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

Around the Diocese

the Inland Register

(From the May 24, 2007 edition of the Inland Register)

The sleeping dorm at the House of Charity will now be open year-round, thanks to new grant funding. (IR photo from Catholic Charities)

Spokane County grant helps fund year-round House of Charity sleeping program

The Emergency Winter Sleeping Program, which ran from about November through March, has always been a great boon for the patrons of the House of Charity. Getting out of the cold is a blessing and, sometimes, a lifesaver. But the cold isn’t the only threat the homeless face. Increasingly, violence is problem for those who sleep outside.

Thanks to a grant from Spokane County’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund, the House of Charity will now be offering safe, warm, clean beds year-round. According to program coordinator Bill Tierney, the grant “means we’ll have more consistency, which in turn means that we can create relationships with people and connect them with services such as transitional housing.” New staff members are being added, including Tierney, who started at the House of Charity as a Jesuit Volunteer and is the first person to fill his position.

The House of Charity is also looking for male volunteers, over 18 years of age, who are available at least once a month to help care for the men. Volunteers will either work downstairs, facilitating gear check and mail for the patrons, or upstairs, handing out towels and clean pajamas.

The extension of the sleeping program is a great relief and reprieve for Spokane’s homeless. “Some of our clients will choose not to sleep at the House of Charity during the warm summer months,” Tierney said, “but other very vulnerable people who haven’t had a choice will be thrilled to have that option.”

Birth mothers honored at Mass, luncheon

The eighth annual Catholic Charities Birth Mothers’ Mass and luncheon was held May 4 at St. Joseph Church, Spokane. About 50 people came to honor the role of birth mothers in their children’s lives.

Bishop Skylstad celebrated the Mass and spoke of how precious is each individual in the eyes of God. Although loved ones are sometimes separated, “the promised reunion will happen and we will all be rejoined in God’s kingdom,” he said.

Reunions were also a topic at the luncheon following Mass, free for all birth mothers. Many of the women who had relinquished a child for adoption had finally had a reunion with the child many years later, bringing a joyful end to years of painful longing and emptiness. The women spoke of how they had always thought so often of their missing child, frequently searching the faces of strangers on the street in hopes of catching a glimpse of their child. Some described the incredible joy they felt upon hearing their child’s voice for the first time.

One mother said that her other children had been apprehensive about her seeking out the son she had relinquished; they were afraid she’d get hurt. “But it was something I had to do,” she said. “Something I wanted to do.” That son ended up living with her for two years, and she thanks God for his presence in her life today.

The luncheon ended with the birth mothers lighting candles in remembrance of their children, after which each woman was given a rose. As one guest explained, “We all need this validation. We are mothers, and we sacrificed.”

Information session for potential deacons is June 30

On Saturday, June 30, Bishop Skylstad and members of the deacon community will present an informational session for men considering a vocation to diaconate.

The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. in the library of Bishop White Seminary, 429 E. Sharp Ave. in Spokane.

Wives also are invited and encouraged to attend.

The meeting will cover such aspects as the application process and an overview of the deacon formation program.

The meeting is informational only; no startup date has been set for the next deacon formation program. Those who plan to attend should RSVP with Mary Jane Sever, Bishop White Seminary, by June 15; call 326-3761, or e-mail

Contest winners

Five Cataldo students placed out of 117 entries in The Catholic Daughters of the Americas’ recent educational contest. Congratulations to Rachel Feldmeier, who placed third in the art category in her division; Clare Cozza, second in art in her division; Cael McKeirnan, first in poetry; Meghan Lobdell and John Michels, who placed first and third, respectively, in photography. Pictured, from left, are Meghan Lobdell, Clare Cozza, Cael McKeirnan, John Michels, and Rachel Feldmier. (IR photo from Cataldo School, Spokane)

High school service team to assist Mississippi Katrina victims

Catholic Charities, Spokane, is sponsoring a service team of high school students to travel to Waveland, Miss., from Aug. 11-19, to assist in the ongoing recovery of this community devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

The students will be helping with home reconstruction, in conjunction with St. Clare Parish and Retreat Center in Waveland, as well as Catholic Charities of Biloxi.

The team has space for 14 high school students who are at least 16 as of June 1, 2007, and who will be in high school in the 2007-2008 academic year.

Supervising the group will be Dan Glatt, youth minister at Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Spokane, assisted by a team of adult chaperones.

The cost per student is $125, with the remainder underwritten by Catholic Charities’ Katrina Reconstruction Fund. This includes airfare to New Orleans, lodging at the St. Clare Retreat Center in Waveland, local transportation, all meals, as well as a recreational activity at the end.

Application deadline is May 25. For information, call Glatt at (509) 747-7213, or e-mail

Photographer of ‘Mother Teresa’s World’ is ‘Caring for Kids’ speaker

The 11th annual Caring for Kids Luncheon, to benefit St. Anne Children and Family Center and Morning Star Boys’ Ranch, will be held Tuesday, Sept. 18, at the Spokane Convention Center. The event will begin at 11:30 a.m.; tickets are $100 per person.

Guest speaker for the event is photojournalist Linda Schaefer, the last professional photographer to spend time with Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. In India, she was given access to orphanages, leper houses, and houses of the dying. Her photographs were compiled in Come and See: A Photojournalist’s Journey into the World of Mother Teresa. Each Caring for Kids guest will receive a copy of Schaefer’s book.

Over 10 years, Caring for Kids has raised more than $279,000 for Morning Star and St. Anne. Reservations may be made by calling 358-4253.

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