The Deacon's Bench

A Catholic paper in Alaska has this interesting profile of a priest who serves as a chaplain to state troopers in Palin’s hometown of Wasilla — and whose wardrobe includes not only a white collar, but also a bullet-proof vest.

From the Catholic Anchor:

A body is found along a lonely stretch of the Parks Highway at four in the morning. A man discovers his wife at home, who had just committed suicide. A woman, holding a gun threateningly, is shot dead by Alaska State Troopers.

trooper-pic-fournier.jpgWho do you call when tragedy strikes? In each of these cases, along with the Alaska State Troopers, Father Bill Fournier responded in his new volunteer capacity as a chaplain serving with the troopers.

“We get called mostly for incidents which involve death,” said Father Fournier, “and our role is two-fold. We minister to the troopers themselves, and we support the troopers in ministering to the people who have been affected.”

In addition to his chaplain duties, the priest with a sense of humor and an infectious laugh is also pastor of the 800-family Sacred Heart Church in Wasilla and the chancellor of the Archdiocese of Anchorage.

Despite the full schedule, Father Fournier saw a need and responded.

“I felt strongly that in a lot of community ministry in the (Mat-Su) Valley, we were lacking a Catholic presence,” he said. So, a little over a year ago, he responded to the trooper ministry coordinators when they approached him. Now, every other week he’s on call midnight Sunday to midnight Friday. Trooper dispatch has his cell number.

Check out the rest at the link, including more about the Alaska trooper chaplaincy program.

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