By Anna Schulten
The North Star Catholic
Alan Muise and his wife Nancy, began their ministry in Alaska when Alan was stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage in 1991 as an F-15 pilot. “I enjoy doing music ministry the most,” said Alan. “We had been in music ministry at all the air bases that we were stationed at around the world and developed long-lasting friendships with other music ministers. It has been no different here.”
Alan and Nancy became music ministry leaders at Resurrection Chapel at Holy Spirit Center in 1994. “Some of our best friends are those that sing and play with us at Mass,” Alan said. “We have had the opportunity to do music for all kinds of Masses, including celebrations, funerals and memorial services. Many of these people were friends of ours from the Resurrection Chapel community and it was an honor to be part of their services.”
In addition to music ministry, Alan and Nancy began participating in the Challenge Program, a nine-month Ignatian Spirituality program, during the 1992-1993 school year. “At the end of the first year of the Challenge Program, Fr. Vince Beuzer and Kathy Gallagher (the current director) wanted to know if we would be interested in becoming co-facilitators for a group the following year,” Alan said. “They said they didn’t need an immediate answer and that we should pray about it. But after a couple of moments, Fr. Beuzer turned back to us and said, ‘And if the answer is no, pray harder.'” They later said yes, and it began a long connection with the Ignatian Spirituality programs.
After his retirement in 1996, Alan and Nancy, decided to stay in Anchorage. Their son, David, and his family also live in Anchorage, while daughter Kerry and her husband live in Tacoma.
As a volunteer, Nancy has taken on the role of managing the library at Holy Spirit Center. She and several friends have recently completed a reorganization that involved deleting and adding books, sorting the books by subject matter groups, and relabeling the collection of over 3,000 titles. Before that, she had reorganized the library at the archdiocesan chancery.
In 2002, Alan became a Spiritual Director after completing a two-year course by Fr. Beuzer. He expanded his ministry at Holy Spirit Center by becoming its business manager in 2004. He became the administrator in 2009 after Fr. Jim Oberle, and his title was changed to “Director” in 2017.
Alan had planned to retire fully at the end of October 2020, but decided to stay on part-time through the archbishop’s installation and provide stability throughout COVID-19. Throughout the transition, Alan and Nancy continue to bless and serve Holy Spirit Center and the larger Anchorage community. “Being here has really helped me understand the meaning of hospitality,” Alan said. “We provide a place for people to come to be quiet and get closer to God. One of the highest compliments that people give us is that they felt so welcome at Holy Spirit Center. It is more than a business; it is truly a ministry.”
Parishes across the Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau are filled with everyday saints like Alan and Nancy. We are called to use our gifts, talents, and resources at the service of one another, our faith communities, and those most in need. Who inspires you to be a better Catholic? Recommend an everyday saint online at aoaj.org/saints-among-us.