Roman Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks

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Diocese of Fairbanks
Dioecesis de Fairbanks
Roman Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks.svg
Location
Country  United States
Territory Northern Alaska Alaska
Ecclesiastical province Anchorage
Metropolitan Roger Lawrence Schwietz, O.M.I.
Statistics
Area 409,849 sq mi (1,061,500 km2)
Population
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2015)
167,500
13,500 (8%)
Parishes 47
Information
Denomination Roman Catholic
Rite Roman Rite
Established August 8, 1962 (1962-08-08)
Cathedral Sacred Heart Cathedral
Patron saint St. Therese of Lisieux
Current leadership
Pope Francis
Bishop Chad Zielinski
Map
Diocese of Fairbanks map.PNG
Website
dioceseoffairbanks.org/joomla/

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks (Latin: Dioecesis de Fairbanks) is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the northwestern United States, comprising the northern regions of the state of Alaska. It is led by a bishop who serves as pastor of the mother church, Sacred Heart Cathedral in the City of Fairbanks. The diocese is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Anchorage.

History[edit]

The See of Fairbanks was established from the Prefecture Apostolic of Alaska on July 27, 1894, which was created from the Diocese of Vancouver Island. It was elevated to an apostolic vicariate on December 22, 1916. The Diocese of Juneau was carved out of the apostolic vicariate on June 23, 1951. On August 8, 1962, the apostolic vicariate was elevated to a diocese.

The first seven bishops of Fairbanks were missionaries of the Society of Jesus. On June 7, 2002, Pope John Paul II appointed Donald Joseph Kettler as the first non-Jesuit bishop of Fairbanks.

In February 2008, the diocese announced plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, claiming inability to pay the 140 plaintiffs who filed claims against the diocese for alleged sexual abuse by priests or church workers dating from the 1950s to the early 1980s. The Society of Jesus, Oregon Province, was named as a co-defendant in the case, and settled for $50 million. The Diocese, which reports an operating budget of approximately $6 million, claims one of the diocese’s insurance carriers failed to "participate meaningfully".[1][2][3][4]

Diocese Demographics[edit]

As of 2015, the diocese contains 47 parishes, 17 priests, providing service to 13,500 Catholics, in an area of 409,849 square miles (1,061,500 km2). It also has 7 religious sisters and 2 religious brothers.

Ordinaries/Bishops[edit]

The list of ordinaries and their years of service:

Prefects of Alaska (Juneau)[5][edit]

Vicars Apostolic of Alaska (Juneau)[6][edit]

Vicar Apostolic of Northern Alaska (Fairbanks)[7][edit]

Bishops of Fairbanks[edit]

  1. Francis Doyle Gleeson, S.J. (1962–1968); retired; died 1983
  2. Robert Louis Whelan, S.J. (1968–1985)
  3. Michael Joseph Kaniecki, S.J. (1985–2000)
  4. Donald Joseph Kettler (2002–2013)
  5. Chad William Zielinski (2014–present)

Coadjutor Bishop[edit]

Churches & locations[edit]

Services are provided in English. But due to the growing Hispanic population in Fairbanks, services are also provided in Spanish.

Education[edit]

The diocese has 2 schools for education.

Charitable Organizations[edit]

Health Care[edit]

Due to the vast area, low population density, and financial restraints, the diocese has no hospitals.

  • Hospital ministry - Catholic services to the sick & injured in existing hospitals & nursing homes.
  • Stephen ministry - interdenominational companions for people in grief, illness, loss, family breakdown, etc.

Family support[edit]

Overseas assistance[edit]

Shelters[edit]

Social support[edit]

Media[edit]

The diocese provides communication to its community by:

  • The Alaskan Shepherd, a newsletter
  • KNOM radio. Established in 1971, KNOM is the oldest Catholic radio station in the country.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "Fairbanks Catholic Diocese filing for bankruptcy". KTUU.com. WorldNow. 2008-02-15. Retrieved 2008-03-03. More than 150 claims were filed against the church for alleged crimes at the hands of clergy or church workers between the 1950s and 1980s. 
  2. ^ United Press International (2008-02-15). "Diocese of Fairbanks plans bankruptcy". ArcaMax. ArcaMax Publishing, Inc. Archived from the original on July 20, 2009. Retrieved 2008-03-03. Robert Hannon, who serves as a special assistant to Bishop Donald Kettler and is the diocesan chancellor, told the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News that officials believe bankruptcy is the fairest way to compensate victims. 
  3. ^ Baldino, Megan (2008-02-15). "Diocese of Fairbanks to file for bankruptcy". CNA. Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 2008-03-03. The negotiations allegedly failed because one of the diocese’s insurance carriers did not “participate meaningfully.” ... Robert Hannon, chancellor and special assistant to Bishop Donald Kettler, said bankruptcy would provide a way for church assets to be distributed fairly among abuse victims. 
  4. ^ "Diocese hopes to continue operations despite Chapter 11 petition". Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Archived from the original on 2009-07-20. 
  5. ^ Jurisdiction for the entire territory now compromising the State of Alaska.
  6. ^ Jurisdiction for the entire territory now compromising the State of Alaska
  7. ^ Jurisdiction for the territory now compromising the Diocese of Fairbanks

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 64°50′04″N 147°47′09″W / 64.83444°N 147.78583°W / 64.83444; -147.78583