MCMURDO STATION, Antarctica, July 29, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) - After nearly 60 years, the Catholic Church is gone from Antarctica. The numbers of Mass attendees at the Chapel of the Snows at McMurdo Station have so dwindled that the presence of a Catholic priest is no longer needed.
The parish church belongs to the New Zealand diocese, and is located on the grounds of the U.S. Antarctic Program, run by the National Science Foundation. The NSF has asked the diocese to sever ties with the program. A military chaplaincy will offer interdenominational services and pastoral care, but it's unclear whether these services include Catholic Masses or other sacraments.
According to Fr. Dan Doyle, who has visited the continent each summer for more than a decade, the numbers used to be as high as 2000 Catholics. But those figures have decreased to such an extent that the base believes only one chaplain is necessary.