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

Letters to the Editor

(From the June 8, 2006 edition of the Inland Register)

Regarding Letters to the Editor

The Inland Register welcomes letters to the editor. Letters should be no longer than 500 words. Letters must be signed, with address and phone number for contact, but names will be withheld upon request. Remember to be charitable.

Send letters to:

Inland Register
P.O. Box 48
Spokane, WA 99210-0048


Fax: (509) 358-7302

Thanks for St. Paschal School


I recently learned the good news that St. Paschal School in the Spokane Valley will be open next year. I would like to share with the readers of the Inland Register a paper I prepared for a writing class I attend when I learned of the possible closing.

A recent article in the Spokesman-Review (Spokane’s daily newspaper) caused me to experience both sorrow and some happy memories. The article related to the possible closure of St. Paschal grade school in the Spokane Valley. My brothers and I attended and graduated from the school in the 1950s. The school is facing financial problems and has a current enrollment of only 64 students.

Usually when I express appreciation for any success I may have achieved, I mention the education I received at Gonzaga University and the other universities I attended, and the fine education I received from the Jesuits at Gonzaga Prep. But St. Paschal played a vital role in my educational career and related development. The Holy Name nuns who ran the school were truly dedicated women, even though I did not always acknowledge that such as the times I was disciplined even though I probably deserved it most of the time.

Sister Miriam Catherine was the principal and she and I definitely did not see eye-to-eye most of the time although she was the one who recommended to my parents that I skip a grade. Maybe she wanted to get rid of me a year sooner.

Playing sports for the St. Paschal Panthers was an important part of my life there. We had dedicated Franciscan priests such as Father Paschal and Father Gordon as our coaches.

Thus it will be sad if St. Paschal School has to close. The school has changed in a number of ways but it will always have a great tradition. It has been open for over 60 years. Sometimes economics dictates the closure of such institutions. But there will always be hundreds of students who have pleasant memories of the school. And whenever I am in the valley and driving down Park Road, I will always look at the school building with pride and fond memories.

Thankfully we now will be able to look at the building and know that the fine quality education for which the school is known is still going on.

Mike McKinnon, Spokane

Five myths about illegal aliens


The immigration debate is raging in America. There are an estimated 11-12 million illegal aliens in the U.S. and the proposals regarding what to do about them run the entire spectrum from “throw them all out” to “give them all green cards.” There are many myths regarding who immigrates to the U.S. and why. After practicing immigration law for 23 years in the Tri-City area, I may have some insight into who and why people come to the U.S. Although I have represented individuals from 109 of the 192 countries in the world, most of my practice over the years has involved Mexican farm workers. Estimates indicate that probably 70 percent of the 11-12 million illegal aliens are from Mexico and Central America. Here are the five most common myths about illegal immigrants.

Myth #1: Illegal aliens take American jobs.

Not so. For the most part, the illegal aliens who are here work in jobs Americans simply do not want. Those jobs are farm workers, janitors, chambermaids, busboys and dishwashers, gardeners and groundskeepers, nannies and household domestics. Those are not the jobs Americans seek. The jobs Mexicans perform in the U.S. are usually minimum wage, with no benefits and little opportunity for advancement. They do the lousy, back-breaking work Americans can but refuse to do.

Myth #2: Illegal aliens don’t pay taxes.

Not True. The overwhelming majority of illegal aliens pay the exact same taxes you and I pay. Most illegal aliens work for employers who don’t know they are illegal or, possibly suspect they may be illegal, but don’t want to know for sure. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is the basis of their working relationship. As a result, the typical employer of an illegal alien deducts all the federal income and social security taxes from all his employees – legal and illegal alike.

Myth #3: Illegal aliens don’t learn English or assimilate.

Yes and no. The typical Mexican who grew up in Mexico attended school there for only three to six years. The education system in rural Mexico, from which most illegal aliens come, is rudimentary at best. As a result, most of the older Mexicans who are here only speak their native language at a basic level. As a result, it is tremendously difficult for many of those adults to learn fluent English. The children of those older immigrants, however, go to school in the U.S., are immersed in English-speaking American culture and virtually all speak English. In the years ahead, those Mexicans will speak English and assimilate into U.S. culture the same way the Irish, Italians, Japanese and every other group of new immigrants have.

Myth #4: Illegal aliens don’t contribute to the U.S. economy; they just come here to get on welfare.

Not even close. Illegal aliens contribute immensely to the U.S. economy. They work hard and perform the essential jobs that are vital to keeping the U.S. economy moving forward. They pay taxes and consume goods and services – from cars and gas to groceries and houses – which, in turn, benefits those U.S. citizens selling those commodities. As for illegal aliens signing up for welfare, U.S. law strictly prohibits those here illegally from obtaining welfare, food stamps or any other type of public assistance.

Myth #5: Illegal aliens should apply to legally come in to work in the U.S.

Great idea, except it just happens to be impossible. The present system for employment-based immigration allows only 10,000 low-skill green cards per year for the entire United States. As a result, the U.S. finds itself in the paradoxical situation in which we need the workers, the foreign workers want the jobs but the present immigration system has no avenue to allow them to enter and work legally. The 11-12 million illegal aliens in the U.S. is the 800-pound gorilla in American society that many choose to ignore, some demagogue and few understand. Exploding some of the most persistent myths about illegal aliens in America may help to guide us to a national immigration policy which will serve our country while, at the same time, recognize the dignity and value of those who are already here doing the low-skill, low-paying jobs that we Americans refuse to do.

Thomas Roach, Pasco, Wash.

Youth minister requests help


My name is Amanda Higginson. I am 18 years old, from, Colfax, Wash. I am writing to share with you the exciting year I have had and to ask for your help as this year comes to a close.

I decided to defer my freshman year at Franciscan University of Steubenvllle in order to serve one year on a youth ministry program, called REACH (retreat, evangelization, and conversion of hearts). REACH youth ministry travels, putting on retreats for youth ages kindergarten to college. I started my year commitment in August 20O5. So far the year has been such a blessing and I feel very fortunate to be able to see the amazing things the Lord is doing for many of our retreatants.

One of the commitments I made as a REACH team member was to raise $4,250 to sustain me, cover traveling expenses, and provide me with a small monthly stipend. So far I have met $3,570 of my sponsorship goal! That leaves me with $680. I am so grateful for the generosity of my parish, our local Knights of Columbus, and so many families who have helped me meet my goal. The end of my amazing year on REACH is nearly here. In August I will be moving on to the Franciscan University of Steubenvllle, Ohio! I will have new financial responsibilities as I enter university life. I am, writing to ask for your financial support In reaching the remainder of my goal, a total of $680, and equally as important, your spiritual support by praying for me, my team, and the entire REACH youth Ministry. I could really use your help in both cases.

If you would like to learn more about REACH, visit our web site at Donations can be made in my name, to: REACH youth ministry, P.O. Box 130, Cowiche, WA 98923.

Amanda Higginson, Colfax, Wash.

Health risks of homosexuality


In a time when much is made about taking care of our health – don’t smoke, low-fat diets, exercise, etc. – I have wondered why so little is heard about the health effects of a homosexual lifestyle.

According to a study in the Omega Journal of Death and Dying, the median age of death among homosexuals from AIDS is 37; and the Center for Disease Control reports that men who engage in homosexual behavior have five times the risk of contracting HI V/AIDS (presumably, compared to men with a heterosexual lifestyle). Death from other causes brings the average “dying age” to 42 for homosexuals.

Lesbians are not “home free.” The average age for a lesbian to die is 47, compared to 79 years for married heterosexual women.

Does any of this matter? Two primary reasons exclusive of anything with a religious flavor:

Someone has to pay the cost of health care for people dying of AIDS, just as they do for emphysema, diabetes, etc.

In many schools (don’t know about Spokane), homosexuality is presented as a viable choice for children. Why should we be suggesting that they would wish to live a foreshortened life? Surely the health effect should not be hidden.

Deacon Walt Weid, Spokane

Bishops and abuse


I note that in these 2006 Essential Norms the USCCB has once again ignored the problem of bishops who do not follow these Norms. In 2002 the USCCB approved a Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, in which no punitive action was specified for those bishops who, like Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston, flagrantly ignored the welfare of Catholic youth. They have now ignored that possibility once again. Are we to trust them once again as we have in the past?

I suppose the answer to that is that the bishops hold their tenure at the pleasure of the pope only. There is no other source of discipline against them. Cardinal Law, for example, under extreme public pressure resigned his position as archbishop of the Boston Archdiocese. He is now Cardinal-Priest at Santa Susanna, the primary American Church in Rome, but that appears to be his only punishment. I am not satisfied with the bishops’ stand on self-discipline.

Richard Clark, Spokane

Da Vinci and divinity


The Da Vinci Code is seriously flawed. According to what I’ve heard – I haven’t read the book or seen the movie, and I don’t plan to, either – author Dan Brown gives the false premise that Jesus Christ was not and is not God. Brown contends that the first time Jesus was ever considered to be divine was under the direction of Emperor Constantine by a close vote at the Council of Nicea. There are at least two problems with this theory.

The vote wasn’t even close. It was 318-2 in the affirmative and not on whether Christ was God but that he is co-eternal with the Father.

The other problem is that nearly 325 years before the Council of Nicea, Jesus said, “I solemnly declare it: before Abraham came to be, I am” (John 8:58). With those words Jesus was claiming to be God. Another verse agreeing with Christ’s divinity is the Epistle to the Hebrews (4:14): “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God. Let us hold fast to our profession of faith.”

There are many more Scriptures in the Bible that support the divinity of Jesus. Do not be deceived. Jesus Christ is definitely the Son of God. As the second person in the Holy Trinity, he is God and he is divine.

Also, Mary Magdalene was never Jesus’ wife.

The Da Vinci Code contradicts itself. If Jesus was not divine and was married to a woman who gave birth to his son, there can be no Holy Blood. And without the Blood of Christ, The Da Vinci Code is not much different than a “whitewashed tomb.”

Daniel Olstad, Spokane

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