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

Jesuit Volunteers program expands in Eastern Washington; second residence blessed

Story and photo by Mitch Finley, Inland Register staff

(From the Oct. 22, 2009 edition of the Inland Register)

Bishop Skylstad blessed the new second residence for Jesuit Volunteers serving in the Spokane Area last week. (IR photo)

Some 30 people gathered with Bishop William Skylstad the evening of Oct. 14 to bless and dedicate Spokane’s second Jesuit Volunteer house.

Located on E. Augusta Ave., Catholic Charities Spokane purchased and improved the house as a residence for the Jesuit Volunteers. Most of the Volunteers work at various Catholic Charities agencies.

The new residence is named Lavan House, in memory of Matthew Lavan, a former Jesuit Volunteer who served at the House of Charity in Spokane from 1998-1999. After his stay in Spokane, Matthew returned to his home city of New York, where he served the homeless at the St. Francis Xavier soup kitchen and shelter. He passed away in his sleep in March of 2003 at the age of 27.

A large banner in the living room features words written by Lavan for the House of Charity’s newsletter, before he left Spokane: “When my tour of duty ends at the House of Charity, I will return home to New York. I have yet to find the differences between myself and the many people who pass through the doors of the House of Charity. But thanks to my time here I will forever remember the similarities.”

Dr. Rob McCann, Catholic Charities executive director, said: “The JVs have been an essential part of Catholic Charities for the better part of four decades. The reality is we couldn’t run most of our programs without them. We are excited to have a second JV house which brings our total number of JVs up to 12. This is something we have been lobbying JV Northwest about for 10 years – to get a second house. We’re blessed to have these folks, and we’re excited to start a new tradition with this second house.”

“We have been blessed for years in the Diocese of Spokane with the Jesuit volunteers,” Bishop Skylstad said. “These men and women who generously give a year or two of their lives in service to those in need is truly inspiring and a wonderful example of Christian charity. The celebration of the blessing of the Lavan House marks a special moment of recognition and appreciation of the Jesuit volunteers in our diocese. We all need to be grateful to them and remember them in prayer. May their presence inspire all of us to love neighbor better.”

Among those attending the blessing ceremony was Emily Jendzejec, a Boston College graduate from Portland, Maine, representing Jesuit Volunteers Northwest, out of Portland, Ore.

Six of the 12 Jesuit Volunteers in Spokane live in the new residence. The other six live in the previously existing house on E. Mission Ave.

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