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 Feb. 4, 2010 edition of the Inland Register)

Archdiocese of Seattle

OLYMPIA – The top three priorities for the bishops of Washington State during the 60-day legislative session that began Jan. 11 will be “budget, budget and budget,” said Dominican Sister Sharon Park, director of the Washington State Catholic Conference, which represents Washington’s bishops on public policy issues.

Gov. Christine Gregoire’s proposed budget released in December – a supplement to the biennial budget passed last year – reflected the $2.6 billion state budget deficit for the coming fiscal year predicted by a November revenue forecast.

“We’ve just never seen a time in our state history where we have had to make so many significant cuts,” said Sister Sharon, “and I’ve never seen a budget like the one that just came out of the governor’s office.”

The majority of the state’s $31 billion operating budget is protected by state constitutional requirements or federal requirements, she said, which makes it untouchable for purposes of closing the budget gap. Not protected is $9.3 billion, including $5.5 billion for human services.

“The primary place that you can cut now is social services, so the cuts in social services” in the proposed budget are “significant,” said Sister Sharon.

“Our basic message is, we need to protect the most vulnerable,” she said. “What we’re hoping is that we can get through the session with some of the programs intact rather than cutting them totally…. It’s easier to increase (funding) later on if you have them at least on the books.”

The bishops’ nine areas of legislative priorities are Catholic schools, children and families, criminal justice, economic justice, environment, health care, housing, life issues, and long-term care.

— The Catholic Northwest Progress

Archdiocese of Portland

PORTLAND – The University of Portland’s stage production of A Servant of Two Masters has been selected as one of four regional finalists for the 2010 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, a national theater program involving 18,000 students from more than 600 academic institutions nationwide, divided by geography into eight regions.

The play will be performed at a festival at the University of Nevada, Reno, Feb. 16-20.

“It’s a fantastic show, and I am very proud of the show and our students,” said Professor Andrew Golla. “I think it represents our program and our university very well.”

The production is directed by graduate student Michael O’Neill as part of a thesis project, performed in the style of commedia dell’arte and featuring masks and audience interaction. The play dates back to the 18th century.

GRANTS PASS – Father Bill Holtzinger, pastor of St. Anne Parish, refers to himself as “a geek priest,” embracing technology as a way of reaching out in ministry and evangelization beyond his own parish.

Type “Fr. Bill” into Google and he’s on top of the page, with his blog – – he titles “Ruminations of a Geek Priest.” There he offers links to spiritual sites and practical reflections.

For instance, a recent post included these words: “The sign of any good relationship is a two-way communication. So, let your prayer also include some time for listening to what God has to say. If you really want to go for it, find an entire hour each day for this kind of prayer. Personally, I have found it to be the most important personal prayer I do. Try it. I guarantee that after a year of serious listening, you will not be the same.”

He has a Twitter account, as does (with his help) his dog, Gracie. He also records seven different podcasts, including his homilies and reflections on the Mass and liturgy.

“It’s part hobby, part evangelization,” he says. “We need to use our modern media to reach out in positive ways to proclaim the Gospel.”

Yet even with his passion for electronic evangelization, he still says the best part of being a priest is celebration the sacraments, especially Mass and Reconciliation.

— Catholic Sentinel

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