By Fr. Andy Sensenig OMI
(All photos by Angie Del Moral)
On May 1, 2016, we here at St. Gregory the Nazianzen in Sitka had a wonderful confirmation with Bishop Chad Zielinski, the Bishop from the Diocese of Fairbanks. This is unique, because normally, our own Bishop, Most Rev. Edward Burns is presider of this important event. Yet, it was at the request of Bishop Burns to have Bishop Zielinski come here because all the students to be confirmed are from Bishop Chad’s diocese. The students are from Mount Edgecumbe High School, which is a state-funded boarding school for the Alaska Native population, who come from villages in rural Alaska to study.
Of course, this good work of confirming these students would not have begun without the help of our DRE, Ms. Anne Morris and her assistant, Ms. Maybelle Filler.
It was a wonderful celebration with Bishop Chad; the students even celebrated their culture with a drumming ceremony as they processed with the gifts to the altar as we prepared for the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
The beauty of being here in Sitka, Alaska teaches me that even though our call as Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate is to serve the “most abandoned,” you must first learn that true service is born in the cradle of “trusting collaboration,” where everyone’s gifts are shared equally and joyfully. You can see from the facial expressions of the people who took in this Mass that the hymn by Marty Haugen came to life, where “All are Welcome!”