History of the Diocese of Juneau: 1897-2009

Compiled by Father Patrick J. Travers, Diocese of Juneau

The Catholic Church was permanently established in Southeast Alaska on May 3, 1879, when Father John Althoff founded Saint Rose of Lima Church in Wrangell. Father Althoff was a young Dutch priest of the Canadian Diocese of Vancouver Island (now Victoria) which, in 1874, had been assigned responsibility for the missions in Alaska. He had been sent by Bishop Charles J. Seghers of Vancouver Island to serve Wrangell and the Cassiar mining district on the Stikine River, as well as the town of Sitka, to which he would travel from time to time and celebrate Mass in an old Russian carriage barn. 

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