God is his co-pilot: meet a flying priest in Alaska

God is his co-pilot: meet a flying priest in Alaska September 8, 2019

From Catholic Anchor

Here’s a unique vocation, via Catholic Anchor, from Father Scott Garrett, who tends to the spiritual needs of his flock by flying a small plane from parish to parish:

Although most of these remote villages have fewer than 50 residents, as a priest, there is tremendous satisfaction in unifying people together, converting non-Catholics and administering the sacraments. While celebrating Mass in a home, cannery or community center, there are normally people of many religions on hand.

Before taking off I check the weather, file a flight plan and do a preflight check on my plane. I also try to call ahead of time or text a resident in the village. That person then gathers other members of their community and lets them know when and where I will celebrate Mass. Since I like to walk, I normally trek from my plane to the village which can be some three miles. After Mass, and any training for confirmation or baptism, someone normally takes me back to my plane by four-wheeler.

As a priest pilot, I cherish the freedom to make my own schedule and the adventure and challenge of flying into these remote villages. There, people are thrilled to have a priest flying to see them and administer the sacraments.

When I first arrived at Holy Rosary in Dillingham, I flew the 12 miles over the Nushagak River to Clarks Point. Three people from the village of 35, showed up for Mass. We vowed that within a year we would “fill the place up.” God is good. By Easter the next year virtually the entire village attended Mass.

I normally try to fly at least three times a week. I take one day off for rest, one day for administrative and canon law work, and one day for maintenance and grounds keeping. I love working in the cemetery — changing out old crosses, leveling out sunken plots, and mowing the lawn.

Read it all, and keep this priest and his mission in your prayers!

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