WASHINGTON (June 6, 2002) – Pope John Paul II has appointed Monsignor Donald J. Kettler, Judicial Vicar and Pastor of Christ the King Parish, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, as Bishop of Fairbanks, Alaska.
He succeeds Bishop Michael J. Kaniecki, SJ, who died August 6, 2000.
Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, announced the appointment.
Donald J. Kettler was born on November 26, 1944, in Minneapolis.
He completed his formation for the priesthood at St. John Seminary at Collegeville, Minnesota, and was ordained for the Diocese of Sioux Falls on May 29, 1970.
Following ordination, Msgr. Kettler served in parishes of the Diocese of Sioux Falls from 1970 to 1981 when he began studies at the Catholic University of America. He was named Judicial Vicar in 1983.
Bishop-designate Kettler was pastor pro tempore, St. Joseph Parish, Huntimer, 1983-1984; Coordinator of the diocesan agencies, 1984-1987; Pastor of St. Joseph Cathedral, 1987-1995; Pastor of St. Lambert Parish, Sioux Falls, 1995-2000. He was named pastor of Christ the King in 2000.
The Diocese of Fairbanks was established as the Prefecture Apostolic of Alaska in 1894, erected into the Vicariate of Alaska in 1916, elevated to a diocese in 1962, and comprises 409,849 square miles. Its approximately 20,000 Catholics are served by 28 priests, three Brothers, 200 Sisters, 4 Jesuit volunteers 35 Deacons.