Last Thursday, October 5, at the Lunney Center in Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral, we  had a wonderful celebration honoring the recipients of this Year’s St. Francis Stewardship Awards.

Though only eight awards were presented, we received many nominations.  Of course, even that longer list is just a sample of the vast number of people who make substantial contributions to the life of this local Church known as the Archdiocese of Anchorage.

Below is the list of the 2017 St. Francis Stewardship Award nominees.

2017 St. Francis Stewardship Award Nominees

Holy Family Cathedral:

Rowena Carrillo, Bernardette Frost and St. Paul’s Corner Volunteers, & Kerry Whitney

Holy Spirit Center: Lois Kozisek-Robbins

Our Lady of Guadalupe:

Helen Kolbeck

Lucena Lagman

Our Lady of Perpetual Help: Alex Zerbinos

Our Lady of the Angels: Margaret Simon & Karla Smith

Sacred Heart – Wasilla: Art Graveley & Tim Mahoney

St. Andrew’s Parish: Renee Henry & Larry Ward

St. Anthony’s Parish: Sandra Foreman, Mary Snowball & Calvin Williams

St. Benedict’s Parish: Ned Kretchik, David Mitchell, Mike Moore,  Outreach Food Pantry,  Jim and Sally Seeley, & Gerianne Thorsness

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton: Judy and Mel Christianson, Kateri Everard, Patricia Kennish, Katie Novcaski & Conce Rock

St. Francis Xavier: Patricia Stowe & Bill Harris

St. Mary’s Parish: Scott Griffin

St. Michael’s Parish:  Fred Michels & Mary Lou Michels

St. Patrick’s Parish: Deacon Mick Fornelli & St. Patrick’s High School Youth Ministry Core Team

2017 St. Francis Award Recipients:


This amazing woman is an active member and leader of the Filipino community organization and not only teaches young Filipino dancers an array of cultural dances but helps them maintain their cultural God-loving values of honest service to others.  She is also an active and respected leader of the El Shaddai Prayer Group, Alaska Chapter.

She, and her family are active members and supporters of many of the ministries of Holy Family Cathedral such as lectors, altar servers and Eucharistic Ministers.  She encourages others to stewardship and evangelization through stewardship in all the ministries that she serves.


Lucena is involved in multiple volunteer tasks at Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral.  She is a Eucharistic Minister, sacristan, scheduler, teacher, recruiter & trainer for the CCD classes, a Faith community nurse member, officer & former president of the Philippine Nurses Association Alaska, served with Habitat for Humanity and joins the Marian devotees in bringing the Virgin Mary from house to house praying the rosary.  She volunteers at Brother Francis Shelter by providing foot care to the residents.

She trains altar servers as well as Eucharistic Ministers, sacristans and CCD teachers.  She encourages others to volunteer in the church and the community to share the love of Jesus and to share their time and talents following the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.


Alex has been a member of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish for 25 years.   His attitude of service and lending a helping hand is well known and he can be called upon to help, fix or wash so other ministries can continue their works.  He has been called upon to remove tree branches, render an opinion on a church matters, fix plumbing problems and remodel the rectory.

He brought encouraged other to start local ACTS retreats.  From the men’s retreat a morning men’s bible study and prayer group was started.  This group has continued and thrived with anywhere from 10-25 men present for the past 6 years.

Alex served at the prison Kairos retreat in 2007. The prep time for these 4 day retreats requires many house of planning and after the retreat there are weekly meetings with inmates.  He, has for 10 years been the primary member supporting inmates and is on the Alpha Re-Entry team supporting men in their re-entry into the community. He has also served on the Bishop’s Attic board of directors as chairperson for 3 years.


Calvin has been the Choir Director for St. Anthony’s Filipino Gospel Choir for many years.  When he sings, he tells his choir members that he is singing for the Lord.  His talent and leadership in directing the choir is extraordinary.  He works hard to bring out the best in all the choir members’ voices to perfect the sounds of the choir until all voice come together in harmony.  He zealously recruits new choir member.

He is also a member of the Knights of Columbus and recently held the position of “Grand Knight” for St. Patrick’s Church and transferred to St. Anthony’s as the Deputy Knight.  He takes every opportunity to invite young men to join the Knights.  And he is often called upon to serve in the capacity of Master of Ceremonies for church functions.

He visits the prisons to share bible stories or to read the bible with inmates.  He also volunteers his time and talent once a week to visit and sing to the patients at Providence Extended Care.  During the holidays he makes every effort to visit other retirement and nursing homes to bring joy to the residents.


Since their first date almost 60 years ago at a Holy Family youth event, this couple have spent their lives helping young people grow in faith.  They have led youth ministries at Holy Family Cathedral, St. Patrick’s, Our Lady of Guadalupe Co-Cathedral, and at Archdiocese events.  Both have been active at St. Benedict’s for decades.

They have led events such as “movies on the ceiling”, dances, camping trips, World Youth Day trips, and have held youth leadership retreats at their cabin for years. They helped the Holy Cross Brothers with the development of youth ministry during the early days of the Archdiocese.  They have been instrumental in getting St. Theresa’s Camp up and running and helped raise funds to purchase the camp.  She oversees the finances for the Camp and both continue to be committed to its ongoing success as a place not just for our youth but for people of all ages.

She donates her time in helping Lumen Christi High School and regularly picks up broken pieces of jewelry from the Archangel Attic to repair and refashion for sale at the Attic or at the school’s Gala to support the school.  He helps out with youth nights and is a part of the youth ministry team.  They spend time in Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament and lead others through their example of their strong faith.

Their deep love for young people and their faith has kept them active in ministry for 6 decades.  They are a wonderful gift to our entire Archdiocese and we are blessed by the decades of joyful ministry that has served generations of our youth.


Not only does she sing in the choir, she is an altar server and mentors younger singers and servers with less experience.  Her knowledge of the Catholic faith and the meaning of the Mass is great for someone her age and in fact, she can answer questions that leave many of the adults a little stumped.

She just returned from a two week mission trip to Guatemala.  She helped coordinating classes and even learned an introduction in Spanish and helped with the distribution of the Days for Girls Kits.  She also helped with vision screening.  The highlight of the trip for her was visiting St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s sister school in Guatemala – San  Jose Facul and delivered the money the SEAS school raised for the school this past year.

Over the years she has joined her family in making manna bags, helping with Cancer Survival Kits, making donations to Brother Francis Shelter and St. Francis Food Pantry.  One year she collected wrapped gift for Clare House rather than birthday gifts for herself.  She saves some of her monthly allowance to put towards this year’s donation to our sister school in Guatemala.


She spends the majority of her day in service to individuals, her parish, her community, state, country and our world.  From spearheading the parish recycling program to leading and participating in seminars, public gatherings and book club on topic – her concern for the earth is shown by her actions.  Her multi-week book discussion on “Laudato Si” were informative and mind changing.

She leads the Peace and Justice Committee at St. Benedicts which is dedicated to effecting changes in attitudes & actions.  She is part of many municipal programs for the betterment of our community and leads prayer services, given talks and teachings.  Currently, she is involved in a listening ministry and is active on the Perpetual Adoration schedule and has headed many events at church to include the Lenten program and Stations of the Cross with a peace and justice slant.


Her dedication and commitment to her parish is phenomenal.  She is extremely knowledgeable about our faith and its tenets and it is obvious that she has read and studied the Bible, church documents, the Catechism, and encyclicals.  She shares this information freely and is active with the adult faith formation team in selecting and offering Bible study courses to her parish.  She teaches a Faith Formation class at Holy Cross Church.

She gives countless hours volunteering in the social realm for various events such as the RCIA retreat breakfast, the Easter  Vigil reception, meal team requests, Magi Craft Bazaar and sacramental receptions to name a few.  Having completed the Toast Master’s Program she is an accomplished public speaker and has used those skills in making pulpit announcements and speaking proficiently at many large church gatherings.  She is active in St. Elizabeth Ann Seton’s Adoration team, both as an active adorer and willing substitute, and is a Eucharistic Minister.

The Little Way Award:

‘The Little Way’ award  exemplifies the simplicity of St. Francis, his gentle way.  To Francis, love was the truest of all truths; hence his deep sense of personal responsibility towards his fellows. The individual we honor in true appreciation of her little way to show her love to her fellows, was nominated by 30 people within the Parish of St. Michael. The nomination read:

 “She is an artist when it comes to quilt making which is one of her personal passions.  She has been using that talent and treasure for decades to fashion over 75 beautifully handmade and personalized quilts to present to newly baptized infants and their families during their baptism.  Each quilt she makes features a panel that displays the child’s name, date and parish of baptism to serve as a special reminder of their new life as a child of Christ and member of our parish.”

She also volunteers with the Finance Ministry to accurately tabulate the weekly collections and serves with the Hospitality Ministry.  And if you’ve ever eaten at the “Slippery Gulch” at the State Fair then you’ve probably seen her as the cashier.  She also oversees volunteers to make sure there is full coverage for the 12 days of the State Fair.  She and her husband also serve as the Knights of Columbus Right to Life couple.

This is a woman who lives the tenets of giving back by sharing her time, talent and treasure with her Parish and her community.  It is our pleasure to introduce MARY LOU MICHELS, recipient of the “The Little Way” award.

Two Recipients of the Pontifical Order of St. Gregory:

  • the Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great was established by Pope Gregory XVI in 1831
  • It was initially founded to reward meritorious civic or military service to the Papal States
  • The order is currently awarded by the Holy See for conspicuous service to the Catholic Church
  • These awards are typically made based on recommendations from diocesan bishops or nuncios and once conferred you receive a papal medal and official recognition of your acceptance into the order. Nomination numbers are strictly limited and only so many people per-diocese can be accepted into the order over a period of time.

First, for her tireless work as Chair of the Season of Blessings Committee and her lifetime involvement in the development of the Archdiocese of Anchorage, we honored this year Barbara Block.

Second, for her longtime role in the Chancery and untiring devotion to our local Church, We also recognized Eileen Kramer.

Our evening ended with the presentation of a crucifix to the Archdiocese from Catherine Unger.

This crucifix (displayed to left) was given to Jeannette McBain by Bishop Joseph Crimont, S.J., first vicar Apostolic of Alaska, aboard a ship bound for Alaska in the 1930s.

Having been appointed to lead the church in Alaska in 1917, +Crimont dedicated this wilderness missionary territory to the patronage of the Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.

Jeannette McBain grew up in Portland, Oregon.  In 1925, she embarked on a Holy Year Pilgrimage to Europe under the leadership of Bishop Crimont.  A highlight of the trip was a visit to Lisieux, France.  It was this aspect of the trip, above all, that attracted Jeanette McBain. From earliest childhood, Jeanette had an unusual devotion to The Little Flower and this visit was the “culmination of all her desires,” according to the history of the Seattle Carmel.

In the ensuing years, as Sister Ann, Jeanette grew in her vocation and eventually became Mother Ann, Prioress of the Seattle Carmel community in the 1950s.

On the day in 1934 that she entered the Seattle Carmel, Jeanette gave this crucifix to her friend Mildred Smith, who in turn gave it to her cousin, Mary Unger in Portland, Oregon, in 1995.  And with this small note and with prayers for a long and happy tenure in Alaska, Mary sends it, via her daughter Catherine, to Archbishop Paul D Etienne, the fourth Archbishop of Anchorage.