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 January 19, 2012 edition of the Inland Register)

From the Inland Register
Volume XX, No. 22
50 Years Ago: January 5, 1962

Your Bishop and You: Christmas was best ever

by Bishop Bernard Topel

This Christmas was the best ever! It really began with my Christmas visit to my mother on Wednesday, Dec. 20, as I was on my way to Bishop Schuster’s ordination in Great Falls Thursday.

I returned to Spokane from Montana at 10:30 Friday evening. Saturday was one of my busiest days. I worked through the lunch hour and practically through the dinner hour, barely getting off to Valley by 5:40 so as to be there for confessions at 7.

Since no priest was available, I gladly went. It gave me the opportunity to offer Masses for the people there on Sunday, for the first time. There were confessions on Sunday morning and in the afternoon too.

Midnight Mass on TV

Then came the trip back. Because of many activities, my Christmas sermon was only partially prepared, and I had to work on it. Midnight Mass was broadcast over KXLY-TV. People who saw this presentation are most enthusiastic about it. The way it was staged was most professional; many have said they have never heard such a good commentary of a Mass. Others have said that never before have they viewed Mass at such close range.

The TV presentation is made with almost no interference with the priests on ceremonies nor with the congregation. A camera with an extraordinarily large lens is in the choir gallery. Another is near the pulpit, but it is screened from the view of the congregation. Many who cannot attend Midnight Mass are most happy to be able to watch this presentation.

On Christmas Day, I went out to two different parishes as I have been doing these last years. This time it was to St. Peter and St. Xavier. It is a joy for me to be able to be with my people on Christmas.

Dinner at House of Charity

The hour of my Mass at St. Xavier interfered with my serving dinner to the men at the House of Charity. I arrived only for the last round. More than 400 men were served. I ate Christmas dinner with the Brothers.

This was the first year Brother Martin was not present. You probably know that most of the summer he has been in a hospital because of ill health, and this fall he has been away convalescing. He stopped here recently on his way East, to spend Christmas with his parents. After that he will stay a while in Minneapolis to see a doctor.

One of my greatest joys came on Saturday. Much to my amazement, I received a $1,000 check for Guatemala – from outside the diocese. This gift is most providential and most welcome.

School in Guatemala

We are starting a school in Guatemala. The present rectory will serve admirably for it. The rooms are all large enough for classrooms, and consequently much too large for a rectory. Further, they are built around a court in the shape of a U.

It conforms well to the modern American standard of school building. Since the walls are adobe, moreover, it will be extraordinarily easy to put more windows in, to change doors and so on. The only cost, practically, will be for materials.

This means though that we must build a rectory and a convent. Father O’Neil’s rectory in Ixtahuacán cost something like $2,000. My guess is that this rectory and convent will each cost about that or a little more. So you see the whole cost of starting a school in Guatemala will be very small compared to American standards.

There have been other substantial gifts too. One of $370 (also from outside the diocese); another came last night for $200 – a third for $100 (from outside the diocese) and some sizable ones less than that. So you see how much appeal our missionary effort has.

But more money is needed.

From the Inland Register
Vol. 44, #10
25 Years Ago: January 22, 1987

Donations to Christmas Appeal 1986 encouraging so far

Contributions to the 1986 Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal have surpassed $302,000, with individual donations still being received daily. Since this total does not include the Christmas collections from several parishes, Catholic Charities still hopes to top its goal of $325,000.

The 1985 collection surpassed $320,000, and on a per capita basis represents one of the most successful single collections in the Catholic Church in the United States.

Funds collected through the Christmas Appeal will be used throughout 1987 to support the established diocesan social service programs associated with Catholic Charities. Christmas dollars are uncommitted funds and therefore provide the flexibility required to respond to new emergencies and situations of need.

Although many anonymous donors contribute through their parishes, this year more than 2,000 donations were mailed directly to Catholic Charities. The average size of an individual donation this year was $65.

The Christmas Appeal received one donation of $10,000, and another of $5,000. In addition to funds donated by Catholics throughout Eastern Washington, over $19,000 has been contributed by non-Catholic donors in the community.

Catholic Charities has continued to hold fundraising costs to less than five percent of the total collection income.

The increased giving to the 1986 Christmas Appeal has come from throughout Eastern Washington.

“We are so grateful for the generosity of the people and for the support of the priests throughout the diocese,” said Donna Hanson, Bishop’s Secretary for Social Ministries.

“The coming year promises to be especially challenging,” she said. “Catholic Charities is responsible for 508 units of housing for the elderly and handicapped. With the average age of our residents near 80, we need to expand volunteer social and nursing services. It is also our hope to break ground on the 94-unit Rockwood Lane project in Spokane, which will include a meal program, medication monitoring, and assistance with housekeeping,” she said.

Rockwood Lane, announced in May 1986, is an $8.1 million housing complex for people 55 years or older in the middle- to upper-income brackets (“Diocese announces $8.1 million housing project for elderly,” IR 5/22/86).

“A special priority for us during 1987 will be to enhance the programs for the developmentally impaired at St. Anne Infant Home and St. Margaret Hall,” Hanson said. “The children at St. Anne need additional nursing services. The young women at St. Margaret need education and training which lead to sheltered work opportunities.”

In thanking all those who gave so generously to the 1986 collection, Bishop Lawrence Welsh wrote, “As we begin our 75th year of service, I am touched by the generosity and concern of so many for those less fortunate. Since 1912, Catholic Charities has been offering love and care to the poor of Eastern Washington. Thanks to your generosity, I know that we can continue to offer a helping hand in the name of Jesus Christ. On behalf of all those who are served daily in the programs of Catholic Charities, I say ‘thank you’ for your generous gift to the 1986 Christmas collection.”

(Father Caswell is Inland Register archivist.)

(Father Caswell is archivist for the Inland Register, and a frequent contributor to this publication.)


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