Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
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
Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church Dedication:
February 4, 2005 • 7 p.m.
Story and photos by Jami LeBrun, Inland Register staff
(From the Feb. 3, 2005 edition of the Inland Register)
Members of Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Spokane, are excitedly anticipating the dedication of their new and long-awaited worship space at 1517 E. 33rd Ave. On Feb. 4 at 7 p.m., Bishop Skylstad will bless and dedicate the new church, the first permanent worship facility in the parish’s history, and the first new church building built in the Spokane Diocese in the new millennium.
Concelebrating the Mass of Dedication will be Bishop William Skylstad, and the past and current pastors. The bishop will anoint the altar and walls of the new structure.
The 13,000-square foot building was constructed by Walker Construction, Inc. of Spokane and designed by architects from Architecture West Inc. of Coeur d’Alene. The new church building features a large gathering place at the entrance and has a maximum capacity of 500, though they currently have enough pews for 300 people.
During construction, the parishioners gathered for Mass in All Saints Middle School’s gymnasium, a structure half the size of the new building.
Our Lady of Fatima Parish was founded in 1956. The parish’s first Masses were celebrated in the Hutton Elementary School auditorium. In 1957 the church built a classroom where services were held. Services have been held in the old gymnasium on the Our Lady of Fatima and All Saints School’s shared campus since 1959.
“We’ve worshipped in every building we have,” said Father Kuhns.
Six years ago, though, the approval to build a new worship space came through and the parishioners set about making it a reality.
From the very beginning, every parishioner was encouraged to participate in the planning, design and fund-raising for the new church. Parishioners filled out “wish lists” describing what each envisioned as the perfect worship space. More than 100 parishioners served the parish community as part of the Design Task Force, planning everything from lighting to pews to the baptismal font. Many other parishioners served on fund-raising and special project committees.
Finally, in late March of 2004 the walls of the old gym came down and new walls for the new $2.5 million church building began to be built on the 1959 gymnasium site.
In the meantime, Father Kuhns and his parishioners converted the newer middle school gym they share with All Saints into a temporary worship space that they affectionately call “St. Gym.” They brought in the pews from the old worship space and built a platform for the altar.
“It’s not the prettiest space,” said one parishioner, “I mean there are basketball hoops hanging from the ceiling, but we all know it’s just temporary.”
The dedication and sincere interest of the parishioners shows in the special details of the new worship space. The new church is a combination of new and old. All of the carvings from the old worship space, including the Stations of the Cross and the processional crucifix, have been refurbished and have taken up post in the new worship space. The Eucharistic Chapel is furnished with antique stained glass windows that one parishioner located in a local store. The windows were rebuilt to fit into the new chapel.
The new features give the worship space a contemporary feeling. The new Baptismal Font is a unique octagonal pool, eight feet long, set just inside the worship space. The church windows were designed by Mark Gulsrud of Tacoma, who also designed the most unique feature of the new church – a sculptured east wall. The beautiful new altar’s base was built by Tom Husby of Coeur d’Alene and the granite top was built by Mario & Son in Spokane.
The Mass of Dedication will be the first celebrated in the new church building.
The baptismal font stands at the entrance of the new church.
Workers assemble and install the new pews.
Sculpture frames the window of the east wall, above the altar.
Volunteers Joanne Hagen and Mary Alyce Konesky clean the sacristy.
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