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 Nov. 12, 2009 edition of the Inland Register)

From the Inland Register: Volume 18 – No. 9
50 Years Ago: Oct. 9, 1959

Kettle Falls Church is Almost Completed; Non-Catholics Help

The new $36,000 Sacred Heart Church at Kettle Falls is in the final stage of completion, architect Henry J. Swoboda, Spokane, said today.

The most unique feature of the building program at the Northport mission parish is the fact that residents, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, made construction a “community project.” Parishioners and friends in the area installed the four-inch wood deck roof. Volunteers also will complete all decorating and furnishings.

Outwardly, the building was virtually completed last week – with the grounds graded and ready for spring landscaping, and a number of the hammered Cathedral glass windows installed. The remaining windows were expected to arrive from West Virginia for installation this week.

The front window of the new parish church is particularly effective – featuring 16 different colors to form “color complement” to the wood cross.

An eye-catching feature of the new church, born of an architectural attempt to disguise a chimney, is the 36-foot concrete block tower with a 20-foot black steel cross riding some 12 feet above it. A new dimension of concrete block was used in the chimney-camouflage tower – blocks measuring 12x12 inches instead of the usual 8x16.

Cedar Featured

Since the Kettle Falls area is primarily a lumber industry economy, roof and siding of cedar were featured in construction.

The basement section will be used as a parish meeting room. Furnace room and toilet facilities are also included in the basement layout.

Laying of the floor in the church proper will start as soon as the last window is installed in the 200-capacity church.

The old parish church has been sold and will be removed from the premises shortly.

Father Cornelius Stefani is pastor of Pure Heart of Mary, Northport, and the mission church at Kettle Falls.

Minnesotans Help Build St. Joseph, Rockford

Like many of the old parishes of the Spokane Diocese, St. Joseph in Rockford went through a long period of no priest in residence, and babies were brought into various Spokane churches for baptism. Transportation was strictly horse and buggy, and Mass was celebrated about once a month, usually in the home of a parishioner.

That monthly Mass at Rockford before the turn of the century was a day for celebration. After Mass, the congregation stayed for hours, dining and visiting with friends and neighbors.

From 1893-1895 and the arrival of the first pastor at Tekoa, of which Rockford was a mission, the Jesuit Fathers from the DeSmet Mission cared for the Rockford parishioners.

The first Rockford baby to be baptized and registered on the books of the Tekoa parish was William E. Hunt, who now lives in Spokane. The date was March 20, 1898. His sponsor, Mrs. Margaret Fitzgerald, is the only surviving charter member of St. Joseph still living in the parish, and a mine of information on the mission’s early days.

In 1901, efforts of parishioners at Rockford were sparked by the arrival of Minnesota Catholics, including the Peter Keegans, Tom Dolans, Tom Hogans, and Tom McAvoys. The Minnesotans looked at the bleak hall where Mass was said, at the pews of wood chunks and planks, and promptly joined forces with such established parishioners as the Fonders, Crowleys and Sullivans.

One year later, newcomers and old parishioners built the white wooden St. Joseph Church, which has withstood the test of time.

The Altar Society of the fledgling parish – then known as the Ladies’ Aid – was a highly active group. Their bazaar and dinners supplied most of the furnishings for altar and church.

Both additions and subtractions have been made on the mission church. The high steeple, deemed unsafe, was removed. Stained-glass windows were donated by individual families some 20 years or more ago. Mrs. Margaret Fitzgerald, Mrs. Marie Tomaha, and a number of anonymous donors have added the statue of St. Jude, a gold-plated crucifix, and candle holders for the altar and new altar cards.

A mission of Tekoa now, and during its early years, St. Joseph from 1919 until 1924 was a parish in its own right. Father P.A. Flavin was pastor of the newly independent parish, and during his tenure a large house was bought and moved onto the church lot to serve as a rectory.

In 1924, the shortage of priests in the Spokane diocese had become so acute that St. Joseph lost its parish status and once more became a mission of Tekoa.

But St. Joseph has not lost its identity. Catholics from Rockford, Fairfield, Mt. Hope, and Valleyford attend service at the mission church which has its own Altar Society, Holy Name Society, CCD classes, and religious vacation school.

Most of Tekoa’s and Rockford’s Catholics live on farms outside the town, and the parish register lists 142 parishioners. Of that 142, 26 are LaShaw – all related within three generations and all but two, Mr. and Mrs. Carl La Shaw, living on farms.

(Mrs. A.E. Loeffler, Correspondent)

From the Inland Register: Volume 42 – No. 10
25 Years Ago: Nov. 20, 1984

Diocese Sponsors Hispanic Radio Programming in Okanogan

With the financial help of the Knights of Columbus, the Diocese of Spokane began to offer Hispanic radio programming in the Omak-Okanogan region Nov. 18.

Funded by a grant from the Knights, the half-hour program is produced on a weekly basis by Father Pedro Ramírez, St. Patrick Parish, Pasco, and broadcast Sunday mornings at 8 by KOMW-FM, 92.7, Okanogan.

Father Ramírez has worked in radio since 1974. The Okanogan program is the fourth which he produces each week.

“This is something that is reaching out to people who are not touched in other ways,” Father Ramírez said, “The idea is not new, but it is effective.”

“It’s also something that we’re grateful to be able to do. It is a way for the diocese to recognize and serve the needs of a part of the Hispanic community in this diocese. I’m grateful that the bishop, the diocesan communications office, and the Knights made this possible.”

Father Michael J. Savelesky, director of the Office of Communications, said that “This creative use of the electronic media is a significant development. While our resources are limited in this area, we strive to do all we can to bring the Gospel to the public’s ear.

“The diocese particularly welcomes this opportunity to strengthen its support of the Hispanic community,” he said. “Father Pedro’s radio program has already proven itself to be highly successful in making our Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters a part of our local Church.”

Two Make Profession

At ceremonies held recently at Spokane’s Monastery of St. Clare, Sister Patricia Proctor (St. Anthony Parish, Newport) and Sister Marcia Kay LaCour (Los Angeles) made profession of temporary vows for three years as Poor Clare nuns.

Sister Patricia is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Conrad Proctor of Newport. She attended Spokane Falls Community College and served in the United States Navy in Iceland and Germany as a cryptographer.

Sister Marcia Kay is the daughter of Mrs. Kathryn Thornton of Santa Monica, Calif., and Mr. Marshall LaCour of Bend, Ore. She attended UCLA and Loyola-Marymount University, Los Angeles, and has been actively engaged in music ministry.

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


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