FAIRBANKS (AP) -- The Diocese of Fairbanks on Wednesday began celebrating this week's ordination and installation of Monsignor Donald Kettler as bishop.
For more than two years, the diocese, which stretches across 48 parishes that cover more than 400,000 square miles of Alaska, has been without a bishop.
Kettler, who will be ordained Thursday, succeeds late Bishop Michael J. Kaniecki, who died of a heart attack in 2000.
A parish priest for most of his 32 years in the priesthood, Kettler will serve as the fifth bishop of the Fairbanks diocese. He is making the move from his last parish in Sioux Falls, S.D.
A welcoming prayer service was scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at Sacred Heart Cathedral Church in Fairbanks. A reception will follow the ordination Thursday afternoon. A ''Meet the Bishop'' festival celebration will be held Friday evening.
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