St. Christopher's Parish is located in Willow, Alaska. Willow is 70
miles north of Anchorage and covers 470 square miles. Approximately
2000 people live in this area. In spite of our small population
we have a U. S. Post Office, an elementary school, a public library,
a community hall, fire and ambulance service, an air field plus
the usual businesses found in small communities.
The first inhabitants of this area were Tanaina Indians. The discovery
of gold in Willow Creek in 1897 attracted non-natives to to
this region, but it wasn't until 1964 that mass was first celebrated
in Willow. A few years later, land was donated for a Catholic
Church and a double-wide trailer was moved onto the property.
The trailer and its accompanying outhouse is still in use today.
Needless to say, this trailer has outlived its usefulness which
is what prompted our parishioners to begin the building process.
We have grown to 22 registered families and sometimes we run out
of seating capacity in our church....especially in the summer
when people come to their recreational cabins and travellers from
outside Alaska stop in for mass.
We are a mission Church and without a resident priest or a parish
administrator. We have a "circuit" priest who comes
at least twice a month to celebrate mass with us. When we are
not scheduled for a priest a deacon comes from 29 miles away to
conduct a word and communion service. Since we have no resident
priest everyone pitches in to keep our parish alive and well.
Building a church started five years ago as a grass roots project.
Parishioners wrote up the project and presented it to Archbishop
Hurley. After receiving his approval we polled our members as
to what they wanted in a new church, promoted various fundraisers
and conducted a pledge drive. A building committee was formed in
2000 and it met on a weekly basis until an architect came on board.
Plans were eventually finalized and a builder hired. Building
our new church will begin in August 2001!!!!
As you can well imagine this is quite a financial undertaking
for twenty-two families. We have been blessed with very generous
donors, both in and out of our parish......both with money and
services. In spite of our best efforts we are still $80,000 short
of paying for our new church. Once the building is erected, it
still will need to be furnished. This will be an ongoing project
for years to come.
We are actively seeking donations to our church building efforts.
If you wish to help us fulfill our dreams a check can be made
to: St. Christopher's Church and mailed to
St. Christopher's Church
P.O. Box 412
Willow, AK 99688
If you donate $500.00 or more your name will be inscribed on a
plaque in the gathering area of the new church. Thank you for
visiting our site.