Alaska’s Catholic schooling builds faith-filled students


In June, Anchorage Archbishop Paul Etienne wrote a Catholic Anchor column titled, “For the Love of God and our Catholic Schools.” In his letter, he encouraged our Catholic families to strongly consider our archdiocesan schools for the moral, mental and spiritual development of our children.

As the pastor and principal of Lumen Christi High School, we echo the powerful sentiments the archbishop expressed about the critical importance of Catholic education. For centuries the close partnership among the Catholic family, the Catholic Church and the Catholic school has proven to be a remarkably effective model to ensure young people grow up in and continue with the faith. In fact, research from a Georgetown University report shows that students born in 1982 or later who attended Catholic secondary school were eight times more likely to attend weekly Mass than those who never attended Catholic school. As the archbishop emphasized in his June column, “The data speaks clearly: attending Catholic school dramatically increases the likelihood that children will remain active in the church upon reaching adulthood.”

Lumen Christi provides an outstanding opportunity for faith formation in a vibrant community that is committed to excellence. At Lumen we strive to live our faith on a daily basis. From daily prayer, daily and weekly Mass, retreats, theology classes, liturgical and spiritual activities, our students are surrounded by a Christ-centered environment. This extends to our dynamic athletic program as well, as we partner with SportsLeader this year. This proven sports ministry program further helps our student athletes develop virtue and character, all the while deepening their relationship with Christ.

The Christ-centered environment at Lumen Christi extends beyond the school walls. In fact, one of the most common observations about Lumen Christi is the vibrant community atmosphere. At Lumen, we are not just enrolling a student, we are enrolling the entire family. In our small school environment, our faculty and staff partner with you, the parent, to ensure your son or daughter flourishes in mind, body and spirit.

Finally, in all of our efforts, we seek to achieve excellence. We educate the whole person: morally, mentally, physically and spiritually. Our students are challenged with a rigorous academic curriculum, student-centered instruction, active collaboration, project-based learning, community service expectations and dynamic faith experiences which emphasize a call to service, a life of virtue and the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Cost should not hold one back from exploring the possibilities of a Catholic education. Thanks to robust fundraising and development efforts, including strong financial support from the archdiocese and 10 parishes within the archdiocese, tuition is kept affordable. We also provide generous financial support to those families in further need of assistance. Before you dismiss Catholic education as beyond your means, please come and meet with us to look at funding options.

To hear and see more about our Catholic middle and high school, we invite you to come tour our school and meet our community. Please feel free to call us at (907) 245-9231 or email at You can also visit our website at We look forward to seeing you!

Father Tom Lilly is pastor of St. Benedict Church and Lumen Christi High School in Anchorage. Brian Ross is principal of Lumen Christi.

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