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

Don Whitney to be ordained to the diaconate May 11

by Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register

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

On May 11, at 7 p.m. in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes in Spokane, Bishop William Skylstad will ordain the latest, and youngest, deacon for service in the Diocese of Spokane.

Because of his age difference, Don Whitney, 34, will be ordained nearly two years after the rest of his deacon formation class. According to canon law, a man should be 35 years old before ordination as a deacon. The local bishop can waive one year of that age requirement, as is the case with Whitney.

Whitney is a native of Tacoma whose family moved to Spokane when he was in the sixth grade. He graduated from Mead High School before entering Bishop White Seminary. He completed a little over three years of priestly formation before leaving the seminary.

After Bishop White he became a registered nurse. He married his wife, Laura, in 1989. They have two daughters: BreAnna, 10, and Elise, 8.

Whitney runs a home medical equipment company, Inland Medical, a position he has held for the last 10 years.

Since completing deacon formation in 1999 he has been actively involved at St. Francis Xavier Parish, Spokane. During formation he was installed as an acolyte as one of the steps toward ordination.

At St. Francis he has been leading an adult Scripture study; engaging in altar ministry; teaching in the RCIA program; and fills in with hospital visitation when the pastor, Father Paul Vevik, is away.

He was an active parishioner at St. Peter Parish, Spokane, before he began working in St. Francis Xavier. He helped design and implement a program to welcome new parishioners, served on the parish’s capital campaign, taught baptism preparation sessions, and worked with All Saints School’s development committee.

The school is inter-parochial, a ministry shared by St. Peter, Our Lady of Fatima and St. Ann parishes.

Whitney also serves on the board of Immaculate Heart Retreat Center, where he is chairman of the development committee.

“What draws me to the diaconate is a life-long inner calling which has gently nudged me over the years to discern various aspects of my life to see how God was calling me to service,” Whitney said. “I feel God is calling me to the diaconate to witness to others how a person can harmonize the obligations of family, work and service to the Church. I believe a deacon who is married with a family has a special role in society by incorporating the mission of the Church into his life to give witness to others of the sanctity of marriage, family and secular work. I hope to give this witness to others and prove that all things can be accomplished with God’s help.”

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