Fairbanks diocese celebrates 50th anniversary
The Catholic Diocese of Fairbanks will observe its 50th anniversay at 10 a.m. Aug. 12. Bishop Donald J. Kettler will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
“In the thousands of years the Church as been active, 50 years may not seem like a long time,” said Kettler. “But our work in Alaska is full of amazing stories and the contributions of the people from many cultures.”
The history of the Catholic Church in Alaska stretches back to the 18th century, when a Franciscan chaplain on a Spanish exploration ship offered the first Mass in waters of Southeast Alaska on May 13, 1779. For years, Fairbanks was part of a missionary area known as a Prefecture Apostolic that encompassed most of the state.
On Aug. 8, 1962, the Blessed Pope John the XXIII officially established Fairbanks as its own diocese. The diocese covers over 400, 000 square miles and is home to many Alaska Natives, including Athabaskan Indians, Yup’ik, Cup’ik and Inupiat Eskimos.
For information, call Robert Hannon at 907-374-9510.