800 miles to the farthest parish in the archdiocese

Managing church functions in the vast expanses of Alaska is not like doing the same in most states.

Among the fascinating bits of information in this article in St. Anthony Messenger is that the comparatively simple matter of flying one of the eight priests incardinated into the Archdiocese of Anchorage to its most remote parish — 800 miles away — can cost $1,000, if the jet can even make the trip based on weather conditions.

The article looks at each of the state’s three dioceses and the challenges of a largely unchurched population, vast distances, few priests and those months when winter weather makes travel impractical.

Lay leadership, a strong diaconate and other approaches that keep the church in Alaska vibrant may well hold lessons for the rest of the country facing demographic shifts and priest shortages.

2 Responses

  1. Lay leadership isn’t always a “vibrant thing.” Things are held together here pretty well, but as a new person from a larger city, there are definitely holes in the system compared to larger dioceses without these challenges.

    Lay leadership defintely is not the prefered method, but as opposed to nothing it will work. It is unfortunate that more priests aren’t directed to Alaska, because the Catholic “population” and need is definitely would grow.

    Lay leadership should not be a reason why priests are not installed in these parishes though. There should still be an attempt made to get parish priests throughout Alaska.

  2. If there really a need for priests to do the job of envangilization, i mean apostolate work, in those remote locations of alaska. why not establish arrangements with countries who have excess priests to go and do the job. In africa, Asia there are many parishes with morethan three priests, the Bishops concerned can work this apostolic dilemma out 2gether, after all the catholic church is one IsnĀ“t that what we pronounce daily in the Mass( We believe in One apostolic catholic faith, so this should be more in action )., and is getting even extra bigger within few months to come with the acceptance of the anglicans to join the catholic church. Personally i think the catholic church has pionered many things like introducing catholicism to far remote areas so why Alaska is becoming a problem now when communication is not as for 20-30yrs ago?

    I dont know which Language today can be difficult to learn? What kind of weather can be difficult to live in with todays technology. The catholic church is rich enough to give its members the service or spirituality they need, its just the question of the WILL. I have always said that today almost everything is practically possible,depending on which methods one embraces.

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