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!
No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13). We know this scripture speaks of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. We know this real act in history--the Son of God coming down from heaven to become man and dying on a cross--is the foundation of our redemption. We know that through Christ’s sacrifice, we were adopted into God’s family. We are his children! We are children of a loving father who sustains and nurtures us every second of every day. In love, he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved (Ephesians 5:1).
So God has adopted you. But have you adopted your children?
We currently have only 18 priests to minister in 46 parishes across our expansive diocese. In order to better serve the faithful of our diocese, Bishop Chad Zielinski is making some pastoral changes this summer.
Effective 2 July 2018, Fr. Stan Jaszek will be assigned to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region. Effective 2 July 2018, Fr. Stan will be assigned to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region. Fr. Thomas Sagili will move from his current assignment on the Seward Peninsula to assume the role of Parochial Vicar and remain in residence at Saint Patrick’s Church in Barrow, AK on 29 June 2018. Fr. Kaspar Mallavarapu will remain the Pastor of Saint Patrick’s Church.
Please continue to pray for vocations in the Diocese of Fairbanks.
The best way we can protect our Church (parishes and schools) from sexual predators is to prevent predators from working with youth or vulnerable adults. Therefore our first line of defense is to conduct a background check. “A thorough, consistent screening process may also discourage would-be offenders from targeting your organization [the Church]….[therefore] an employee or volunteer….must be screened before getting started….[this] should include: completion of an application, interviews, reference checks and criminal background check.” (Praesidium Report)
This month’s goal: to have all Church employees and volunteers update their background check if it has not been done in over five years. How do you know if you need one? Check with your immediate supervisor. We, the Fairbanks Diocese, are mandated by the USCCB to have anyone listed below background checked and then again every five years thereafter. Following is the list of those who need a background check.
Thank you so much to everyone who helped make our beautiful annual Chrism Mass and the reception that followed such a huge success this year. Each person plays a vital part in orchestrating these events, and it takes many people, all working together as a team, to achieve that level of success.
For the past 12 years, I have been traveling to rural churches and meeting with Alaskan native elders asking them to identify photographs from the Chancery Archive. In all those years, never have I had a community so quick to open their culture to me before. This last trip in February, I spent two weeks in Pilot Station and Saint Mary’s. The timing of this trip allowed me to observe the potlatch ceremonies (or Curukaq in Yup’ik) in Saint Mary’s. A potlatch is a gift-giving gathering of Alaskan natives where those being given Yup’ik names are also presented to the community.
Each spring, seminarians around the country prepare for their annual evaluations. While the particulars of the evaluation process vary from seminary to seminary, the annual review offers an in-depth look at their progression toward ordination to the priesthood based on the four pillars of seminary formation: academic, spiritual, human, and pastoral formation. The annual evaluation offers an opportunity for the seminarian, seminary formation director, and diocesan vocation director to dialogue concerning areas of development in which the seminarian is excelling and areas of recommended growth in the coming years.