Posted February 08, 2010 in MH Whitehorse YT:
Notes From Near and Far: Maryhouse, Yukon

by Fr. Kieran Kilcommons.

My particular apostolate within the apostolate of Maryhouse has been taking me around much of the area north and west of Whitehorse, the city where we are located. Every month I visit six mission parishes.

In the villages of these remote areas, there might be eight people attending Mass, or three. Once or twice, I even found myself celebrating Mass by myself. It’s an odd experience for a Sunday liturgy.

Then sometimes the liturgy is deeply beauty. Mass in one parish with two folks was so prayerful that it took at least an hour. (No, the homily was not too long!) One of those people was so grateful to be able to worship with someone that she cried throughout the whole liturgy.

Of course, the country in which I spend so many hours driving is itself inspiring. Wherever you are in this wild, mountainous land can move you to praise God for his great beauty.

You see, for example, such a plentitude of elk, beautiful elk, standing majestically on the highway, seemingly unmoved by a roaring vehicle, and everywhere you see vista upon vista of lakes, streams, and snow-covered mountains.

Closer to home, there are the familiar experiences of generous Yukoners helping split wood in our yard and serving sandwiches for the Adult Faith Formation classes held at our house winter and summer. And of course, a constant stream of friends comes by for food or conversation. Some faces have changed, and some have been constant for forty years or more.

We recently said good-bye to Christine Herlihy, who was stationed here for over nine years and has now been reassigned to Combermere and new adventures.

Many people came by to say good-bye or to ask her out for coffee or a meal. Now they are telling Kate O’Donnell and me how much they miss her. I think Christine is especially missed by those who come to our door for clothing and food. They seem to instinctively recognize the compassion she has for them.

Along with changes in staff, we continue to upgrade our technology. We have recently purchased an all-wheel-drive van previously owned by a sister who served in Mayo, a mining town north of us, for eighteen years.

And a new computer walked in the door courtesy of another friend. We have hopes that this new computer will give us faster Internet connection, but if not, we will at least have a keyboard that works smoothly!

To sum up, let me just say that, like all our Madonna House houses, we live in grace between the mundane and the exciting, and between the ordinary and the unusual, but always we live in an atmosphere shot through with the sacred.


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