Chuck Reddick

It is with great sadness that we note the passing of Chuck Reddick, Holy Spirit Center's maintenance man for over 41 years.  

Chuck was well known to many members of the Holy Spirit Center community and our retreatants.  He joined Holy Spirit Center on October 1, 1975, and in the intervening years, witnessed many of the Center's changes. Chuck carried much of our institutional memory; he was the person who knew when one building was lodging for seminarians, or part of another building was cloistered for resident nuns. Chuck was also intimately familiar with the physical plant - the history and quirks of all of the buildings.  We cannot express how he will be missed.

Chuck's obituary, as printed in the Anchorage Dispatch News:

Lifelong Alaska resident Charles "Chuck" William Reddick, 64, died on June 26, 2017, at his home in Anchorage, Alaska, after what he chose to consider his 4-year journey with prostate cancer.
Chuck was born to parents Mona and William Reddick on July 22, 1952, at old Providence Hospital in Anchorage. He was employed by the Archdiocese of Anchorage's Holy Spirit Center for 42 years, serving as maintenance manager until his death. Chuck met Sherri Burkhart while she was volunteering at the center, and they were married in 1981. Chuck and Sherri were blessed with the birth of their daughter, Mariah Lynn Reddick, in 1983.
Chuck attributed much of his work ethic and family dedication to values instilled upon him by his grandmother, Dorothy Nichols. An Alaska homesteading pioneer, Dorothy helped secure Chuck's initial employment at the Holy Spirit Center. In the early years of his tenure there, Chuck received personal and spiritual guidance from Fr. Vincent Kelliher and Mae Ferrari. Chuck attributes this support for saving his life during a difficult time. Despite several opportunities to leave the center and advance his career, Chuck stayed to pay back to the facility that gave him so much, and ensure it remained available to others in need.
Chuck is characterized by family and friends as kind, generous and inspirational, while also lively, mischievous and stubborn. He was patient with all he met, and a genuine and caring listener. Young men often sought his advice and mentorship as they transitioned into adulthood.
Chuck's final message to family and friends is to ensure that all men complete annual PSA testing and prostate cancer screening.
Chuck is survived by his wife, Sherri, of 36 years; daughter, Mariah; mother, Mona Carpenter; sisters, Eunice McKinney and Sandy Cardwell; aunt, Roxann Greene; nephews, Cody McKinney and Danny Cardwell; nieces, Jennifer Burkhart and Katie Gravil; father-in-law, Roy Burkhart; brother-in-law, Blase Burkhart and his wife, Brenda; and numerous extended family members and friends. Chuck was preceded in death by his father, William Reddick; and brothers, William Reddick Jr. and Joe Redick.
It was Chuck's wish that his remains be cremated and interred with those of his wife, Sherri, in their final resting place. While Chuck's final months were difficult and challenging, he was profoundly grateful to his treatment team at Alaska Urological Institute and Alaska Cancer Treatment Center, especially Dr. William Clark, Dr. Markian Babij, Dr. Larry Daugherty, Lisa Adams, Talia Wyckoff and Danielle Kalbfleisch. He moved through his final days with incredible grace and faith.
As Chuck requested, a casual celebration of his life will be held at Bayshore Clubhouse, 3131 Amber Bay Loop in Anchorage, on Tuesday, July 11, 2017, at 6 p.m. A funeral mass will be held at the Holy Spirit Center's Resurrection Chapel, 10980 Hillside Drive in Anchorage, on Friday, July 14, 2017, at 5 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be considered to the Holy Spirit Center, 10980 Hillside Drive, Anchorage, AK 99507; Us TOO International Prostate Cancer Education and Support Network, www.ustoo.org; or Habitat for Humanity Anchorage, 1057 West Fireweed Lane, Suite 103, Anchorage, AK 99503, where Chuck had hoped to volunteer upon retirement.

Tom Embrey

With great sorrow, we announce the death of Tom Embrey, our long time Resident Housekeeper.

Tom came to Holy Spirit Center as a retreatant in 2005, and joined the staff as our Resident Housekeeper in 2007.  Tom was a quiet presence at the Center, but his influence was felt throughout our facilities.  After a full and challenging life, Tom found a home and a ministry at Holy Spirit Center.  He chose to spend his last years making sure that all of us, staff and guests, felt welcomed and cared for.  Others might consider his work humble, but Tom knew how important it was, and performed his tasks with discipline and great love for our guests.

Tom was remarkably fit.  In his early years at the Center, he rode his bicycle up and down O'Malley Road in all weather.  After the acquisition of a car, his dark red Toyota could be seen at his church home, Amazing Grace Lutheran, or questing for the perfect cup of coffee or tea. In his last few years, Tom enjoyed learning how to cross-country ski and meeting the Weismanns to explore local trails.  In the fall, when the rest of the staff were hanging on to the last days of summer, Tom regularly teased us by openly hoping for snow.  He loved watching movies, and discussing them over lunch.

In 2014, Tom's dear friend, Patricia Dooley, was diagnosed with cancer.  Tom made regular trips to Edmonton to visit with and care for her.  During his last visit, Tom developed persistent back and abdominal pain.  Returning home to Anchorage, he was diagnosed within weeks with end-stage pancreatic cancer. Tom died ten days later. A week after that, Tom's ashes were spread at Holy Spirit Center, on the hill between the main building and the Stations of the Cross.

His obituary, as printed in the Anchorage Dispatch News:

Tom Embrey passed peacefully on June 7, 2016 in Anchorage, Alaska. Born March 28, 1944 in Klamath Falls, Oregon, he grew up in Madera CA on a small dairy farm. He graduated Westmont College in Santa Barbara CA with a BA in English in 1967, studied at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena CA 1966-68 and obtained an MA in Counseling in 1974 from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. Over the years he received many academic awards and honors.
He was honorably discharged from the US Marine Corp in 1970 with the rank of Corporal. Tom worked as a psychotherapist in Arizona and also spent time as a counselor with ecumenical communities in the USA and Canada. Since 2011 he lived at Holy Names Center in Anchorage helping out where needed. He loved the out-of-doors: backpacking, surfing, cycling and cross country skiing.

He was a connoisseur of coffee and tea with a splendid collection of special teas. He was a deeply spiritual person and spent much time in contemplation and prayer. He is predeceased by his parents Lloyd and Alma Embrey, his brother Doug Embrey and his niece Kathy Hull. He is lovingly remembered by Jean and Dave Hull, his sister and husband and by Steven and Christina Hull, his nephew and wife as well as his many dear friends in Anchorage Alaska and Edmonton Alberta.
He was a wonderful caring brother. When he was 10 years old he won the Yo-Yo Championship in our home town. From the time he was 11 years old he worked hard on the farm but made time to backpack in Yosemite with a friend. He played the clarinet in the band and was president of his high school senior class. Backpacking in the Grand Canyon was a wonderful adventure. A memorial is planned for Tuesday, July 26th at 4:00 pm at his church, Amazing Grace Lutheran Church, 10955 Elmore Road, Anchorage. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Holy Spirit Center, Anchorage, 10980 Hillside Drive, Anchorage, AK 99507 or to his church at the above address.

Non-human guests at Holy Spirit Center

One of the pleasures of Holy Spirit Center is the chance to observe wildlife here.  We get to watch moose, birds and an occasional bear roam the grounds.  Two weeks ago, a very pregnant cow moose seemed to be in labor under the Library windows, before she walked uphill to the Stations of the Cross.  She hasn't been spotted since, but we suspect she and a new calf are somewhere on the grounds.

As a reminder to all visitors to Holy Spirit Center, please do not approach any wild animals, especially young ones.  If you are walking the Stations, we suggest you speak or sing your prayers aloud.  It doesn't have to be very loud, but it will alert any animals well before you can surprise them.  If you are have a dog with you, please be sure it is under leash or voice control, for your own safety.

Thank you for your consideration.  We want all visitors to Holy Spirit Center to enjoy a safe and peaceful time.

In memory of a good friend

January has been a blessed and busy month for us at the Holy Spirit Center.  We have had retreat groups every weekend -- our new friends at Maniilaq Association's Wellness Retreat, the privilege of hosting Engaged Encounter, the dear and familiar faces of Centering Prayer Retreat and the Deacon Candidates, and finally, the Legion of Mary.  It has been a cheerful, bustling way to start the year.

In the middle of this busy month, we received a message that stopped us all in our work.  Ben Tisdale, a long-time supporter of the Archdiocese of Anchorage and of Holy Spirit Center, died on January 13, 2015.

Holy Spirit Center appreciates each and every gift that we receive, and we have been sustained over the last 40-plus years by many small and large donations.  Ben and Dawn Tisdale's generosity changed the Center.

The heart of our main building is the small chapel, formally called the Holy Spirit Chapel.  It originally served the seminarians and nuns who lived at the Center.  By the 1980's, the Center was transitioning to its current use, and a small group of locals was regularly celebrating Mass at the Holy Spirit Chapel.  At that time, the chapel could hold about 50 people, and it was a snug fit. The Tisdales were regular members of the community, and one day, Ben announced that he needed more room.

Ben's solution was to design and build Resurrection Chapel.  It is a beautiful building, simple and timeless, where all visitors can find a quiet and peaceful place to pray. We regularly receive compliments from visitors and retreatants about the serenity and spiritual peace of the chapel.

Beyond the tremendous generosity of this beautiful place to pray, Ben and Dawn's gift has another, less obvious benefit.  Resurrection Chapel is three times larger than the original Holy Spirit Chapel.  Since it opened in 1991, the "Big Chapel" has attracted a community of worshipers who volunteer and donate in many ways to help keep the Holy Spirit Center running.  From weekly collections to raising funds for special needs, serving on the Board of Directors and leading retreats -- it's certain that Holy Spirit Center would be a much different place today without the community that Resurrection Chapel developed. 

All of us at Holy Spirit Center offer our sincere sympathy to Dawn and all the Tisdale family.  Ben will always be remembered here.


Fr. Luz - on the road again

On November 4-7, 2014, I attended the 2nd General Assembly of the National Association of Filipino Priests - USA, in Orlando, Florida.  The theme for "Paring Pinoy 2014" (Filipino Priests 2014) was "Nurturing, Sharing and Witnessing Our Call". There were more than three hundred Filipino priests attending, who serve in eighty-eight dioceses and archdioceses in thirty-five states across the USA.

The three Filipino priests from Alaska were Fr. Vincent Blanco of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Fr. Nelson Marilag of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Fairbanks and me. We had the wonderful opportunity of having a four day reunion with our classmates and schoolmates who are serving throughout the USA. There was never a dull moment with our friends and brother priests, and we were able to share our joys and the challenges of serving communities composed of people from different cultures and languages.  Like a kite that rises high with the wind against it, these challenges make us rise to the occasion, serving our people more wholeheartedly.

Our speakers inspired and challenged us with topics such as "The Challenges of the New Evangelization to the 21st Century Priests", by Cardinal Antonio Tagle of Manila; "Interplay of Faith and Culture in Priestly Ministry", by Cardinal Orlando Quevdeo, OMI of Cotabato; "I Was a Stranger and You Welcomed Me"; "The USCCB Perspective on the Filipino Catholics in America" by Archbishop Sartain of Seattle; "Filipino Priests and the Mission of the Church in America", by Archbishop Wenski of Miami; "Effective Leadership in the Light of Pope Francis' Evangelii Gaudium: by Archbishop Auza, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations; "The Joy of the Priesthood" by Bishop Kicanas of Tucson; "Current Moral Issues: Challenges in Priestly Ministry" by Bishop McElroy, Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco; "A Priest of Others: The Priest's Search for Meaning" by Bishop Tyson of Yakima; and "Effective Preaching" by Bishop Dimarzio.

One thing that stood out in our General Assembly was the vibrant and joyful participation of our lay volunteers who gave their time, talents and treasure in the preparation of the assembly and during the assembly itself.  I met new friends from the Orlando community and those who came from neighboring states just to serve the assembly.  We were one in the Lord - both the servant leaders and the faithful - serving one another.

Our next General Assembly will be November 6-10, 2017 in Galveston, Texas.  I am looking forward to the next assembly with my friends and brother priests three years from now!  Deo voluntas!  God willing!

Fr. Luz C. Flores - Pastoral Director, HSC

Welcome to Holy Spirit Center's new website!

As the season outside reminds us, all things change.  While we were content with our old website, we recently  found ourselves in a technological deadlock. New, secure credit-card processing technology was beyond the capability of our old site.  Through the generosity and professional knowledge of our web designer, we found ourselves with a fresh new website, updated technology and monthly savings.  Our lesson? One - as ever, we are grateful to the Holy Spirit Center’s supporters. Two – we are reminded, when faced with change, to face it with a cheerful and curious heart.  

One of the new features of this website is this, our Staff blog.  We look forward to letting you know a little more about the Holy Spirit Center, our mission as part of the Archdiocese, and the events that happen here.

As the season outside reminds us, all things change.  Our Maintenance Manager, Chuck, was able to complete the last mowing of the grounds for the season quickly and entirely repair-free, thanks to everyone who contributed to the fund for the new lawnmower.  Soon after that, the leaves began falling and our annual moose visitations started.  So far, we have had a cow and twin calves, one small and one large bull, who have been nibbling the hedges and bushes around the Center.

Watching local wildlife browse peacefully around the grounds is one of the pleasures of being here at the Center.  One of our less frequent wildlife sightings was the twin black bear cubs and their protective mother, spotted trying to get into our dumpster.  They were unsuccessful in their attempt, but did manage to entertain three Little Sisters of Jesus and a Marian Consecration Retreat group from St. Andrews.  These groups of ladies were different in a lot of ways, but while here, their goals were the same; to become closer to God.  It was a pleasure to host them and share Holy Spirit Center with them.

As the Little Sisters prepared to leave, snow began falling, and we finished our last getting-ready-for- winter chores.  Buckets of sand and snow shovels are near each door, the plow is attached to the truck, and the mower deck is switched out for the snow blower.  We also began preparations for our next guests, the Opus Angelorum retreat.  The Opus Angelorum group has been holding their fall retreat with us for at least the past decade, and we look forward to seeing them every year.  As we bid farewell to the Opus Angelorum group, we looked forward to another weekend with the Deacon Candidates.  This program holds a monthly retreat here September through June.  We have two groups this month; a new group that started last month, and a group that will finish the program in June.  It is a privilege to be able to host these folks as they move through their discernment and training.

We’ll finish October with our next retreat offering, A Dialogue of Life and Faith, led by Fr. Flores.  Some of the many things we look forward to in November will be Thanksgiving and the beginning of Advent. Tom, our Resident Host, is also patiently awaiting enough snow to begin his cross-country skiing season.  It’s a topic of good-natured banter at lunch; the no-snow-yet side hoping for a few more clear days, the pro-snow side serene in the knowledge that yes, it will inevitably snow.   The seasons change, as all things do, and we do our best to face those changes with cheerful and curious hearts.