Anchorage Archbishop issues ‘urgent’ plea for Catholics to back parental rights initiative

Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz

Says, ‘How tragic it will be if this initiative fails’

By JOEL DAVIDSON

Catholicanchor.org

With time running out, Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz has called all Catholics to actively rally behind a ballot initiative that would require abortion practitioners to obtain permission from — or at least inform — parents before performing abortions on minor girls in Alaska.

In order for the Parental Notification Initiative to go before voters in August, organizers need 44,000 signatures of registered Alaskan voters.

“At this moment they are 4,500 signatures short with two weeks to go,” Archbishop Schwietz wrote in a Dec. 31 letter addressed to all pastors and parish administrators in the archdiocese.

“How tragic it will be if this initiative fails because of a lack of attention or indifference,” he added.

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Alaskans prep for World Youth Day 2011

CATHOLICANCHOR.ORG 

Teens and young adults around the Anchorage Archdiocese are preparing for World Youth Day 2011 in Spain. The international, weeklong gathering celebrates the Catholic faith with special Masses, devotions and audiences with the pope.

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New Catholic bookstore/ center set for dedication

CATHOLICANCHOR.ORG 

Holy Family Cathedral has invited the public to the dedication of its newly refurbished education center — the Holy Family Center — on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2-4 p.m. The center is located on the cathedral’s campus, on the corner of Fifth Avenue and I Street. The Holy Family Center will be home to St. Paul’s Corner, a book and gift store

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Prayer for those wounded by abortion

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The 10th annual Interdenominational Prayer Service will be held on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010, 2 p.m., at the Anchorage Memorial Cemetery on 9th and Cordova. Everyone is invited to attend and pray for those affected by abortion. The event takes place on the anniversary of the 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the U.S.

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Alaskans among least religious

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CATHOLICANCHOR.ORG

Alaska is among the least religious states in the nation according to a new report on the importance of religion in people’s lives.

According to the Pew Research Center, Alaska ranks dead last in worship attendance with only 22 percent saying they attend religious services at least once a week. Nationally, the number is 39 percent.

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Proclamation of the Birth of Jesus Christ

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Editor’s note: The Roman Martyrology for Christmas day contains a formal and much beloved announcement of the birth of Christ. It begins with creation and relates the birth of the Lord to the major events of history to help to situate the Incarnation in the context of salvation history.

Today, the twenty–fifth day of December, unknown ages from the time when God created the heavens and the earth

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Despite abortion concerns, Senate passes health care overhaul

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Alaska’s senators divided on vote

CATHOLICANCHOR.ORG

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Despite grave concerns from U.S. Catholic bishops and other pro-life leaders, the U.S. Senate voted to pass their health care overhaul bill on the morning of Christmas Eve. The Dec. 24 vote paves the way for the House and the Senate bills to be reconciled before a final vote in both chambers early next year.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009 passed along a strict party line divide, 60-39, with all Republicans opposed.

Alaska’s senators were divided with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) opposed and Sen. Mark Begich (D) voting to approve the bill. Both senators are Catholic.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement on Dec. 22 urging the Senate not to pass the health bill without incorporating essential changes to ensure that it protects the life, dignity, consciences and health of all.

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From Alaska to Bethlehem, Christmas is with the Holy Family

By PATRICIA COLL FREEMAN

The Nativity is depicted in a mural at Immaculate Conception Basilica in Conception, Mo. — CNS photo

Catholicanchor.org

Above the deep and dreamless sleep of the tiny hamlet of Glennallen, Alaska, the silent stars go by in the cold dark of Christmas Eve. The remote town is surrounded by hundreds of miles of unbroken wilderness, and it may be the last place one would expect to find the Prince of Peace.

But in the depth of midnight, while other mortals sleep, Lee Adler, a retired biologist for the Alaska Bureau of Land Management, and a small band of other Catholics will make their way through the snow drifts and negative temperatures to Mass at Holy Family Church.

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Parental notice petition short on signatures as deadline looms

Deadline is Jan. 15

By PATRICIA COLL FREEMAN

Catholicanchor.org

While 33,000 Alaskans have already signed a state petition, many more are still needed in order to ensure that voters are able to decide whether abortion practitioners should be required to get consent from – or at least notify – parents before their minor daughter undergoes an abortion.

Those spearheading the petition say a final push is needed to ensure success.

Support for the ballot initiative has been “nothing short of phenomenal,” commented Alaska Family Council president Jim Minnery in a Dec. 21 e-mail alert. The group, along with Alaskans for Parental Rights, is spearheading the effort.

But Minnery cautioned, “We have not crossed the finish line yet.”

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AK bishops urge Begich to support health reform that does not expand abortion funding

Sen. Mark Begich

By JOEL DAVIDSON

Catholicanchor.org

So far, Alaska’s bishops have been unable to convince the state’s Democratic Sen. Mark Begich to support an amendment to health care reform legislation that would prohibit federal tax dollars from paying for abortion, except in the case of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.

During a Dec. 9 Theology and Brew presentation in Wasilla, Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz told a gathering of local Catholics that the state’s bishops attempted to contact Sen. Begich’s office and urge him to support an amendment to health legislation by fellow Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson, of Nebraska.

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