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


Seven to be ordained to diaconate June 24

by Jami LeBrun, Inland Register staff

(From the June 9, 2005 edition of the Inland Register)

After four years of intense academic formation and preparation, and years of discernment, eight men are scheduled to be ordained deacons for the Diocese of Spokane. Deacon Jim Barrow was ordained on May 29; the rest of the candidates will be ordained at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 24.

Jim Barrow Jim Barrow was ordained to the diaconate by Bishop William Skylstad on May 29 at St. Patrick Parish in Walla Walla. Deacon Barrow was born and raised in Savannah, Ga. He and his wife, Jeannette, have two adult children. Barrow was educated in Hawaii, where he received both his undergraduate and law school degrees. Following law school, Deacon Barrow served a career in the USAF as a Judge Advocate. He retired from the military in 1990 and became the chief ethics and professional responsibility council for the Louisiana Supreme court. He moved with his family to Walla Walla in 1993, where he now serves as the Chief Administrative Officer of a northwest Oregon county. As a deacon, his ministries will include service with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, prison ministry, social concerns and adult faith formation committees, and hospice chaplaincy. Deacon Barrow has been assigned to St. Francis and St. Patrick parishes in Walla Walla.

Rod Popiel Rodney “Rod” Popiel and his wife, Arlette, have two adult daughters – Cindy, a CPA in Spokane, and Jennifer, a history professor at St. Louis University in Missouri – and seven grandchildren. Popiel is the National Training Manager and Senior District Sales Representative for the paint division of Ace Hardware Corporation. Popiel discerned a vocation to the diaconate through his own prayers as well as those of his parents and grandmother. In addition to his duties as a deacon, Popiel plans to minister to the widows and widowers in his parish and the Inland Hospitality Network. Popiel has been assigned to Sacred Heart Parish, Spokane.

Ed Schaefer Dr. Edward Schaefer holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from The Catholic University of America. He has been a music professor at Gonzaga University since 1986 and has led the choral program at Gonzaga to national prominence. He also provides musical assistance to several parishes in Spokane. Dr. Schaefer has a particular interest in chant, with post-doctoral studies at the French national conservatory and several publications on the subject. Dr. Schaefer and his wife, Karen, have been married for 28 years and have two daughters: Catherine, 19, is studying music and English at Duquesne University and Anna Marie, 15, who will study ballet and French in Paris this fall. After ordination, Dr. Schaefer will continue to hold his position at Gonzaga University and also to serve the diocese through his ministry with the weekly Gregorian Mass co-sponsored by Gonzaga and St. Aloysius Parish. He also has been assigned to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Joe Schroeder Joseph Schroeder works as a Controller for a general contractor. He and his wife, Natalie, have six children, ranging in age from 2 to 17 years. Schroeder enjoys basketball, running, coaching soccer, water skiing and all outdoor activities, including yard work. He currently serves his parish, St. Joseph in Colbert, as the facilitator and wrap-up lecture speaker for Little Rock Scripture Study, an altar server trainer, and an adult assistant for the junior high youth group. He serves the community as a Spokane Multi-faith Aids Care Team volunteer and parish homebound ministries. After ordination, Schroeder hopes to serve those in the community who have been marginalized, especially those with HIV/Aids and the homeless, in addition to his normal duties. Schroeder has been assigned to St. Joseph for his deacon ministry..

Scott Brockway Scott Brockway is an Investment Representative with Edward Jones, Spokane. He is a 1985 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, and holds an MBA from Gonzaga University. He married his wife, Leah, in 1991. The two have no children, but plan to adopt a child in late 2005. As a deacon, Brockway plans to pursue detention ministry in Airway Heights in addition to his duties at St. Augustine Parish, where he has been assigned.

Doug Banks Douglas Banks was born and raised in Baltimore, Md. He received his undergraduate degree in education from the University of Montana and went on to pursue his master’s in education at Whitworth College. Banks has taught at Gonzaga Preparatory and St. Thomas More schools in Spokane, and is currently the Principal at St. Thomas More. He and his wife, Christine, have four children: David, 29, Jennifer, 26, Shelly, 25 and Carrie, 11. Banks began discerning a vocation to Religious life in 1983 when he entered the Jesuit Novitiate. Though he left the novitiate, he continued to feel a pull toward a Religious vocation and finally discerned a call to the diaconate. As a deacon, Banks will continue his service to St. Thomas More Church and school, as well as lead youth retreats and work as a volunteer hospice chaplain. Banks has been assigned to St. Thomas More Parish.

Gary Viele Gary Viele was born in Rochester, N.Y., to a military family. As a child, his family moved a lot, allowing him to experience different areas of the country, including the Northwest. He liked the area so much that after he and his wife, Chris, were married they decided to settle in Spokane. Viele works in circulation for the Spokane County Library District. He and Chris have been married for 40 years and have two adult children, James and Paula. Viele said he has always had a desire to serve the Church but it was not until just a few years ago that he discerned a vocation to the diaconate through retreats, the prayers of his family and the guidance of his parish priest and a deacon. Viele feels a special call to minister to the Native American communities on reservations and in the Spokane area. He has been assigned to St. Francis Xavier Parish, Spokane.

Mike Miller Michael Miller is the Bishop’s Secretary for Diocesan Business Affairs for the Diocese of Spokane. He and his wife, Kathleen, have three adult children, Julie, Christopher and Brian, and two grandchildren. Miller began discerning the diaconate 10 years ago after a suggestion from another deacon. After a few letdowns in his discernment process, Miller and his wife moved from Pittsburgh to Spokane and he entered the deacon formation program shortly after. After ordination, Miller plans to continue his ministry in the L’Arche community and House of Charity. He will also coordinate the Social Services Committee for his parish and serve the parish in whatever way God calls him. Miller has been assigned to St. Mary Parish in the Spokane Valley.

(Special thanks to Rod Popiel for the photos accompanying this story.)


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