Life & Thanksgiving in the Far North

posted on 18/12/15 02:51 pm by Kathy McMerty  

By Fr. Jon Hansen, C.Ss.R.

We received our first snowfall at the end of September and it never left. Presently there is about a 6 inch accumulation of nice fluffy powder on the ground. The days have been a mixture of sunshine and grey sky. When the sun is out it usually means a colder day but so far the temperatures have not been extreme. I think our coldest day so far has only been about -15 degrees. I expect however that it will be getting colder soon. The darkness is also creeping up as we are losing about 12 minutes of daylight every day. At that rate a week makes a big difference and by the time you are reading this we will have lost the sun altogether for a month.

The month of October was full of travel to the various communities and beyond. One of the highlights was a few days spent in Tuktoyaktuk over the Thanksgiving weekend. It was my first opportunity to spend a Sunday in the community and having Eucharist together was a good chance to meet a large number of the faith community. The little church that we meet in was recently renovated by Sr. Fay and many volunteers and it is cozy and welcoming.

I have the honour of building a new roof top mount for the caribou antlers that hang over the doors of the church in the middle of which I will find a way to stand a statue of Mary. It’s hard to describe but if you have ever seen the logo on a bottle of Jägermeister you will get an idea of the look we are going for.

We celebrated Thanksgiving on Monday and had a number of individuals and families over for a supper of swan, goose and sweet potatoes. My contribution was pumpkin pie using a recipe that my mom used to make. It was delicious and appreciated by everyone.

After returning from Tuk I took a quick trip to Tsiigehtchic to meet the Steiner family who had arrived to take up residence in the rectory of the church. Ray and Therese and their 5 children were in midst of unpacking and renovating at the same time trying to make a priest’s residence suitable accommodations for their young family. I spent the afternoon helping Ray to tear down walls and build new walls while the kids shovelled off the nearby lake for a bit of skating. Therese was busy making a delicious meal in the kitchen and the youngest member of the family slept on the couch under the watchful presence of the family dog.

The last week of the month I left the north for a trip to Toronto where I met with members of the Redemptorist provincial council. I thought that it would be a bit of a shock to be back in a big city but I guess I haven’t been away long enough as I really didn’t feel affected by the change at all. It is nice to be able to walk in two worlds but I know my preference is for the open spaces and the wild places.

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