‘The Relic’ retires from the Anchorage Archdiocese

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After 38 years working for the Anchorage Archdiocese, Vice Chancellor Eileen Kramer officially stepped down Aug. 31.

Fondly known as “The Relic,” the much respected and devoted Kramer’s career spanned all three archbishops of Anchorage — Archbishop Joseph Ryan, Archbishop Francis Hurley and current Archbishop Roger Schwietz, who is slated to retire on Nov. 9 when Wyoming Bishop Paul Etienne takes over as the fourth archbishop of Anchorage.

“Having already ‘trained’ three archbishops, Eileen will leave the task of transitioning my successor to another,” Archbishop Schwietz said in a statement announcing Kramer’s pending retirement earlier this summer.

A few days before her retirement, Kramer sent a message to archdiocesan staff, clergy and others thanking them for enriching her nearly four-decade career.

“My time has come to say goodbye — after almost 38 years here at the archdiocese I am saying goodbye to the folks I call my family,” she said. “Words cannot express how much you all mean to me — archbishop, priests, deacons, sisters, and the members of the pastoral office and all the folks that make up parishes. God bless you all and thanks. Please keep me and my family in your prayers. Eileen (The Relic)”

In a phone interview with the Catholic Anchor she said her career with the archdiocese was a joy.

“I want to thank everybody for their thoughtfulness, their generosity and all the support that they’ve given me over the years,” she said. “I loved every minute of it. The blessings that I have received — I can’t express it strong enough.”

As for working for the only three archbishops to ever serve the archdiocese, Kramer said it was “a real educational experience.”

“They all had different personalities and different ways of doing things, but they all made it a priority to be there for the people of this archdiocese in their needs,” she added. “I know they were always there for me when I needed it most.”

With an institutional memory of the archdiocese, Kramer has been a valuable resource during through the years. One of her key tasks was to ensure that remote parishes without resident priests were able to access the Eucharist and other sacraments. Kramer scheduled visiting and local priests to serve these parishes, especially during key liturgical seasons such as Christmas and Easter. In 2012 she received the St. Francis of Assisi award for her service to the church in Alaska.

“Eileen’s dedication and service to the church have been legendary,” Archbishop Schwietz said. “We are indebted to her service — and richer for her friendship.”

He offered “blessings and fervent prayers for an enjoyable and peace-filled retirement.”

On Kramer’s last official day, archdiocesan staff and others joined her for a noon Mass at Holy Family Cathedral in Anchorage. Celebrated by Archbishop Roger Schwietz — joined by six priests, three deacons and a seminarian — the Mass was followed with a reception in Kramer’s honor.

“Once again, we want to thank Eileen for her many years of service,” Archbishop Schwietz said at the close of Mass. “May God bless her.”


'‘The Relic’ retires from the Anchorage Archdiocese' have 2 comments

  1. October 2016 @ 5:42 pm John Rose Santiago

    I am a Jesuit from India and I was in California from 2009 to 2015 to do my PhD in Electrical Engineering. During those years Eileen used to contact me. I offered to be twice in Dutch Harbor and King Salmon. I never met her personally, but her letters revealed that she is a saintly woman, loved the Catholic Church, a servant of God. She is a living sacrament to the archdiocese of Alaska. I wish her all the best. Fr. John Rose SJ, Xavier Institute of Engineering, Mahim, Mumbai. 400 016. Ph: 9833627714.

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  2. October 2016 @ 9:51 am Sister Frances Vista, Dc

    In my time of working for the Archdiocese of Anchorage, I can’t help to say what a joy it was to have worked with Eileen Kramer. Her dedication and commitment in her service is exemplary, especially making sure that the remote parishes had access to the Eucharist by scheduling a priest to celebrate Mass or by sending a sister, deacon or lay leader to bring Communion there. Eileen also has a wonderful way of making one feel welcomed and appreciated. When I trod to the third floor of the chancery in Anchorage, I always knew that I would leave Eileen’s office with a good share of laughter and joy. I wish you all the blessings Eileen. Enjoy your retirement!
    — Sister Frances Vista, DC
    Daly City, Calif.

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