Discover the Archdiocese of Anchorage

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Anchorage (LatinArchidioecesis Ancoragiensis) is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of theRoman Catholic Church in the northwestern United States, comprising several boroughs and census areas in the state of Alaska. It is led by a prelate archbishop which serves as pastor of the mother churchCathedral of the Holy Family in the Municipality of Anchorage.

The See of Anchorage was canonically erected on January 22, 1966 by Pope Paul VI. It took its territories from the Diocese of Juneau.  Anchorage's large population and burgeoning community development rectified the creation of a new archdiocese in the city as opposed to elevating the already existing Diocese of Juneau to that rank.
The Archdiocese played host to visits from Pope John Paul II multiple times, most notably in 1981 when he celebrated Mass on the Anchorage Park Strip before 50,000 people.


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Suffragan sees


Archbishop Roger L. Schwietz, OMI
Archbishop Schwietz was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on July 3, 1940. A member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate since his first profession of vows on August 15, 1961, he was ordained to the priesthood in Rome on December 20, 1967. He was ordained Bishop of Duluth at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary on February 2, 1990, and assumed responsibility as Archbishop of Anchorage on March 3, 2001.
Archbishop Schwietz spent his first seven years as an OMI priest working with seminarians for the Oblates. He then served as associate pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in International Falls, Minnesota from 1975-1978.  In 1978, Archbishop Schwietz was names Director of the College Seminary Program for the Oblates of Mary Immaculate at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Six years later, in 1984, he became pastor of Holy Family Parish in Duluth, Minnesota, after which he was appointed by Pope John Paul II as the seventh Bishop of Duluth on December 12, 1989. On January 18, 2000, he was appointed the Coadjutor Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Anchorage and succeeded to the See on March 3, 2001.
In addition to the undergraduate degree in Philosophy, he earned an M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Ottawa, and S.T.L. in Sacred Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, and an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Loyola University, Chicago. Archbishop Schwietz was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humanities Degree from Lewis University in 1998.
Since being named a bishop, Archbishop Schwietz has held a number of positions within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). He most recently served as Chair of one of the five “super committees” at the USCCB overseeing Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. In that role, he served as the liaison between the National Advisory Council to the United States Bishops and the USCCB.
Archbishop Schwietz holds emeritus status with the Teens Encounter Christ (TEC) movement, a program that encourages young adults to learn about and be challenged by their faith. He served, from 1991 until 2009, as the Episcopal Moderator for TEC.  Over the years he has witnessed lives changed and vocations develop as a result of the three day TEC weekend.
In his free time, Archbishop Schwietz takes full advantage of the unique opportunities to experience nature that life in Alaska offers. He cross country skis in the winter and fills his freezer in the summer and fall by fishing an occasionally hunting.

Begun in 1966, by then Archbishop Joseph Ryan, with a census of the Anchorage and throughout Knik Arm, the Archdiocese of Anchorage was established for the some 38,000 baptized Catholics in the area from Valdez to Mt. McKinley from Big Lake to Dutch Harbor. An area twice the size of the state of Washington covering about one-third the entire state of Alaska.
Under the guidance of Archbishop Roger Schwietz, the Archdiocese is proud to celebrate the dedication and ethnic diversity of its members as we approach our golden jubilee in 2016 with Catholics of many nationalities attending one of the 29 parishes and missionary parishes in the Archdiocese.

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