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

The greatest joy of being a bishop: ‘being able to teach, to get people involved’

by Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register

(From the Aug. 19, 2010 edition of the Inland Register)

Bishop Skylstad took Bishop Cupich (left) on a whirlwind tour of the diocese earlier this month, including a stop to visit the construction of the new church for St. Mary’s Presentation Parish in Deer Park. The pastor, Father Al Grasher (right), explained the project’s progress. (IR photo courtesy of Fran Hailey)

In a phone interview from the Rapid City Diocese, Bishop Cupich expressed his appreciation for the dynamics of his ministry.

As a priest who has served as a teacher, a pastor, and diocesan administrator, he’s found that “I continue to learn from these various experiences. That dynamic of teaching and learning, going hand in hand, is key to keeping someone fresh in their particular field. All the things I have done to this point have been opportunities for that learning-teaching dynamic to happen.”

His greatest joy as a bishop, he said, is “being able to teach, to get people involved. I see that in about anything that I do.”

Bishop Cupich comes from a family in which church played an integral part of life.

“Our family was very involved and close to the life of the church,” he said. “It was just part of what we did, part of our identity.”

His parents took part in parish organizations – the altar society, the Holy Names Society, the Men’s Club. “Being involved in the life of the Church was a daily experience, part of our identity, day in and day out.”

It was not simply a matter of faith fostered and expressed within the family, although that was important as well. “Most of my experience in terms of religious practice were not isolated in the home, but always involved the parish,” including singing in the choir as a child and serving Mass.

He is excited about coming to the Spokane Diocese, he said.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. As he said during the June 30 press conference announcing his appointment, “I’m going to take my time and get to know” the people of the diocese.

Although the challenges facing the Spokane Diocese are “significant, I consider the gifts and talents of people to be sufficient to handle whatever comes our way. If I can contribute to bringing people together in a way that calls the best out of everyone, to move forward in the next chapter of the Diocese of Spokane and the Church in Eastern Washington, that would please me a lot.”

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