Recruiting for: Fund Development Director

The Diocese of Juneau is currently recruiting for the position of:
Fund Development Director

This position is responsible for leading and managing the fundraising efforts of the Diocese and its parishes and missions, including but not limited to direct mail campaigns; securing individual, corporate and major gifts; donor cultivation and relationship building activities; planning donor events; and identifying grant opportunities and working with Diocesan staff to write and submit grant applications.

This position will manage a donor database and track results of development efforts, working closely with the Bishop and senior staff to prepare and present analyses, forecasts, and recommendations to the Diocesan Finance Council and other Diocesan and parish committees as appropriate. The successful candidate will embrace the Church’s mission and skillfully articulate the need for financial support to a variety of audiences.

This is a full time position with health benefits and optional 403(b) retirement plan.  Salary is dependent upon experience.

Please send cover letter and resume by May 31, 2016, to:  Michael Monagle, Business Manager, Diocese of Juneau, 415 Sixth Street, Juneau, Alaska 99801, or by email to

A complete job description is available upon request.

Ceremony of Sorrow

[Bishop Edward J. Burns delivered the following homily at the Ceremony of Sorrow held at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Juneau on Friday, April 29th, 2016.]

Every one of us makes mistakes. Each of us has faults, failings and blind spots. None of us are perfect and all of us have, in the words of St. Paul, “sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:23) That includes me, your bishop, my brother priests and deacons and the lay men and women who are our collaborators in ministry.

But everyone gathered here tonight, in this place, throughout our diocese and in our Church, rightly expects and deserves that those entrusted with shepherding God’s holy people as priests, deacons and lay ministers, and their bishops, will at all times, to the very best of their ability imitate the compassion, humility, kindness, mercy, integrity, and sacrificial love of Jesus, the Good Shepherd.

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Bishop Edward J. Burns lies prostrate on the floor of St. Paul the Apostle Church in Juneau during the Ceremony of Sorrow held on April 29th, 2016. (Lucy Nelson photo)



Unfortunately, we have had, in our Church and sadly, even in our own diocese, shepherds who, in the words of the prophet Ezekiel, have failed to “strengthen the weak, or heal the sick or bind up the injured” but have ruled over the flock “harshly and brutally.” (Ez 34:16) Even worse, by their words and actions they have scattered and divided the flock entrusted to them, and driven many of the faithful out of the Church entirely.

Most shockingly, the sexual abuse crisis of the past decade has revealed that throughout the country, a small but significant number of clerics, mostly priests, have preyed on children and young people. The violation of these childrens’ innocence and betrayal of their trust inflicted life-long emotional and spiritual harm on so many victims as well as on their families and communities. The failure of bishops to protect children by covering the crimes of the perpetrators and minimizing the stories of victims who came forward has scandalized the Catholic faithful and the public at large.

As your shepherd, I apologize, in the name of the Church, for the actions of all those ministering in this diocese who, past and present, have mistreated, betrayed and harmed those entrusted to them pastorally. There is never an excuse for a bishop, priest, deacon or other pastoral minister to act in a way that is uncaring, harsh, vindictive and unkind, nor to take advantage of the trusting and vulnerable, nor to engage in wicked, immoral and in some instances, criminal behavior.

I am grateful for all those men and women who have come forward in the past and during recent days to disclose the harm inflicted on them. They acted not only on their own behalf, but for the common good as well. What you experienced was not your fault! You have done the Body of Christ a great service by courageously disclosing the wrong inflicted on you by those clerics and others who treated you so badly and unjustly. Thank you!

As your shepherd, I expect and require that all the ministers, priests, deacons and lay men and women in the Diocese of Juneau, will in their words and actions pattern themselves after Christ the Good Shepherd. In our gospel today, Jesus, taught us: “I came so that they might have life, and have it more abundantly. I am the Good Shepherd.” (Jn 10:10)

In this Year of Mercy, all of those who share in my ministry as chief shepherd of this local Church, have the privilege and responsibility to zealously search out all those in our parishes and in our communities who are lost and all those who have been scattered or wounded or scandalized by the actions of some of our ministers, past and present.

We are called as the Church’s ministers to love with compassion, kindness, and gentleness the flock entrusted to us by Christ; to listen attentively to the voice of the Good Shepherd and in turn to listen patiently and sympathetically to those we are called to serve; to be servant leaders who in every instance speak the truth, but do so with loving hearts.

Jesus teaches us that the mark of a good shepherd is that he “lays down his life for the sheep.” (Jn 10:11) The willingness to love sacrificially, the people of God and all those we encounter in the name of Christ, and to put their welfare before our own, is the foundation of our ministry of service to you. This is not something that I, or any of my collaborators in pastoral ministry, can accomplish unaided by God’s grace. We rely on your prayers, which I am grateful for: please continue to pray for me and for all the men and women in our diocese who have pastoral responsibilities.

May our merciful Shepherd bind the wounds of all those who have been wounded and harmed. May the One Shepherd gather us, and all who have been scattered, into one flock. May our loving Shepherd heal every division and lead us forward into the future. Amen.
Bishop Burns announced during the Ceremony of Sorrow that the Friday following Ash Wednesday will be observed, in the Diocese of Juneau, as an ‘Annual Day of Sorrow’ ­— a day in which we pray for forgiveness of the sins of the past within the Church committed by clergy and ministers, and for the healing of anyone who has been victimized, abused and offended.

Dr. Jonathan Reyes selected as keynote speaker for fall Conference

The planning committee for the Southeast Alaska Catholic Conference has announced their selection of nationally recognized Catholic leader, Dr. Jonathan J. Reyes, as keynote speaker for the fall conference, ‘Infinite Mercy’, to take place in Juneau from Sept. 30 – Oct. 2, 2016. Since 2012, Dr. Reyes has served as the Executive Director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, overseeing their efforts in domestic and international affairs and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the bishops’ anti-poverty program.SACC Flier reworked

Prior to working with the USCCB, Dr. Reyes served the Denver Archdiocese as president and CEO of Denver Catholic Charities from 2009 – 2012. During his time with Catholic Charities, Dr. Reyes founded a national volunteer and formation program for college students, Christ in the City. The organization has seen over 200 participants serve the homeless of Denver while developing in their Catholic faith. He also oversaw the creation of Regina Caeli Catholic Counseling Center, the Lighthouse Women’s Care Center in Denver, and completed the Guadalupe Community Assistance Center in Greeley, Colo.
Along with his role at Catholic Charities, Dr. Reyes co-founded and was the first president of Denver-based Catholic theological graduate school, the Augustine Institute, from 2005-2008.

From 2004-2005, he was vice president for campus ministry and leadership formation of the team-based evangelization program aimed toward students on college campuses, Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) in Denver.

Dr. Reyes has served on the staff of Christendom College in Front Royal, Va. as an assistant professor of history and later as vice president of academic affairs from 1998-2004. In 2000, he received a doctorate in European history from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor of arts degree in history from the University of Michigan in 1990.
Other Southeast Alaska Catholic Conference speakers lined up for the fall 2016 event include guest musician and youth speaker, Craig Colson, and Sisters of Life from Denver, Sr. Maris Stella, SV and Sr. Cecilia Rose, SV.

Jonathan Photo - officialRegistration for the Sept. 30 – Oct. 2 event in Juneau is expected to begin by early summer.
For additional information, email Peggy Mattson at, or phone 907-586-2227 x 31

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Gratitude and thanksgiving for the gift of creation

By Deacon Charles Rohrbacher, April issue, Southeast Alaska Catholic

Christ is Risen!
He is Risen Indeed!

Forty days after it began, Lent is (finally) over and the Easter season has arrived! I began Lent with a plan of daily Mass, prayer and spiritual reading, which started out strong but two weeks in I got sick (a virus of some sort which turned into acute bronchitis) which made the next three weeks feel like a combination of the “Purgatorio” and “Lost Weekend”. But I recovered (mostly) in time for Holy Week and the Triduum.

Not that my Lenten experience wasn’t spiritually fruitful, far from it, but it wasn’t what I was planning on. Which, at least in my experience, is usually the case in the spiritual life. I suppose what this particular Lent taught me more than anything else was gratitude.

Being sick meant that I didn’t feel up to attending daily Mass for a couple of weeks and had to stay home in bed for the Fourth Sunday of Lent. This reminded me of how much I take for granted the ability to be able to participate and serve at Mass on Sundays and weekdays. I was grateful as well to experience, even if temporarily, the daily reality of our people in the mission communities, of those in the hospital or in prison and the elderly and infirm, shut-ins in their homes or apartments, who are not able to participate in the Eucharist frequently.

The other way I learned gratitude during this Lent was through fasting. Not through eating less (that was taken care of by being sick and having little or no appetite!) but by persevering in a very little but meaningful (for me, at least) fast, in which I refrained from adding milk to my tea. Now you have to understand that I am an inveterate tea drinker, and I drink it with milk (preferably cream!). In years past I’ve done what the Irish call, the “black fast” on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday but until this year, I couldn’t bring myself to make that small but difficult (for me) sacrifice for forty whole days.

No 07 The difference this year was that on the advice of my much loved Grandma Clara I committed myself to fasting for, rather than fasting from. When I was a child she had continually encouraged me and my sisters to regard our little sufferings and deprivations as an opportunity to “offer them up” for others in need (beginning with the holy souls in Purgatory). Although I doubt she’d ever read a word of St. John Chrysostom, my grandmother had thoroughly absorbed his teaching on Lenten prayer, fasting and almsgiving. He recommended fasting as an embodied way of praying for the needs of others, and so did my grandmother!

Remembering that, I endeavored to make my little sacrifice this Lent for the needs and intentions of others. People I know personally who have asked me, unworthy as I am, to pray for them, and people I’ll never know, such as persecuted Christians and the refugees fleeing from Syria and Iraq. Going without milk in my tea was my entirely mundane opportunity to live out my baptism, through which I share in the priestly, prophetic and kingly ministry of Christ Jesus.

It was just the tiniest of sacrifices but I will admit I really enjoyed that first cup of tea with milk after the Easter Vigil! Going without made me appreciate what I had been missing, but also reminded me how much I take for granted. It is so easy for me to take for granted the daily miracle of life and love that God has given each of us and this beautiful world which he has created and in which he has placed me and all the people and creatures that inhabit it.
During this Easter season I want to find time to reflect more deeply on those aspects of the Holy Father’s recent encyclical “Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home” which are most Eucharistic. While you might think that given the urgency of the ecological crisis that “Laudato Si” would be all about rising sea levels, carbon credits and alternative energy, it is at its heart, an invitation to ponder the gift of life and of creation which God has given us and to respond with gratitude and thanksgiving.

Again and again, the Holy Father stresses that the world created and shaped by our loving God is above all sacred and holy. And that we, as priestly and chosen people, made holy and filled with new life in the waters of baptism, are to reverence and honor the creation, which is a purely gratuitous gift from the Father.

Towards the end of the letter he wrote a lengthy reflection on the Eucharist, from which I quote this brief excerpt:

“It is in the Eucharist that all that has been created finds its greatest exaltation. Grace, which tends to manifest itself tangibly, found unsurpassable expression when God became man and gave himself as food for his creatures. The Lord, in the culmination of the mystery of the Incarnation, chose to reach our intimate depths through a fragment of matter.
He comes, not from above, but from within, he comes that we might find him in this world of ours. In the Eucharist, fullness is already achieved; it is the living center of the universe, the overflowing core of love and of inexhaustible life. Joined to the incarnate Son, present in the Eucharist, the whole cosmos gives thanks to God!

May each of us grow in that profound gratitude that is the wellspring of our Paschal joy and rejoicing.

Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!

– Deacon Charles Rohrbacher is the Office of Ministries Director for the Diocese of Juneau. Phone: 907-586-2227 x 23. Email:

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The waters of new life

By Bishop Edward J. Burns
April 2016 Southeast Alaska Catholic

Over the past few weeks as we have celebrated the Easter liturgies, I have been using the sprinkling rite at Mass to remind us of the waters of Baptism and how we are washed clean of our sins through Christ. I cannot help but to chuckle to myself when I see the faces of people as I approach with the holy water and the aspergillum (liturgical implement used to sprinkle holy water). Some people start to cringe and grimace thinking that they are going to be struck in the face with this reminder of their baptism. In actuality, the goal is to aim over their heads so that the water comes down upon them from above.

The gift of water has been on my mind recently as I returned last month from a trip to Nicaragua. I am privileged to serve as a member of the board of directors for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and as board members we are strongly encouraged to visit the sites where CRS has had an impact in helping people — where profound poverty exists, where natural disasters may have occurred, or where there is a need for the development of the common good. In Nicaragua I saw first hand the wonderful blessings that come from the CRS Rice Bowl collection after a season of Lenten self-denial and charitable giving.

In the course of our week-long visit to Nicaragua, our group of five drove hours from the city of Managua to San Jacinto Tizate. We were joined by a number of local CRS staff who showed us the good work they do. One staff member, a civil engineer by the name of Raquel Porras, showed us a water pumping station that CRS facilitated in order to provide fresh water to 192 families who previously had to walk over three hours to carry water to their simple dirt-floored homes. The matriarch of one family (dressed in her finest outfit) described the blessings of this project. With a simple pipe and spigot that came up out of the dirt floor, she described how the access to fresh water in their home has changed their lives and improved their quality of life. Their lifestyle changed dramatically—parents no longer have to walk in the middle of the night to bring water back to the house in time for their children to get ready for school; they are able to establish a good practice of hygiene, to shower, wash their clothes/dishes, and to do all this while saving countless hours a week/month from having to carry the water from the community well.

I recall the image of Raquel standing inside the water pumping station describing how hundreds of people have benefited from this one project, and I could not help but rejoice in this great achievement of CRS. It is a modern day ability to fulfill our Christian mission—“But Lord, when did we see you thirsty and give you drink?”

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A Nicaraguan woman standing in her kitchen describing the luxury of having fresh running water coming into her home.

Our Easter celebrations, as well as the recent events I have experienced, have brought me to reflect on the newness of life within the Church and the gifts of new life through water. I am mindful of those who have been received into the Church through baptism and the Easter sacraments. This is an opportunity for me to express, on behalf of all the parishioners of the Catholic community in Southeast Alaska, a word of welcome. It is my hope that new members of the Church find in their faith journey with us, through the sacraments of the Church, a welcomed place where they feel at home with the Lord. Allow me to encourage all new members to stay strong in the faith and to continue to learn, with all of us, the great richness of our Catholic tradition. At the same time, I am grateful for all those who help to provide catechetical programs in our parishes. Like Raquel, they are providing life-giving water.

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Raquel Porras describing the water-pumping station built by Catholic Relief Services in San Jacinto Tizate, Nicaragua.

When I think of my recent travels and liturgical experiences, I think of people receiving the gift of water­—those who were welcomed into the Church through baptism, those who renewed their baptismal promises in the sprinkling rite, and those who received the gift of water through the charitable gift of others. On their faces, and most clearly on the face of a Nicaraguan mother who received the gift of fresh, running water in her home, I have personally seen the expressions of joy and gratitude for that gift of new life.

Pope Francis uses incense to reverence an icon of the risen Jesus at the beginning of Easter Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican March 27. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) See POPE-EASTER March 27, 2016.

Let us open our hearts to hope and go forth

Pope’s Easter Vigil Homily

“Let us not forget his words and his works, otherwise we will lose hope”

Here is a Vatican translation of the homily Pope Francis delivered at the Easter Vigil.

“Peter ran to the tomb” (Lk 24:12). What thoughts crossed Peter’s mind and stirred his heart as he ran to the tomb? The Gospel tells us that the eleven, including Peter, had not believed the testimony of the women, their Easter proclamation.   Quite the contrary, “these words seemed to them an idle tale” (v. 11). Thus there was doubt in Peter’s heart, together with many other worries: sadness at the death of the beloved Master and disillusionment for having denied him three times during his Passion.

There is, however, something which signals a change in him: after listening to the women and refusing to believe them, “Peter rose” (v. 12). He did not remain sedentary, in thought; he did not stay at home as the others did. He did not succumb to the sombre atmosphere of those days, nor was he overwhelmed by his doubts. He was not consumed by remorse, fear or the continuous gossip that leads nowhere. He was looking for Jesus, not himself. He preferred the path of encounter and trust. And so, he got up, just as he was, and ran towards the tomb from where he would return “amazed” (v. 12). This marked the beginning of Peter’s resurrection, the resurrection of his heart. Without giving in to sadness or darkness, he made room for hope: he allowed the light of God to enter into his heart, without smothering it.

The women too, who had gone out early in the morning to perform a work of mercy, taking the perfumed ointments to the tomb, had the same experience. They were “frightened and bowed their faces”, and yet they were deeply affected by the words of the angel: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” (v. 5).

We, like Peter and the women, cannot discover life by being sad, bereft of hope. Let us not stay imprisoned within ourselves, but let us break open our sealed tombs to the Lord so that he may enter and grant us life. Let us give him the stones of our rancour and the boulders of our past, those heavy burdens of our weaknesses and falls. Christ wants to come and take us by the hand to bring us out of our anguish. This is the first stone to be moved aside this night: the lack of hope which imprisons us within ourselves. May the Lord free us from this trap, from being Christians without hope, who live as if the Lord were not risen, as if our problems were the centre of our lives.

We see and will continue to see problems both within and without. They will always be there. But tonight it is important to shed the light of the Risen Lord upon our problems, and in a certain sense, to “evangelize” them. Let us not allow darkness and fear to distract us and control us; we must cry out to them: the Lord “is not here, but has risen!” (v. 6). He is our greatest joy; he is always at our side and will never let us down.

This is the foundation of our hope, which is not mere optimism, nor a psychological attitude or desire to be courageous. Christian hope is a gift that God gives us if we come out of ourselves and open our hearts to him. This hope does not disappoint us because the Holy Spirit has been poured into our hearts (cf. Rom 5:5). The Paraclete does not make everything look appealing. He does not remove evil with a magic wand. But he pours into us the vitality of life, which is not the absence of problems, but the certainty of being loved and always forgiven by Christ, who for us has conquered sin, death and fear. Today is the celebration of our hope, the celebration of this truth: nothing and no one will ever be able to separate us from his love (cf. Rom 8:39).

The Lord is alive and wants to be sought among the living. After having found him, each person is sent out by him to announce the Easter message, to awaken and resurrect hope in hearts burdened by sadness, in those who struggle to find meaning in life. There is so necessary today. However, we must not proclaim ourselves. Rather, as joyful servants of hope, we must announce the Risen One by our lives and by our love; otherwise we will be only an international organization full of followers and good rules, yet incapable of offering the hope for which the world longs.

How can we strengthen our hope? The liturgy of this night offers some guidance. It teaches us to remember the works of God. The readings describe God’s faithfulness, the history of his love towards us. The living word of God is able to involve us in this history of love, nourishing our hope and renewing our joy. The Gospel also reminds us of this: in order to kindle hope in the hearts of the women, the angel tells them: “Remember what [Jesus] told you” (v. 6). Let us not forget his words and his works, otherwise we will lose hope. Let us instead remember the Lord, his goodness and his life-giving words which have touched us. Let us remember them and make them ours, to be sentinels of the morning who know how to help others see the signs of the Risen Lord.

Dear brothers and sisters, Christ is risen! Let us open our hearts to hope and go forth. May the memory of his works and his words be the bright star which directs our steps in the ways of faith towards the Easter that will have no end.