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

Visitors help mission relocate medical clinic

by Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register

(From the May 24, 2001 edition of the Inland Register)

Father John Birk, in residence at St. Patrick Parish in Pasco and a chaplain at Our Lady of Lourdes Health Center there, returned recently from a visit to the diocese’s Guatemala mission effort.

He visited the area with Deacon Gary Franz and his wife Pat and Laura Dahmen, “to visit the diocesan mission and see what we could do to help the medical clinics,” he said.

The medical clinics in Guatemala have a relationship with the Pasco parish not unlike the sister parish relationships.

The visitors were hosted by Sisters Immaculata Burke and Marie Tolle.

During the trip the group, along with David Dodroe of Spokane, a long-time volunteer in the mission, helped the Sisters relocated their clinic in Ixtahuacán. The clinic building was badly damaged by Hurricane Mitch and needed to be moved to a most stable structure which also provided more room.

Joining them as well was Bill McMillen of St. Mary Parish, Spokane.

The group utilized Father David Baronti’s pickup truck for the heavier items. “There was real teamwork,” said Father Birk. “We all came home with the satisfaction that we do make a difference.”

Father Birk has also been associated with the mission effort for many years. He is a former coordinator of the mission effort, a post he held for eight years. He now serves on the diocese’s Guatemala Commission, but had not actually visited the area since 1985, he said.

“I always get a boost out of children who are all smiles when we come,” he said. The children also pitched in to assist with the moving job, unloading smaller items from the pickup. “I am amazed how happy they are with having so little.”


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