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 March 18, 2010 edition of the Inland Register)

From the Inland Register
Volume 18 - No. 26
50 Years Ago: Feb. 6, 1960

Your Bishop and You

by Bishop Bernard Topel

De Sales High: Today was a big day in Walla Walla. We dedicated the new De Sales High School.

One of the advantages the Bishop has in blessing a building is that in the process he sees all of it. I had just seen it last summer. It was still incomplete. Seeing it finished was an eye-opener. It exceeded my anticipation considerably.

This new Catholic high school is a great consolation. Three parishes are responsible for its building. By Spokane standards, two of these parishes are not large. Yet these three parishes are paying for this $750,000 high school and supporting it.

A prominent citizen there told me that this enterprise has really done something for the spirit of the Catholics in Walla Walla. They are proud of what they have done. Justly so. And it has attracted the attention and admiration of non-Catholics. This man said: “Don’t you see the difference in the Catholic spirit here? Catholics even walk different.”

In some ways what pleased me most happened early this afternoon. Msgr. Pautler had arranged a meeting with some of the men of his parish. They had a request. They asked permission to start a fund toward the erection of a Father Callanan Memorial Chapel at De Sales. Already there is a sum of $13,000 available for such a purpose. These men explained that this was in no way to interfere with the donations for the indebtedness of the high school.

Would I give permission? Would I! Most gladly.

I told the men I was very proud of them for wanting to do this. I was most happy for two reasons. The first is the great need of a chapel at a Catholic high school. The second is their desire to honor a much-loved priest. This touched me much and pleased me greatly.

Holy Names Academy: It is appropriate now to write of another important high school effort A most important one. This is here in Spokane at Holy Names Academy

Spokane owes Holy Names Academy more than it can ever pay. This institution was founded in 1891. It has served our needs for almost 70 years. For almost 40 years it was the only place our girls could get a Catholic high school education.

At present, there are 490 students. (There are also more than 100 grade school students.) There is a staff of 42 Sisters and five lay teachers. Only the services of these many, sacrificial Sisters has made this possible. It is probably no exaggeration to call their sacrifices extraordinary.

In a true sense, Spokane owes this academy most because it has done least for it. There has never been (to my knowledge) a city-wide drive for it. There were two for Gonzaga Prep. This school has had to get along principally on fees from tuition (presently $90 a year) and music lessons. In addition there have been minor amounts from entertainment and private gifts. There has been no diocesan nor parish support.

Last fall, I had the joy of blessing a new building for Holy Names Academy. These Sisters had saved some thousands to pay on it. They were not able to use the money for this purpose. Instead it all had to be used for fire protection apparatus in the original building. So now these Sisters owe the entire cost of that building – more than $250,000. Other needs exist for additional building as well.

Now a drive for contributions has begun. It needs support. This should come especially from those who have benefited from these excellent educational facilities. This includes those outside Spokane as well as those inside. I hope from the bottom of my heart that this drive will be supremely successful.

May God grant that it will be.

From the Inland Register
Volume 42 – No. 16
25 Years Ago: Feb. 21, 1985

From The Archives

by Father Edward Kowrach

In the year 1871, James Glover, the founder of the City of Spokane, was on his way from Salem, Ore., via Walla Walla, going north to explore land available for settlement. In his Reminiscences Glover writes that he went through the towns of Dayton and Waitsburg then.

Dayton’s original settlers began arriving in 1855. Jesse Day, the father of Dayton, came in 1864. By 1871, the town had grown and developed enough to have its land-plats filed in Olympia.

The population swelled and from a handful of Catholic settlers, the need was seen to organize the people and build a Catholic church. In November 1881, the priest from St. Patrick, Walla Walla, rented a local hall and offered the first Mass. He gathered some funds, borrowed some money and began that November to build the first Catholic church of Dayton. The total cost of constructing the first St. Joseph Church was accounted in the parish records at $497.89.

The Diocese of Spokane was established in 1913 and in 1914 Father P.A. Flavin, the “quiet Irishman,” arrived as the first resident pastor at Dayton. He built the present St. Joseph and lived in the sacristy at the rear of the church.

Since the early days, the churches at Prescott, St. Catherine Sienna, St. Mark of Waitsburg, and the Starbuck Mission of Holy Trinity were connected and served by the Dayton priests. The Starbuck church was sold and today is used as the Community Church.

From 1883-1898 the Dayton and Waitsburg churches were served out of St. Patrick of Walla Walla. From 1989-1912 these two churches were cared for by either the priests of Pomeroy or Walla Walla. From 1928-1946, in 1976, and from 1981 on, again by the Walla Walla priests. At present, Deacon Dale Schaeffer and wife Thelma reside in the rectory and deacon takes care of the pastoral duties of Dayton and Waitsburg Catholic churches.

In 1946, Father Ralph Schwemin arrived as a full-time pastor. With his own hands and tools, he was responsible to a great extent for building the present rectory and parish hall for about $17,000.

The first baptisms recorded in the parish register were those of Katie Louella Keehan and Nellie Mary Keehan on May 20, 1888. The priest was Father P. Van Holderbeke of Walla Walla. The first marriage record extant is that of Aug. 16, 1891, of William Christy and Mrs. Jessie Spangler. However, possible earlier records are found in the register of the parish from where the visiting priest came.

(Father Caswell is the diocese’s Ecumenical Relations Officer and archivist for the Inland Register, and a frequent contributor to this publication.)


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