We have found a new church community in Homer, Alaska. St. John the Baptist Church has 120 families, is very similar to Holy Redeemer’s layout before it was remodeled, and has a basement just like Holy Redeemer, including the steep steps! The biggest difference is that behind the altar is a picture window overlooking Kachamek Bay and the mountains so we can watch boat traffic, birds and the fog during mass! The church is 30 minutes from where we live. It does not have a priest; a nun runs the church and we have mass whenever a visiting priest is available or every other week. The nearest church with an assigned priest is 2 hours away (in Soldotna), and they are the ones who send a priest around to these outlying churches.
A retired priest from Montana, Fr. Charlie, has been coming up for a month every summer for 15 years. This was his last Sunday here for this year; he will go to Montana for a visit, and then home to Ireland where he is from. Fr. Charlie visits many of the families of the parish during his month here, and last week he put on a mini-retreat for women that 32 ladies attended. After the lector gives the reading, he has them give their interpretation of it, and then he gives a mini-sermon. Mass is regularly an hour fifteen minutes long. He retired at 65, and is now 80, but still going strong! The parish family greatly appreciates having him for one month of the year.
The music is very good. They have two different pianists, who also sing, and a sixteen-year-old girl who plays the violin beautifully.