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

St. Francis Xavier parishioner receives international honor for lifetime of stewardship

by Steve Kocharhook, for the Inland Register

(From the Dec. 18, 2003 edition of the Inland Register)

Pete BricknerRight: Pete Brickner is the recipient of this year’s Christian Stewardship Award from the International Catholic Stewardship Council (ICSC). He is shown holding his 2002 Catholic Community Service Award, given by The Catholic Foundation of the Diocese of Spokane. (IR photo from the Diocesan Development Office)

Pete Brickner and his wife, Ruth, have been members of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Spokane for more than 50 years. They raised five children, all of whom attended St. Francis Xavier Grade School and Gonzaga Prep.

Although Pete sometimes worked two jobs while his children were growing up, he found time to belong to and help most of the organizations and ministries in the parish. He has always had a talent for convincing people to give both time and money for good causes and special works in the parish. Parishioners know that if you want a fund-raiser to succeed, first convince Pete how important it is. He has worked on or helped with every fund-raiser or work project at the parish since he and Ruth became members of that community.

Pete has been a member of the Holy Name Society at St. Francis and has held every possible office in that organization. He has been a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Conference for almost 20 years and served as its president for five years.

Pete is a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus, a member of the St. Francis Xavier Home and School Association, and assists with the local Meals on Wheels. He was on the Health and Wellness Commission for School District 81 for eight years and worked with Deaf Community Cursillo Movement for 10 years.

In addition to having served as Chairman of the Board of the blood bank program, Pete is a 22-gallon blood donor.

He spent 36 years working at the Spokesman-Review, Spokane’s daily newspaper. He started there as a printer and spent the last 15 years as supervisor in advertising services. There were four deaf employees in his department. To facilitate their ability to work, Pete studied sign language so he could communicate effectively with them. Each year School District 81 in Spokane hosts a picnic day at Riverfront Park for all the special education students in the district’s schools. Since this activity began, Pete has been the person who barbeques the hot dogs the children enjoy that day.

Pete’s years of being a Eucharistic Minister include going on sick calls, visiting the elderly, taking people to doctor visits and checking on elderly parishioners when they miss Mass. Over the past 50 years, Pete has shared his time, skills and even money with his parish and the larger Spokane community. He has lived his life as a good steward of the gifts and resources God has given to him.

To honor Pete’s service to St. Francis Xavier Parish and the community, the Catholic Foundation of the Spokane Diocese awarded him the Catholic Community Service Award in 2002.

Each year the Board of Directors of the International Catholic Stewardship Council (ICSC) selects one individual from all the countries in the world to receive its Christian Stewardship Award in recognition of one person’s stewardship of God’s gifts. This year they selected Pete.

The award is given to individuals who try to live life as a Christian Steward and give others an example of how to do the same.

The ICSC was started 31 years ago to encourage Catholics to live their lives as stewards of God’s gifts, acknowledging that everything they have is a gift from God. As Christian Stewards we receive God’s gifts gratefully, cultivate them responsibly, share them lovingly in justice with others, and return them with increase to the Lord.

Some previous recipients of the Award include:

• Dr. and Mrs. Andrew Simone founded Canadian Food for Children after working with Mother Teresa’s co-workers in Canada. This organization is staffed by volunteers and finds and distributes over 5 million pounds of food a year to Haiti, Peru, Tanzania and over 30 other countries throughout the world.

• William Stolowski, a businessman in the Diocese of Portland, Maine, who, as chairman of the diocesan stewardship committee, helped to introduce “Stewardship as a Way of Life” to the parishes in the diocese.

• Sister Cyril Mooney, a Sister of Loreto who works in India with poor children. Through Sister Cyril’s efforts, the school where she teaches opened 50 percent of the enrollment to children from the nearby slums who may have a place to live but are extremely poor. They have also taken in homeless street children who live at the school. She started the “Barefoot Teacher Training Program,” designed to train young adults from remote villages or slums to be primary school teachers. Through this program these young people can become primary school teachers for areas where there are no schools. Already 8,000 teachers have been trained.

Pete Brickner will now be among the recipients of this prestigious honor when the Christian Stewardship Award is presented to him on Sept. 13, 2004 at the International Catholic Stewardship Council’s annual conference, Sept. 12-16 in New Orleans.

(Steve Kocharhook is Director of Development for the Diocese of Spokane.)

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