Remembering Archbishop Francis Hurley (1927-2016)

Archbishop Francis Hurley, Alaska’s iconic Catholic leader and tireless advocate of the poor and suffering, died peacefully on January 10 in his Anchorage home. He was 88.

Hurley will always be remembered as a gifted leader and a man of great compassion by the Covenant House family.  In 1986, Hurley founded Covenant House Alaska after he recognized the desperate need to bring shelter and services to Anchorage’s homeless youth. Through his works at Catholic Social Services, Hurley also founded Brother Francis Shelter and Clare House, a homeless shelter for women with children, as well as McAuley Manor, a residence for at-risk teen girls.   

“He was a pioneer in establishing homeless shelters in the city and was the most instrumental person to bring Covenant House to Alaska,” said Julie Galligan, CHA’s Pastoral Minister.  “His passion to help those in need was immeasurable. We will honor his commitment to Alaska’s vulnerable and homeless population every day our doors are open to serve youth in need.”

Twenty-eight years after Covenant House opened in Anchorage under Hurley’s direction, it has grown from an emergency shelter for teens in crisis, to a youth engagement center where at-risk youth can be wrapped in counseling and critical services. Here at Covenant House, they can ultimately gain self-sufficiency to end the cycle of homelessness.  We are devoted to continuing Archbishop Hurley’s vision of ending suffering among all our homeless youth, no matter the denomination.