Retooled St. Francis awards to honor Alaska’s parish volunteers

The annual event honoring Alaskans who serve the Catholic Church in the spirit of Saint Francis, has received some updates for 2015.

For starters, the event is now officially called the St. Francis Stewardship Awards to better reflect the stewardship aspect of the program.

The event time has also changed from its traditional date in February to early October, closer to the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi. Additionally, this year’s awards will highlight, specifically, the work of parish volunteers.

According to the official nomination form, “This could be the person or couple who arrives before the rest of the group and stays after, setting up and cleaning up without being asked. The teen who has been taking care of the elderly neighbor’s yard. The woman who has been visiting a sick member of the community. It’s all these and more.”

Other nominees might include parish lectors, choir members and ushers or those who serve the poor and imprisoned.

Established in 2001, the program was named after Anchorage Archbishop Emeritus Francis Hurley’s patron saint — Saint Francis of Assisi.

“The historic purpose remains the honoring of those people who go above and beyond, who live the life of stewardship and who believe in parish engagement as the role of good stewards to pass their faith and their church to the next generation,” explained Laurie Evans-Dinneen, stewardship and development director for the Anchorage Archdiocese.

“The intent was always to honor the volunteers who keep the church going,” she added.

Award honorees will be chosen by the Archbishop’s Selection Committee, comprised of parish members. The honorees will then be announced in parish bulletins, the archdiocese website and Facebook pages and the Catholic Anchor — both online and in print.

The awards dinner will be held at Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral, in the Lunney Center and the format will remain the same as in past years. Parishes can sponsor tables and/or sell tickets to parishioners, and individuals are welcome to purchase their own tickets as well.

The deadline for submitting nominations is Aug. 31. Forms can be found at More details will be released as the event nears. For more information, contact Laurie Evans-Dinneen at 297-7789 or

'Retooled St. Francis awards to honor Alaska’s parish volunteers'
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