HISTORY

St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church Wrangell, Alaska
The St. Rose of Lima Church is significant to state and local history because it represents the first Catholic parish in the State of Alaska. Through the years the building has been modified, with major changes taking place in 1926. Since then the church interior has not been significantly altered.       The church began when Father John Althoff, a newly ordained priest, accompanied by Charles John Seghers, Bishop of Victoria, Vancouver Island, arrived in Wrangell in the spring of 1879. Althoff, himself a craftsman, enlisted the aid of Wrangell’s Irish Catholics and that year, they built the little church named St. Rose of Lima. In April of 1898, St. Rose of Lima, in disrepair for a number of years, was torn down. Father Althoff only served three years in Wrangell before he was transferred to the Juneau parish. For the next twenty years, Wrangell had no resident priest and the parish was served by priests who were stationed in Juneau, Douglas and Ketchikan. Even the bell, installed by Father Althoff in 1879, was taken to Juneau and not returned until 1921.    The Catholics in Wrangell, however, wanted a new church. They began soliciting donations for a building fund in January, 1908. In August of that year, contractor H.D. Campbell hired the carpenters and work on the building began. More building supplies arrived that summer and by December the building was completed, financed entirely by donations. Leo McCormack is credited as the moving spirit behind the new church building. In July, Father Brown from the Juneau parish presented McCormack the Cross of Pope Leo XIII and a certificate of merit from the Holy See
signed by Cardinal Merry Deval. It was the first decoration of its kind in Alaska.    The church was dramatically altered by Father Monroe, Wrangell’s second resident priest. Father Monroe arrived in 1924 and rebuilt St. Rose of Lima Church, adding a library, a heating plant, and a new priest’s quarters equipped with a room for parish meetings. Monroe also dedicated himself to beautifying the church grounds. In June of 1939, at the age of 84, Monroe retired to a Seattle hospital. At the hospital, doctors had discovered Monroe had broken his back in 1932 while working on the church. Nonetheless, he continued to work at St. Rose for another seven years. By the summer of 1931, the major remodeling had been accomplished at an estimated cost of $4,000. Monroe continued detail changes in the interior of the church in 1932. He added pressed tin walls and ceiling along with wainscot under the windows. Fr. Monroe designed the interior and exterior changes himself as he worked alongside his help.    Through the years, diocesan clergy have served the parish of Wrangell. In 1985, Fr. Gerard Gottenbos, O.M.I., volunteered to the diocese to serve as pastor for St. Rose of Lima. Through the efforts of Bishop Michael H. Kenny, Fr. Gerard and the Oblate Conference of the United States, St. Rose became a permanent mission of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1990.    The church remains basically unaltered since Father Monroe’s work in the 1930s. Today, the St. Rose of Lima Church, set back from the street on a large landscaped lot, contributes to the beauty of the community of Wrangell.
Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church
Wrangell, Alaska
Wrangell, AK 99929
P.O. Box 469, 120 Church Street

                               Fr. Steve Gallagher, Pastor

Phone: 907-874-3771
Fr. Steve’s Cell # 907-209-1858
Mass Times: Sunday Mass 11:00 am and 5:30 pm Weekday Mass 7:25 am Monday and Tuesday most weeks Weekly Fellowship Luncheon following the 11:00 am Mass            All Are Welcome Women’s Bible Study Thursdays at 10:00 am in the Garnet Room
Oldest Catholic Church In Alaska Established
May 4, 1879
© Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church Wrangell, Alaska
Fr. Thomas Weise installed new siding, insulation, a drainage system around the church and hall, built handicap accessible ramps to both buildings, and put in a new heating system. He also renovated the
 2010-2015
narthex, constructed a Holy Door for the Jubilee Year of Mercy and began repainting the interior,  which was completed by the parishioners in 2016.

HISTORY

St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church Wrangell, Alaska
The St. Rose of Lima Church is significant to state and local history because it represents the first Catholic parish in the State of Alaska. Through the years the building has been modified, with major changes taking place in 1926. Since then the church interior has not been significantly altered.       The church began when Father John Althoff, a newly ordained priest, accompanied by Charles John Seghers, Bishop of Victoria, Vancouver Island, arrived in Wrangell in the spring of 1879. Althoff, himself a craftsman, enlisted the aid of Wrangell’s Irish Catholics and that year, they built the little church named St. Rose of Lima. In April of 1898, St. Rose of Lima, in disrepair for a number of years, was torn down. Father Althoff only served three years in Wrangell before he was transferred to the Juneau parish. For the next twenty years, Wrangell had no resident priest and the parish was served by priests who were stationed in Juneau, Douglas and Ketchikan. Even the bell, installed by Father Althoff in 1879, was taken to Juneau and not returned until 1921.    The Catholics in Wrangell, however, wanted a new church. They began soliciting donations for a building fund in January, 1908. In August of that year, contractor H.D. Campbell hired the carpenters and work on the building began. More building supplies arrived that summer and by December the building was completed, financed entirely by donations. Leo McCormack is credited as the moving spirit behind the new church building. In July, Father Brown from the Juneau parish presented McCormack the Cross of Pope Leo XIII and a certificate of merit from the Holy See
signed by Cardinal Merry Deval. It was the first decoration of its kind in Alaska.    The church was dramatically altered by Father Monroe, Wrangell’s second resident priest. Father Monroe arrived in 1924 and rebuilt St. Rose of Lima Church, adding a library, a heating plant, and a new priest’s quarters equipped with a room for parish meetings. Monroe also dedicated himself to beautifying the church grounds. In June of 1939, at the age of 84, Monroe retired to a Seattle hospital. At the hospital, doctors had discovered Monroe had broken his back in 1932 while working on the church. Nonetheless, he continued to work at St. Rose for another seven years. By the summer of 1931, the major remodeling had been accomplished at an estimated cost of $4,000. Monroe continued detail changes in the interior of the church in 1932. He added pressed tin walls and ceiling along with wainscot under the windows. Fr. Monroe designed the interior and exterior changes himself as he worked alongside his help.    Through the years, diocesan clergy have served the parish of Wrangell. In 1985, Fr. Gerard Gottenbos, O.M.I., volunteered to the diocese to serve as pastor for St. Rose of Lima. Through the efforts of Bishop Michael H. Kenny, Fr. Gerard and the Oblate Conference of the United States, St. Rose became a permanent mission of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1990.    The church remains basically unaltered since Father Monroe’s work in the 1930s. Today, the St. Rose of Lima Church, set back from the street on a large landscaped lot, contributes to the beauty of the community of Wrangell.
 Saint Rose of Lima
Catholic Church

                               Fr. Steve Gallagher, Pastor

P.O. Box 469, 120 Church Street
Wrangell, AK 99929
Phone: 907-874-3771
Fr. Steve’s Cell # 907-209-1858
Mass Times: Sunday Mass 11:00 am and 5:30 pm Weekday Mass 7:25 am Monday and Tuesday most weeks Weekly Fellowship Luncheon following the 11:00 am Mass            All Are Welcome Women’s Bible Study Thursdays at 10:00 am in the Garnet Room
© Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church Wrangell, Alaska
Oldest Catholic Church In Alaska Established
May 4, 1879
 2010-2015
Fr. Thomas Weise installed new siding, insulation, a drainage system around the church and hall, built handicap accessible ramps to both buildings, and put in a new heating system. He also renovated the
narthex, constructed a Holy Door for the Jubilee Year of Mercy and began repainting the interior,  which was completed by the parishioners in 2016.