News & Upcoming Events across Archdiocese

The following information includes news items and notices regarding upcoming events in the Archdiocese of Anchorage.

Good Friday Faith Walk on March 25

On the somber day when Christians around the world recall the crucifixion and death of Jesus, Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz will join Catholics from all across Anchorage for the annual Good Friday Faith Walk on March 25.

The annual devotion draws hundreds of participants each year. Beginning at different points across the city, groups of area faithful walk and pray the Stations of the Cross, meditating on the steps Jesus Christ took through his Passion and death on the very first Good Friday. They meet at Town Square to pray the final station together.

As groups arrive at Town Square, many gather inside the atrium lobby of the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts. Once all are gathered the first 11 Stations of the Cross are announced in slow succession. At the station, “Jesus is nailed to the cross,” a small group of people typically climb the steps from the second floor beating Native drums in a mournful cadence. They are usually followed by another six to eight people who, like pallbearers, carry aloft a life-size, heavy wood, red-draped cross. Archbishop Schwietz usually walks behind them as the cross is carried up to the second-floor outdoor terrace where several lay people and Archbishop Schwietz lead the final stations. Then Archbishop Schwietz gives a closing reflection. For start times and locations for this year’s Faith Walk, see notice on page 21.

St. Andrew’s to hold Divine Mercy Sunday holy hour April 3

St. Andrew Church in Eagle River has announced plans to hold special holy hour prayer service to celebrate Divine Mercy Sunday on April 3 at 3 p.m. The gathering will include exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, benediction, a sung chaplet and other prayers.

Devotion to the Divine Mercy originates in the early 1900s, when Jesus Christ appeared to Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, a nun and former peasant girl in Poland. He presented himself as the Divine Mercy and asked Sister Kowalska to have the image drawn and then promulgate devotion to him under that title. He told her that “humanity will not find peace until it turns trustfully to divine mercy.”

In the apparition, Jesus Christ stood with two large rays, one red and the other white, coming from his heart. Respectively, they signified Christ’s blood “which is the life of souls,” and the water “which makes souls righteous” that poured out when his heart was opened by a lance during his crucifixion.

In 2000, Blessed Pope John Paul II established “Divine Mercy Sunday” – the Sunday after Easter – as the church-wide feast honoring the Divine Mercy.

Starting on Good Friday, many faithful pray a novena – a series of prayers said across nine days – focusing on the mercy that comes from Christ’s death and resurrection.

Silent Lent retreat runs March 4-6

Holy Spirit Center is the location for a silent Lenten retreat, March 4-6. The retreat will be led by Father Bernard Perkins, a Carmelite priest from Alhambra, Calif. With the Lenten theme, “I Will Sing of the Mercies of the Lord Forever,” the retreat provides opportunity for quiet reflection. It begins at 7 p.m. on Friday and ends with noon lunch on Sunday. The cost is $215 (private); $195 (double); $165 (commuter). To register, call Holy Spirit Center at 346-2343.

Lenten prayer day

On March 12, Father Dan Hebert, a priest at St. Patrick Church in Anchorage, will guide a series of meditations on how God befriends humans, how humans befriend God and each other, and how we follow God’s will. The day of meditation will take place at St. Patrick Church in Anchorage from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Cost is $10. For more information or to RSVP, contact Mary Rapp at 907-248-2331 or email This day is sponsored by Catholic Daughters.

Women’s retreat set for April 1-3

A retreat for women titled, “Women with a Heart of Mercy,” will take place April 1-3 at Our Lady of the Snows Chapel in Girdwood. The event begins on Friday, April 1 at 6 p.m. and runs through 12 p.m. on Sunday, April 3. Dominican Sisters Theresa Ricard and Mary Ann Collins will be the retreat directors. For more information, contact Bonnie Bezousek at (907) 297-7732 or via email at

History essay contest open to Catholic schools & homeschoolers

Catholic Textbook Project, the publisher of history textbooks for Catholic schools, is holding its 2016 History Essay Contest for Catholic students in grades 5 through 12. Contest submission deadline is March 23. Six separate contest divisions allow for six student winners. Each student winner will receive a cash prize ranging from $100 to $200 each. Catholic schools and homeschools benefit as well.

A $400 gift certificate for the company’s textbooks will be awarded to the Catholic school(s) attended by each of the three Catholic school student winners. The homeschool(s) of the three Catholic homeschool student winners will each receive a free textbook of their choice from among Catholic Textbook Project history textbooks. In addition, winning essays will be published on the Catholic Textbook Project blog and Facebook pages.

This year’s history essay challenge requires students to choose a Catholic of historical significance and describe how this person influenced the times in which he or she lived. Although saints are a possible choice, the contest challenge is much wider and includes any Catholic historical figure. 

Topic requirements differ by grade level. See contest rules and guidelines listed on the essay contest website at

Alaska Catholic Youth Conference runs June 6-9

Registrations are being accepted for the next Alaska Catholic Youth Conference, which will run June 6-9 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral and Lumen Christi High School in Anchorage. This year’s theme is “Boundless Mercy.”

Annually more than 200 youth from across Alaska attend the gathering. The three-day conference includes liturgies with Alaska’s three bishops, social activities, service projects, interactive workshops and music concerts, all aimed at inspiring faith.

The opening keynote speaker for this year’s event will be Bishop Frank Caggiano, head of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn.

ACYC is sponsored by the Alaska Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Archdiocese of Anchorage. For more information, contact ACYC Coordinator Bonnie Bezousek via email at or by phone at 297-7732. Interested attendees may also contact Matthew Beck, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Anchorage Archdiocese, at or 297-7734.

Abortion healing outreach offers healing approach

Project Rachel is a confidential support group for post-abortive women and others who have been impacted by abortion. The group meets in Anchorage. The ministry of the Archdiocese of Anchorage helps those from all faith backgrounds who may be suffering from the emotional trauma of abortion. The group is free and open to the public with the aim of fostering healing, peace and reconciliation with the Lord. For more information, call the group’s confidential phone line at 297-7781 or toll-free (866) 434-3344.

Catholic school seeks teachers for elementary grades

Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton School in Anchorage has teacher openings for the 2016-2017 school year. Interested applicants may drop off a letter of interest and resume to Principal Kathy Gustafson. For more information, call 345-3712.

Native prayer group meets in Wasilla

In Wasilla, a Native prayer group meets every second and fourth Wednesday at 1 p.m., at Sacred Heart Church. For more information, contact Florence Clement at 376-4687 or Ruth Stewart at 841-9560.

Summer Catholic camp registration

The summer’s first session of St. Therese’s Camp in the Mat-Su Valley begins June 22. According to a notice from the Catholic camp, its programming for children in grades 3-8 includes “swimming, kayaking, canoeing, singing, campfires, archery, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, arts and crafts and outdoor skills training in a fun and vibrant lakefront setting in the Mat-Su Valley while sharing the joy of the Catholic Faith.” For more information go online to or call (907) 232-2066.

Mass celebrated at Native hospital

Every Sunday at 11 a.m., Mass is celebrated at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage for patients and families. Masses are celebrated in Conference Room 2, near the cafeteria.

Weekly children’s Mass in Anchorage

On Tuesdays at 10 a.m. Father Joseph McGilloway at Holy Cross Church in Anchorage is offering a Mass geared toward children. Attendees are encourage to bring homeschoolers, toddlers and nursing babes. People without children are welcome too.

UAA club connects fellow Catholics on campus

The Cardinal Newman Club at the University of Alaska, Anchorage meets in the Cuddy Hall cafeteria area for prayer and Scripture reflection on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. and Fridays at 9 a.m. Students who wish to connect with fellow Catholic students on campus may contact the Newman Club chairperson Garrett Rossing at 715-0776 or

Mat-Su Catholic school’s annual auction

Our Lady of the Valley School in Wasilla will hold its 9th annual dinner auction on April 16 at the Curtis Menard Sports Center in Wasilla. Tickets are $55. Reserved table seating is available. Donations and sponsors are being accepted. For more information, call 376-0883.

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