November 8, 2014 – Bishop Kettler’s Statement RE: Appointment of New Bishop for Fairbanks, Alska

Categories: News Releases / Statements


Diocese of St. Cloud  


Joe Towalski
Director of Communications
(O) 320-258-7624

November 8, 2014


Bishop Donald Kettler of St. Cloud released the following statement regarding the announcement today that Pope Francis has appointed Father Chad Zielinski as the new bishop of Fairbanks, Alaska:

“It was with much happiness that I learned of the Holy Father’s appointment of Father Chad Zielinski as the new bishop of Fairbanks, Alaska. 

“I came to know Bishop-elect Zielinski when he arrived in Fairbanks in 2012 at Eielson Air Force Base to serve as a chaplain. He impressed me with his exemplary service to the base’s military personnel and their families. I also appreciated the cooperative spirit he demonstrated in his work with the diocese and its priests, particularly the pastor serving St. Nicholas Parish in the nearby City of North Pole, Alaska.

“It is a blessing that Pope Francis has chosen a shepherd who already has a deep care and concern for the people of Alaska. I offer my congratulations and prayerful support to Bishop-elect Zielinski and all the people of the Diocese of Fairbanks, which holds a special place in my heart.”

Bishop-elect Zielinski, 50, is a native of Alpena, Mich., and enlisted in the Air Force in 1983. He was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Gaylord, Mich., in 1996 and has most recently been serving as the Deputy Wing Chaplain, 354 Fighter Wing, at Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks. His ordination and installation as bishop is set for Dec. 15 at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks.

Bishop Kettler led the Diocese of Fairbanks from 2002 until Pope Francis appointed him last year as bishop of St. Cloud. During the last year, the Diocese of Fairbanks has been under the leadership of Archbishop Roger Schwietz, OMI, of Anchorage, Alaska, who has served in the role of apostolic administrator.

For more information about the Diocese of Fairbanks, visit