After three years, Daughter of Charity Sister Frances Vista is stepping down from her post as director of Native Ministry for the Anchorage Archdiocese.
In July Sister Vista will move to California to be closer to her elderly mother and family members.
According to an announcement by the Anchorage Archdiocese, Sister Vista’s next assignment in California will be with the Vincentian Service Corps (similar to the Jesuit Volunteer Corps). She will be working with young adults, “mentoring them as they learn the ropes of living in community, on stipends and being of service to others.”
The Daughters of Charity will be sending another sister to serve the Anchorage Archdiocese. She has not yet been named but will likely arrive in the fall.
Additionally, in May, Daughter of Charity Sister Trinh Kju arrived in Anchorage to replace Sister Katie Kline who concluded a three-year assignment in Alaska where she served the elderly and volunteered with Catholic Social Services.
Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz has assigned two local priests to new assignments beginning this summer.
Father Frank Reitter will be moving on from his post at St. Francis Xavier Church in Valdez, where in 2011 he became the first resident priest in Valdez in 22 years.
Effective June 1, Father Reitter will replace Father Joe Classen as pastor of St. Mary Church in Kodiak.
Father Classen, who had served in Kodiak since July 2011, is taking a break from parish-based ministry after working in that capacity for 10 years. He told the Catholic Anchor that he is taking time off to discern how God might be leading him to serve in other ways.
After eight years of parish work in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Father Classen volunteered to serve in the Anchorage Archdiocese. During two years in Kodiak he helped launch Sacred Heart Radio and hosted a local Catholic radio show. He has also written a number of books on Catholic spirituality.
Back in Valdez, Father Diosdado Esguerra will take over for Father Reitter. Father Esguerra had been serving as pastor of Holy Rosary Church in Dillingham since last September where he also celebrated the sacraments in King Salmon and outlying communities. Circuit priests will fill Father Esguerra’s ministry.
Editor’s note: The Alaska Catholic Conference, which consists of Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz, Juneau Bishop Edward Burns and Fairbanks Bishop Donald Kettler sent out this message on June 13.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ:
It is with great sadness that we, the Bishops of Alaska, share with you the news that the travel company we have used for our World Youth Day Pilgrimage (ITC Tours, Las Vegas, Nev.) announced [June 10] that they intended to file for bankruptcy. This company has made complete arrangements for us and for many other dioceses for six successive World Youth Days (WYD).
As is the practice for pilgrimages, all payment was due 60 days prior to departure. The Alaska Catholic Conference of Bishops, (ACCB) had made those payments on behalf of the participating youth who had paid for this event. Unfortunately, with this pending bankruptcy, none of these funds are available. While we will enter a claim in bankruptcy court, it will take years to see whether we recover anything. more…
Nearly 400 Alaskans packed the parish hall of Anchorage’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on May 30. They came to address immigration reform and to speak directly to U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski of their hopes and concerns for an equitable path to citizenship for themselves, and members of their families and community.
The event, sponsored by the Catholic Hispanic Ministry, was the culmination of many one-on-one visits with parishioners of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and the larger Anchorage and Hispanic communities where the issue of immigration reform is of the utmost concern.
Catholic Hispanic Ministry is part of AFACT (Anchorage Faith in Action Congregations Together), created in 2003 to empower and mobilize local faith communities to address pressing issues affecting their community.
Again this year, the Catholic Anchor was awarded in the Alaska Press Club’s statewide journalism competition. Rashae Ophus Johnson won third place in the category of “Best General News Story” for her article, “Alaska bloggers inspired by pope.” Johnson’s article explores how several Alaska Catholics were inspired to launch faith-based blogs in an effort to engage the wider culture in New Evangelization efforts.
The Catholic Anchor competed with secular newspapers across the state of similar circulation. Since 1999, the Catholic Anchor has received dozens of awards from the Alaska Press Club.
Johnson’s story — as is often the case with Catholic Anchor stories — was republished by national news services including Catholic News Agency (an affiliate of EWTN) and the National Catholic Register.
The Alaska Press Club is an independent professional organization that “provides continuing education, recognition and information to reporters across the state.”
Father Patrick Brosamer, 38, was ordained to the Catholic priesthood on June 7 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Anchorage. He is the first man to be ordained to the priesthood for the Anchorage Archdiocese since 2005. Father Brosamer is assigned to serve as parochial vicar under Father Tom Lilly at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Anchorage. Among his many duties Father Brosamer will celebrate daily Masses, hear confessions and work with St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School. To view a gallery of Father Brosamer’s ordination, click here.
Religious liberty is not simply a Catholic issue. For Catholics, however, this is the fundamental question since it is based in our thinking upon the fundamental dignity of the human person. That dignity must be upheld in all circumstances.
As stated in the USCCB statement on religious liberty, we as Catholics cherish our history of protecting religious liberty. I quote: “In 1634, a mix of Catholic and Protestant settlers arrived at St. Clements Island in southern Maryland from England aboard the Ark and the Dove. They had come at the invitation of the Catholic Lord Baltimore, who had been granted Maryland by the Protestant King Charles I of England. While Catholics and Protestants were killing each other in Europe, Lord Baltimore imagined Maryland as a society where people of different faiths could live together peacefully. This vision was soon codified in Maryland’s 1649 act concerning religion also called the toleration act, which was the first law in our nation’s history to protect an individual’s right to freedom of conscience.” more…
As a Catholic convert, a world traveler and a former corporate attorney, John Harmon brings a breadth of experience and much excitement to his new post as principal of Lumen Christi High School.
“I’ve always had a passion for education and the Catholic faith,” said Harmon, 46. “Education is integral to the mission of the Catholic Church to proclaim God’s good news.”
Harmon, most recently president of Charter College for Alaska, began inquiring about area job prospects while finishing his master’s degree in Catholic School Leadership with a concentration in theology, from St. Joseph’s College. Meanwhile Lumen Christi Principal Tom Sorci was considering moving to the Lower 48 to be closer to family members who have health conditions. more…