Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Accidental death in Telegraph Creek, B.C.

With a major highway—Highway #37—closed because of forest fires, some of the communities in the Diocese of Whitehorse have been cut off from outsiders recently.

However, when the call came in last week about the accidental death of parishioner Dan Pakula in Telegraph Creek, British Columbia, it meant going to the air with the help of Marcel Dulac

(Sifton Air) so I could get to Telegraph Creek to be with the family to celebrate the Rites of Christian Burial and the Mass for Dan.

Much of the Stikine river is only accessible by travel on the river so the river became the highway to get to the graveyard downriver from Telegraph Creek.

The whole graveside service was held under the watchful gaze of the Lord and a large black bear perched up a tree right above the grave.

There is no priest or pastoral worker at St. Theresa mission in Telegraph Creek, but with a little ingenuity and determination, I and Father Terry Brock from Terrace, B.C., are able to get there every month. Of course, we are on call 24/7 to help the people in difficult times. God always provides the way.

P.S.: I was not able to get a photo of the bear I was a little busy taking care of the prayers and the grieving family.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Meanwhile, contruction of Mary Our Morning Star Retreat Centre and the Bishop's House continues. Above, carpenters work on the roof.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Keeping warm without costing a fortune

The power poles are finally in place, and soon electrical
access to the property for Mary Our Morning Star retreat house
and the new rectory will be switched on.

Construction in the North is complex and expensive.

Thus, construction for our retreat house and rectory is focused on three essentials:

1) Sustainability
2) Conservation of energy

So, what looks like a giant Lego block is really
a Styrofoam block 8 feet x 20 feet, which is the
wall and insulation and vapour barrier all in one.

Once the blocks are all stacked up, they are filled with concrete. The most important aspect of this construction is, it is built to last! And even better, has a working "R" value of +50, which, in construction-speak, means the value of the insulation in the wall.

The heating/ventilation contractor said: "You will probably be able to heat this building with a candle."

This is very good because the church has lots of candles!

Dana Sellinger gunning nails onto insulated concrete wall.

Here I am sitting on the floor joists with Dan Sellinger.

Above, I am using the screwdriver gun to put the floor down. Everything is in a bishop’s job description!

For now, this may be a lot of science and technical data. However, it is very important as we try to be good stewards of
God’s creation.

Nothing like a rainbow over Takhini valley to remind us
 to be mindful of caring for and being respectful of all
the wondrous beauty that God has created for us.

Friday, July 16, 2010

May not be Mount Carmel, but getting there

On the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, I thought of posting a few photos of the developments at the site where the Bishop’s house is being constructed.

The proposed Mary Our Morning Star property on the banks of the Takhini River may not be Mount Carmel; however, it will be a place of encounter with the Lord through the intercession of Our Blessed Mother.

Next week, the property will have electric power with the building of the power line.

The Bishop’s house building project has been a great way of working out the bugs and complications of building in the North. The challenges of a sustainable energy-efficient building that minimizes impact on the environment are many and not that simple.

But, as people would say, “Where there is a will, there is a way.”

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.

God bless!

Bishop Gary