Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Saturday 17 April |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Mariana of Jesus

A continent loses its only Catholic priest

© Alan Light

Deacon Greg Kandra - published on 07/28/15

From Christian Today: 

The romantically-named Chapel of the Snows in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, has provided services and chaplaincy for research staff for more than 50 years. Now, though, staff cutbacks and declining attendance at services mean that Roman Catholics will no longer be part of it. Radio New Zealand has reported that there is no longer a need for a Catholic priest at the remote outpost and that the National Science Foundation, which runs the research facility, has asked the New Zealand diocese to terminate its association with the project. There will still be a military chaplain at the base. However, Fr Dan Doyle, co-ordinator of the Catholic Church in Antarctica, said: “There is a gradual decrease in religiosity, there is also a decrease in the number of people working at McMurdo Station and the South Pole and budget cuts, so all of these factors have led to the decision that only one chaplain is necessary.” The number working at the base in the summer months has dropped from around 2,000 10 years ago to only 1,200 today. Father Doyle said when he first became a priest it was a dream of his to go to Antarctica. “It was great experience providing the ministry to the end of the earth. We used to fly to the South Pole for a day or two and we would go to the out-stations, I got to look at glaciers and historic huts. When the divers were working I would be their spotter standing on the ice, there have been plenty of times I have had to count penguins.” It’s not quite true to say that the Church has abandoned Antarctica, however. There are several chapels on sub-Antarctic islands, many research stations have a dedicated room – sometimes a converted shipping container – for religious purposes, and there are plans to build a Catholic chapel at the Italian Mario Zucchelli Station in Terra Nova Bay.

Read the rest. 

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
SPANISH FLU
Bret Thoman, OFS
What Padre Pio saw in the Spanish Flu of 1918
2
LOREN SCHAUERS
Annalisa Teggi
Amputee from the waist down is thankful every day to be alive
3
HOLY SEPULCHRE CROSSES
Zelda Caldwell
Mystery of crosses on walls of Church of the Holy Sepulchre may h...
4
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio’s favorite prayer of petition
5
PADRE PIO
Philip Kosloski
St. Padre Pio: His life, his miracles and his legacy
6
PRAY
Philip Kosloski
Catholic prayers for strength
7
COUPLE
Cerith Gardiner
7 Joys to be had from a lengthy marriage
See More