Teens clamor clearly for two things they feel elude them: true solitude and authentic friendship. Alaska Catholic Youth Conference attendees directly named digital devices as threatening their interior life and distorting their social connections. They perceive their peers as inauthentic and distracted in face-to-face exchanges, leaving little room for the vulnerability and generosity required to build emotional intimacy.
In announcing his presidential bid earlier this summer, Donald Trump made a speech in which he said: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” This column is written in response to these statements.
I am deeply grateful for your presence here, joining me in thanking God for the privilege of serving God’s people as a bishop these past 25 plus years. The memories of the beautiful people I have encountered and the astounding experiences I have had, come flooding in on me as I reflect on these graced years.
Some may point out that the number of American polygamists is so small that changing the law won’t impact the wider culture or the vast majority who support traditional marriage. So what real difference does it make when a society redefines marriage to fit a new cultural norm? Well it certainly impacts what is taught in schools and promoted and enforced by law.
The following letters were first published in the August issue of the Catholic Anchor.
Some Catholics take the challenges of making it to Sunday Mass head-on, quite literally. Such was the case with George Cebula — a 75-year-old who lives in remote McCarthy at the foot of Alaska’s Wrangell Mountains. On a recent Sunday he left his home at 6 a.m. and began the 130-mile trip to the nearest Catholic parish. Cebula regularly makes this four hour trip, which sometimes includes dealing with flat tires, stubborn buffalo, moose and other Alaska wildlife, road washouts and come what may in the form of obstacles between him and Holy Eucharist.
The Catholic Anchor earned seven awards for excellence in journalism at the annual national competition sponsored by the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada (CPA). The awards, for work published in 2014. Now in its 16th year of operation the Catholic Anchor consistently wins in secular and religious journalism competitions. This year’s seven awards are in addition to the three awards received earlier this year from the Alaska Press Association.
At first glance, to meet the Mahoney clan today is to encounter a winsome remnant of Mat-Su Valley history, with many still sporting fringed leather, western boots and quiet swagger. However, upon lingering in their company, it’s clear that the grit of this family’s bond is no bucolic theater. They are trappers, miners, steel workers, rodeo queens, storytellers, musicians, loggers, hunters, fishermen, bikers, painters, blacksmiths, woodworkers, builders and farmers. They all know how to cook. The Mahoneys’ Catholic faith is the bedrock which continues to shape their milestones, anchor their tragedies and propel them forward in unity.
Saturday, Aug. 8, rain or shine, will be a festive day at Holy Family Cathedral as parishioners and guests celebrate the 4th annual Friars’ Fest in the parish courtyard. The Friar’s Fest is part of a year full of events celebrating the centennial of Holy Family Cathedral, which started in 1915 with the purchase of two lots in the initial land sale in the then tent-city of Anchorage. The upcoming festival event coincides with Anchorage’s summer centennial festivities.
Brother McBride initially came to Alaska in 1979 to work at St. Theresa’s Camp, the summer youth camp on the Kenai Peninsula. But then-Archbishop Francis Hurley tapped him to be the media point man for the event that to this day is still regarded as the largest gathering of people ever in Alaska: Pope John Paul II’s visit to Anchorage in February 1981. Brother McBride was communications director after that, a position he described as mostly “feeding and comforting the press.”