From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

The Financial Report of the Diocese of Spokane, 1999-2000

by Bishop William S. Skylstad

A special supplement to the Inland Register, March 1, 2001

My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

I present to you the annual financial report of our Catholic community in Eastern Washington. I am grateful to all for their generous stewardship for the mission of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Today in the city of Rome, Pope John Paul II has completed the consistory for the 44 new cardinals. In the last decade and a half, one of the roles which the cardinals have played in the universal Church is the oversight of the finances of the Holy See. While each one of the new cardinals was told that he was called to lay down his own life and give his blood for the faith, in reality, the cardinals have faced the monumental task of bringing the financial blood-letting of the Church under control. There is always so much that can be done, but the reality of available funds and the hard decisions about priorities really cause leaders of the Church to face a new kind of martyrdom.

At our local diocesan and parish level we do not have a College of Cardinals, but I am so very grateful to the parish finance councils, to the Bishop’s Finance council, to school boards, and to the boards of Catholic Charities, the Catholic Cemeteries and the Retreat House. So many men and women in our Diocese share in the corporate responsibility for the economic life of the Church. In practical terms in means a faithful commitment to regular meetings, to reviewing reports, and offering advice and counsel to the administrators involved to make the Gospel decisions for the life of our local Church.

Do we always get it right? Of course not! But I am firmly convinced that the sound economic report which is presented in these pages would not be possible without the collaborative wisdom of so many people throughout our diocese.

I would call your attention to some highlights during the last year. Shelter 2000 has been completed and we are now operating the new House of Charity and St. Margaret Shelter. A new parish center is close to completion at St. Patrick Parish in Walla Walla. New windows were installed at the Catholic Pastoral Center this summer, which has made a significant difference in the heating and cooling of the building. St. Mary Parish in Chewelah and St. Thomas More Parish in Spokane are finalizing plans for new parish centers and hope to begin construction this year. Again, all these efforts are the result of much collaboration by all involved.

The end of the year 2000 brought a very sorrowful moment to those involved in diocesan financial matters. Providence Sister Bernadette Botch was called by the Lord on Dec. 22. Sister Bernadette had served as the Chief Financial Officer of the diocese for 13 years. She was our own local College of Cardinals.

Her leadership and wisdom left a profound legacy to the diocese. She developed the effective operational structures which make the Bishops Finance Council so helpful to me and to all the diocesan operations. The Spokane Catholic Investment Trust came to light through her leadership. She worked hard to develop meaningful personnel policies and financial procedures for all of our operations. Her integrity and honesty in presenting the day-to-day economic challenges of our faith community has gifted us all. We are so very grateful to the Lord for the gift of her service during the last 13 years.

Finally, as I told you last year, this report is a part of my effort to exercise my responsibility as Bishop in a spirit of good stewardship. I am grateful to the women and men volunteers who participate in the oversight boards which collaborate with me in this effort: The Bishop’s Finance Council; the Boards of Directors of the Catholic Foundation, Catholic Charities, the Catholic Cemeteries and the Spokane Catholic Investment Trust. These boards function with full disclosure. I know of no situation in which I have acted against the will and wishes of these boards.

In view of some recent sad publicity about some other dioceses in our country, I want you to know how committed I am to this kind of fiscal management and stewardship. In the Catholic Pastoral Center, we are blessed with a very committed and competent staff in the Fiscal Services Office and with the spirit of collaborative oversight given to these efforts by Sister Bernadette, the former Bishop’s Secretary for Business Affairs. So, in her memory I present you with this statement for the fiscal year 1999-2000.

Finally, I am grateful to all the faithful of the diocese for your faithful stewardship and support of the mission and ministry of the Church. As a diocese we are blessed by the deep commitment and generosity of the community of faith. May the Lord continue to guide us in living the faith mission in which we have been sealed by our Baptism.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

William S. Skylstad, Bishop of Spokane

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