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 April 7, 2011 edition of the Inland Register)

From the Inland Register
Volume 9, No. 32
50 Years Ago: March 17, 1961

Mary Queen of Heaven Church in Sprague damaged by fire

An early morning fire on March 6 caused extensive damage to Mary, Queen of Heaven Church here. Joe Culligan, returning home at 2 a.m. after closing his service station, turned in the alarm. Although the fire department responded quickly, fire had already broken through the roof and was threatening to engulf the entire structure.

The brick wall between the sanctuary and the sacristy served to confine main fire damage to the sacristy. Although the fire was quickly brought under control, it was two hours before it was entirely out.

Damage to the sacristy was so extensive that, except for the walls, it will have to be rebuilt. Three small stained glass windows on the west side were destroyed; three on the east side are repairable. All vestment cases and storage closets were destroyed. Damage to the main part of the Church was confined to smoke and water – which included altar cloths in use at the time and sanctuary carpets.

Smoke and water damage is such that the entire church will have to be redecorated. The pews, along with the whole interior, are covered with creosote smoke and will require expert cleaning.

Other damage included practically all contents of the sacristy, server cassocks and surplices, altar cloths, linens, vases, three sets of vestments of each color, a processional canopy, albs and an expensive monstrance. Also damaged or burned were a complete set of matched vestments including cope, chasuble, dalmatic, humeral veil and accompanying stoles and maniples, plus an ornate and expensive white vestment used only on festive occasions. All three items will have to be replaced.

Of metal objects, only two chalices survived undamaged. One chalice and one ciborium can be repaired, but 16 large candlesticks were too severely damaged for salvage.

Five copes, one of each color, weathered the fire in better shape than the rest of the perishable articles. Expert opinion has advised that cleaning will restore these.

St. Mary’s Altar Society, under the direction of Mrs. Ronnie Whipple, president, has made a list of more than 450 articles that cannot be made serviceable. Value of these articles ranges from $1 to $480, at an average cost of more than $20.

Father Ambrose Meyer, pastor, removed the Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle as soon as fire conditions permitted. The tabernacle was not damaged.

All loss incurred in the fire was covered by insurance. At present, Mass is being offered on Sundays in the recreation hall of adjacent St. Joseph Academy.

Cause of the fire is still unknown.

From the Inland Register
Volume 43 – No. 20
25 Years Ago: April 17, 1986

Anonymous Benefactor: Cataldo School given $160,000

The Cataldo School Board has announced a series of cash gifts, received from an anonymous benefactor, totaling over $160,000. It is the largest cash gift received by one school in the history of the diocese.

The school’s board will work to encourage other donations to supplement the endowment. The school has a five-year plan and an active development program to insure continued growth and stability.

“I give to Cataldo School because I believe in the importance of good, Catholic elementary school education as a base upon which to build future learning experiences,” the benefactor said. “I am impressed with the level of academic excellence at Cataldo and their plans for future growth and enrichment. It is obvious that Cataldo School claims a strong, Roman Catholic identity throughout its program.”

Cataldo is a consolidated school which serves the southside parishes of St. Augustine, Sacred heart, and the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Located at St. Augustine Parish, the school now has 300 Catholic and non-Catholic students, from kindergarten through eighth grade. Students from Cataldo consistently score above 90 percentile on the Standard Achievement Test.

Registration for the 1986-87 school year will be on Wednesday, April 30, from 5-7p.m. in the school hall.

New DPC Officers Elected

Dan Leary of Othello was recently elected chairperson of the Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC). This is Leary’s second term in the position, which he also held in 1984.

He succeeds Dave Gavareski, who served during 1985. The first chair of the DPC was Clarice McCartan of Pullman.

Also completing their terms of office with the DPC were Julie Seipp of Our Lady of the Valley Parish, Okanogan, and Emilio Zamora of St. Rose of Lima Parish, Cheney.

Bishop Welsh, commenting on the retiring officers, said, “In the name of the diocese, and myself personally, I express thanks and appreciation to those who have given so much of their time and talents to the service of our diocese. I will personally miss their presence on the council,” he said.

Providence Sister Michelle Holland, a member of the administrative staff of Sacred Heart Medical Center, was re-elected vice-chairperson.

Members of the Executive Committee who will serve with the officers are Marian Cummings of Sacred Heart Parish and Craig Bartmess, a permanent deacon at St. Charles Parish.

(Father Caswell is Inland Register archivist.)


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