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

St. Patrick School, Spokane, welcomes new Development Director

Story and photo by Mitch Finley, Inland Register staff

(From the Nov. 15, 2007 edition of the Inland Register)

Maury Prater comes to Spokane’s St. Patrick School after working in the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis. (IR photo)

In the course of his eight years there, Maurice “Maury” Prater held three positions in the Archdiocese of St. Paul -Minneapolis. For the last three years, he was Communications Director for St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and School in St. Paul.

Then one day he saw an ad in the National Catholic Register inviting applications for the position of Development Director at Spokane’s St. Patrick School. The first time, he was intrigued but did nothing about it. When the ad appeared a second time, he said to himself, “Well, why don’t I look into it?”

“That was my first mistake,” he quips with a happy chuckle. “So I did, and Dorothy Gallagher, the principal here, started talking to me, and she’s very persuasive. She invited me to come out and have a look at the school, and then I just fell in love with it, and that’s how I got here.”

In a nutshell, St. Patrick’s new development director will work fulltime, year around, on fund raising, marketing, public relations, and recruitment of students. He will also be responsible for grant writing and, he said, “growing an endowment and so forth. The most important thing is tuition scholarships for the students who need that assistance.

“One thing that we would like to do,” Prater said, “is increase enrollment. We have room to grow, which is a positive. Everyone here is very dedicated and will do anything for this school, but they don’t think that people know about the school, so we want to get the word out. One thing that attracted me is that the school is in a low-income area and in the midst of all the other issues that go with that, but this is exactly where the church should be. This is exactly what is needed most in this area: an authentic Catholic education, because education will break the cycle of poverty, and the Catholic faith rooted in Jesus Christ is what gives everyone hope. So we feel that this is really fulfilling the mission of the church.”

Everyone involved with the school wants to make a Catholic education affordable for anyone, “and that means making sacrifices,” he said, “and we will do that. We will serve where God has placed us.”

Prater’s first day on the job wasn’t at the school but at Immaculate Heart Retreat Center. “Thursday, Oct. 18, they started me out at a day of prayer,” he said, being conducted by Father Victor Blazovich, the pastor of St. Patrick and St. Francis Xavier parishes. The next day he spent painting and ripping out carpet in his new office. All of it was “a good introduction to how things work here at St. Patrick School.”

When Prater flew to Spokane to interview with Gallagher and Father Blazovich, he asked them what they were trying to accomplish at the school.

“Their response caught me off guard,” he said, “but it was a pleasant surprise. They emphasized that the school’s mission is to help each student to become a saint. When all is said and done, isn’t this the heart of an authentic Catholic education?”

Prater is a graduate of Catholic schools himself: Our Lady of Lourdes School and St. Francis Borgia High School in Washington, Mo. He then earned a B.A. in Business Administration from Quincy University, a Franciscan school in Quincy, Ill., and later an M.B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis, Mo.

Father Blazovich emphasized how Prater impressed everyone during the interview process.

“First we did a very lengthy telephone interview, and several people were involved with that including Chris Smith, Development Director for the diocese,” said Father Blazovich. Prater did so well at that stage of the process that “we asked him to come out.” The in-person interview was just as positive, he said. Prater “answered so well and so intelligently. I’m delighted that Maurice is here.… He got off on a tremendous start.”

Said Gallagher, “When we began looking for someone to serve as Development Director, we were looking for a dynamically orthodox Catholic who was faithful to the magisterium of the church, who could help us advance the mission of our school. Maurice Prater proved to be that person. He believes in the mission of Catholic education, is a faithful and prayerful man, and comes to us with the knowledge and enthusiasm to help us move St. Patrick School to a new level of helping parents educate their children.”

“I’m really impressed with how friendly everyone has been to me,” Prater said, “here at the school, and with the diocese. I feel right at home already.”

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