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

St. Patrick Parish, Walla Walla, celebrates dedication of new Pastoral Center

the Inland Register

(From the March 22, 2001 edition of the Inland Register)

When a parish celebrates its patron saint’s feast day, it’s always an occasion of special joy and fanfare. This year’s celebration of St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) was an especially happy occasion for the people of St. Patrick Parish in Walla Walla. With Bishop William S. Skylstad presiding, the parish sought God’s blessing on its newly-completed, 14,500-square-foot Pastoral Center.

The project broke ground in May 2000.

“We acknowledge the many talents of planners, designers and construction workers whose joint efforts are manifest in this truly attractive and useful center of pastoral care and service of God’s people,” Bishop Skylstad told the hundreds of parishioners who attended the Spanish-English Mass of dedication. “You have every reason to be proud of what your generosity and commitment to the needs of your community have produced.”

The new center includes meeting rooms, nursery, fellowship hall, kitchen and full-sized gymnasium. The center stands alongside the 1881 parish church and ties directly into a previously constructed (1956) classroom wing.

Three large charcoal sketches created by Spokane artist William O’Donnell grace the large fellowship hall and capture key personages from the early history of the Catholic community in the Walla Walla Valley: Bishop A.M.A. Blanchet, the first bishop of the (then) Diocese of Walla Walla (1846); Providence Sister Mary of the Nativity, first superior at St. Vincent Academy, the first Catholic School in Eastern Washington (which originally stood across the street from the new center); and Providence Sister John of the Cross, first director of St. Mary Hospital (which still operates as a health care facility, also directly across the street).

In addition to the portraiture, special rooms in the new pastoral center now bear the names of these three pioneers.

A near life-size and weather-beaten statue of St. Patrick and a wall of bricks create a special niche in the fellowship hall, named Blanchet Hall, as reminders of the 1928 St. Patrick Grade School-High School which once stood on the site.

KOP Construction Company of Spokane won the low bid in a local and regional competition last spring and constructed the building well within contract limitations of $1.8 million. Architectural design and services were provided by Robert Broyles AIA, from RFBA Architecture and Planning, Clarkston, Wash.

“Buildings are buildings and people are people. Both have their important roles to play in responding to Christ’s call to discipleship and service of others,” Father Michael Savelesky, pastor, told his flock during the celebration. “Our new center is brick-and-mortal testimony to living faith to the extent that its walls reach out to embrace not only the needs of our parish, but also those of the broader Walla Walla community.”

That embrace already has started, he noted: the phone is starting to ring frequently with requests to use the new Center.

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