It was payback time at my house last night (Jan. 21). At 5:30 p.m., the doorbell rang and in came Archbishop Roger Schwietz, the archbishop of Anchorage, AK.
He was in town to preside at the wedding of his niece and we arranged for him to stop in for dinner while he was here. I was thrilled and so was my wife, Julie. Both of us had been treated like royalty by Archbishop Schwietz when we visited Anchorage in July. I was on assignment for The Catholic Spirit to feature the life of Archbishop Schwietz, who grew up in St. Paul and attended Cretin High School (now Cretin-Derham Hall).
We wanted to give him something truly Minnesotan, so I made grilled venison steaks. I marinated some of the steaks in a special teriyaki sauce made by Allegro and they were delicious. Grilled venison steaks are one of our family’s top wild game meals and we wanted to give Archbishop Schwietz nothing but the best.
It was a delightful evening, both in terms of food and fellowship. Our family truly enjoyed the visit and I told Archbishop Schwietz that I hoped that he would return for another wild game dinner next year. He, in turn, said he hopes our whole family can come up to Anchorage someday. I said I’d love to, but there’s this little matter of coming up with six airfares to Anchorage.
The archbishop has had one interesting change in his life since my visit to Anchorage. He recently was named Apostolic Administrator for the Diocese of Juneau, which borders the Archdiocese of Anchorage. He replaces Bishop Michael Warfel, who was named bishop of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings in Montana. The plan is to find a permanent replacement to serve in Juneau, but Archbishop Schwietz said he’s not sure when that will happen.
Until then, he will be very busy in his dual pastoral roles. Unfortunately, that will leave him a lot less time to enjoy hunting and fishing, which he likes to do whenever he can.
My wife and I agreed that we should be praying for Archbishop Schwietz. I urge other Catholics to do the same.