The Diocese of Fairbanks and Catholic Extension have partnered in an incentive program in an effort to build a permanent endowment that can be stewarded and retained for years to come. The income from this endowment will support the cost of seminarian education in the Diocese of Fairbanks. Qualifying donations must be new or increased gifts of $1,000 or more, or raised through special fundraising events designated for the program. Catholic Extension will match each qualified gift, up to a total of $50,000.

What is the process for accepting seminarians?

Seminarians are accepted through a lengthy and thorough process conducted by our Vocation Director, Fr. Robert Fath and Bishop Chad Zielinski. It includes a psychological test, background check, medical evaluation, and multiple conversations to assist men discerning this vocation. Candidates must be practicing Catholics who have completed their sacraments and have a high school diploma. A college degree is preferred.

What expenses are seminarians responsible for paying?

Though many seminarians’ families can and do contribute very genersously to their personal expenses, most come from families of very modest incomes. The average cost of educating and forming each seminarian, annually, in our diocese is $30,000. Their expenses include everything from tuition, room and board to books, stipends, and health insurance.

How do we promote new vocations in the Diocese of Fairbanks?

We strive to make personal contact in multiple ways, including in-person, by phone, by email and through social media. Bishop Chad and Father Robert visit schools, parishes, and campus ministries to talk about vocations. The best advocates for promoting vocations are parents.



This challenge is a great opportunity for our diocese.

For more information regarding Vocations:

Contact: Fr. Robert Fath

DiocesanVocations Director ~ 907-488-2595

For more information regarding Seminarian Endowment:

Contact: Teresa Chepoda-Usibellli

Diocesan Development Director ~ 907-374-9528


Fr. Robert Fath and the Diocese's newest Seminarian, Conor Baer, gather at Monroe Catholic High School for Mass.

Fr. Robert is the Diocese's Vocation Director and pastor of St. Nicholas Church, in North Pole, Alaska.

Conor is discerning the priesthood while pursuing his degree at University of Alaska Fairbanks. He will be attending Mount Angel Seminary, in Oregon, this fall.

File: SemChallPageShepherd_v_54_no_1.pdf