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American Heritage Girls to explore interest in launching a Mat-Su troop

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 CatholicAnchor.org

American Heritage Girls — an explicitly Christian scouting organization for girls with Alaska troops in Eagle River, Glennallen and Dillingham, is holding an informational meeting to explore interest in starting a new troop at St. Michael Church in Palmer. The meeting will be at St. Michael’s on March 23 at 3 p.m. To find out more about AHG, go online to ahgonline.org. For information about the upcoming meeting, email Tonya Campbell at cntcamp97@gmail.com or call Tiffany Borges at 717-7109.

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New scouting group for boys launches three Alaska troops

Screen capture from traillifeusa.com.

Screen capture from traillifeusa.com.

 CatholicAnchor.org

Trail Life USA has launched its first troops in Alaska.

According to the Trail Life USA website the group is a Christian adventure, character and leadership program for young men. The K-12 program centers on outdoor experiences that “build a young man’s skills and allow him to grow on a personal level and as a role model and leader for his peers.” Living the Trail Life is “a journey established on timeless values derived from the Bible.”

Three troops are now in operation in Alaska, one chartered at Holy Family Cathedral in Anchorage, one at Moriah Fellowship in Eagle River and another at Big Lake Baptist Church in Big Lake. Each troop has approximately 35 to 40 boys. Additional troops are in various stages of formation.

For information about the troop at Holy Family Cathedral, contact Peter Ohotnicky at peter.ohotnicky@gmail.com.

For information about other Alaska troops, email TrailLifeUSA.Alaska@gmail.com. Additional information about Trail Life USA is available online at traillifeusa.com.

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An unstoppable force

Effie Caldarola

Effie Caldarola

By EFFIE CALDAROLA

CatholicAnchor.org

The pastor at my church told a story a few weeks ago that is seeping into my Lent, so with apologies to Father Pat Malone, I retell it here.

As a Peace Corps volunteer years ago, before becoming a priest, he lived with a family in a remote African village. He loved the family, but was slightly intimated by the older son, a soldier, and not too sorry to see him called away to serve in a military outpost in an even more remote area.

But when it was time for my future pastor to leave, he knew he would never see the family again, and he decided that among his good-byes should be a farewell to the soldier as well. So, against advice, he  and a friend hitchhiked, and finally arrived at the remote site where the son served. more…

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Natural Family Planning class to begin March 19 in Anchorage

Screen capture image from www.ccli.org

Screen capture image from www.ccli.org

 CatholicAnchor.org

A new class on Natural Family Planning (NFP) will be offered in Anchorage beginning March 19.

The Catholic Church encourages parishioners to embrace NFP as opposed to artificial contraception.

As the only form of family planning in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church, NFP allows couples to conceive or postpone pregnancy by working with, rather than against, the designs of nature.

There are several NFP options. On March 19 at 7 p.m., the sympto-thermal method will be introduced in a new series of classes by the Couple to Couple League in Anchorage. The sympto-thermal method, tracks a woman’s fertility cycles based on changes in body temperature. To register for the upcoming class, go online to http://register.ccli.org or call Kristina at 243-8168.

The Catholic Church affirms that God’s plan for sex is that it be reserved for the union of one man and one woman, united in marriage and giving themselves freely and completely to each other. The procreative and unitive aspects of sex cannot be separated, the church observes. Any attempt to do so undermines the integrity, dignity and sanctity of the marriage act. In a Catholic marriage, the default position is to be open to the conception of a child. more…

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Upcoming Lenten Events

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Why do Catholics go to confession?

CNS photo

CNS photo

By FR. AUGUSTINE HILANDER, OP

CatholicAnchor.org

Untold visitors swing through the downtown offices of Holy Family Cathedral office in Anchorage. They come  for holy water,  free holy cards or a piece of candy. Others are down-and-out, needing help. Then there are the vendors, repair people and those who just stop to chat.

Recently a local Protestant friend of mine came by to talk and told me about a Protestant ministry conference in which a few Catholic subjects came up — topics like sin, confession, sacrifice and the forgiveness of sins. These are topics that have separated Catholics and Protestants for centuries. Despite our differences, however, we both believe in the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ. Yet, the working out of this truth is very different between Protestants and Catholics. more…

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Confession: Catholics invited to heal, strengthen souls during Lent

CNS photo

CNS photo

By PATRICIA COLL FREEMAN

CatholicAnchor.org

“Welcome! Come back! The Father is waiting for you!” This is the message Father Jaime Mencias, parochial vicar of St. Michael Church in Palmer, Alaska, wants to share with Catholics long absent from the confessional.

It’s a message Pope Francis, too, has voiced numerous times since his rise to the papacy and before. Last year, at the start of the penitential season of Lent, then Jesuit Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires urged his flock — from lay people to priests — to “rend” their hearts and “return now to the Lord” because “He is compassionate and merciful, slow to anger and rich in mercy.”

While taking a good, hard look at one’s inner life and acknowledging and being sorry for sins can be challenging, the pope explained it’s necessary “because only in a broken and open heart can the merciful love of God enter, who loves and heals us.”

So as Lent begins this year on Mar. 5, the church again stresses the importance of the sacrament of penance and reconciliation — more commonly called confession — in which Catholics who’ve searched their hearts confess their sins and, through the voice of a priest, hear God say the restoring words, “…pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins.” more…

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College club invites Anchorage Archbishop to UAA for Ash Wednesday

Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz administers ashes on the forehead of an attendee of the 2013 Ash Wednesday Mass at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. — Photo by Mario Bird

Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz administers ashes on the forehead of an attendee at the 2013 Ash Wednesday Mass at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. — Photo by Mario Bird

CatholicAnchor.org

University of Alaska, Anchorage students, faculty, staff and the general public are invited to receive an ashen cross on their forehead this Ash Wednesday — the start of the Lenten 40-day period of prayer, fasting and alms giving that culminates in Holy Week and Easter Sunday.

Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz will administer the ashes during the March 5 liturgy beginning at 2 p.m. in the UAA Library, room 307. Joining him will be Father Patrick Brosamer, associate pastor or St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church.

The liturgy is coordinated through the Cardinal Newman Club, a campus group for local college students.

On Ash Wednesday Catholics around the world are marked with ashes as a sign of their own mortality. While all Roman Catholics are encouraged to attend Mass on Ash Wednesday in order to begin the Lenten season with the proper attitude and reflection, Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation. It is, however, a day of fasting and abstinence. Non Catholics can also receive the ashes. more…

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40-day pro-life vigil for end to abortion begins March 5 in Anchorage

Pro-life advocates pray during a recent 40-Days For Life vigil in Anchorage.

Pro-life advocates pray during a recent 40-Days For Life vigil in Anchorage.

 CatholicAnchor.org

The next 40 Days for Life campaign in Alaska and around the world will run March 5-April 13. The international 40-day prayer vigils take place each fall and spring with pro-life advocates gathering outside abortion facilities to peacefully stand vigil, pray for unborn babies and help mothers choose life for their children.

In recent years vigils have taken place in cities across Alaska with Catholics, Protestants and others standing together in support of unborn life. A number of area parishes and churches have sponsored whole days, with parishioners signing up to pray throughout the day. This year, vigils are so far scheduled for Anchorage and Ketchikan. To find out about upcoming vigil locations, go to 40daysforlife.com/location. Those unable to attend in person can pray and fast at home for an end to abortion.

Since its beginning in 2004 in Texas, when only a handful of cities and towns participated, the movement has since seen more than 2,700 individual campaigns in more than 500 cities, according to the group’s website. More than 600,000 people have participated in the vigils. more…

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News & Upcoming Events in Anchorage Archdiocese

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