Fr. Bala Gangarapu will be returning to his home diocese of Hyderabad in India by 1 July 2019. In June 2014, Fr. Bala was granted permission to work in the Diocese of Fairbanks for a total of five years from his Archbishop.
Fr. Bala traveled to many of our remote villages, and recently served at Sacred Heart Cathedral and Immaculate Conception Church (Fairbanks). He made several trips down the snowy and icy roads to care for the parishes in Healy and Nenana. Thank you for your generosity in serving the good people of God in the Diocese of Fairbanks. It has been an honor and privilege to work with Fr. Bala and we will all miss him dearly.
Sincerely in Christ,
†Most Reverend Chad W. Zielinski Catholic Bishop of Northern Alaska Diocese of Fairbanks
As we prepare to enter into the holy season of Lent, a time of purification and preparation through acts of prayer, penance, and alms giving, I would like to invite you all to celebrate with me the Chrism Mass. The Mass will take place on Tuesday, April 9th at 7:00 pm. The celebration of this liturgy is one of the most significant Masses we celebrate as a diocese. It is an opportunity for the people of God in the diocese to come together with their bishop to express the unity of the Church.
Daniel Oberreuter, the lead singer of the Catholic band The Thirsting, will be offering a Come Hold My Son Parish Mission Concert at Sacred Heart Cathedral on Sunday, March 31 at 7:00 pm. Monday thru Wednesday, Daniel will conduct the road system mission starting with Mass each evening at 6:00 pm and mission talks at 7:00 pm. He will share his personal testimony and a powerful message on the Rosary, Eucharist and Confession. Daniel has performed at World Youth Day 2016 and at hundreds of churches across the nation. Bring your family and friends to experience this opportunity for evangelization within your community. For more info, visit comeholdmyson.com.
All are invited and encouraged to sit in Adoration on Thursday, February 21st during the hours of 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM at Sacred Heart Cathedral. This day of Adoration will take place during “The protection of minors in the Church” Meeting, to be held in the Vatican from 21 to 24 February 2019 and our extended Adoration will be held only on the first day.
The February Meeting will see Presidents of Bishops’ Conference from all over the world coming together. The Meeting will include plenary sessions, working groups, moments of common prayer, listening to testimonies, a penitential liturgy, and a final Eucharistic celebration. Pope Francis will be present for the entire duration of the Meeting.
The following is a homily delivered by Bishop Chad Zielinski at Sacred Heart Cathedral on Sunday, February 3, 2019. He invites all Catholics in our diocese to embrace a call to be “prophets for life” in these challenging times.
Today the first reading is from the Prophet Jeremiah. What is a prophet? A prophet is a messenger called and sent by God to communicate His will to the people. Prophets knew God’s will and they had the responsibility of calling Israel back to a life-giving, covenantal relationship with God when she wandered from it through sin.
Last Sunday, the first reading was from the Prophet Nehemiah. We heard Ezra the priest reading from the scroll, the law, and the people were weeping. They realized they had wandered away from God’s law through sin. Nehemiah saw their repentant hearts and announced an end to their weeping and instructed them to rejoice in God.
Today, January 14 is the beginning of a Prayer Novena for Life. We are 9 days from January 22, which marks 46 years since the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in America. Since that date, it is estimated that over 60 million unborn children have been killed. This is a most terrible tragedy that does not honor the sacred dignity of the human person from conception to natural death. The Catholic Church must continue to be emphatic in declaring the sacredness of life and defending it especially when a child is defenseless in his/her mother’s womb.
Please include respect for all life in your prayer petitions. See the attached link from the USCCB website offering several ideas for parish bulletins. Also, I have attached a copy of a Novena for Life.
One hundred years ago the Seward Peninsula was struck by the infamous Spanish Flu. Two Jesuit priests, Frs. Bellarmine Lafortune, S.J., and Frederick Ruppert, S.J., witnessed firsthand the devastating effects. It was estimated that one-third of the world’s population became infected with the virus and at least 50 million died worldwide. Of the 1,113 influenza deaths in Alaska between 1918-1919, 820 deaths were in the Seward Peninsula as the first wave of the pandemic hit the area in November 1918. The two priests were in the center of the hardest affected area of Alaska and were desperate to care for the sick and dying.One hundred years ago the Seward Peninsula was struck by the infamous Spanish Flu. Two Jesuit priests, Frs. Bellarmine Lafortune, S.J., and Frederick Ruppert, S.J., witnessed firsthand the devastating effects. It was estimated that one-third of the world’s population became infected with the virus and at least 50 million died worldwide. Of the 1,113 influenza deaths in Alaska between 1918-1919, 820 deaths were in the Seward Peninsula as the first wave of the pandemic hit the area in November 1918. The two priests were in the center of the hardest affected area of Alaska and were desperate to care for the sick and dying.
“The Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and after he had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, also the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’” (1 Cor 11:23-25)
The Church draws her life from the Eucharist. This truth does not simply express a daily experience of faith but recapitulates the heart of the mystery of the Church. In a variety of ways, she joyfully experiences the constant fulfillment of the promise: “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Mt. 28:20) But in the Holy Eucharist, through changing the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of the Lord, she rejoices in this presence with unique intensity. (CCC 1374) The Church draws her life from the Eucharist. This truth does not simply express a daily experience of faith but recapitulates the heart of the mystery of the Church. In a variety of ways, she joyfully experiences the constant fulfillment of the promise: “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Mt. 28:20) But in the Holy Eucharist, through changing the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of the Lord, she rejoices in this presence with unique intensity. (CCC 1374)
1. “Peace be to this house!” In sending his disciples forth on mission, Jesus told them: “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you” (Lk 10:5-6).
Bringing peace is central to the mission of Christ’s disciples. That peace is offered to all those men and women who long for peace amid the tragedies and violence that mark human history. The “house” of which Jesus speaks is every family, community, country and continent, in all their diversity and history. It is first and foremost each individual person, without distinction or discrimination. But it is also our “common home”: the world in which God has placed us and which we are called to care for and cultivate.
So let this be my greeting at the beginning of the New Year: “Peace be to this house!”
2. The challenge of good politics
Peace is like the hope which the poet Charles Péguy celebrated. It is like a delicate flower struggling to blossom on the stony ground of violence. We know that the thirst for power at any price leads to abuses and injustice. Politics is an essential means of building human community and institutions, but when political life is not seen as a form of service to society as a whole, it can become a means of oppression, marginalization and even destruction. Jesus tells us that, “if anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” (Mk 9:35). In the words of Pope Paul VI, “to take politics seriously at its different levels – local, regional, national and worldwide – is to affirm the duty of each individual to acknowledge the reality and value of the freedom offered him to work at one and the same time for the good of the city, the nation and all mankind”. Political office and political responsibility thus constantly challenge those called to the service of their country to make every effort to protect those who live there and to create the conditions for a worthy and just future. If exercised with basic respect for the life, freedom and dignity of persons, political life can indeed become an outstanding form of charity.