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Antarctica Loses Only Catholic Priest

Antarctica Loses Only Catholic Priest

Antarctica's only Catholic priest has been told to leave his post at the Chapel of the Snows at McMurdo Station. Christian Today reports Father Dan Doyle’s services are no longer needed in at the outpost due to declining attendance at services. 

A military chaplain will remain at the military base and research hub. 

The Chapel of the Snows has provided services for researchers at the base for over 50 years. Doyle says he dreamed of serving in Antarctica since he became a priest. 

"It was great experience providing the ministry to the end of the earth,” Doyle said. 

"We used to fly to the South Pole for a day or two and we would go to the out-stations, I got to look at glaciers and historic huts...When the divers were working I would be their spotter standing on the ice, there have been plenty of times I have had to count penguins."

Ten years ago, the base housed about 2,000 people during the summer months. Now, only about 1,200 people live at McMurdo Station.

"There is a gradual decrease in religiosity, there is also a decrease in the number of people working at McMurdo Station and the South Pole and budget cuts, so all of these factors have led to the decision that only one chaplain is necessary,” Doyle said. 

Publication date: July 29, 2015