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

Regional Report

the Inland Register

(From the April 7, 2005 edition of the Inland Register)

Diocese of Helena

HELENA – Bishop George Thomas addressed the Helena Diocese’s financial situation in his March 18 “In the Light of Christ” column, titled “The State of the Diocese: Considering Our Financial Status.”

“Presently the ‘bottom line’ in the Diocese of Helena reveals an operating deficit,” he wrote. From the last fiscal year, “we acquired a nearly $2 million responsibility for settlements related to clergy sexual abuse, events which happened in the 1960s. Our unfunded future liabilities (such as priests’ post-retirement benefits) increased by over $400,000. The current operations of the diocese showed a deficit of nearly $691,000, and we anticipate a deficit of approximately $300,000 in the current fiscal year.” On top of that, the diocese’s annual collection – Helena’s equivalent to Spokane’s Annual Catholic Appeal – fell short of its goal.

The diocese has taken out a line of credit to continue operations for the time being. Among other initiatives: staffing reductions by not replacing employees who have attained employment elsewhere; no raises for members of the bishop’s staff; reductions in travel expenses.

“On a personal note,” wrote Bishop Thomas, “I have found this aspect of diocesan life sometimes daunting, if not overwhelming. There is a beautiful line in the Church’s Dogmatic Constitution, which remains both a source of consolation, as well as a constant north star. Pastors know ‘that they themselves were not meant by Christ to shoulder alone the entire saving mission of the Church toward the world.’ From my vantage it is that spirit of shared responsibility, mutuality and collegiality that will carry us into the future with confidence.”

— Montana Catholic (Helena)

Diocese of Yakima

YAKIMA – Yakima County Communities Against Gun Violence are hosting a conference on Saturday, April 16, at Davis High School, 212 S. 16th Ave. in Yakima.

Registration begins at 11 a.m., with program activities from noon-5 p.m.

Among the topics being discussed:

• Why do teens become violent?
• Building on Trust: A Conflict Resolution Approach
• Gun Violence: Live by the Gun, Die by the Gun

The event is co-sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Yakima, the Yakima Police Department, Yakima School District, and others.

Conference cost is $25 for youth and parents, $50 for organizations and agencies. For information, call (509) 469-7138 (Yakima).

— Central Washington Catholic (Yakima)

Archdiocese of Seattle

SEATTLE – Seattle’s Archbishop Alex Brunett released a pastoral letter dedicated to the Eucharist, titled “Sign of Unity, Bond of Love.”

In an interview with The Catholic Northwest Progress, Archbishop Brunett said he could sum up the letter’s core message with two words: “Sunday worship.” He said, “In order to restore the centrality of Eucharist, we must reestablish the primacy of celebrating Sunday Eucharist among believers.”

The letter also helps mark the Year of the Eucharist, declared for October 2004-October 2005 by Pope John Paul II.

Archbishop Brunett’s letter can be downloaded from the Seattle Archdiocese’s web site:

— Catholic Northwest Progress (Seattle)

Diocese of Boise

BOISE – Deacon Rap Howell began serving an 18-month federal prison sentence last month after pleading guilty to possession of Internet child pornography.

Diocesan officials say that the crime had no connection to the deacon’s ministry at St. Mary Parish, Boise, and did not occur on church property.

Bishop Michael Driscoll and his staff heard of the possible charges last summer. At that time, the diocese ran an investigation parallel to an FBI investigation. Upon learning of the FBI investigation, Bishop Driscoll asked Deacon Howell to take a leave of absence from his position as deacon at St. Mary Parish. He resigned his post Oct. 1, 2004.

— Catholic Sentinel (Portland, Ore.)

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