Theodore E. "Ted" Kestler was born in Tacoma, Washington, on December 18, 1943, along with his twin sister, Mary Ann. In Tacoma, he attended Franklin Public Grade School and, as a member of St. Leo's parish, St. Leo's Parochial School. After his father died in 1955, the family moved to Spanaway, a small town a little south of Tacoma, to live on a farm next to his uncle and aunt. Ted graduated from Clover Creek Elementary School in 1958, and from Bethel Senior High School in 1962. He then went on to attend Central Washington State College in Ellensburg, and Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.
On September 7, 1964, Ted entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Sheridan, Oregon. After completing his two-year noviceship, he spent the years 1966-69 at Mount St. Michael's, Spokane, studying the classics and humanities, and philosophy. From 1969-72, he taughtgeometry and mathematics at Gonzaga Preparatory in Spokane. By the time he finished his three years of teaching, he had earned a B.A. in classical studies and a B.S. in chemistry from Gonzaga University, and an M.A. in mathematics from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. He found his three years of teaching at Gonzaga Preparatory so satisfying that, at the end of them, he hoped to return to secondary education after completing his theological studies and being ordained a priest.
ANCHORAGE — Pope Francis has named Bishop Paul Dennis Etienne, 57, to be the next archbishop of Anchorage, Alaska, and accepted the resignation of Archbishop Roger Schwietz, 76, who submitted his resignation last year upon turning 75 as required by the church's canon law.
Archbishop-elect Etienne has served as the bishop of Cheyenne Wyoming for the past eight years.
The new appointment was announced at noon in Rome on Oct. 4. Archbishop Schwietz will introduce Archbishop-elect Etienne at an 11 a.m. press conference this Tuesday morning, Oct. 4, in the Chancery Offices at 225 Cordova Street in Anchorage. The press is invited for the announcement.
The installation date for Archbishop-elect Etienne is yet to be announced, but Archbishop Schwietz will serve as apostolic administrator during the interim.
On September 23, 1953, the Feast of St. Matthew, at the age of 17, a young Jorge Bergoglio went to confession in a Catholic Church in Buenas Aires, Argentina and was profoundly moved by an encounter of the mercy of God in the confessional. It is this encounter of Christ's grace that pierced his heart, mind and soul and kept gnawing at his conscience. This encounter of the Holy Spirit kept pulling him to discern a vocation. This voice of the Good Shepherd became much more clear and louder in his life.
Fr. Bergoglio was ordained a Jesuit priest and eventually became the Archbishop of Buenas Aires. Every time he visited Rome, he would stop by the Church of St. Louis of France, somewhat near the Piazza Navonna. In this Church, he would meditate on a painting by Caravaggio, "The Call of Matthew." In the painting, Jesus steps into a room and is pointing his finger (his hand like that of the hand of God on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel that reaches out to Adam to give life). A ray of light comes from Christ and is shining on Matthew who is seated at a table with other tax collectors counting their money. Matthew's hand is pointing inward toward himself with a facial gesture that indicates, "you mean me?"
Father Nelson was assigned to the Y-K region in early 2015. Fortunately, he was assigned to St. Theresa in Aniak, Immaculate Conception in Kalskag, Holy Family in Holy Cross, and most recently, Our Lady of Guadalupe in Russian Mission.
From the very beginning, Fr Nelson always arrived with a big smile, expressing joy and happiness to be among us out in the 'bush!' Why that is important to share is because, out of the 4 parishes he visited, three have no running water, 2 have no sewer, 3 have no internet connection and 2 have no TV. For Nelson, it wasn't about his comfort and convenience, it was about the people and the opportunity to serve where there is no priest. Nothing else mattered.
Fr. Nelson Rivera Marilag, a missionary priest in the Diocese of Fairbanks, died suddenly on Tuesday, September 20, 2016, at the Saint Ignatius Residence. He was 55 years old.
During his time in the Diocese of Fairbanks, Fr. Nelson was assigned as a visiting priest to Immaculate Conception Parish, in Kalskag; Holy Family Church, in Holy Cross; St. Patrick Church, in Barrow; St. Theresa Church, in Aniak; and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, in Russian Mission. He was Parochial Vicar of St. Raphael Church and St. Mark's University Parish, in Fairbanks. He also assisted at Sacred Heart Cathedral and he served as the Chaplain for the Filipino Ministry and to the Fairbanks Correctional Center.
Credit: Joel Davidson / ALASKA NEWS, EDITOR'S PICKS, FEATURED / September 2016
Father Nelson Marilag died suddenly and unexpectedly on Sept. 20 while serving as a priest in the Diocese of Fairbanks.
A native of the Philippines, he served in the Archdiocese of Anchorage from the time of his arrival from the Diocese of Butuan in 2002, until 2010 when he transferred to serve in the Diocese of Fairbanks as part of an innovative program to share priests across Alaska's three Catholic dioceses.
Upon Father Marilag's death, Fairbanks Bishop Chad Zielinski issued a statement describing the priest as "a quiet and reserved man who exemplified a genuine gentleness of spirit, and a kindness and charity that knew no bounds. He fully embraced a true virtue of poverty as his room appeared to be that of a man who lived an ascetical life. May his living witness be a reminder to us all to embrace the simple life, show a deep care and concern for others through our generosity by serving the Body of Christ."
In a 2009 interview with the Catholic Anchor Father Marilag said he was initially spurred to become a priest by a former pastor who he said "really inspired me to serve the church."
His favorite saint was Saint Joseph who he said "bears the name of being a foster father of Jesus and a great worker, too. It is my confirmation name given by my parents."
While serving in the Anchorage Archdiocese, Father Marilag ministered to far-flung Catholic communities and missions. A native of the Philippines, he helped celebrate many colorful Catholic Filipino traditions in places like Unalaska along the Aleutian Islands.
Speaking on the unique aspects of being a priest in Alaska, Father Marilag said the remote places and inspiring people stand out.
"Aside from the resourcefulness of the people, there are various ways of culture that one will encounter in serving the church," he said in 2009. "There is much to learn and to adjust to, in so many ways. But with this, it gives a sense of courage to be more independent."
Father Marilag also served, as needed in other parishes across the archdiocese. One of his last assignments, before transferring to Fairbanks, was at St. Michael Church in Palmer, where he assisted Father Tom Brundage. There he worked in prison ministry, celebrating Masses for inmates and helping with an evening study group on Saint John Paul II's theological work on the human person, "Theology of the Body."
In 2010, due to an acute shortage of priests in Alaska, Father Marilag became the vanguard for a new program of sharing clergy across the boundaries of Alaska's three Catholic dioceses.
He willingly traveled to serve Catholics in Barrow — the northernmost city in the United States and part of the Diocese of Fairbanks. In Barrow, the Catholic population is about 80 percent Filipino, making the ministry of a Filipino priest all the more relevant for the community.
In a 2010 interview from Barrow, Father Nelson told the Catholic Anchor that he was happy to minister there, despite the fact that the thermometer had dipped below zero and the sun was hidden for most of the day.
But most unusual was his discovery of so many fellow countrymen, he said.
"I was surprised to find the large number of Filipinos," Father Nelson said, "and I could feel that sacramental need."
In just a couple of days in the remote village, he had performed a baptism with more than 100 people attending and celebrated two weekend Masses, which drew about 150 people.
Upon request he also blessed many objects, heard confessions and blessed family homes.
Father Marilag's final assignment began in 2015, when Fairbanks Bishop Zielinski appointed him parochial vicar of Saint Raphael Church in Fairbanks. At the time of his death he was also assigned as the visiting priest to parishes in Barrow, Holy Cross, Aniak and Kalskag.
There will be a vigil liturgy for Father Marilag on Friday, Sept. 30, at 7 p.m. and a funeral Mass on Saturday, Oct. 1, at 11 a.m. Both liturgies will be held at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Fairbanks.
A Memorial Service will be held in Anchorage at a place, date and time to be decided later.
Each year, the HIPOW Auction & Dinner raises a little over half of the Monroe Foundation's annual fundraising goal of $1.1 million.
Please mark your calendar for the 47th annual HIPOW on Friday, October 7 and Saturday, October 8. Friday is Family Night - it's free and open to the public. Saturday is a Black Tie Dinner.
HIPOW stands for Happiness is Paying Our Way.
Attendees are asked to register ahead of time to participate in mobile bidding. Mobile bidding is web-based (no app required). You are encouraged to bring your WiFi enabled phone, iPad or tablet. Don't have one? No problem. "Bidding Buddies" will be available to help you place your bids. Registration begins in August.
In response to the increasing violence and tension throughout our country and the world, Archbishop Kurtz and the Catholic Bishops of the United States have declared Friday, September 9th a National Day of Prayer for Peace in Our Communities. In solidarity with our brothers and sisters throughout the United Sates, I ask that each parish pray in a special way for an end to violence and racism and that the Spirit of unity and peace would descend upon individuals and communities.
Attached you will find sample petitions that may be included in the Prayers of the Faithful. Additional material can be found on the USCCB website in the following locations:
World Youth Day celebration for Friday, July 29th: Any teens from the surrounding area are welcome to join us! The WYD celebration will take the form of an overnight lock-in at St Nicholas parish with a tentative start time of 7pm and an end time of 11am. The goal of the night is to create a mini WYD for the kids in the Fairbanks area who are not attending the celebration in Poland. Part of the night will include live-streaming events from WYD, games, Polish food, and prayer experiences (adoration, Divine Mercy chaplet, and Stations of the Cross). The target age range is late middle school through high school age teens (13+). Feel free to contact me at this email address if you are interested: Kayla Smith email@example.com or leave a message on my voicemail at the parish office: 907-488-2595.