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

Menís Bible Study Group marks 25 years of spiritual growth

by Bob Pringle, for the Inland Register

(From the April 8, 2010 edition of the Inland Register)

The smiles on the faces of these 30 men reflect their delight in celebrating their silver jubilee as†the Menís Bible Study at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish (Spokane). Over the years scores of men have been blessed by their participation in the group, which meets faithfully every Saturday morning at 7 a.m. Father Mike Savelesky, pastor, celebrated an anniversary Mass with the group on March 13, followed by breakfast and a joyous time of shared memories and gratitude to God. Among those who attended were Manny Aguilar, Steve Bloom, Tom Brady, Dan Carney, Bob Comfort, Mike DeGreef, Leo DiValentino, Steve Domini, Chuck Foster, Ernie Fullmer, Tony Hentges, Chuck Ircink, Erik Johnson, Randy LaPlante, Bill Leonetti, Bob Leonetti, Tom McManamon, Ed Moore, Loren Olson, Hugh Polensky, Bob Pringle, Father Mike Savelesky, Bob Scanlon, Dick Schroeder, Cody Stuart, Pat Stuart, Craig Thielman, Brian Trudeau, Joe Trudeau, Bob Walker, and Dwight Weigelt. (IR photo courtesy of Father Mike Savelesky)

On March 13, more than 30 men gathered at Assumption Parish, Spokane, at 7 a.m. to commemorate 25 years of Bible sharing and friendship in Assumptionís Menís Bible Study Group.

Dan Carney and Bill Holfelder started meeting in March 1985, inviting men in the parish to learn more about the Scriptures and to share their faith. More than 50 men have been part of the group over the years. Men who value the sharing, Christian example, and learning how other men understand Scripture in their daily lives invite others to join.

Bill Leonettiís invitation came at a childrenís soccer game. He went on one of the first retreats, and has been coming ever since. His twin brother, Bob, saw what the groupís support meant to Bill in a particular struggle, and also came along. He says he stays because members help pick each other up when they need it.

Deacon Hugh Polensky (now retired) started the retreats, inviting the first groups to his house north of Spokane. Group members skied and studied during the day, and heard coyotes howling at night as they prayed.

Some gathered at an Idaho mountain cabin belonging to Pat Marron, where we gained strength in learning to admit our grief. Men recalled the fun of cooking and eating together, of the open mountain scenery, of the candle-lit evening prayers.

Tom Brady recalled a retreat at the parish in Inchelium, where we saw how Native American culture and nature affects our lives. He also recalled the snoring. Again, we learn how Scripture speaks to life, death in our lives.

On another retreat, Bill Skylstad became a friend, outside his role of bishop. We came to appreciate him as a native Washingtonian who loves the people in his diocese, and his traveling to meet them.

One of our absent members, Dick Quinn, had us doing good works while harassing us as only an old tanker colonel can.

Several men mentioned the impact of steady attendance by some one of the group whom they know personally, and how that made them feel welcome even when they did not come for several years.

Steve Domini is relatively new. He missed several Italian friends who talked about their faith and religion; after they died, he had no men to share that with. Now he does.

As Mitch Finley mentioned in an Inland Register story about menís faith groups in January of 2006, this group starts and ends its meetings with acapella song. Without one of our strong song leaders, we can still be pretty ragged, but we sing with joy.

Some of our group study Scripture and theology seriously, bringing knowledge of church history, current thought, and great insight to our discussions. Tom McMan-amon is one of the senior members of the group, in life experience if not in years with us, and shares his own extensive legal and medical experience as well as his knowledge of the great theologians. Tom shares military experience, too, as do several veterans in the group. Bob Comfort, long a leader in Assump-tionís RCIA team, led us to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church not long after the English translation was published.

Father Mike Savelesky, pastor at Assumption, said he is awed by what we share. Preparing to lead a retreat for us intimidated him, in spite of his long experience giving retreats. He still asserts the experience was a blessing.

(Bob Pringle has been a member of the Assumption Menís Bible Study Group for 20 years.)

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