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

Regional Report

the Inland Register

(From the July 2, 2009 edition of the Inland Register)

Archdiocese of Portland

PORTLAND – Portland’s Archbishop John Vlazny recently devoted his weekly newspaper column to the subject of laity who serve in ministry in the church. Here are some excerpts:

• In the days of yore, pastoral ministry in our parish communities was largely in the hands of the clergy and Religious, mostly clergy. In recent decades, the tide has turned. The laity has become significant partners in church ministry, many of them extraordinary capable and well-trained. In addition, the corps of volunteers continues to grow. Our challenge is to make sure that they too develop the skills and experience the training one would expect from folks entrusted with such a sacred charge.

• “Lay ecclesial ministry” is a generic term for a variety of positions held by non-ordained people who engage in substantial public leadership positions in church ministry, collaborating closely with the ordained leadership and under their leadership. Lay ecclesial ministers are everywhere in this archdiocese and I would be remiss were I not to acknowledge the significant contribution they make in helping parishioners lead a Catholic life and fulfill their responsibilities as disciples in mission.

• The sacramental basis for lay ecclesial ministry is not the sacrament of Ordination, but rather the sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. We call this ministry “ecclesial” because it has a place within the community of the church. It serves both the communion and mission of the church and is submitted to the discernment, authorization and supervision of the local bishop. We describe this service as “ministry” because it is the work by which Christians participate in the three-fold ministry of Christ, who is priest, prophet and king and thereby continue his ministry in the world.

PORTLAND – The Portland Archdiocese recently held a groundbreaking for a new church for the archdiocese’s newest parish.

St. Juan Diego Parish, located near the dividing line between Portland and Beaverton, is the first new parish since 1982.

Archbishop John Vlazny joined present parish staff, as well as clergy and friends from neighboring parishes, in a procession around the property.

The first construction phase on the parish’s five acres calls for the church’s sanctuary, with pews for about 450 people, as well as office space. Phase II will see a community center built, and expansion of the church to accommodate 800.

— Catholic Sentinel (Archdiocese of Portland)

PORTLAND – OCP, a nonprofit publisher of liturgical music and worship resources in Portland, awarded grants in May totaling more than $135,000 for liturgy and music to 69 U.S. parishes in 2009.

The publisher has awarded grants to more than 450 churches in every diocese in the country since 2001.

Grant applications for 2010 can be submitted at until June 30, even if a parish does not use an OCP worship program. The programs are used in two-thirds of Catholic churches nationwide.

– Catholic News Service (Washington, D.C.)

Archdiocese of Seattle

SEATTLE – The Seattle Archdiocese’s Benedict House program began in the autumn of 2007 on the campus of St. Benedict Parish. Four men at different stages in their formation and discernment of a vocation to ordination as priests – all of them with decidedly disparate histories – live and pray together, lodging in the parish rectory, called Benedict House, and a nearby home called Scholastica House. They rise early each day for communal morning prayer and breakfast before heading out to the parishes where they’ve been assigned to work this year.

According to Rich Shively, the archdiocese’s associate vocations director, the program is “meant to be a (time of) discernment on their part and ours based on their real-life experiences in parish, before they go off to the seminary. And it’s been a really good thing.”

Two completed the inaugural program last year.

— The Catholic Northwest Progress (Archdiocese of Seattle)

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