As the summer days grow shorter and autumn approaches, students across Alaska are preparing for the beginning of a new school year. Among those students are the four young men studying to become priests for the Archdiocese of Anchorage. The Catholic Anchor caught up with each of these seminarians to learn what they did over their summer break, and what the next academic year holds in store.
Although World Youth Day in Panama isn’t until the summer of 2019, Alaskan youth and young adults are already making preparations for the long journey. While there has always been an Alaskan contingency at past World Youth Days, this time, one group is making a stop along the way for a mission trip in Costa Rica.
When a young man begins to feel a draw in his heart toward the priesthood, he may not know where to turn for further help in discerning whether it is God’s will for him to pursue seminary studies and eventually ordination.
Anchorage native Deacon Robert Whitney, 31, is on the cusp of one of the biggest moments of his life. On Friday, June 23, after six years of seminary formation, he will be ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Anchorage. He graduated in May from St. Paul Seminary in Minnesota, earning a dual master’s degree in divinity and religious education.
Led by military chaplain Father Peter Pomposello and St. Andrew Church youth minister Ricky Shoop, from Eagle River, five Alaskan youth and one adult chaperone traveled more than 4,000 miles to the nation’s capital to take part in the 44th annual March for Life on Jan. 27
Until recent years, there was a nearly decade-long drought in priestly ordinations. However, in the last three years, two men have been ordained, and another is scheduled for this summer. There are currently six men in seminary, which is the highest number the archdiocese has ever seen.
A recent article from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University found that Catholics divorce at a much lower rate than most other demographics but still, 29 percent of Catholic marriages end in divorce. That is problematic for a church that unequivocally affirms that marriage is lifelong and indissoluble.
This spring, Holy Rosary Academy will celebrate the graduation of its largest class in recent years. Seven full-time students, and three part-time students will participate in the 2016 commencement exercises on May 18 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral. The seniors have collectively been offered over $1 million in scholarships from colleges and universities across the country. The following are short profiles of each of the students.
The Catholic Church’s stance against artificial birth control is widely known. Perhaps less commonly known is the church’s position on artificial reproductive technology, particularly in vitro fertilization (IVF). On Feb. 10, about 50 people gathered at St. Andrew Church in Eagle River to hear internationally acclaimed bioethicist Father Tadeusz Pacholczyk present the church’s position on in vitro fertilization, its ramifications and some of the alternatives and counsel that may be offered to couples struggling with infertility.