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

Rest in Peace: Father James Grant, 1923-2006

the Inland Register

(From the April 27, 2006 edition of the Inland Register)

Father James GrantFather James Grant died April 7 in Spokane, one month before his 50th anniversary of priestly ordination. (IR file photo)

Father James Grant, a priest of the Spokane Diocese, died April 7 after a long illness. He died just one month before his 50th anniversary of priestly ordination.

He was 82.

The vigil was April 11 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes in Spokane. The funeral Mass was celebrated there the next day. Burial was at Holy Cross Cemetery, Spokane.

Father Grant was born in Chicago.

He served in the U.S. Army in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He was awarded the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart, received, he said recently, for “nothing much – just a flesh wound in my left arm.”

He earned a bachelor’s degree in geology before he began studies for the priesthood.

His family moved to Spokane in 1948. He entered St. Edward Seminary and was ordained a priest for the Spokane Diocese on May 10, 1956, the first priest ordained by Bishop Bernard Topel.

He served as assistant pastor of St. Patrick, Walla Walla, Holy Family, Clarkston, and St. John Vianney, Spokane, before being named administrator of St. Rose of Lima, Cheney.

He became administrator of Immaculate Conception Parish, Oroville, and the pastor of St. Agnes, Ritzville, in 1970.

In 1970 he became pastor of Immaculate Conception, Davenport; then, associate pastor of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes. He spent three years as associate pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Spokane, before he became administrator, in 1977, of St. Charles Parish, Spokane.

His other ministries included work with the diocese’s Guatemala mission effort, diocesan director of the Catholic Boy Scouts, and twice as director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. In that capacity, he met in a private audience with Pope John Paul II.

Father Grant also held the position of administrative assistant at the Catholic Pastoral Center, from 1980 until his retirement in 1987.

In 1982, Father Grant arranged a replacement for “The Pope’s Stone” to be installed in the Washington Monument in Washington D.C.

During construction, nations of the world were asked to contribute blocks of granite as gifts to the new memorial. One of the nations responding was the Holy See. But the stone was never installed.

As Father Grant researched the subject, he learned that the original stone, sent by the Vatican to be included in the structure as it was erected in 1854, was somehow “lost,” probably stolen and destroyed in an act of anti-Catholic bigotry.

Father Grant had a replica of the stone made by Tresco Monument Company in Spokane and shipped the stone to the nation’s capitol. The National Park Service approved installation of the replacement stone in the monument.

The stone was officially dedicated Nov. 16, 1982.

Father Grant loved to travel, to take photographs, and loved being a priest. He ended visits by blessing those who had come to see him.

In an interview last July with Inland Register reporter Mitch Finley, Father Grant said that his vocation was sparked by a visit to friends who were studying at St. Edward Seminary. Their course of studies “looked kind of interesting,” he told the IR. “I wasn’t too sure, but I thought I’d give it a year, and see what happens.”

Memorial contributions may be made to Morning Star Boys’ Ranch, P.O. Box 8087, Spokane, WA 99203.

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