22 January 20 I 7

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Sunday, January 29 marks the beginning of Catholic Schools Week throughout the country. During this time, the Diocese of Fairbanks joins with other Dioceses throughout the U.S. to celebrate the significant influence that Catholic schools have in the education and faith formation of our young people.

I find it remarkable and inspiring that our schools, Immaculate Conception School and Monroe Catholic JuniorSenior High School have been educating students for over 70 years. I am grateful for the Sisters of Providence, the Jesuits, our local priests and parishioners who worked together to make Catholic education possible here in Fairbanks since 1946. I am grateful to the Society of Jesus which partners with the diocese in missioning these schools; where each day students, faculty and parents encounter the pillars of"being religious, open to growth, loving, committed to social justice and intellectually competent."

The national theme for this year's celebration is "Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge, and Service," which focuses on the key elements of Catholic education: faith formation, academic excellence and service to others. It is because of this focus that families make great sacrifices to send their children to Immaculate Conception School and Monroe Catholic Junior-Senior High School.

I invite you to visit the Catholic Schools of Fairbanks during this important week to enjoy the various activities that will occur. Please bring your friends and neighbors, particularly those who may be considering Catholic education for their children.

In particular, I encourage you to attend the all school Mass at which 1 will be the celebrant on Wednesday, February 1, 9am at Holy Family Chapel.

In his recent document on the family, The Joy of Love, Pope Francis reminds mothers, fathers and children about their universal call to holiness. I want to encourage and thank parents for their continued response to follow Christ in their families. Also, I want to thank our parishes, Catholic school staff and many volunteers assisting in their faith formation. May Our Lord Jesus continue to bless all who participate in ministry to our young people.

Sincerely in Christ,

Most Reverend Chad W. Zielinski
Catholic Bishop of Northem Alaska
Diocese of Fairbanks


File: 20170122_catholic_schools_week.pdf