The Catholic church building of St. Francis Xavier in Kotzebue, which dates back to 1929, has been sold after years of maintenance problems and high operating costs.
Mass was celebrated in the old church structure for the last time on February 3. The community now rents space for weekly Mass at the local Episcopal church. Fr. Kumar Pasala is pastor of the Nome, Kotzebue, Diomede, and Teller parishes. He celebrates Mass in Kotzebue once a month. During other weeks, lay presiders fill the gap. (Kotzebue is on the northern fringe of KNOM’s AM signal reach; under the right conditions, they can join the rest of the region and listen to weekly Mass from Nome’s St. Joseph Church.)
Plans to replace the church are ongoing.
Photos above and below: snapshots of the interior and exterior of the now-closed St. Francis Xavier Church in Kotzebue (including artwork, depicting a traditional whaling expedition, which once adorned its walls).