Valdez priest heads back to Philippines


One of two priests on loan to the Archdiocese of Anchorage from the Archdiocese of Cotabato in the Philippines has returned to his native country to establish a new parish there.

Father Dadz Esguerra had been in Alaska for three years, spending nearly a year as parochial vicar at St. Francis Xavier Church in Valdez. Prior to that he served at Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Dillingham and at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Anchorage.

His departure begins a transitional time at St. Francis Xavier, where Mike Franklin, the pastoral council president, has been appointed as parish life director. He and his wife Christy will work with Deacon Dan Stowe and his wife Trish, as well as the pastoral council and finance council, to administer the needs of the parish.

Meanwhile, Father Eric Wiseman has been tapped to serve as the parochial vicar for St. Francis Xavier. Before Father Esguerra came to the parish, Father Frank Reitter was the pastor.

Franklin said the church members are a dynamic group and willing to accept their new responsibilities, which will free up Father Wiseman for pastoral work. They’re all volunteers.

“We certainly love this church and want to make it strong,” Franklin said, adding that with six children still at home, his duties as executive officer of the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Unit, and his role as pastoral council president, he wasn’t seeking a new appointment but was glad to accept it.

Anchorage Archbishop Roger Schwietz said that Cardinal Orlando Beltran Quevedo, the Archbishop of Cotabato, will find a replacement for Father Esguerra but nothing has been confirmed. The other priest serving Anchorage from Cotabato is Father Jaime Mencias, the parochial vicar at St. Michael Church in Palmer.

'Valdez priest heads back to Philippines'
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