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Prefecture Apostolic of Yukon
Occupies the extreme northwestern portion of the Dominion of Canada. It extends from 54 degrees North latitude to the Arctic Ocean and from the summit of the Rocky mountains to 141° West longitude. It covers an area of about 312,000 sq. miles, comprising two distinct districts, the Yukon Territory and the north of the province of British Columbia, which, previous to the erection of the new prefecture, belonged to different jurisdictions; the former being attached to the Vicariate of Mackensie River and the latter o the Diocese of New Westminster. The prefecture was established on 9 March, 1908, and entrusted to the Oblate Fathers of Mary Immaculate, the first prefect, Rev. E.M. Bunoz, being appointed on 8 April of the same year. The clergy of his jurisdiction is composed of 9 Oblate Missionaries, in charge of 5 churches with resident priests and 22 missions with chapels and 6 without chapels. The principal institutions are a school and a hospital, which are conducted by 12 Sisters of St. Ann of Lacine. The Catholic population numbers about 5000. The chief missions of the prefecture are: Dawson, Prince Rupert, and Stuart's Lake.
At Dawson, the metropolis of the Klondike gold fields, the first house of worship (Church of St. Mary) and first hospital, both log buildings, were erected in 1907-08 by the Jesuit Father Judge (d. at Dawson, 1899). Previous to the Klondike rush, the Yukon was almost uninhabited by white men. The Oblate Father Gendreau, who succeeded Father Judge, enlarged and transformed the rough church besides establishing the first school of the territory. This school was rebuilt on a larger scale in the centre of the town in 1901 under the present prefect, who succeeded Father Gendreau in 1902. The hospital was also replaced in 1908 by a stately structure. The Catholic Church took a prominent place in the famous camp and always kept it. Yeoman services were rendered by prominent laymen such as the late Alex. MacDonald (the Klondike King), Judge A. Dugas, Judge C. Maculey, J. MacNamee, the late A. Noel, and F. Nolan. An ordinance recognizing and guaranteeing the rights of separate schools in conformity with the British North America Act passed the Yukon Legislature in 1902. Prince Rupert, the Pacific Terminus of the Grand Trunk, although only founded in June, 1909, possesses a Catholic church (Church of the Annunciation), parochial hall, and club rooms; it is the headquarters of the prefect. Stuart's Lake is situated in the centre of old and flourishing Indian missions, which number 2000 natives, al of which are conducted according to the system of Bishop Duricu. The Oblate Father Coccola is in charge.
MORICE, Hist. of the Catholic Church in Western Canada (Toronto, 1910); JUDGE, An American Missionary (Baltimore, 1907).
E. M. Bunoz.