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 Dec. 16, 2010 edition of the Inland Register)

From the Inland Register
Volume 9 - No. 20
50 Years Ago: December 23, 1960

Diocesan Digest

WAITSBURG – Mrs. Dick Archer was re-elected president of St. Mark’s Altar Society during a meeting held Dec. 7 at the Pierre Ganguet home. Others named were Mrs. LeRoy Schefer, vice president; Mary Heinen, secretary; and Mrs. Carl Peck, treasurer. Co-hostesses at the session were Mrs. Jim Hansen and Mrs. Harold Bloor.

Projects for the coming year include a spring benefit, the annual Days of Real Sport food sale in May, a September rummage sale in May, October bazaar and December Christmas party. Members also voted to hold a 30 minute spiritual study session at future meetings with Mrs. William Dorval as leader. Mrs. Dorval has donated an altar society manual to the group.

Mrs. Chester Stonecipher, Catholic Charities chairman, asked all to assist in the Christmas party of the Walla Walla Deanery Council of Catholic Women. Christmas corsages and centerpieces were displayed by Mrs. John Gagnon. Guests at the meeting included new parishioners, Mrs. Jim Mays and Mrs. George Lloyd. The next session will be held Jan. 4 at the Hermann home.

(Mrs. Gene Gerkey, correspondent)

TWISP – New officers were elected recently by the Altar Society. They are Mrs. Mary Bean, president; Mrs. Hollie Kohler, vice president; Mrs. Annie Rawdon, secretary; and Mrs. Cecilia McHugh, treasurer.

During the meeting, a report on the hamper and food sale was given, naming Mrs. Dorothy Hunt, Bellevue, recipient of the hamper, and Mrs. M. O’Neil, Omak, recipient of the ham. Packages of food and gifts for the children of St. Mary’s Mission, Omak, were also collected.

Plans for a parish potluck dinner in January were then discussed. Appointments include Mrs. Fran Moriarity, hostess; Mrs. Curtiss Casey, kitchen; Mrs. Annie Rawdon, dining room; Mrs. Frank Morse and Mrs. Paul Waller, invitations; and Pat Smith and Curtis Casey, tickets. Members also exchanged gifts. The hostess gift was received by Mrs. Rawdon. Mrs. Mary Ben was hostess.

A Christmas party for parish children was held in the parish hall on December 20. Mrs. Alma Turner is a parish newcomer.

From the Inland Register
Volume 43 – No. 12
25 Years Ago: December 19, 1985

Christmas Algebra

by Father Michael Savelesky

A couple weeks ago I encountered an insistent-looking “Christmas picketer” on one of Spokane’s downtown streets. This individual himself didn’t speak as much about the holiday season as did the shop windows which gave a backdrop to his entrenched position.

“PUT CHRIST BACK INTO X-MASS,” his body placard read in bold blue graphics.

Shoppers of every make and model scurried about their business – most intentionally oblivious to the silent protester. Something about the obvious Roman collar I was wearing and the man’s penetrating eye, however, forced a smile from me and a nod of affirmation. “Of course,” I thought, as I continued by, “which Christian wouldn’t affirm such a statement. In many ways Christ has been taken out of his very own birthday celebration.”

Now, mind you, I didn’t lapse into a meditative trance as I walked down the block, but the bold witness of this gentleman did occasion a few distracting thoughts to my shopping intentions.

Passersby seemed a bit embarrassed by this blatant reminder of the historical fact that occasion this time of holiday celebration. Our state might be the most unchurched in the nation, but I would guess that in the quiet recesses of the heart of the vast majority of our citizenry, Christian chords still resonate. Church-goers or not, this walking advertisement was quite successful in pinging the consciences of many.

Consumerism and materialism notwithstanding, Christ remains part of the Christmas equation. Try as they might, the world of shoppers and shopkeepers cannot mask the focal point of our holiday celebration. Ultimately, Christmas minus Christ equals meaningless buying and selling.

Christ seemingly has been taken off greeting cards, banned from public displays, and blocked from airwaves, but he cannot be taken out of Christmas. The facts of history cannot be defeated; at best, they can only occasion adjustment and adaptation.

At the same time, Jesus, the Christ, did not come to pose for record album covers or greeting cards. He did not come to stand as a mannequin in department stores and city halls. By entering into the heart of history, Jesus came to enter into the hearts of men and women of faith.

Every year at this time it seems the Christian community is tempted to enter into argumentation without pluralistic society about our rights to make public display of our faith tradition. There may be a relative matter of rights here, but for true believers these external trappings of the holiday season cannot become the focal point of our concern.

Is it not possible that we expect these things to make our personal statements of faith for us, to carry the weight of what should be a personal confession or belief?

Christ may be missing from X-Mass, but only if he is indeed missing from our hearts. It is far easier to chastise those who do not choose to use their commerce to proclaim the Gospel than to accept the reality of Christmas for ourselves – namely the incarnation of God’s love in human history.

If what we claim of Jesus is true – that he is indeed Lord and Messiah – then our celebration does not depend upon the world of commerce and its willingness to fill in the blank of X-Mass with silent images of Jesus. Let the world fill in the blank with what it wants. Our choice is to fill in the blank with the living Christ without whom the emptiness of our lives becomes painfully obvious.

God’s love for us is to let ourselves be bantered about by the competing value systems of the world. If Christmas is Christmas, it must begin in the home of our hearts where the manger of welcome and personal love makes the Lord a warm place of comfort.

Christ is put back into Christmas less by decorating society with Christian trappings than by a personal generosity of heart that receives the Good News who is Jesus and seeks with wisdom to follow him.

(Father Caswell is Inland Register archivist.)

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