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

Regional Report

the Inland Register

(From the Aug. 18, 2011 edition of the Inland Register)

Archdiocese of Portland

ASTORIA – With welled-up eyes, children from Star of the Sea School in Astoria attended one last school Mass.

They did a lot of things for the final time last month — wear school uniforms, navigate the grand old maze of a building, hug their teachers.

Star of the Sea is closed after 115 years. It was the last Catholic school on the Oregon coast.

The working-class community, led by a saddened Father Ken Sampson, tried to focus on the graces of the past during what the priest calls “a local tragedy.”

A funding shortfall caused by fewer students and higher costs threatened to shut the school for years. Father Sampson, the Archdiocese of Portland, administrators and local families gamely tried to keep it open, but could not overcome the crushing deficit, which was $100,000 to $250,000 annually.

Father Sampson is working with city officials on a good use for the school building, part of which will continue to house a preschool. He wants the plan to serve youth.

WILSONVILLE – A Wilsonville couple’s small business is meant to bring a customer base, not the competition, to its knees.

Richard and Pam Query have begun Saints Supply to provide personal prayer kneelers, sometimes called a prie dieu, for use in home, at work and even in the RV.

The project began when Richard, an energetic entrepreneur, was diagnosed with late-stage lymphoma in 2007. He had only a 20-percent chance of survival. During the illness, Pam felt a need to pray more and had always preferred to do so on her knees. She scanned the Internet for an affordable prie dieu but had no luck.

Richard, with time on his hands and just enough energy, built her a solid wood, foldable kneeler with ample padding to support her increasingly arthritic knees. It made a big difference in her prayer life, becoming her personal “out-of-the way place.”

Soon, friends at Resurrection Parish in Tualatin were asking where they could buy one. Richard obliged, even as he underwent new treatments to rid him of cancer.

Word spread and a local retirement home wanted a kneeler. Richard built one with special wall supports for more stability when elders lean to stand up.

Several hospices have bought kneelers so family can pray by the bedside. In all, 25 kneelers have sold at $169 apiece. The first order from the website came from Canada.

In his son-in-law’s Beaverton garage, Richard measures, cuts and affixes wood. He has experimented with kneeler padding, settling on a two-ply technique of firm and soft strips. The kneelers weigh 16 pounds, but new oak versions may be heavier. And Richard can tailor the size to the devotee.

They retired from their old life.

Richard, 65, says cancer is no fun, but can be a gift from God to improve a person. He learned that life is outside his control, that his ultimate purpose is not to shape his own destiny, but to discern God’s directions and follow. He felt liberated.

The prayer kneeler project — as much ministry as business — has given him peace, which he interprets as a sign of following the right path.

“I don’t have a business plan and I don’t want a business plan,” Richard says. “I just want to provide kneelers for people who want them.”

PORTLAND – Since 1996 the National Association of Pastoral Musicians has recognized individuals who have made exceptional musical contributions to the American Catholic Church. This year’s recipient of the Jubilate Deo Award: The St. Louis Jesuits.

”This award is not only highly deserved, but very long overdue,” says John Limb, publisher of OCP, the Portland-based company that publishes the St. Louis Jesuits’ music. “The St. Louis Jesuits are ground-breaking composers in the area of liturgical music. They were among the first to marry texts based on Scripture with melodies that were well crafted and memorable. Not only have they influenced the spiritual lives of millions of Catholics in the pews, but they have also influenced the music of almost every liturgical composer who’s written and been published since Vatican II.”

— Catholic Sentinel (Archdiocese of Portland)

Inland Register archives


© The Catholic Diocese of Spokane. All Rights Reserved