Story last updated at 1:55 p.m. Thursday, July 18, 2002

Parish gets temporary priest
Father John Spanjers, a retired priest from Turtle Lake, Wisc., is temporarily administering services at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Homer.

Spanjers is temporarily filling the vacancy left by Father Balasawamy Gangarapu, who has been assigned to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Anchorage.

Father John will be the presiding priest at St. John's until July 30, after which the parish will receive Mass from the rotation of priests of the circuit of the Archdiocese of Anchorage. When there is no priest presiding at St. Johns, pastoral administrator Annemeik Brunklaus, who just moved to Homer from Dutch Harbor, will perform the Service of the Word with Holy Communion.

There is no timetable in place for finding a permanent replacement for Father Gangarapu.

Brunklaus said Spanjers proclaimed during Sunday's service that he'd been waiting to visit Alaska for 43 years.

"I think he loves it," Brunklaus said.

Spanjers was out fishing on Tuesday and was not available for comment.

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