Archbishop Bellisario to oversee Diocese of Fairbanks until new bishop is appointed

Following the reassignment of Bishop Chad Zielinski, former bishop of the Diocese of Fairbanks, Pope Francis appoints Archbishop Andrew Bellisario, C.M., as the diocese’s apostolic administrator until a permanent bishop is chosen.

“Please join me in extending prayers and support to Archbishop Bellisario as he assumes this additional responsibility,” Bishop Zielinksi said in a diocesan letter on Sept. 28.

Archbishop Bellisario began his administrative role for the Diocese of Fairbanks on Sept. 27. Archbishop Bellisario was appointed the role by the pope after the installment of Bishop Chad Zielinski to the Diocese of New Ulm in Minnesota.

Bishop Zielinski served as bishop of the Diocese of Fairbanks from November 2014 to July 2022.

Archbishop Bellisario reiterated that the Fairbanks diocese will be assigned its own bishop at some point in the future. However, for the time being, he will serve as the diocese’s administrator to ensure “good order and administration” as parishioners wait for the appointment of their permanent bishop.

As of Oct. 20, Pope Francis has made no announcements deciding on a new bishop for the Fairbanks diocese.

The Diocese of Fairbanks is the largest diocese, geographically, in the United States, covering a total of 409,849 square miles, which is about two-thirds of Alaska. The diocese holds 46 parishes and missions — only eight of which are “self-supporting,” the Fairbanks diocese website said.

Officials from the Fairbanks diocese shared a prayer for parishioners on the diocesan website as they await the pope’s decision:

“Almighty God, who by the Holy Spirit moves the hearts of Your people,

Direct the counsels of those who are app-

ointed to choose a bishop for the Diocese of Fairbanks,

That we may be given a pastor who, in faith-

fulness and wisdom,

Shall lead Your people in the way of holiness.

Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Mary, Mother of the Church, Pray for us.”


'Archbishop Bellisario to oversee Diocese of Fairbanks until new bishop is appointed'
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