World Youth Day celebration for Friday, July 29th: Any teens from the surrounding area are welcome to join us! The WYD celebration will take the form of an overnight lock-in at St Nicholas parish with a tentative start time of 7pm and an end time of 11am. The goal of the night is to create a mini WYD for the kids in the Fairbanks area who are not attending the celebration in Poland. Part of the night will include live-streaming events from WYD, games, Polish food, and prayer experiences (adoration, Divine Mercy chaplet, and Stations of the Cross). The target age range is late middle school through high school age teens (13+). Feel free to contact me at this email address if you are interested: Kayla Smith firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message on my voicemail at the parish office: 907-488-2595.
St. Raphael invites all parishioners, past and present, to celebrate our 25th Anniversary Sunday, July 24th, Mass at 9:30 am followed by a picnic. Mass will be concelebrated by Fr. Jim Kolb, Fr. Pat Bergquist, Fr. Ross Tozzi, Fr. Kaspar Mallavarpu and Fr. Nelson Marilag. (Meat provided by parish: A-L bring side dishes; M-Z bring desserts; Bring chairs or blankets for seating) For more information contact Parish Office: 457-6603."
Bishop Chad Zielinski
Catholic Bishop of Northern Alaska
Diocese of Fairbanks
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has asked Catholics across the country to pray and fast two weeks prior to July 4. I want to reflect on this “Fortnight for Freedom” through historical and religious lenses. The two week event is intended to increase our awareness of the religious liberties the Constitution and our founders handed down to us. It also alerts us to challenges to these liberties here in our country and abroad.
Tellingly for Catholics, Fortnight for Freedom begins on June 22, the Feast Day of Saints John Fischer and Thomas More. Thomas More’s story struck popular imagination with the movie, A Man for All Seasons. His faith and integrity as he faced opposition from the crown has inspired so many of us who have seen the film. Accused of and tried for treason, Henry VIII ordered his beheading at the Tower of London on July 6, 1535.
When I was an Active Duty Air Force Chaplain, I was stationed in England and decided to visit the Tower of London with a priest friend of mine, Fr. Arturo Martinez, who was on break from graduate school in Rome. So, one rainy day in December 2004, we ventured to the Tower of London. Fr. Arturo was writing his thesis for his Licentiate in Sacred Theology on Sir Thomas More. During our visit we approached a “Beefeater,” wearing the same colorful uniform found on a popular brand of gin. We explained we were Catholic priests, and Fr. Arturo was in the process of writing his thesis on Sir Thomas More. We inquired if it was possible to visit his grave. The Beefeater said nothing but motioned for us to follow him. We wandered through a several buildings, a series of corridors and eventually to what seemed to be a very small room in the basement, not accessible to the public. It was at this point the Beefeater said, “This is his grave, stay as long as you like and close the door when you leave.” It was an extremely small room that was profoundly simple with a tiny plaque that had his name engraved on it. A heroic saint relegated to a tiny room away from everything else. In death, his resting place goes unnoticed; but his life remains forever noticed as a powerful witness to his love for Christ and His Church.
That is history; but today as we approach July 4, there are brothers and sisters in Christ who face persecution and death for what they believe. In September 2015, I attended a course in Rome for new bishops. There were 125 bishops from around the world. During one of our sessions, bishops from Syria and Iraq told heart wrenching stories of the martyrdom of their people and destruction of their churches by terrorists. The bishops listened in silence. Many of us had tears in our eyes. These events and others like them have spurred Pope Francis to passionately ask the faithful throughout the world to pray for the end of religious persecution.
Shortly after this course, I had the honor to celebrate Mass with Pope Francis in Washington D.C. One of the highlights of my visit was to stand before Independence Mall, the birthplace of the United States of America. It was there the freedoms, which define this country, were first proclaimed. The Declaration of Independence states all men and women are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and that governments exist to protect and defend those rights.
The Diocese of Fairbanks has partnered with Catholic Extension in an effort to build a special matching grant that will help us 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 fund-raising events designated for the program. Catholic Extension will match each $1,000 gift up to $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 a seminarian in our diocese is $40,000, per year. 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 multiple ways, including in-person, phone, and 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.
Contact us below for more information regarding Vocations or the Seminarian Endowment Challenge:
Contact: Fr. Robert Fath
Contact: Teresa Chepoda-Usibelli
Office of Stewardship and Development
Recently, I had the honor of walking through an extremely large Veteran's Memorial Cemetery at Point Loma, near San Diego. I took this image of a grave stone that had a note written by a child, "thank you for your service." I found myself deeply moved.
As I transition out of the Air Force, and in observance of Memorial Day, I extend a deep and abiding gratitude to our vets and their families. My experience validates the recruitment literature: serving our country is more than a job. At its heart it is an invitation and possibility of surrendering self for the greater good. As Catholics, as Christians, as a believing people, we are all called to do that. In the armed forces that service often comes at the cost of a life. I feel privileged to have worked with so many people who willingly took up that challenge with grace and grit.
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13
Thank you and may God bless you.
Bishop Chad Zielinski
All are welcome to read, reflect and discuss the Fourth Chapter of St. Benedict's Rule as presented in Michael Casey's, new book, "Seventy-Four Tools for Good Living". There is more in St. Benedict's Rule than meets the eye. Michael Casey, OCSO, has written a useful volume, a volume to live by with the guidance of the Gospel. Casey has an ingenious way of rendering the wisdom of St. Benedict for our times. Benedictine meetings are every third Sunday of the month at 1:30–3:00 pm, and are held in the Chancery Office building dining room (located at the south side of the parking lot across from Sacred Hart Cathedral). Our next meeting is June 19th, 2016 at 1:00 - 3:00 pm. For more information please call Betty at 457-6079 or Odessa 456-7902.
The following priests’ assignments will take place this summer:
Fr. Bala who is currently working as a Parochial Vicar at Sacred Heart Cathedral will be assigned to work as a ministry team serving Immaculate Conception Church, Fairbanks, Holy Lady of Guadalupe, Healy and St. Theresa, Nenana. Fr. Fred Bayler continues as the Pastor and Fr. Bala will be assigned as the Parochial Vicar. This ministry assignment will be effective 1 August 2016.
Fr. Marek who is currently assigned as the Parochial Vicar to serve Immaculate Conception Church, Fairbanks, Holy Mary of Guadalupe, Healy and St. Theresa, Nenana will be assigned to be part of a ministry team at Saint Nicholas, North Pole, Our Lady of Sorrows, Delta Junction and Holy Rosary, Tok. Fr. Stan Jaszek will serve as the Pastor and Fr. Marek will serve as the Parochial Vicar. This ministry assignment will be effective 15 September 2016.
The Fairbanks Area/Road System Parishes are celebrating a joint Mass and picnic at Pioneer Park. Mass will start at 11:30 A.M. followed by a picnic. If you have any question contact Nancy Kelly at email@example.com and/or 457-6603.