Out of Antarctica: “We never know where the Divine plan will take us…”

Remember Msgr. Steve Rossetti, who spent Christmas snowed in at the bottom of the world?

He posted an update a few days ago, after he was finally able to leave:

I am grateful for the enthusiasm which many communicated to me about my Antarctic journey. One couple told their young child that I was at the South Pole for Christmas. The child’s question was, “Does Santa go to the South Pole?” I can respond that, although I personally did not see Santa, I met many of his helpers and the spirit of Christmas was alive and well at the other end of the earth.

One of the most moving moments on the Ice was, indeed, Christmas at the Pole. After celebrating Christmas Mass, a small group gathered in the communications room. As is the custom, all the American sites around the continent (over 20) tuned their radios into a common frequency and then site after site sang Christmas carols so all could hear. It was a touching moment as we heard from these isolated souls far from home singing their beloved hymns. We were especially blessed by the presence of several Norwegians who courageously skied into the Pole and were camped nearby. They joined us and sang three traditional Norwegian Christmas carols to the great delight of all.

Finally, I am grateful to God. When we turn our lives over to God, we never know where the Divine plan will take us, even to the ends of the earth. I was asked by the program director if I would consider returning to the Ice sometime in the future. I said it was unlikely as it is so difficult to take such an extended period away. But that is what I said four years ago after my first trip … who knows what the future holds?

Read more, including his account of how he heard confessions, said Mass and even performed a baptism on Christmas Day. Among the tidbits that can be found in a sidebar:

The first chapel at McMurdo Station was built in 1956 by pious U.S. Navy Seabees who named it the Chapel of St. Dismas after the good thief because originally there were neither plans nor materials requisitioned to build a chapel. So, they “found” extra materials and built it on their own time. The current chapel, the Chapel of the Snows, is the third. It is the southernmost house of worship in the world.

Who knew?



  1. St. Dismas of the Midnight Requisition. :)

  2. “To the ends of the earth”, indeed! I would rather do ministry in Bahamas though…

  3. Btw, are you going to post about Google’s doodle for Bl. Bishop Steno? (I was really surprised….)

  4. Deacon Greg Kandra says:

    Just added it, Maureen — thanks for the heads up :-D

    Dcn. G.

  5. Deacon Dean says:

    I was a “heathen” Protestant :-) when I went to Antarctica as part of “Operation Deep Freeze” back in the early 70′s. Amazing experience!


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