News briefs & happenings of the Anchorage Archdiocese


The following is a list of news briefs and upcoming events across the Anchorage Archdiocese.

Anti-bullying class set for pastors, parish, school leaders

Pastors, faith formation directors, safe environment coordinators and catechists across the Anchorage Archdiocese are invited to attend a training day on Sept. 15 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral in Anchorage. The day will include a presentation on bullying, followed by a presentation on cyber-bullying and internet safety from the Anchorage Police Department. Jenny Michaelson, archdiocesan director of the Safe Environment Office, will update attendees on new procedures and policies, and speak about the Circle of Grace education course for youth. Anchorage Archbishop Paul Etienne will begin the day with morning Mass and opening comments. For more information, contact Bonnie Bezousek, director of the archdiocese’s Office of Faith Formation & Catholic Schools, at 297-7732 or 350-4438 or

Call for speakers at youth conference

Those interested in speaking at next summer’s Alaska Catholic Youth Conference (ACYC) must submit their workshop ideas by Nov. 1, 2018. The theme for the upcoming ACYC is “Joy of our faith.” It will be held June 3-7 in Anchorage.

According to a notice about the event, workshops should “focus on the theme and address one of the following: creed, morality, liturgy and sacraments or prayer.” All workshop submissions will be reviewed and selected by Nov. 15. Presenters will be notified shortly after that. To submit a presentation idea or for more information, contact Matthew Beck at or 907-297-7734.

World Youth Day is this January

World Youth Day will take place this coming January in Panama. For more information, contact local organizers Bob McMorrow at 243-2195 or Theresa Austin at 349-8388.

Retreat for overcoming addictions

Based on the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, a retreat in Anchorage will be open to anyone interested in recovery from alcoholism and other addictions. The retreat will consist of conferences, prayer, reflection, group sharing and time for individual conferences and confession with Father John Gubbins. Father Gubbins has been in recovery for more than 28 years and currently assists with ministry at two parishes in San Diego and volunteers at hospice. He has led 12-step retreats throughout the United States and Canada since 1999. Alison King, a former therapist with the Providence Breakthrough Program will also facilitate. She has been on her own journey of recovery for 38 years. The retreat begins 7 p.m., Friday, Sept 7, and ends after noon lunch on Sunday, Sept. 9. For information about fees and registration, call 346-2343.

Support expansion of the monastery

The Sept. 12 fundraiser to support the expansion of Blessed Sacrament Monastery to house eight novices will take place at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Anchorage. The public will have a chance to purchase the famous tamales and other treats made by the nuns after the 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Masses that Sunday.

Catholic student club at UAA

A Catholic campus ministry takes place on Thursdays during the academic year at the University of Alaska Anchorage in The Den from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students are invited to bring lunch and enjoy a time of fellowship, Scripture reflections and prayer.

An evening with Archbishop Etienne

Dates for the coming year’s Evenings of Adoration & Conversation with Anchorage Archbishop Paul Etienne have been set. Archbishop Etienne is available on the following dates: Sept. 17, Oct. 22, Nov. 27, Dec. 17, Feb. 11, March 18, April 15 and May 19-20. Archbishop Emeritus Roger Schwietz is available on January 14. Parishes that wish to host an evening of adoration and conversation can contact Matthew Beck at or 355-3223.

Wine tasting fundraiser for Heart to Heart

A wine tasting event will be held in September in an effort to raise support for the pro-life pregnancy resource center Heart to Heart in Eagle River. The “Fruit of the Vine Wine Tasting Event” will be held on Sept. 15 from 7-10 p.m. at Jitters Coffeehouse in Eagle River.

Tickets are $60 each or $100 for couples and are available at Cozy Carpet Interiors by calling 694-2699. The evening will include wine tasting, live music, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction.

Heart to Heart serves women and men in crisis pregnancy situations and offers free services such as pregnancy tests, baby clothing and items, maternity clothing and items, peer counseling, accurate information about fetal development and resource and referrals, including STI/STD testing. For more information about Heart to Heart, call 350-8914.

Study group to look at Early Church

An Early Church study group continues this fall, sponsored by the Cardinal Newman Chair of Catholic Studies at Alaska Pacific University. According to a notice, the event will be “religion neutral,” and will run September through November on the third Thursday of each month.

The book for the group will be “The Fathers of the Church: An Introduction to the First Christian Teachers” (3rd edition) by Mike Aquilina. It covers the period and writings of the patristic fathers. Presentations will be given by Dr. Lisa Unterseher, the new Cardinal Newman Chair of Catholic Studies, and Father Vasili Hillhouse, a priest at Holy Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church in Anchorage. Meetings will take place at the Carr-Gottstein Hall at Alaska Pacific University and registration is $25. For more information, contact Dr. Unterseher at (803) 730-0897 or

Organize a local Marriage Encounter

Marriage Encounter weekend experiences can be scheduled in various locations across the Archdiocese of Anchorage. This ministry offers married couples a chance to reconnect, renew intimacy and romance and celebrate unity. Worldwide Marriage Encounter offers fully guided weekends by a Catholic priest and presenting teams. These gatherings do not involve public or small group sharing. Applications are due one month prior to any chosen weekend. For more information about this opportunity, visit To start a waitlist for a weekend outside of the Mat-Su and Anchorage areas call Deacon Bill or Sherry at (907) 631-0484.

Weekly Masses and adoration

  • Sun.-Sat., Adoration of Blessed Sacrament, Blessed Sacrament Monastery, 9 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
  • Sun.-Sat., Perpetual Adoration of Blessed Sacrament, St. Andrew
  • Mon.-Fri., Adoration of Blessed Sacrament, St. Benedict, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Mon.-Tues., Adoration of Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady of the Snows in Girdwood, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Tues., Thurs., Sun., Daybreak Mass, Our Lady of Providence Chapel, 6:15 a.m.
  • Wed., Adoration of Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady of the Snows in Girdwood, 9-10 a.m.
  • Thurs., Adoration of Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady of the Snows in Girdwood, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
  • Thurs.-Fri., Adoration of Blessed Sacrament, St. Michael in Palmer, 7 p.m.-11:55 a.m.
  • Fri., Adoration of Blessed Sacrament, Holy Family Cathedral, 7 a.m.-noon
  • Fri., Adoration of Blessed Sacrament, St. Anthony, 7-8 p.m.
  • Fri., Adoration of Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady of Guadalupe, 7-9 p.m.
  • Sun., Native Mass, Alaska Native Medical Center, 11 a.m.
  • Daily Mass, Our Lady of Providence Chapel, 11:30 a.m.
  • Tues-Fri., Daily Mass, St. Andrew, 9 a.m.

Merton conference runs Sept. 28-29

To mark the 50th anniversary of Thomas Merton’s Alaska visit, the Anchorage Archdiocese and Alaska Chapter of the International Thomas Merton Society will co-host the Thomas Merton in Alaska Conference at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. The event is Sept. 28-29.

Festivities open with a trip to Eagle River and to the site of the former monastery of the Precious Blood Convent where Merton began his 17-day Alaskan itinerary in 1968. Participants will convene at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton on Friday evening and Saturday to hear Merton scholars speak about Father Merton’s legacy. Speakers include Archbishop Paul Etienne; Jonathan Montaldo — a writer and editor of several Merton anthologies; Dr. Paul Pearson, director of The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University; Ron Dart, a member of the National Executive of The Thomas Merton Society of Canada.

Kathleen Witkowska Tarr rounds out the presenters. She is an Alaskan writer and author of “We Are All Poets Here,” a blend of spiritual memoir and biography, and the first book that delves into Merton’s Alaska journey. The conference concludes with an interfaith panel discussion on Merton. For more, visit

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