Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

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

Two Spokane youth groups combine, grow

by Bonita Lawhead, Inland Register staff

(From the Oct. 2, 2003 edition of the Inland Register)

In unity, there is strength.

Father Daniel Barnett was named pastor of St. Francis Xavier and St. Patrick parishes in Spokane in July 2002. Each parish had a small religious education program for their young people.

The two parishes decided to join forces. A year later the report is that the programs are working well and growing stronger.

“It just makes sense” to have the two programs combined, said Sheila Kries of St. Patrick Parish.

Kries heads the religious education program for children in both parishes, from kindergarten through sixth grade. Judy Leach of St. Francis Xavier is her counterpart for the youth program in grades 7-12.

The lower grades, about 50 children, meet in the classrooms at St. Patrick School. Kries said there are five “dedicated teachers and about that many aides.” The children have lessons in the Image of God series and also take part in a variety of activities with Father Barnett. These have focused primarily on the sacraments, which gives an added bonus of adult catechesis.

Leach’s group, which is junior high and high school age, numbers about 20. They gather in the former school building at St. Francis. They meet every Sunday evening and then have service outreach on Wednesdays. There are two teachers, along with other adults who lend assistance.

The Sunday evening sessions begin with a game or skit, or something other lively activity. This is followed by the lesson. Class ends with praise and worship that includes spontaneous prayer and memorized prayer, Leach said. Father Barnett often stops in to visit.

On Wednesdays, the young people visit homebound parishioners in both parishes to find out if there is anything they need. Sometimes they need yard work, house work or maybe just a person to visit.

The interest in the Wednesday outreach is strong and the group is looking for some sort of mini-bus that they can use for their Wednesday visits. For safety reasons, two adults ride in each car, requiring two and sometimes three cars to transport everyone. Occasionally the outreach has to be canceled for lack of transportation. Anyone having suggestions or who can lend assistance regarding a vehicle should call Leach at (509) 325-3263.

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