Parish profile: St. Michael, Palmer

By Janet WashamThe North Star Catholic St. Michael Parish in Palmer, Alaska, was founded in May 1935. The parish started to serve the colonists moving to Alaska as part of the Matanuska Colony Project, a United States Government New Deal Project in which families from Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan settled into the Matanuska Valley and…

Natural Family Planning courses offered in the Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau

By Dominique JohnsonThe North Star Catholic Every year during July, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops highlights Natural Family Planning (NFP) with NFP Awareness Week. This year NFP will be highlighted during the week of July 25-31, with the theme: to have, to hold, to honor, Natural Family Planning supporting God’s gifts of love…

Contemplation in the Arctic desert

The soon-to-be saint Charles de Foucauld, who left behind a rich aristocratic life to live among desert-dwellers in Algeria, wrote to a friend, “to receive the grace of God you must go to a desert place and stay awhile…so that God can build his hermitage within…” But the irony of desert places is that they’re…

Taking responsibility to protect children from child abuse

Alaskan kids enjoy all that the summer has to offer, but this time of year means instability and adversity for many. Summer break becomes a stretch of time where children go without the consistent presence of a mandated reporter of child abuse in their life. In fact, teachers and other school staff are the single…

Ask Father Leo: Why do Catholics give so much attention to Mary?

Dear Fr. Leo:As a convert, I have difficulty with all the attention paid to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It seems to overshadow even that of Christ. Why is it so important that she was conceived without sin? – G Dear G,You raise an exceptionally good point. From the outset, it is important to make the…

Reviving community after a year of isolation

In 2001, Robert Putnam published Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. The book did well, maybe in part because of that catchy title, and a new edition is out now. Its point wasn’t the collapse of bowling leagues, however. Instead, it was a broad look at how membership in community groups was…

Ed and Cathy Rasmuson awarded papal Benemerenti Medal

By Father Steve MaekawaThe North Star Catholic On May 17, Archbishop Bellisario presented the Benemerenti Medal to Ed and Cathy Rasmuson during vespers at Holy Family Old Cathedral in Anchorage. It was a special recognition bestowed by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, to the Rasmusons for their lasting and exceptional service to the Catholic Church…

Sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit at confirmation

Since the inauguration of the Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau on September 17, 2020, I have traveled to many of our parishes to celebrate the sacrament of confirmation. Usually, most confirmation celebrations take place within the Easter season. However, with travel restrictions due to COVID last spring, it was necessary to celebrate confirmations in October and November…

Missionary priest brings charism to ‘proclaim the Eucharist’ to Juneau

By Dominique JohnsonThe North Star Catholic On April 7th, Father Jose Thomas, with the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament, arrived in Juneau from Kerala, India, a state in the southern part of the country, to serve as a missionary priest in the Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau. In his short time in Alaska, Father Jose said…

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