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

Eight priest assignments create change for parishes throughout Diocese of Spokane

by Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register

(From the May 3, 2001 edition of the Inland Register

One retirement and eight assignments for diocesan priests have been announced by Bishop Skylstad.

The following priests’ assignments take effect approximately June 27, 2001:

  • Father Joseph Bell is the new pastor of St. Peter Parish, Spokane.
  • Father Victor Blazovich is becoming the pastor of the parishes in Colton and Uniontown.
  • Msgr. John Donnelly retires. Msgr. Donnelly is the current pastor of St. Anthony Parish, Spokane.
  • Father Jose Luis Hernandez has been named pastor for the first time for the Brewster and Twisp parishes.
  • Father Pat Kerst becomes the new pastor of St. Patrick and St. Francis of Assisi parishes, Walla Walla.
  • Father Pat MacMahon takes up the assignment as pastor of the parishes in Davenport, Harring-ton and Reardan.
  • After priestly ordination May 25, Bonaventure Obisike, now a deacon completing priestly formation at St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., will be the new parochial vicar of St. Patrick and St. Francis of Assisi parishes in Walla Walla.
  • Father Michael Savelesky has been named pastor of Assumption Parish, Spokane.
  • Father Gene Tracy moves to St. Anthony Parish, Spokane.

Msgr. Donnelly was ordained May 24, 1958.

His ministry has a priest has been rich and varied. Shortly after ordination he was sent to study journalism at the University of Missouri School of Journalism. He returned to the Spokane Diocese as editor of the Inland Register in August 1959.

He taught at Bishop White Seminary before being named Director of the Bureau of Information of the National Catholic Welfare Conference in Washington, D.C. in 1962 — the precursor to what is known today as Catholic News Service.

In 1964 he began serving as the National Catholic News Service correspondent covering the Second Vatican Council from Rome.

He was named a monsignor in 1967 and returned to the Inland Register as editor and business manager later that same year.

He has served as rector of Bishop White Seminary, chaplain of the Spokane Serra Club and the Legion of Mary at the House of Charity, and was the director of the diocese’s Bicentennial and Eucharistic Congress celebration in 1975.

Other assignments as pastor included Colville; Deer Park; Assumption, Spokane; Holy Family, Clarkston; and, since 1990, St. Anthony, Spokane.

He retired from the Inland Register in 1980.

Father Joseph Bell, now pastor of Assumption in Spokane, was ordained June 27, 1974.

Although he served as Assistant Diocesan Vocation Director in the 1970s, most of his priestly ministry has been centered in parish life. He was associate pastor of St. Augustine, St. Mary, and St. Thomas More parishes in Spokane before being named pastor of the Brewster and Twisp parishes in 1981.

In 1983 he returned to Spokane as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish. He moved to Assumption in 1994 and will now move to St. Peter, Spokane.

Father Victor Blazovich was one of six men ordained priests last year, the largest ordination class in recent diocesan memory.

Father Blazovich holds an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in psychology in addition to his theology degree.

He has been ministering as parochial vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Parish since ordination. He is the new pastor of St. Gall Parish, Colton, and St. Boniface Parish, Uniontown.

Father Patrick Kerst, ordained May 23, 1990, has been pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Brewster, and St. Genevieve Parish, Twisp, since 1996.

He attended Gonzaga Prep and Bishop White Seminary. He completed his seminary formation at St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.

His first assignment as a priest was as associate pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Pasco. He then moved to St. Patrick and St. Francis of Assisi parishes in Walla Walla as parochial vicar from 1994-1996. He now returns to those two parishes as pastor.

Father Jose Luis Hernandez was ordained June 29, 1999, after completing seminary studies in St. Paul, Minn. Prior to that he attended Bishop White Seminary, Spokane.

His first assignment was as parochial vicar of St. Patrick Parish, Pasco. He moved, again as parochial vicar, to St. Patrick and St. Francis of Assisi parishes, Walla Walla, last year.

Father Patrick MacMahon is the new pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish, Davenport; St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Harrington; and St. Michael Parish, Reardan.

Father MacMahon was born in Ennis, Ireland, and ordained to the priesthood April 12, 1969. He was an associate pastor and hospital and prison chaplain before coming to the United States in 1977.

His first assignment in the Spokane Diocese was as administrator of Sacred Heart Parish, Wilbur, in 1986. He moved to the Colton and Uniontown parishes in 1994.

Deacon Bonaventure Obisike will be ordained to the priesthood May 25by Bishop Skylstad at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, Spokane.

He recently completed his seminary formation at St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul, Minn.

He is a native of Nigeria who became acquainted with the Spokane Diocese while a student at Gonzaga University.

His first priestly ministry will be as associate pastor of St. Patrick and St. Francis of Assisi parishes, Walla Walla.

Father Michael Savelesky, the new pastor of Assumption Parish, Spokane, is another former Inland Register editor, a post he held from 1980-85.

He is a native of Davenport, Wash. He was ordained Aug. 4, 1973. He attended Mater Cleri and Bishop White seminaries in the Spokane Diocese, and completed his formation as well as a doctoral degree in Louvain, Belgium.

Father Savelesky first served as assistant pastor of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes. In 1975 he was named co-director of formation at Bishop White Seminary. The next year he was named rector of the seminary.

He also served as director of the diocese’s Permanent Diaconate Program, of Pastoral Ministries, Bishop’s Secretary for Evangelization, Vocations Director, and as pastor of St. Peter Parish in Spokane, from 1980-1995.

Along the way he has been an adjunct assistant professor of religious studies at Gonzaga University; coordinator of the diocese’s missionary effort in Guatemala; a guest lecturer throughout the United States; co-author of two books, revising author of a third, and author of a fourth.

Since leaving the post of editor he has continued to write for the paper, including a regular column on spirituality. He has been pastor of St. Patrick and St. Francis of Assisi parishes, Walla Walla, since 1995.

Father Eugene Tracy has been pastor of St. Peter Parish since 1995.

Ordained a priest Sept. 6, 1991, Father Tracy was first a parochial vicar at St. Francis Xavier Parish, Spokane.

He was named pastor of St. Vincent Parish, Connell, and St. Paul Parish, Eltopia, in 1992, and moved from there to St. Peter Parish.

He is an accountant by training and worked in that field for several years before beginning seminary formation. He completed his theology studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., before his ordination to the priesthood.

He replaces Msgr. Donnelly at St. Anthony Parish, Spokane.

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