She wrote back:
The Yupik Deacon program was established in the Fairbanks Diocese to serve the people of the remote villages. They minister to the people by visiting the sick, presiding at Sunday Celebration in the Absence of a Priest, proclaiming the Gospel and assisting at the Altar at Mass, and preaching. They are the ministerial presence of the Church in places where a priest can only travel once a month at most. They serve the poor, the sick, and the elderly of their villages in a way that speaks to their culture and language. They and their wives are among the holiest people that we have ever met.
How cool is that? God bless ’em. And thanks for the great info, Paula.