News from Stykkishólmur, Iceland


“Brethren, do not be weary in doing good” (2 Thess 3:13)


Handing on the Catholic Faith in the Shadow of a Glacier

From our mission in Stykkishólmur, we have been entrusted with the task of handing down the teachings of the apostles to the children of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. We live in the largest of the three large villages on our peninsula: Stykkishólmur, population 1,100. In addition to our town, we travel to the other two villages during the week in order to teach the children catechism and prepare them to receive the sacraments. The drive is a long one. It takes about hour in good weather, more than an hour in bad weather, and when the winds are exceptionally strong and the road icy, the road (there is only one that takes us there) closes and the class has to be cancelled. As we drive, I am reminded often of what St. Thomas teaches, “The good of grace in one is greater than the good of nature in the whole universe”. I am reminded of this phrase because the scenery from Stykkishólmur to Ólafsvík is possibly the most beautiful in the world and one cannot help but marvel at the beauty of creation. Yet, all that beauty and goodness cannot compare to the goodness of grace in one of the children that we go to teach. Sometimes we are preparing only one child to receive Confirmation or First Communion, and the missionary could be tempted to think, “All this driving, all this time for one child?” 

But I am not tempted because as we drive to bring the truths of the Catholic Faith to these children, we are given the opportunity to meditate on their infinite value. If these mountains and rivers and waterfalls are only a shadow of the goodness of the whole universe, how much more is the good of grace in one of our children? “The good of grace in one is greater than the good of nature in the whole universe”, not just the good of nature here on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, but the whole universe

Teaching catechism in these towns has also taught me about the delicate love of the Lord for each soul. I feel like we are arriving at the end of the world as we drive through the mountains and valleys of the peninsula, far from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the world. And it is here that the Lord sends us because He “…desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4).  At one point in the drive, we come up the side of a cliff and normally there is no one on the road in front of us or behind us. There is no town or people to be seen. There is only God´s creation, and as we turn the corner around a waterfall, in the distance, Ólafsvík comes into view. This little town is situated at the foot of a majestic glacier. It is to the souls of His children here in Ólafsvík that the Lord sends us. He knows and loves each of His children intimately, whether they are one of a million in a large city, or in a far off fishing village in Iceland. We missionaries are blessed to be His instruments, to work with Him for the good of grace in these children – so that they may grow in grace and be brought to eternal life.


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