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Douglas, Alaska, United States
I have lived in Alaska since 1978, having come to Juneau as a Jesuit Volunteer. I fell in love with Alaska and now live on Douglas Island with my husband and two dogs.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Death of a Good Priest

It was a sad beginning to the month.  We lost one of our priests to cancer.  Fr. Jim Blaney, OMI (Oblates of Mary Immaculate), who had been in our Diocese for over 25 years, died at the age of 76.

He had ministered in Haines and Skagway, Prince of Wales Island and Sitka during his tenure here in Southeast Alaska.

He became part of every community he lived in.  He was adopted by the Tlingit tribe and was a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.  He was a chaplain for the fire department and all of this was in addition to the work of being pastor of his parish, which he loved.  His favorite quote was "Be good to God's people."  Even as he was dying, he would assure visitors that he was fine.

He comforted his sister and brother in law and his brother OMI, Fr. Pat (our pastor) by telling them: "My bags are packed and I am ready to go!  I'll see you in eternity."

Charles and I traveled to Sitka for the vigil and funeral.  Charles planned and coordinated all the liturgies, morning prayer, evening prayer, the procession and the funeral itself.  It all went like clockwork.  I was very proud of Charles (I always am)!

Here are some photos of the events.

At the vigil

The procession was led by a Coast Guard honor guard

We processed from the Church to Centennial Hall for the funeral

Arriving at Centennial Hall

The priests removed the casket from the hearse...

...and served as pallbearers.

With Fr. Jim's death, we lost 1/10 of our priests.  Please pray that we will be able to get another priest from somewhere and pray for vocations for our diocese!

For an obituary and photo of Fr. Jim please click here.


  1. Paula
    So sorry to hear of the loss of your friend, Father Jim.
    It must be a comfort to know he was ready to meet his Saviour.

  2. Father Jim sounds like a good man. I pray that you find another priest

  3. Paula, I am so sorry for your loss. Even when we know that our loved ones are going to Heaven, it is still hard and we will miss them. I will pray that his shoes will be filled..even though it sounds like a large task as he meant so much to so many. xo

  4. I am sorry for the loss of the beautiful and holy priest. I will pray for the repose of his soul. We have a retreat house near us run by the Oblates and they are a wonderful order. I received a bit of spiritual direction from one of the priests and he gave wise counsel. Thank you for sharing the memories of his passing with us.

  5. Sorry for your loss. May he rest in peace. Praying that others will answer the call.

  6. Paula, my thought and prayers are with you and Charles. I am sure Father Jim's memory is a blessing for all who knew him.

  7. Thank you for sharing this. I am sorry for your loss, Paula.


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