Reality Check w/ John Tracy: Remembering Archbishop Francis Hurley
There are few people we will ever meet in our lives that leave us with the feeling there are forces greater than nature guiding us.
Archbishop Francis Hurley was one of them.
I met Archbishop Hurley shortly after arriving in Anchorage in 1985.
One of my first series of reports was on homelessness in Anchorage. It was Archbishop Hurley who, in 1983, directed his disciples raise awareness about the need for a public shelter.
They did so by a very public protest. And by that fall, the Brother Francis Shelter opened it’s doors.
In many ways, his was a life of providing shelter for anyone in need, be they abused women, at risk youth or even public inebriates.
He started Clare House, a shelter for women and their children, as well as The Covenant House — a safe place for Anchorage teens.
For Archbishop Hurley the way back always began with a safe and warm place to sleep.
He wasn’t a saint, and never claimed to be.
He was too slow to recognize and acknowledge the abuses of a pedophile priest in the Archdiocese in the early 80’s.
He was human. But nobody should be remembered by only their mistakes.
I will remember Archbishop Hurley as a man who treated a young journalist with kindness. A young journalist who was also a former alter boy, and who could have easily been intimidated by the trappings of such a powerful figure of the church. But he never played that holy card.
Archbishop Hurley’s mass is Friday afternoon at our Lady of Guadalupe Church.
Chances are, the pews will be filled to overcrowding. But this is for Archbishop Francis Hurley, so I know there will be a place…for everyone.
John’s opinions are his own, and not necessarily those of Denali Media or its employees.
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