When someone contacts the office of Anchorage Archbishop Paul Etienne, the person they likely reach first is Kim Bakic, the archbishop’s energetic and efficient executive administrative assistant.
Fielding phone calls — “tons and tons of calls every day,” said Bakic — is just one of a myriad of duties that lends her position variety and a chance to help the archbishop and local Catholics in their mission.
When Archbishop Etienne became the shepherd of the Anchorage Archdiocese in 2016, Bakic already had plenty of experience. She had served in the same role for Archbishop Roger Schwietz since July 2009, and continued to assist both archbishops for several months.
Bakic said she takes care of “all secretarial tasks” for the archbishop, but then there are those “other duties as assigned” that keep life interesting.
For example, before Archbishop Etienne’s installation, Bakic made arrangements for 50 vestments to be dry cleaned for the event and delivered some of them herself. A recent week saw Bakic plan for the arrival in Anchorage of Pope Francis’ ambassador to the United States, Apostolic Nuncio Christophe Pierre. He was in town for the ceremony to officially impose the pallium vestment on Archbishop Etienne, a sign of the archbishop’s teaching authority and his union with the pope and the universal church.
Bakic arranges all travel for the archbishop, including his late September visits to the last two parishes, Kodiak and Dutch Harbor, that he had not visited since his arrival in Alaska.
She maintains his calendar, a vital part of keeping the office organized, and runs interference with media requests, like a radio program’s appeal for the archbishop to participate in a program on ecumenism. She handles calls for help, ranging from requests for sacramental records to suggestions for new ministries to the inevitable complaints.
“One more big part of my job is working with others here at the chancery,” Bakic said. “If there’s a fundraiser going on for the seminarian endowment, I’m there helping out. If there’s a priest retreat, I help out.”
Bakic is a lifelong Alaskan with roots in Anchorage. She was born in the old Providence Hospital the year before the new hospital opened.
A cradle Catholic with four sisters and an older brother, Bakic and her husband Mike are parishioners at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in South Anchorage.
Bakic’s three children all attended St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Elementary, and Lumen Christi High School. Her youngest, Maeve, is a senior at Lumen Christi this year.
“A strength I have is organization,” she observed. “I’m a finisher, and detail oriented. I like to be ready to move on to the next thing.”
Bakic said she enjoys helping people — providing interface between the archbishop and local Catholics. Often, she can guide people to approach their own pastors with needs first.
“Sometimes, people forget how super helpful pastors can be.”
Bakic said a major challenge of working in church ministry is that “there’s so much work to be done. Where do you focus your energies?”
Sometimes, she said, people will call the pastoral center and say, “‘The church should be doing such and such.’ I will ask, ‘What parish do you belong to? Can I call your pastor and say you will be willing to start a ministry for ‘such and such?’”
She said it’s challenging that “people want a lot from the church. There’s a ton to do but not enough ministers.”
To contact Bakic, she suggests the best option is an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is also available at 907-297-7755.