Highest Mass… ever

It might be hard to beat this for a High Mass.

From CNA:

Priest brothers celebrate Mass on 20,320-foot Mt. McKinley
By Joel Davidson, Catholicanchor.org

Anchorage, Alaska, Aug 9, 2009 / 02:21 pm (CNA).- What is believed to be the first known Mass ever celebrated at the top of Mt. McKinley took place on July 3, when three childhood friends from Poland summited the 20,320-foot peak.

Father Krzyaztof Grzybowski and his brother Father Robert Grzybowski celebrated a Mass with their childhood friend Adrian Przyluski attending.

In a letter to the Catholic Anchor, Father Richard Tero, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Seward, Alaska and local church historian in the state, said he believes the Mass was the first on the top of North America’s highest peak.

“In a most exceptionally clear and calm day, at about 4 p.m. after a long climb from 17,000 feet, on the West Buttress route, they were able to spend about 45 minutes at the 20,320 foot summit,” Father Tero wrote.

Other priests known to have summited Mt. McKinley include Father Carl Abele in the early 1970s, as well as Father Michael Shields and Dominican Father Tim Conlin in the 1980s, Father Tero said.

“I’m sure other foreign priests have also had success but didn’t share it with the local priests,” Father Tero added, “but to have no wind on Mt. McKinley is extremely rare.”

Father Tero hosted the priest brothers and their friend in Seward, where the Polish men enjoyed a Kenai Fjords tour after their climb.

In sharing the story of the mountaintop Mass, Father Tero said the men had to “blow on the wine to unfreeze it for the Mass.”

The three men grew up together in Bielsk Podlaski at the far east of Poland, on the border with Belarus.

The two brothers now serve in their home diocese as priests. Przyluski is a police officer in Warsaw. The men left Anchorage on July 23.


Why?  I am not sure.

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  1. Agnes says:

    Because it’s there.

  2. P.McGrath says:

    Next step: The TLM on Mt. Everest. Or one of the big Himalayan peaks.

    Of course, since it’s unlikely that a whole schola could make the climb, it would have to be without chanting. This would make it the highest Low Mass ever recorded.

  3. Lina says:

    Well, there’s this:

    ‘Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his holy mountain, for the LORD our God is holy.’
    Psalm 99:8-9

    …and this:

    ‘How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”‘
    Isaiah 52:6-8

    And many more, but that’s enough for now.

  4. Art says:

    What about the Low Mass? Any priest out there fancy celebrating the TLM without chant inside a submarine exploring the Mariana Trench? ;)

  5. Go, say Mass on the mountain,
    Over the hill and everywhere!


  6. Paulus says:

    Why? I don’t know either. But the thought of two priests celebrating Mass on top of the highest mountain in North America – a mountain nicknamed “The Great One” – left me grinning ear to ear.

  7. AndyKl says:

    Probably because they could!

  8. Robert_H says:

    I seem to remember watching a documentary about Pope JPII that showed him hiking a lot in the mountains as a young priest. Maybe these priests were thinking of him?

    Also, I’m curious: NO or EF Mass?

  9. irishgirl says:

    Wow-that’s pretty cool! And pretty brave of those priests to do!

    I was at a ‘high Mass’…in an airplane over the Altantic Ocean! In 1984, I went to Fatima, Portugal, on a Blue Army pilgrimage. Back then the Blue Army had its own plane, called ‘The Queen of the World’. My group were the only passengers, which was nice. The flight originated in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls area.

    We had several priests as chaplains, and one of them said Mass in the passenger cabin. We knelt as best we could. And at the end Father said, ‘Go in peace….but not too far!’

    Never forgot that Mass…I think we had more than one ‘airborne Mass’ on that trip…

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