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Farewell, Father Tom

Margaret and Father Tom chat in KNOM’s Studio A
Fr. Tom Kuffel speaks with KNOM listeners in an interview with general manager Margaret DeMaioribus. Photo: Gabe Colombo, KNOM.

It’s a bittersweet farewell as we say goodbye to friend and Nome parish priest Father Tom Kuffel, who becomes pastor this month at the Immaculate Conception Church in Fairbanks.

Fr. John Hinsvark, pastor at St. Joseph Church for 11 years, will return from retirement to fill in at his former parish for the next few months.

In an interview with general manager Margaret DeMaioribus, Fr. Tom reflected on what makes Western Alaska so endearing:

“Sometimes, we land in Nome, and people are in culture shock. But when you start getting to know the people and the culture and the landscape, you see there is a deep, deep beauty here — a depth of beauty. Sometimes, we just look at the superficial — we can see the problems, the scars of life — but when you start looking into the hearts of people, and start looking into the mission, especially, of KNOM, the mission of the people up here, the mission of our church, it’s to bring out the beauty of the people. When we look at people and when we look at Nome, we see the inner depth of beauty, and we bring that out and show that. I think that’s what touched me the most.”

You can read more of Fr. Tom’s interview with Margaret by downloading the transcript from their radio interview (PDF file). We invite you to join us in prayer for Father Tom and for Western Alaska’s need for vocations.

Image at top: Fr. Tom Kuffel speaks with KNOM listeners in an interview with general manager Margaret DeMaioribus. Photo: Gabe Colombo, KNOM.


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We acknowledge that KNOM Radio Mission is located on the customary lands of Indigenous peoples. 

Based in the Bering Strait region, KNOM broadcasts throughout the homelands of the Iñupiaq, Siberian Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Yup’ik peoples.