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


New assignments announced for 16 priests serving the Spokane Diocese

by Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register

(From the May 19, 2011 edition of the Inland Register)

Assignments have been announced for 16 priests. All are effective July 1 of this year.

Father Patrick Baraza has been named pastor of St. Ann Parish, Spokane, with residence at Bishop White Seminary.

Father Baraza was ordained Sept. 25, 1982, in Kenya.

He came to the United States in 1993 for doctoral studies at the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley, Calif., and to the Spokane Diocese in 2005.

His ministry has included parish work, teaching in a seminary in Kenya, and ministering among the Potok nomads of Kenya’s desert region.

He came to Eastern Washington to teach in Gonzaga Univer-sity’s Religious Studies Department. He has also taught courses in Islam at Eastern Washington University in Cheney.

Father Darrin Connall is the new rector of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes.

He was ordained a priest May 29, 1992, after studies at Bishop White Seminary and The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.

He first served the diocese as parochial vicar of St. Thomas More Parish, Spokane, before being named pastor of the parishes in Colville, Kettle Falls, and Northport in 1994. He oversaw construction of a new church in Colville during his time there as pastor.

He was named Co-director of Vocations in 1999, and rector of Bishop White Seminary the following year.

His tenure as rector of Bishop White saw the contruction and dedication of a new seminary complex in 2009.

Father Steve Dublinski, rector of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes and the Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia of the diocese, has been named Director of Seminarians and Rector of Bishop White Seminary, Spokane, while continuing as Vicar General.

Father Dublinski, originally from Walla Walla, was ordained June 29, 1985, after seminary formation at Bishop White Seminary in Spokane and North American College, Rome.

He was associate pastor of St. John Vianney Parish, Spokane Valley, until June 1989, when he was assigned to St. Charles Parish, Spokane, also as associate pastor. In October 1990 he became pastoral administrator of the parish, and on Nov. 4 of that year, pastor.

In July 1997 he moved to St. Mary Parish, Spokane Valley, as pastor.

In 2002 Bishop Skylstad appointed him Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the diocese.

The following year, Father Dublinski became pastor of the parishes in Rosalia, Oakesdale, St. John, and Tekoa, and two years later, rector of the Cathedral.

Father Tim Hays has been pastor of Assumption Parish, Walla Walla, since July 1, 2002. He is the new pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Colbert.

He was ordained a priest on June 12, 1996, after service in the Air Force and priestly formation at Bishop White Seminary, Spokane, and St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity, University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, Minn.

He participated in a summer of Spanish language immersion in Cuernavaca, Mexico, before beginning his first assignment, as parochial vicar of St. Patrick and St. Francis of Asssisi parishes in Walla Walla, where he served until 1999.

On July 17 of that year he was named pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Othello.

He returned to Walla Walla three years later, as pastor of Assumption Parish.

Father José Luís Hernandez was ordained to the priesthood June 29, 1999, after studies at Bishop White Seminary and St. Paul Seminary. As a seminarian he also completed Clinical Pastoral Education in Boise.

Father Hernandez was parochial vicar of St. Patrick Parish, Pasco, for a year before moving to St. Patrick Parish, Walla Walla, in 2000. The following year he became pastor of the parishes in Brewster and Twisp.

He was named pastor of St. Rose of Lima Parish, Cheney, July 1, 2005. In 2006 he added ministry at the Eastern Washington University Newman Center to his pastoral responsibilities.

On July 1 Father Hernandez becomes pastor of the parishes in Tekoa, Rosalia, Oakesdale, and St. John. He will live at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, and be available for ministry to the Hispanic community at St. Joseph Parish, Spokane.

Father Pat Kerst, ordained May 23, 1990, will add Assumption Parish, Walla Walla, to his responsibilities for the other two Walla Walla parishes on July 1.

Father Kerst attended St. Mary School, Spokane Valley, and Gonzaga Prep, Spokane, before entering Bishop White Seminary.

He completed his seminary formation at St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul, Minn., before ordination to the priesthood in Spokane.

Father Kerst was associate pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Pasco, for a little over four years before moving to St. Patrick and St. Francis of Assisi parishes in Walla Walla in 1994, as parochial vicar.

In 1996 he began ministry as pastor of the parishes in Brewster and Twisp, where he served for five years, when he returned to the two Walla Walla parishes, this time as pastor.

He was named Director of Continuing Education for Priests in February of 2010.

Father Ed Marier has been pastor of the parishes in Colton and Uniontown since July 1, 2004.

He studied at Bishop White Seminary, Spokane, and St. Patrick Seminary, Menlo Park, Calif., prior to ordination May 21, 1988.

He was given his first assignment, as associate pastor of St. Mary Parish in Spokane Valley, the next month.

In 1991 he became associate pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Pasco. One year later he became pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Othello.

Father Marier became a pastor for the first time with his assignment to the parishes in Wilbur and Odessa in July 1996. One year later he moved to become pastor of the parishes in Newport, Metaline Falls, Ione, Usk, and the Kalispel Reservation. He served there for seven years prior to his assignment to Colton and Uniontown.

He now returns to that area as pastor of the parishes in Newport, Usk, and the Kalispel Indian Reservation.

Father Miguel Mejia was ordained to the priesthood Aug. 11, 2000.

He began seminary formation at the seminary in his home town of Toluca, Mexico. He came to the Spokane Diocese and studied at Bishop White Seminary and The Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, prior to ordination.

Father Mejia served for just under two years as parochial vicar of St. Patrick Parish, Pasco, before becoming pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, Othello.

In 2008 he was named parochial vicar of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, and assigned as well as pastoral administrator of the parishes in Tekoa, Rosalia, Oakesdale, and St. John.

He will now serve as pastor of St. Rose of Lima Parish, Cheney, and in addition will be Coordinator of Prison Ministry for the diocese.

Father Matthew Nicks has been named pastor for the first time, assigned as of July 1 to Sacred Heart Parish, Brewster, and St. Genevieve Parish, Twisp.

He was ordained to the priesthood June 27, 2008.

He studied at North American College, Rome, prior to ordination, where he returned for additional studies before beginning his assignment as parochial vicar of St. Patrick Parish, Pasco, in August 2009.

Father Luta Nsubuga, the new parochial vicar of St. Patrick Parish, Pasco, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from Washington State University. He studied theology at The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C. before ordination to priesthood on May 21 of last year. Father Nsubuga, originally from Uganda, has served as parochial vicar of St. Thomas More Parish, Spokane, since ordination.

Father Kevin Oiland has been appointed parochial vicar of the parishes of Immaculate Conception, Colville; Pure Heart of Mary, Northport; Sacred Heart, Kettle Falls; St. Joseph, Metaline Falls; and St. Bernard, Ione.

Since ordination to priesthood June 26, 2009, Father Oiland has been parochial vicar of St. Patrick and St. Francis of Assisi parishes, Walla Walla, while also serving as a chaplain and teacher at DeSales High School, Walla Walla.

Father Oiland studied at Bishop White Seminary, Spokane, and then completed priestly formation at Mount Angel Seminary, St. Benedict, Ore.

Jesuit Father Sean Raftis returns to the Spokane Diocese to be parochial vicar of Assumption Parish, Spokane.

Father Raftis was born in Spokane and attended St. Francis of Assisi and St. Thomas More schools, and graduated from Gonzaga Prep.

He entered the Society of Jesus in 1995.

He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communications, a master’s degree in philosophy, and a licentiate in sacred theology and master of divinity from the Weston School of Theology in Boston.

He was ordained a priest in 2005 at St. Aloysius Church, Spokane.

Much of Father Raftis’s ministry has involved the field of communication – he was an instructor of communication arts, and of philosophy, at Gonzaga University, where he also served as a retreat chaplain.

He has published articles and photo essays in several national publications, including coverage of the March for Life for National Jesuit News and Company magazine. His licentiate thesis was titled “Liturgical Dimensions of the Promotion of Life: Preaching and Teaching Evangelium Vitae in the Roman Catholic Liturgy.”

Father Miguel Angel Gustavo Ruiz Juarez, presently pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Brewster and St. Genevieve Parish in Twisp, will be moving to the other end of the diocese to become parochial vicar of the three parishes in Walla Walla: Assumption, St. Patrick, and St. Francis of Assisi.

Father Ruiz was ordained a priest on July 7, 2006.

He was born in Mexico City and grew up in Carrizal, Veracruz. He completed two years of theology in Mexico before coming to the Spokane Diocese in 2003.

He studied at Bishop White Seminary before completing theological studies at Mount Angel Seminary, St. Benedict, Ore.

Besides his ministry in Brewster and Twisp, Father Ruiz has served as parochial vicar of St. Patrick Parish, Pasco.

Father Mike Savelesky will continue in his present ministries as pastor of Assumption Parish, Spokane, and Director of Deacon Formation for the diocese as he takes on additional responsibilities as the diocese’s Moderator of the Curia. As such he will assist the bishop with various administrative tasks.

Father Savelesky was ordained Aug. 4, 1973, after earning a doctorate in Religious Studies from the American College in Louvain, Belgium.

He has a wide range of ministerial experience in the diocese. He has been assistant pastor at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, and pastor of St. Peter Parish, Spokane; St. Patrick and St. Francis of Assisi parishes in Walla Walla; and Assumption, Spokane. He oversaw construction of the new church complex while pastor of St. Peter Parish.

He served as an assistant retreat master at Immaculate Heart Retreat Center; vocation director; dean of men as well as rector of Bishop White Seminary; and director of the diocese’s Lay Ministry Formation Program.

This is his third assignment as head of Deacon Formation.

He also served as the Bishop’s Secretary for Evangelization, Director of Communications, and editor of the Inland Register, and this past school year was an adjunct assistant professor of religious studies at Gonzaga University.

Father Joseph Sullivan has been pastor of the parishes in Newport, Ione, Usk, Metaline Falls, and the Kalispel Indian Reservation since Sept. 1, 2004.

He was ordained a priest of the Spokane Diocese May 30, 2003, after working as a geologist for about 20 years. He studied at Bishop White Seminary before entering the theology program at Mount Angel Seminary, St. Benedict, Ore., where he completed his priestly formation.

Father Sullivan becomes the new pastor of the parishes in Colton and Uniontown on July 1 of this year.

Besides his recent ministry as a pastor, he served as parochial vicar for a little more than a year at St. Patrick and St. Francis of Assisi parishes in Walla Walla.

Father Steve Werner will be adding the parishes in Metaline Falls and Ione to his present responsibilities as pastor of the parishes in Colville, Northport, and Kettle Falls come July 1.

He was born in Tacoma. After completing a degree at Washington State University, he entered the priestly formation program at Bishop White Seminary, Spokane. He completed his theology studies at Mount Angel Seminary, St. Benedict, Ore.

Father Werner was parochial vicar at St. Patrick Parish, Pasco, immediately after his ordination May 22, 1998.

The following year he became pastor of the parishes in Oroville and Tonasket. Three years later, in 2002, he was named to St. Thomas More Newman Center at Washington State University – now the St. Thomas More Catholic Student Center at Washington State University. He remained there until his move to his present assignment.


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