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


Rest in peace: Father Edward Caffrey, 1930-2011

by Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register

(From the April 7, 2011 edition of the Inland Register)

Father Edward Caffrey, a priest of the Spokane Diocese for more than 50 years, died Sunday, March 20, after a long illness. He was 80 years old.

The rosary was prayed for him Thursday, March 31, and the funeral Mass was celebrated the next day. Both took place at St. Mary’s Presentation Church, Deer Park, where he was pastor for over 19 years.

He was born in Coeur d’Alene Nov. 2, 1930, and baptized at St. Stanislaus Church in Rathdrum, Idaho.

He attended Rathdrum Public School and moved to St. Aloysius School, Spokane, for eighth grade. High school was at Gonzaga Prep, followed by Gonzaga University and then St. Edward Seminary, Kenmore, Wash.

His first temporary assignment was to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, serving at the same time as assistant editor of the Inland Register. Two months later he moved to Sacred Heart Parish, Spokane, as assistant pastor.

In 1958 Father Caffrey was named supervisor of Marycliff High School in Spokane, and in 1960 he became principal of Walla Walla’s DeSales High School.

In 1968 Father Caffrey began his ministry at what is now called the St. Thomas More Catholic Student Center at Washington State University – then known simply as the Newman Center.

During his time in Pullman ground was broken Nov. 5, 1978, for a new student center and chapel.

He was named pastor of Assumption Parish, Walla Walla, in June 1981, and two years later moved to St. Mary’s Presentation, Deer Park.

St. Joseph Parish, Clayton, was added to his pastoral responsibilities in 1993.

He retired from active ministry in 2002.

“During my visits to the Newman Center in Pullman this year, I was able to see first-hand ample evidence of how this good and faithful servant of the Church dedicated his life to the serve of our college students,” said Bishop Cupich. “Many people recalled with fondness his years as the chaplain, and I know these same sentiments are shared by people in the parishes and schools he served. May he now be graced with the life of the Risen Lord and may his family and friends find comfort in the faith that shaped his life.”

“Father Caffrey’s ministry was especially notable in his many years of service as Newman Chaplain at Washington State University and then pastor of St. Mary’s Presentation Parish in Deer Park,” said Bishop William Skylstad, Bishop Emeritus of the Spokane Diocese. “He also oversaw the building of the St. Thomas More Newman Center in Pullman, a facility much needed at the time. Over the years I have constantly met alumni from WSU who commented on Father Caffrey’s homilies and his dog. He was a great homilist and speaker.

“His many years in St. Mary Presentation Parish in Deer Park endeared him to the parishioners there,” said the bishop. “In these later years, his health gradually waned and in my many visits with him, until recently, he was always ready to talk.

“Our prayers of sympathy and appreciation for his ministry over the years go to Sheila, his sister, and the family. May he rest in peace.”


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