toksook bay  2

The traditional Yup'ik Eskimo village of Toksook Bay is located on Nelson Island, 6.5 miles southeast of Tununak, in the Yukon- Kuskokwim Delta.

The village was established in 1964 when a number of younger couples from Nightmute moved to the new location at Toksook Bay to be more accessible to the annual freighter ship, the North Star. Families from Tununak and Newtok joined them and the settlement grew. The city was incorporated in 1972. As of 2011, the Alaska Department of Labor estimated its population at 598. A federally-recognized tribe is located in the community, the Nunakauyarmiut Tribe. Commercial fishing and subsistence activities supplement income and provide essential food sources. Herring roe, salmon and halibut are favorite harvests.

Toksook Bay has been a largely Catholic community since it began, many of its founders having moved there from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Nightmute. The original Toksook Bay church was built in 1966 and was dedicated to Saint Peter the Fisherman. A residence and classroom were later added. The parish was served by missionary priests of the Society of Jesus into the 1990's. A Dominican Sister was a major influence in the preparation of catechists at St. Peter the Fisherman from 1978-87.

In recent years, parish administrators and pastoral coordinators have served to take charge of the day to day activities of parish life. A parishioner serves as both administrator and coordinator at present. Native deacons have also played an important role in the parish, and continue to do so, assisting as needed with liturgies, baptisms, weddings and funerals.

Parishes in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta are now served on a rotating schedule by ministry teams which may include priests, deacons, religious and trained lay staff members. Celebrations of the Word with Holy Communion may replace Sunday Mass when a priest is unavailable. St. Peter the Fisherman Parish is served by visiting priests and ministers from the Diocesan Y-K Subregion D.