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

Father Bernard Barry: 1914-2001

the Inland Register

(From the July 5, 2001 edition of the Inland Register)

Father Bernard Barry, 87, a priest in the Spokane Diocese for 62 years, died June 25, 2001, at Sacred Heart Medical Center. He broke his hip last week and never recovered from the surgery.

A vigil celebration was held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes June 28, with the funeral Mass held at the Cathedral the next day. Bishop William Skylstad officiated. Burial followed at Holy Cross Cemetery.

Father Barry was born in Chicago. He decided to become a priest at age 12, while serving as an altar boy in his home parish. He attended Quigley Prep Seminary in Chicago, St. Louis Seminary in Missouri and St. Edward Seminary in Seattle.

He was ordained in 1939 and was assigned to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes. He was an associate and then served Bishop White as chancellor. Then he became pastor of the the Cathedral. When he left the Cathedral in 1968 to become pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish, it was the first time he had lived away from the Cathedral for over 25 years.

His greatest contribution was his service as chaplain to the Spokane Fire Department. According to his sister, Noreen Woods, Father Barry had a lifelong fascination with firefighters and their way of life.

Msgr. John Steiner said Father Barry never missed a call that was two-alarm or more. “If you ever went to a major fire in Spokane, the white helmet of the Chaplain was always visible at the edge of the fire lines,” he said. “The firefighters accepted him (and knew) he was there to give them support.” Many went to him for spiritual guidance.

In 1981, when he was assigned to Chewelah, he gave up his post as fire department chaplain. Hundreds of firefighters attended his going-away party.

Father Barry retired in 1985. After his retirement, he joined the ministers who rotated chaplain duties at the fire department. He continued this ministry until he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

For the last several years, he had made his home at Colonial Care in Spokane.

He is survived by his sister and her family.

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