Parish profile: St. John by the Sea, Klawock

By Cathy Bolling
St. John by the Sea Parish, Klawock

Saint John by the Sea Parish in Klawock serves the Catholic community on Prince of Wales Island, home to about 4,000 residents. Prince of Wales was named a mission in 1925 by Bishop Joseph Crimont. Bishop Michael Kenny appointed full-time ministers in 1983, and in 1992, he blessed and dedicated the new church and parish, built by parishioners. In 2000, parishioners added more living quarters, classrooms, office space and a social hall.

Many features of our church speak to local tradition and have been crafted using local resources. Our baptismal font is made from a large wood burl. Travelers along the busy Craig-Klawock Highway can see the church’s beautiful stained-glass cross between stained-glass windows of an eagle and raven, which represent the area’s Native heritage in a Christian context. The sanctuary is decorated with fine cloths hand-sewn by a parishioner and altar furniture hand-crafted by another parishioner.

This parish of about 40 active families is a small but close one, including second generations of parishioners raising their children in the Catholic tradition as they were raised. We welcome all visitors, including our regular summer residents.

In addition to our Sunday and daily liturgies celebrated by Fr. Augustine Minn of the Korean Missionary Society, our parishioners share in Sunday Rosary, First Saturday Mass and Eucharistic Adoration, and an active religious education program. When in full operation, we also enjoy weekly hospitality and once-a-month pancake breakfasts. In the greater community, Saint John’s is known for the Blessing of the Fishing Fleet in spring, a lively St. Patrick’s Day dinner and concert in March, and a benefit Christmas concert for a local aid organization. On the edge of the parking lot is the parish’s Little Free Pantry, a small food locker stocked by parishioners, accessible to anyone on the island. Again, when in full operation, the parish hall serves as a meeting place for outside groups, from quilters to preschoolers and local companies needing training and gathering space.

Saint John by the Sea Parish, 6840 Michigan Avenue, P.O. Box 245 Klawock, AK, 99925,,,

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