Fr. Peter Gorges finalist for Lumen Christi Award

(May 21 update) Congratulations to Fr. Peter Gorges who has been selected as a finalist for the Catholic Extension Lumen Christi Award! Fr. Peter has been a priest for the Diocese of Juneau since being ordained in 1968, and has served in most of the parishes and missions in Southeast Alaska. In retirement, he continues to travel Alaska as a substitute priest, affording other priests the opportunity to take greatly needed breaks for enrichment and vacation. Thank you, Fr. Peter! Award or not, you continue to be the Light of Christ to so many and are an inspiration to us.


2015 LUMEN CHRISTI AWARD NOMINEELumini-Christi-Award-Nominee-860x280

Modeling faith in action, Catholics from Alaska to the Gulf Coast are reaching out to make a difference in their communities. Since 1978, Catholic Extension has been honoring these faithful servants with the Lumen Christi Award. Accompanied by a $50,000 grant ($25,000 for the honoree and $25,000 for the nominating diocese), the Lumen Christi Award is presented to an individual or group of people who have demonstrated how the power of faith can transform lives and society.

This year, the Diocese of Juneau has nominated Fr. Peter Gorges for the Lumen Christi Award. Show your support by casting your vote for Fr. Peter online on the Catholic Extension Website:
Vote for Fr. Peter Gorges!

Read on for more information about Fr. Peter and his life and ministry in the Alaska:

Father Gorges was ordained priest in Boston, for the Diocese of Juneau, Alaska, on May 29. 1968. He has been pastor in most of the parishes in the diocese from 1969 to 2001. During that time, he not only attended to parish needs, he regularly visited remote villages and logging fr peter gorges w shadow

camps by ferry and float planes. Over the years, he has been very involved in state, national & international Catholic Charismatic Renewal, and local ecumenical programs. He also ministered to children in Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Wrangell Institute boarding school, and the Mt. Edgecombe boarding school in Sitka. He has been everything from Vicar General to missionary. Because Alaska has such a small population, Father Gorges has provided a wide range of services to both the civil and Church communities throughout the state—always bringing a “Jesus” presence in doing so.

Father Gorges retired from parochial ministry when he was 66 years of age in 2001. He has been a volunteer fill-in priest ever since. He is the only retired priest still present in the Juneau Diocese.


Co-Cathedral status sought for St. Paul’s

Saint pauls

St. Paul the Apostle Church

At a St. Paul the Apostle parish town hall meeting on May 14, Bishop Edward J. Burns announced his intention to petition the Holy See for a ruling that would elevate St. Paul the Apostle Church in Juneau to the status of Co-Cathedral. The current Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in downtown Juneau would retain its title as Cathedral, and continue to host smaller diocesan liturgies when possible.

During a previous community meeting in early April at the Cathedral of the Nativity parish hall, parishioners heard from architects and liturgical consultants assisting the Cathedral Renovation Steering Committee about the structural and space issues inherent with the current Cathedral in downtown Juneau. The consultants, MRV Group and Fr. Thomas Lucas SJ, recommended that the historic Cathedral of the Nativity be renovated and restored, but those improvements would not change the building’s inability to serve the space and liturgical needs of a true Cathedral. And further, that such a structure should be located elsewhere in the Juneau area, suggesting that St. Paul’s was the obvious and likely choice.

After allowing a period in April for community response and input, Bishop Burns has evaluated the situation and chosen to move forward with the intention of naming St. Paul’s as Co-Cathedral, and allowing the present downtown Cathedral to retain its current title.

The process of a church being elevated to Co-Cathedral status requires official action from the Vatican following a written petition by the diocesan bishop or archbishop. Burns estimates the process could take up to a year. In Anchorage, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church was recently elevated to the status of Co-Cathedral earlier this year.

Addressing comments and concerns from those present at the St. Paul’s town hall meeting, Bishop Burns made clear that the Diocese was at the beginning of this process, and that St. Paul the Apostle parish would not have to bear any potential financial burden alone in the event that the new Co-Cathedral designation required any structural changes to the Church building. St. Paul the Apostle parish continues to work at paying off the financial note incurred in 2001 for the construction of its present Church.

The video of the presentation by Fr. Thomas Lucas, SJ., on the needs of a Cathedral, and the April Town Hall meeting in downtown Juneau can be viewed by following this link: Town Hall Video. 

St. Paul’s Church website
Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary website

Bishop Burns to visit Guatemala with CRS delegation

Bishop Edward Burns, recently appointed to the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Board of Directors, will be joining a CRS delegation to visit Guatemala from May 18-22, 2015.

CRS has a rich history of over 50 years of work in the country of Guatemala. The organization’s work is varied, from supporting fair trade to education, emergency relief to public health efforts.

During their visit, the CRS delegation will get a sense of two Guatemalas, says Paul Townsend, CRS Representative for Guatemala & Mexico: a Guatemala that reflects incredible natural, cultural and economic richness; and, one that reflects disheartening poverty and inequity. For example, an indicator of the latter is the fact that approximately 50% of children under five years of age are malnourished.CRS logo PMS 287

The visit has been designed to allow the delegation to gain an understanding of issues of migration, food security and nutrition and youth, and to witness the successes and challenges relating to a large and diverse program.

Bishop Burns’ schedule will allow him to spend time with CRS partner institutions and project participants. A few highlights of the visit include:

•Apostolic Nuncio, His Excellency Nicolas Thevenin, will host a time to engage with the Guatemalan Church and US Government leadership;
• Travel to Tecun Uman and the Mexican border area to engage with migrants and witness the work of the Church;
• Travel to the western highlands region in order to better understand issues relating to food security, malnutrition and agricultural livelihoods; the latter including access to markets as a way to enhance rural family income;
• Travel to a Peace Center in Quiché, delving into the issues of rural youth and the work of the Church in this area.
• And, the delegation will have the opportunity to engage with a group of social entrepreneurs, in order to better understand best practices, challenges and the potential relating to corporate social engagement.

New Executive Director for CCS selected

Erin Walker-Tolles Selected to Lead Catholic Community Service

The Board of Directors of Catholic Community Service is pleased to announce the selection of Erin Walker-Tolles as executive director. A Juneau resident with extensive experience in social services, Walker-Tolles will lead the regional non-profit that includes Southeast Senior Services, Child Care and Family Resources and Hospice and Home Care of Juneau.

“Erin brings impressive leadership skills and experience to CCS. We believe she is well equipped to help our staff and volunteers fulfill their mission to serve individuals and families of Southeast Alaska with dignity, care and compassion,” said John Greely, board president.

Walker-Tolles has worked for the Alaska Department of Health & Social Services since 2007, mostly recently as Chief of Policy and Program Development at the Division of Public Assistance. She has broad knowledge of state and federald365372cc9f64732 social service programs and how to navigate often-complex requirements for Medicaid eligibility and funding.

Prior to her state service, she served as administrator of Housing First, a non-profit community housing development agency in Juneau, and worked as a program coordinator for Love, INC.

She holds bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and social services from Humboldt State University and a master’s degree in community mental health from Trinity College of Vermont.

Walker-Tolles succeeds interim Executive Director Larry Bussone. She will begin her duties on May 26.

For further information, please contact Larry Bussone at 907-463-6151.

Second town hall meeting on Cathedral status announced

Town Hall Meeting with Bishop Edward J. Burns

TOPIC: Cathedral Church designation for the Diocese of Juneau

Thursday, May 14th – 6:30 p.m., St. Paul’s parish hall

Bishop Burns has announced a town hall meeting to be held on Thursday, May 14th, at 6:30 p.m., in St. Paul’s parish hall, Juneau.

Bishop Burns and Diocesan staff will be present to discuss the recent liturgical evaluation of the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and its suitability for continuing as the Cathedral of our Diocese.

After a recent inspection and evaluation of the downtown Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, liturgical and building consultant Fr. Thomas Lucas concluded that the present Cathedral structure, even with extensive renovation would continue to be inadequate in size and as a site for cathedral and diocesan liturgies. He recommended that the diocesan leadership consider relocating the cathedral to a new or existing site in the greater Juneau area.
At a previous town hall meeting in April at the Cathedral, the topic was raised of the possibility of St. Paul the Apostle Church being designated as the Cathedral or Co-Cathedral of the Diocese.

Please come and share your thoughts on this important topic and how a change in Cathedral designation would affect St. Paul’s.

Or, if unable to attend, please email your concerns to:
Or, mail to: Bishop Edward J. Burns, 415 6th Street, Suite #300, Juneau, AK 99801

Employment opportunity: Youth ministry

DioceseShield2Employment opportunity: Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministry

The Catholic Diocese of Juneau is accepting applications for the position of Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministry.  The successful candidate is expected to begin employment on or before June 30 of this year.

The essential job functions are the following:

1)      Organize youth and young adults catechetical functions throughout the Diocese of Juneau.

2)      Provide weekly youth nights to the Cathedral and St. Paul youth and young adults.

3)      Provide spiritual and catechetical guidance to youth and young adults.

4)      In collaboration with the Archdiocese of Anchorage, coordinate World Youth Day pilgrimage and the Alaska Catholic Youth Conference.

5)      Outreach to outlying parishes to increase youth and young adult involvement in parish and diocesan functions.

Requirements:  Undergraduate degree required, preferably in theology, education, or related field. Salary: D.O.E., with full benefits.

Cover letters and resumes will be accepted through May 29, 2015.  Full job description available upon request. Letters and resumes can be submitted as follows:

Mail resumes to:      Diocese of Juneau
c/o Larry Bussone
415 Sixth Street, #300
Juneau, Alaska 99801

Or faxed to:             (907) 463-3237

Or emailed to: 

For questions, please contact Larry Bussone at (907) 586-2227, Ext. 27.