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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and/or 457-6603.
June 1, 2016 Youth/Family Event: Blast to the Future! Where will you be in 25 years? On June 1st, join us for an evening of family fun. Festivities will begin at 6:30pm with some futuristic fun, foods and fellow-ship! Get creative and bring a dish to share! At 7:00pm, join the youth in burying the TIME CAPSULE! All parishioners, young and not so young, are encouraged to bring something in for our parish TIME CAP-SULE which will be opened in 25 years! Please drop off at our parish by the May 28/29 weekend Masses. Children are invited to include photos, letters, or a drawing perhaps representing our church, sacramental life, family or pictures from around our town. Remember to add your names to the photos to help us rec-ognize everyone 25 years from now. The FUN continues, as after the time capsule is buried, families are invited to join in our Futuristic Family Kick Ball Game! Bring your lawn chairs to cheer on the partici-pants!
After a long period of prayer, reflection and consultation with diocesan leaders and outside specialists, I find a need to restructure the chancery's operations. This restructure is intended to make our missionary diocese more responsive to the peoples' needs. Having worked with many to review our operations, all agreed changes were necessary as the current structure is not sustainable. I am sensitive to the varied emotions this announcement will create. Please know, these changes are not made lightly.
The Diocese of Fairbanks and Catholic Extension have partnered in an incentive program in an effort 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 fundraising events designated for the program. Catholic Extension will match each qualified gift, up to a total of $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 each seminarian, annually, in our diocese is $30,000. 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 in multiple ways, including in-person, by phone, by 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.
To: Diocese of Fairbanks From: Bishop Chad W. Zielinski Subject: Summer Assignments
Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The greatest challenge that we face in the Diocese of Fairbanks is our priest shortage with 16 priests, 6 of which are over the age of 70 to minister the Sacraments of the faithful in our 46 parishes. The good news is that your prayers are working and we will have three seminarians this fall. In order to focus our efforts in the area of vocations, effective 13 August 2016, Father Robert Fath, will be working as the Vocations Director based in Fairbanks.
I am pleased to share with you our Holy Father’s Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, The Joy of Love.
As you may remember, Pope Francis convened two Synods on the family. This document represents his reflections of those gatherings. Also recall, the Holy Father solicited the insights and experiences of all of the faithful with a questionnaire. In fact, those of other faiths were invited to respond to the questions found in the survey. Pope Francis clearly sought to cast his nets wide in gathering material for his discernment. If you recall too, our diocese participated in that process and in some small measure, we have played a role in Amoris Laetitia.