Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
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Jesuit Father Robert Fitts named pastor of St. Ann Parish, Spokane
Story and photo by Mitch Finley, Inland Register staff
(From the Nov. 12, 2009 edition of the Inland Register)
Father Robert Fitts SJ (IR photo)
Effective Sept. 2, 2009, Bishop William Skylstad named Jesuit Father Robert Fitts, 80, the new pastor of Spokaneís St. Ann Parish.
Father Fitts grew up in Sunnyside, Wash. and graduated from Sunnyside High School in 1947. Following four years in the U.S. Navy, he attended Seattle University, graduating in 1956. He then attempted to enter the Society of Jesus, but he was told that he needed to take more Latin and Greek courses first. So he did that for another year at Seattle University, while also working for Boeing in Seattleís fabled Smith Tower. He entered the Jesuits in the fall of 1957. On June 7, 1969, he was ordained a priest at St. Ignatius Church in San Francisco.
Father Fitts served as a chaplain at various hospitals in the Pacific Northwest and in St. Louis, Mo. He also served for ten months at a retreat facility in Anchorage, Alaska, and worked for a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Most recently, he served as a parish priest at Spokaneís St. Aloysius Parish. For several years he was also Superior of the Jesuit community at Bea House, on the Gonzaga University campus.
At St. Ann, Father Fitts said, ďIím the pastor, and Craig Bartmess is the parish administrator. I donít know yet how much time Iíll actually spend at the parish. Iíll say Mass two Sundays each month, usually, and Father Sev Westbrook (a retired priest of the Diocese of Spokane) is there the other two Sundays.
ďIím new to the game there,Ē he said, ďand I just found out that St. Ann is one of the parishes served by All Saints Catholic School, so I plan to spend some time there, also. My motto is ĎFind a need and fill it.í There was a need, so thatís why my name came up for this, and Iím looking forward to it.Ē