week duties of Father James E. Jacobson SJ, will require that he serve Eskimos at three villages on bleak and barren Nelson Island which is linked to the Alaskan mainland by a frozen channel.Jesuit mis sionaries have served this remote area for more than 75 years. Traveling by dog'team or s nowmobile, Father J acobson will attempt to offer Easter Mas at his headquarters parish in Tununak, and also at Chefornak and Nightmute. Witnesses to the dangers of such wilderness travel are Fathers William McIntyre SJ, and William Dibbs Easter Greetings ,PRINTING ENGi00VING 13zl6 s.E. 3Z.d SH 6-5432 Happy Easter from Sparling Hardware, lno. GL. 4-2409 141 Bellevue Square Bellevue BARNEY & AL'S CHEVRON STATION Tune-Up and Repair Pick-up and Delivery GL. 4.8816 108th S.E. and Lake Washington Blvd. Bellevue Friday, April 16, 1965 THE PROGRESS--Page 33 St. Patrick's Church, Barrow, Alaska Northernmost U. S. Catholic Church S J, both of whom are now recovering in Anchorage from severely frost-bitten feet, sustained in the winter. Both Alaskan missionaries were traveling to nearby Esktmo villages for Masses when mishaps resulted in their ordeal by freezing. Sole missionary for the Nelson Island district since 1961, Father Jacobson is also acquainted with danger in the wilderness. Father Paul Deschout, who built present churches at Nightmute, Chefornak and two at Tununak, was nearly killed in a snowmobile accident five years ago. His health impaired, he now sides at the Jesuit novitiate in Sheridan, Ore. Father Paul Linnsen, then pastor of the church at Ntghtmute, was drowned in a Bering Sea storm in the autumn of 1960, while taking a boatload of lumber and supplies to Nelson Island. When Father Jacobson offers the last Mass on his busy Easter Sunday, it will already be Easter Monday in the eastern U.S. The time difference between New York and Nelson Island is six hours. Dogteams will be tied beside the churches at Barrow and Tununak, curling up to escape the Easter cold. As the parka-clad Eskimos file into the simple mis sion churches, snow and ice will dominate the landscape. There will be new flowers on the altars, but they are more likely to be made by Eskimo women than fresh lilUeso But inside these "cathedrals of the Arctic" there will be the warmth that comes only from the celebration of the greatest feast of Christendom. And Fathers Jim Jacobson and Frank O'Brien will have done their part in carrying the message of the Risen Christ to the frozen edge of the Christian world. Happy Easter To All BELLEVUE .MOTOR COURT GL, 4-3042 1657 - 104th N.E. Bellevue I Uncle Harold's Quality Key & Cycle Service Authorized Schwinn Dealer G,L. 4.80 I, I 372 Bellevue Square Bellevue ALL-AROUND JANITOR SERVICE Larry O'Brien 15611 S.E. 24th SH. 6.6151 BELLEVUE Eastside Glass & to.Paint ,Auto- Residential Commercial Insurance Claims a Specialty 10246 Main Street Bellevue Gt. 4-9505 Happy Easter FIELDER BEALL FLOWERS, Inc. GL. 4-5074 321 Bellevue Shopping Square, Bellevue TOWN !& COUNTRY APPUANCE SERVICE Washers - Dryers and All lVlor Appliances SH. 6-6644 P. O. Box 393, Bellevue