A little over a week ago my family was Down East in Lubec Maine where we attended Mass at the parish of St. Peter the Fisherman. The name is apt as commercial fishing is still an important part of the economy here and many still venture out, braving the weather. The seasons for scallops and sea urchins is during the winter months. Next time you are cursing the cold weather imagine being in this weather but on the deck of a fishing boat with freezing cold spray coming over the bows.
At one time Lubec was home to several sardine canneries which all closed over the years due to overfishing and changing consumer tastes. Today this is a poor area even by Maine standards. Besides fishing there is blueberry raking in the late summer and the making of wreaths around the holidays. There is a little tourism that has picked up some in the last few years. There are even a couple of new good restaurants in town. The people here however are resilient and used to adversity. The year round residents form a close knit community where people help each other out as needed.
The parish has 4 churches located over a fairly wide area, including one on Campobello Island which is actually in New Brunswick Canada making this a rare international parish. Pastor Fr. Gene Gaffey and his deacon Jim Gillen have their work cut out for them covering this large and sparsely populated area. Covering the weekend masses starts on Saturday with Mass at St. Timothy on Campobello at 4 PM followed by Sacred Heart Lubec at 4:30 PM. No that is not a misprint – it is possible because Campobello Island is on Altantic Time which is an hour ahead. On Sunday the 8 AM at Holy Name Machias is followed by a 10 AM at St. Michaels Cherryfield.
All this has been made more difficult as Fr. Gaffey suffered an injury from the motorcycle he uses to get around his far flung parish. Fortunately parishioners have stepped in to help. He is on the way to recovery – earlier he was forced to use a wheel chair but can now walk with the help of a cane. Please pray for his quick recovery.