The large majority of the parishes are "bush parishes," parish scattered far and wide among Alaska's indigenous peoples, Indians and Eskimos. Only 8 parishes are accessible by road.
Only 9 parishes have a resident pastor. Women religious, 14 sisters, too, minister in the diocese.
The diocese has one K Catholic school complex, that in Fairbanks. The vastness of the diocese, the widely scattered condition of the parishes, the fewness of priests means that the priests, even the resident priests, have to do a great deal of traveling—in most cases, now by bush plane, now by boat, now by snow machine. They have to be flexible, ready to move on short notice. And they have to be able to adjust to widely varying cultural situations.
How did the writing and publication of your history of the Catholic Church in Alaska, Alaskana Catholica , come about? In , I solicited "memoirs, recollections, and reflections" from fellow Alaskan Jesuits with a view to helping someone write a history of the Jesuits in Alaska on the occasion of their century of service there, By , I had come to the conclusion that what was really needed was some kind of a general, comprehensive history of the Catholic Church in Alaska.
From a considerable number of people, mainly priests—diocesan and religious—I then solicited autobiographical sketches and materials I thought would be helpful to some historian undertaking the writing of such a history. The response was quite generous. I myself began producing mini biographies of prominent deceased Jesuit Alaska missionaries, but did not see myself yet as the one to write a general history of the Catholic Church in Alaska.
However, people kept urging me to do just that, arguing that if I did not do it, it would never get done.
In the latter s, I was still a fulltime faculty member at the University of Alaska. In , I was appointed head of the Alaskan Shepherd fundraising program and editor of the Alaskan Shepherd. From , I had the pastoral care of the Indian village of Ruby; then, from , that of the Indian village of Tanana.
My Alaskan Shepherd work, however, continued to be my main work. For several years during the earlier s, I devoted a limited amount of time to prison ministry.
In spite of these preoccupations, throughout most of the s, I kept roughing out entries for a projected history of the Catholic Church in Alaska. I envisioned this from the outset as a book in the format of an encyclopedia and was already, tentatively, calling it Alaskana Catholica. All the while, it was evident to me and to my Father Provincial at the time, Robert B. Grimm, that for me to produce a full-fledged publishable work, I would need to devote fulltime to it and would need to do rather extensive research in the Jesuit Oregon Province Archives in Spokane.
On February 26, , Father Grimm wrote to me: I mission you to continue your work of writing a history of the Catholic Church in Alaska, and ask you to go to Gonzaga University Jesuit Community as a scholar in residence to carry out this ministry. Clark Company in Father Francis Paul Prucha, S. Kettler, Bishop of Fairbanks, described Alaskana Catholica , as "a succinct, yet comprehensive guide detailing in total clarity and conciseness the history of the Catholic Church in Alaska.
In keeping with my intentions and hopes, may it inform, interest, and inspire the living, while it, at the same time, keeps alive and honors the memory of the dead. What are some of the things that you learned about missions and missionary work from your time in Alaska? One could write a great deal by way of an answer to this question.
Very briefly, I learned that the missionary to the indigenous peoples in Alaska needs, above all else, to know them: Unless he has a genuine respect for them, treats them as he himself would be treated, he cannot hope even to begin to "to proclaim the good news to all Alaskan peoples and make disciples of all Alaskan nations. What kind of readers do you think will find your autobiography interesting reading? Given that the contents of the book are really of broad, general human interest, I am confident that it will appeal to quite a wide general readership.
The outline of Fr. Renner's life is fleshed-out richly in A Kindly Providence. One reviewer writes that "all is there, a clear picture of his life. A Kindly Providence: An Alaskan Missionary's Story [Louis Renner S.J.] on owiluxyfiq.tk *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. This comprehensive and.
Inasmuch as it is the story of a priest, of a Jesuit priest, of a Jesuit priest missionary in Alaska, it is to be expected that it will appeal in particular to priests, to Jesuits, to missionary-minded people, and to any and all people interested in the great land that is Alaska. However, in general, it will appeal also, for example, to teenagers working to earn money to help with their schooling. They will relate to me, as I, while a teenager, worked for that same purpose as a newspaper boy, as a Western Union messenger boy, as a lumberyard crane crew member on the Northern Pacific Railway, as a general laborer in a meat-packing plant, as a deckhand on tugboats, and as a bonded postal clerk.
Athletes will understand my proudly sporting that chenille letter I earned as a sophomore playing varsity football. Young people struggling to find their vocation in life will relate to me, as I struggled to find my vocation in life. He kept this reader's interest throughout the plus page book. I really wanted to see how it ended.
I had to finish it. The book is based, not only on Fr. Renner's remarkable memory, but also on his personal diaries and correspondence, on official documents, and on accounts written by him of his unusual adventures during over forty years in Alaska.
Substantial quotes from diaries, letters, and official documents give readers a feeling of being actually present at those events in far-off places. The many photographs illustrating the narrative lend an air of immediacy and give us a vicarious experience of the author's personal life. Professor Emeritus of Gonzaga University, and Alaskan Missionary , and and director of retreats for its priestly missionaries and people.
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