Holy Family Cathedral in Anchorage lost an energetic priest with a passion for pro-family and pro-life outreach.
Father Paul Raftery, who first arrived at the cathedral in 2012, has been reassigned to serve again as head chaplain at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif., a post he previously held from 2006 to 2012.
Father Raftery’s love for outdoor adventures with parishioners was well known during his time at the cathedral.
During his two years in Anchorage he offered spiritual leadership to a number of parish lay organizations, including Catholic Men for Life, Respect Life, Legion of Mary and Trail Life scouting. He also worked with ushers and liturgical ministers as well as the altar boys who served at the traditional Dominican rite Masses.
Father Raftery concluded his time in Alaska with a weeklong adventure with Trail Life, an explicitly Christian scouting group for boys. Father Raftery’s final outing included hiking a ridge near Mt. McKinley and floating 80 miles down stream.
He said he looks forward to another assignment in Alaska in the years to come, according to a report from Glad Tidings, a newsletter of Holy Family Cathedral.
“Father Paul is quite the outdoorsman. He is an Eagle Scout, and he’s been an inspiration for my family and the boys in the Trail Life troop,” parishioner Peter Ohotnicky wrote in Glad Tidings. “On backcountry adventures, Father Paul’s presence and his preaching bring out and bring together the love of God and the love of His creation.”
Thomas Aquinas College’s website states that during Father Raftery’s first stint there he was “highly regarded for his reverent liturgies, his wise spiritual counsel, and his thoughtful homilies.”