OFFICE OF THE BISHOP
8 May 2018
Brother and Sisters in Christ:
During the annual celebration of World Youth Day, in February, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, addressed young people saying, “Young people need to know that someone truly believes in you...know that the pope has confidence in you, that the Church has confidence in you!” As bishop of the Diocese ofFairbanks I want our young people to know that I, too, have confidence in you. I have a great desire to see you grow in your faith, be confident in the support you received from your families and parishes and become the missionary disciples that Christ desires you to be. To that end, I want to encourage all of our young people in middle school and high school to consider attending the Alaska Catholic Youth Conference in Anchorage June 3-6!
Each year, young people from all over the state of Alaska gather together for fraternity, faith sharing and missionary discipleship. This year will be no different. The bishops of the three diocese of Alaska are excited to invite you to deepen your faith by participating in the Sacraments, listening to inspiring talks from over a dozen speakers, and participating in fun activities in the Anchorage area. As we have done in the past we, your shepherds, will spend time praying with you and conversing with you about topics that effect your lives.
Parents, pastors and parishes, I want to personally encourage you to make ACYC a top priority for your young people. Statistics show that young people are leaving the practice of their faith at an alarming rate, but those same statistics also reveal that young people who feel personally supported and encouraged in their faith by parents, adult mentors and their friends not only maintain the practice of their faith later in life, but become more actively involved as they grow in their personal relationship with Christ and the worshiping community around them. Historically, the Diocese of Fairbanks has sent some of the largest parish delegations to ACYC, often times putting parishes in the Anchorage area (which are much larger than ours) to shame by our large numbers and very vibrant, active participation. I have a great desire to see our diocese represented this way again!
Registration for ACYC is currently taking place online (https://bit.ly/2Hk4OyZ). Parents, youth ministers and pastors are highly encouraged to gather the young people of their parishes to form a delegation. I highly encourage parishes to work together (especially our city parishes with our Bush parishes) to transport and accompany our young people to ACYC! Show our young people that we are invested in them; show them that we as a faith community believe in them.
Thank you so much for your assistance, encouragement and support of our youth.
Sincerely in Christ,
†Most Reverend Chad W. Zielinski
Catholic Bishop of Northern Alaska
Diocese of Fairbanks