Thursday, February 29, 2024

In Alaska, permanent deacons are primary spiritual leaders in remote villages

Fewer than a dozen priests now serve the 46 parishes in the Diocese of Fairbanks, Alaska, according to Catholic Home Missions, a newsletter published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“These churches typically only see a priest for Mass every one to three months,” said Sister Kathy Radich, OSF, coordinator of rural ministries for the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region of the diocese, which is the largest in the United States in area (about the size of Oregon). 

“COVID-19 travel restrictions ... left about half of our churches without a priest for more than a year.”