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


Compiled by Father Tom Caswell, for the Inland Register

(From the Aug. 20, 2009 edition of the Inland Register)

50 Years Ago: Aug. 7, 1959

First New Mass on Aug. 15 in New Church Building: On Assumption Parish’s 1st Anniversary

Father Ralph H. Schwemin, pastor of Spokane’s newest parish, hopes that despite some difficulties encountered in construction, Mass will be said on Aug. 15 – the Feast of the Assumption and the first anniversary of the founding of the parish – in that part of the parish plant earmarked as a “temporary” church.

In the meantime, much remains to be done – roofing, blacktopping the parking area, and installation of doors and other fixtures. The altar is completed – a job Father Schwemin and parish volunteers have made of Calacata and Travertine marble. Of the two Bianca marble statues ordered for the sanctuary, one, that of the Blessed Mother, has already arrived. The second, depicting the Sacred Heart, is en route from Italy.

Aug. 15 is also the date of arrival of three Dominican Sisters from Kettle Falls who will staff the parochial four-classroom school with the assistance of one lay teacher. Sister Mary Xavier will be Superior. Although Father Schwemin has already conducted an “informal” registration of some 160-170 youngsters for the first five grades to be taught at Assumption (fourth and fifth grades will be a “split” classroom), official registration of the youngsters will be taken after the Sisters arrive. Classroom desks have already been delivered.

The long, low, modern parish plant at Assumption has a “rough” price tag of some $200,000. Of glue-jam construction with brick veneer and cedar siding, the building has a concrete slab floor, hot air heat and built-up marble chip roof. Although parishioners have already done some landscaping, seeding of lawns will have to wait completion of blacktopping and installation of sidewalks in the area.

Parishioners, as anxious as their pastor for early completion of Assumption, have held three showers for the Dominican Sisters – a linen shower in June and kitchen and food showers in July.

“Parishioners were so generous,” Father Schwemin said, “that the Sisters – temporarily at least – are oversupplied.”

The Sisters’ convent will be the private residence at N. 6505 Elmhurst which has served as a temporary rectory for the pastor during the past year of building and planning. Father Schwemin will take up residence in small quarters within the school portion of the new parish plant.

Although the plant now being built will one day be used exclusively for classrooms, present arrangement calls for one unit of four classrooms, a six classroom area to be used as a temporary church, with a “between area” the size of two classrooms to serve as lunchroom, assembly area, and parish meeting room.

Architect John O’Neill, Spokane, designed the building.

Until the “church” portion of the building is ready to use, Masses will be said at Westview School.

From the Inland Register: Volume 42 – No. 6
25 Years Ago: Sept. 18, 1984

Independence Remembered in Pasco

Two days of celebration by the Hispanic community of St. Patrick Parish, Pasco, marked the anniversary of Mexico’s independence from Spain on the weekend of Sept. 15-16.

The holiday is generally celebrated more enthusiastically in Mexico than the Cinco de Mayo celebrations seen in the United States. Cinco de Mayo celebrates the independence of Mexico from France.

The festivities in Pasco started Saturday with a special celebration which included the singing of both Mexican and United States National anthems, as well as hymns of both nations.

A court of teenaged girls was crowned that evening. The girls had participated in fundraising activities for the Hispanic community, such as dances and raffles. The girl who raised the most money was crowned queen of this year’s festival.

A dance followed the coronation. Father Pedro Ramírez, associate pastor of St. Patrick Parish, estimated the number of participants as near 2,700.

Sunday morning began with a gathering near the courthouse in downtown Pasco. There, the people assembled to hear a speech on the significance of the day, to pray together, and then process with a police escort from the courthouse to the church some 15 blocks away.

The Mass, which followed at St. Patrick Church, was standing room only. About 900 people attended the noon liturgy concelebrated by Father Ramírez and Father Tom Caswell, pastor of St. Patrick. Music was provided by one of three groups which alternate to provide music for the Hispanic liturgies at the church.

A parish bazaar was held on the playground of St. Patrick School after the noon Mass. Booths sold various kinds of food, from pop to popcorn to tacos. Entertainment – folk dancing, lip sync, and singing – was provided by members of the Hispanic community. Other booths offered various goods and entertainments, such as a penny toss and cakewalk. And, what Catholic bazaar would be complete without a ball-toss for goldfish?

Father Ramírez said the fiesta was organized by various communities within the Hispanic community.

“It’s been going on a long time,” he said. “It was well underway when I came here five years ago. I’d guess it’s been a part of St. Patrick’s for at least 10 years.”

“This is a great way for the Hispanic community of Pasco to share its history, culture, art, and folklore with the community at large,” he said.

“It’s their way of celebrating freedom. And it’s not only social, but religious as well. Religion plays a large part in the entire celebration. It’s not just history, and it’s not just a social event. It’s a combination of all of these together.”

The fiesta was well attended although he said that “We are sorry that more people from outside the Hispanic community didn’t join us.”

(Father Caswell is archivist and Ecumenical Relations Officer for the Diocese of Spokane, and a regular contributor to this publication.)


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