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Much to his surprise and delight, Fr. Leo Walsh was born in Anchorage, Alaska in 1964, the last of eight children born to Leo and Beverly Walsh.
Baptized in Holy Family Cathedral, the future Fr. Walsh and his family were asked to be one of the founding families of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Spenard, Alaska. It was there that he learned to celebrate his Catholic Faith, first in public elementary school gymnasiums, later in a rented Methodist Church and finally in a modest parish center that was built by his father and many other volunteers.
In 1987, Fr. Walsh received a Degree in Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame with a concentration in Organizational Behavior and Labor Relations. After working in the private sector for a few years, Fr. Walsh entered seminary studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Anchorage in 1994 and returned to Rome for a year to finish a Licentiate in Ecumenical Theology at the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Urbe, also known as the “Angelicum.” In 2008, Fr. Walsh was granted a Doctorate in Sacred Theology at the Angelicum with a concentration in Ecumenical Theology. In 2019 he returned from Rome after obtaining a License in Canon Law.
After assignments as Associate Pastor at two inner-city parishes, Fr. Walsh was named Pastor of St. Andrew Parish in Eagle River, Alaska, in 1999. In addition, Fr. Walsh has served the Archdiocese as Vicar General, Vicar for Clergy, Vocations Director, Ecumenical and Interfaith Officer, as well as on the College of Consultors and as a trustee on the Priest Retirement Trust.
In May 2009, Fr. Walsh was appointed Associate Director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C., where he served as the Interreligious Specialist.
On June 1, 2011, Fr. Walsh returned to Anchorage as Pastor of St. Benedict Parish, where he served for five years.
Fr. Walsh returned from Rome in 2019 and is now the Pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Anchorage, as well as the Adjutant Judicial Vicar for the Archdiocese of Anchorage.
Fr. Walsh has served on innumerable boards and task forces including the boards of the Anchorage Opera, Catholic Social Services and the Catholic Association of Diocesan Ecumenical and Interfaith Officers. In 2002 he was invested as a Knight in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem and was promoted to the rank of Knight Commander in 2007.
He is also a licensed Rugby Referee and a Nationally Certified Beer Judge. Fr. Walsh is a licensed private pilot with multiple ratings and is a proud member of the National Association of Priest Pilots. Blessed with the “Gift of Gab,” Fr. Walsh loves to give talks on a variety of topics, and does so in dioceses and parishes throughout the United States and Canada.
When he is not in the parish or traveling around the country, he enjoys flying his float-equipped bush plane to many secret fishing holes or to his remote cabin in the beautiful Alaskan wilderness.