Rural Deacon Program
The Rural Deacon Program, originally known as the Native Deacon Program, was founded in 1970 as the first program in the United States to train men for the permanent diaconate. Presently, the program has twenty active deacons who minister as the leaders of prayer in eleven of the twenty-four villages that comprise the Yukon-Kuskokwim Region of the Diocese of Fairbanks. In addition to support and ongoing education of ordained deacons, deacon candidates and pre-candidates receive their initial training under the auspices of the Program.
Working in conjunction with the Director of the Rural Deacon Program, the ordained ministers in the Y-K Region mentor the deacons, deacon candidates and their wives with their parish ministries. Yearly, the deacons, candidates and their wives gather for retreat and are updated on changes occurring in the church and their ministry by attendance at workshops held within the Region.
At present, in the absence of a Director, the responsibilities of the program are being shared by Sister Kathy Radich, OSF, Coordinator of Rural Ministries (907-438-2597) and Father Ted Kestler, SJ (907-438-2536). For more information on the program, please contact Sister Kathy (firstname.lastname@example.org).