Pope Francis expressed sadness upon hearing of Anchorage Archbishop Emeritus Francis Hurley’s death on Jan. 10.
In a message sent to Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said the Holy Father is joining Alaskans in commending Archbishop Hurley’s soul to the “merciful love of God.”
The message was faxed on Jan. 12.
“The Holy Father was saddened to learn of the death of the Most Reverend Francis T. Hurley, Archbishop Emeritus of Anchorage,” the Vatican message relates. “Recalling with gratitude the late archbishop’s years of Episcopal ministry among the Catholics of Alaska, he joins you and all present at the Mass of Christian Burial in commending his soul to the merciful love of God our heavenly Father.”
The message continues: “To all who mourn Archbishop Hurley in the hope of the resurrection His Holiness cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and strength in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Archbishop Hurley led the Juneau Diocese from 1970 to 1976 when he was appointed archbishop of Anchorage. He retired in 2001 but continued to celebrate liturgies and serve the sacramental and pastoral needs of countless Alaskans.