Archbishop Roger Schwietz announced several key pastoral changes involving leadership in three large parishes of the Anchorage Archdiocese.
In an April 2 letter to clergy and parish leaders across the archdiocese, Archbishop Schwietz announced that St. Benedict Church, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church and Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral will all be under new leadership effective July 1.
Father Leo Walsh, current pastor of St. Benedict, will be heading to Rome to study canon law for the archdiocese’s tribunal, the local church court which deals with annulments and other matters of church law.
Father Walsh holds a doctorate in sacred theology from the Angelicum in Rome.
Archbishop Schwietz said the archdiocese is “very blessed to now be able to turn to Father Walsh, as a scholar, to undertake this multi-year academic program in canon law on behalf of the needs of our tribunal.
Currently the Anchorage Archdiocese utilizes a priest from the Juneau Diocese, Father Pat Travers, to run its tribunal.
Father Tom Lilly, longtime pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, will take over leadership of St. Benedict and its school Lumen Christi High School. Father Lilly will continue serving as vicar general, the number two position for the archdiocese under Archbishop Schwietz.
Father Steven Moore, who has shown “extraordinary dedication to our archdiocese,” will step down as pastor from Our Lady of Guadalupe, Archbishop Schwietz said.
Father Moore has taken on “a number of timely and critical roles upon my personal request,” Archbishop Schwietz said. “Prior to his current assignment as pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, for instance, Father Moore stepped in to serve as our chief operating officer/chief financial officer during a very critical time, including successfully leading the EPA clean-up of the former Copper Valley School site.”
Most recently, Father Moore was assigned to Our Lady of Guadalupe “with the intention of Father serving the co-cathedral for many years,” Archbishop Schwietz added.
Due to an “extraordinary offer” by the Vincentian religious order in Rome to establish a long-time commitment of priests in the Anchorage Archdiocese, Archbishop Schwietz decided to appoint Father Moore as pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, where he will work with Father Patrick Brosamer, the parochial vicar there.
“Father Moore will turn Our Lady of Guadalupe over to the Vincentians effective May 2 and take a well-deserved interim sabbatical” before taking over at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Archbishop Schwietz explained.
The letter notes that Vincentian priest Father Andrew Bellisario will become pastor of the co-cathedral with fellow Vincentian Father Pedro Delgado remaining as parochial vicar.
In addition to leading the co-cathedral the Vincentians will also establish an outreach to the Hispanic community throughout the Archdiocese with the expectation of a third Vincentian priest arriving later this year, Archbishop Schwietz explained. Together the priests will form a community and reside at the co-cathedral rectory.
“We are extremely blessed by and welcome the Vincentians to the Archdiocese in this long-term ministry together,” Archbishop Schwietz said.
He added his thanks to all the pastors involved in the key moves for agreeing to these new assignments for the good of the archdiocese.
“All of these priests have agreed voluntarily to make these changes which I requested,” Archbishop Schwietz concluded, “and I am deeply appreciative.”