Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
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First pastor of St. Thomas More Parish, Spokane, dies at age 85
the Inland Register
(From the Sept. 11, 2003 edition of the Inland Register)
Father Paul Wenning, the first pastor of St. Thomas More Parish, Spokane, died Sept. 5. He was 85 years old and had been a priest since 1945.
Funeral arrangements were still pending at press time.
Father Wenning was ordained March 10, 1945, at Pontifical College Josephinum in Ohio.
He was a native of Covington, Ky., but was ordained for the Spokane Diocese.
His first assignment was as assistant pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Walla Walla. In that city he also taught at St. Patrick High School.
In 1953 he became administrator of St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Walla Walla. He served in that role from July 31-Dec. 15 of that year, when he became pastor.
His work in Walla Walla was followed by his assignment as first pastor of St. Thomas More, Spokane, in 1957.
Ten years later his expertise was put to good use when he was appointed Diocesan Director of Building. That job included approval of financial feasibility of proposed projects, approving the location and general plan of buildings, and the details of the planning.
An interview at that time in the Inland Register quoted his dedication to use of lumber in construction.
“I have seen 100-year-old wood structures in this diocese where the wood is in perfect condition,” he said. “You can get the same building of wood for half the cost” of brick, stone and mortar. Wood “can be faced with any of a variety of materials.”
In July 1977 Father Wenning moved to St. Anthony Parish, Spokane, as pastor. He served there until his retirement in July 1987.
(Editor's note: Funeral arrangements for Father Wenning have now been scheduled. The vigil service will be Thursday evening, Sept. 11, at 7 p.m. The funeral Mass will be the following morning at 10 a.m. Both will take place at St. Thomas More Church, 503 W. St. Thomas More Way, Spokane.)