Despite the dearth of light and heat many Alaskan Catholics see in winter a chance to volunteer more at their parish, pursue intellectual and spiritual works, host social gatherings and celebrate the many holy feast days that fall during this period. The rich liturgical seasons of Advent, Christmas and Lent all fall within winter, as do many feast days for especially beloved saints. These are opportunities to light candles, prepare special meals at home and learn about the great saints and heroes of the faith.
Alaska’s lawmakers reconvened Jan. 19 in Juneau for the second session of the 2015-2016 legislative season where they face myriad bills of concern to Alaskan Catholics. Below is a summary of pending legislation the Catholic Anchor has identified that would affect the protection of human life, marriage, religious freedom and parents’ rights.
For me, how do I measure this man’s influence in my life? He ordained me. He assigned me to various parishes in the Anchorage Archdiocese. He came to help me in some moments of crisis, which all priests go through. And he eventually blessed “the call within the call” of my priesthood to come here to Far East Siberia and pray in the former Communist prison camps.
No one knew the late Anchorage Archbishop Emeritus Francis Hurley like the person who served as his secretary for 53 years. In White’s words, he was a dynamic priest “who got his work done with a flourish,” but it was also true that he was a visionary not always hung up on details. White kept a sharp eye on those details. In her gentle but firm voice, she dealt with every phone caller and every visitor. Friends describe her as the picture of discretion. “I learned so much from him about seeing good in people — about quiet, charitable giving,” White said. “He did so much of this: helping to pay families for children’s college tuition or mortgages during bad times, gas and electric payments that were overdue, food.”
Archbishop Hurley was personally vested in reaching those experiencing homelessness, single-parent families, families who experience disabilities, young adults and refugees. Many guests at Brother Francis Shelter or other of our services, met and spent time with Archbishop Hurley. They recount his kindness and humor. Archbishop Hurley gave the gift of his time to others and was very present — this was a great gift.