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

Anniversary Greetings: from the Archdiocese of Portland, Ore.

by Archbishop John Vlazny, Archbishop of Portland

(From the May 2, 2002 edition of the Inland Register)

When I became a bishop back in 1983, Bishop William Skylstad was already a seasoned and highly-respected colleague among the American bishops. I immediately took a liking to him. Who wouldn't? He was always so friendly, so balanced, so prayerful - in a word, so good.

When I was assigned to serve as Archbishop of Portland back in 1997, one of the first people in the Northwest to extend a warm welcome and offer me whatever support I might need was Bishop Skylstad. He has been a true brother. He guided us bishops of the Northwest through our most collaborative undertaking, the writing of the pastoral letter on the Columbia River. He is our convener for Jesus Caritas sharing and also for days of fun and relaxation. (Yes, bishops really can have fun!) He brought pride and joy to the Northwest when last fall he was elected vice-president of our United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He is the neighbor who calls most often just to check in and see how things are going.

Of all the moments that I have shared with my brother, Bill, over the years, the one I recall most occurred toward the end of the Columbia River pastoral letter project. Some of the bishops were questioning the whole effort after Bishop Skylstad had spent more than three years facilitating and supporting its completion. If I had been in his place, I think I would have tossed in the towel out of frustration. But he listened patiently, calmly and openly. He said very little during the discussion. He received all the objections, questions and ideas from his brother bishops and eventually helped rewrite our pastoral letter so that it was more honestly a reflection of the sentiments of the bishops. Another job well done.

God bless you, Brother Bill. You are the best.

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