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Mass in Yellowstone, Experience of God Unlike Any Other

Jesuit Father Rick Malloy enjoys spending time in Yellowstone National Park. “I'm a fanatical fisherman,” he admitted. “And a good one, too.”


Jesuit Father Rick Malloy checks the time before celebrating Mass in the Canyon section of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)

But exceptional fishing is not the main thing that brings him to Wyoming each year. It's the privilege and beauty of park ministry that keeps him coming back.

Mass in Yellowstone is “an experience of God unlike any other,” he said. “It's a real privilege to be able to celebrate the Eucharist with people here in the park.”

Fr. Malloy is a cultural anthropologist, professor and chaplain at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. For the past seven summers, he has gone west to minister in Yellowstone, do some writing and, of course, fish.

Priests have been coming to the park to celebrate Mass since the 1920s when yearly visitors numbered less than 200,000; today Yellowstone has 4.1 million annual visitors.


(CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)

“The park really gets you in touch with reality. The beauty, the majesty, just the sheer reality of nature here,” Fr. Malloy said. “And I think when we get in touch with reality, we get in touch with God. When we get in touch with God, we and the world transform.”

Fr. Malloy waits several extra minutes before he starts each Mass at Yellowstone. He knows there could be people stuck in a buffalo jam. The omnipresent bison have the right-of-way on park roadways and often cause rubbernecking delays.

Fr. Malloy said giving a homily in Yellowstone National Park is “literally a chance to preach to the whole world. You have no idea who will be here each Sunday.”


(CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)

[Source: Catholic News Service]





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