Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
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 19, 2012 edition of the Inland Register)
50 Years Ago: March 2, 1962
Your Bishop and You, by Bishop Bernard Topel
Archbishop O’Brien is dead. For bishops and priests in dioceses with mission parishes there is, has been, and will be only one Archbishop O’Brien. That is Archbishop William O’Brien of the Catholic Church Extension Society of America.
My first memories of the Extension Society go back to early high school days. Our pastor in Bozeman, Mont., recommended that parishioners take out subscriptions to Extension Magazine, to help the home missions. My mother subscribed, became and remained a most faithful reader of this magazine. I remember seeing in it pic tures of little chapels built by the Extension Society. I remember too the famous chapel car – a railway car that toured the home missions of the United States, especially places to small even for a mission chapel. Archbishop O’Brien as a young priest came to the Northwest in that chapel car.
He started working with the Extension Society 55 years ago; he was president of it for the last 37 years. The amount of financial assistance Archbishop O’Brien found for small, struggling missions is almost beyond belief. No doubt totals will be made. They will be staggering.
I remember my first meeting with the kindly archbishop after my consecration as a bishop. His first thought was to help us. He encouraged me to ask for help. As you know, it is my belief that we shall be better Catholics in this diocese if we do as much as we can without outside help. Yet there have been places and times where help has been needed and asked for, places where, without Extension’s aid, without Archbishop O’Brien, we could not have done what we did.
Our diocese is becoming less and less a missionary diocese. Yet there still are small, struggling parishes and missions that need help. In the past six years, without Extension’s help, we would not have been able to build churches in Oroville, Kettle Falls and St. John. Nor would we have been able to proceed, as we are now proceeding, in building a church at Brewster. Nor would we have had the hall in Dayton and the rectory in Othello.
Each of these churches received a grant of $10,000 from Archbishop O’Brien. The total cost of most of these was about $40,000. In each instance, we would not have dared to build without the $10,000 in cash that came from the Extension Society.
In addition, through the years we have received special help for the sustenance of priests in small places. Also sacred vessels and linens, missals, vestments, Stations of the Cross, and such like.
It is certainly true that many missions and small parishes would not now be the centers of flourishing Catholicism they are were it not for the Catholic Extension Society of America and Archbishop O’Brien. What a great work he did!
In our diocese we owe him very much. I ask all, especially those who have benefitted from the Extension Society, to pray often for Archbishop O’Brien. Gratitude demands this of us.
May he rest in peace.
25 Years Ago: April 16, 1987
DPC welcomes new members
The Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC) held its quarterly meeting March 20-21 at Holy Names Center at Fort Wright. Three new members were welcomed for orientation. These members will each serve a three-year term:
• Anne Chambers is a member of St. Augustine Parish. She is married, teaches fifth grade religious education classes, and is part of the Family Life Ministry Team, as well as being active in other parish activities.
• Catherine Braddock is a student at Washington State University, Pullman, where she is majoring in engineering. She is an active member of the St. Thomas More Center there. She serves that community as a lector and a member of the liturgy committee. Her home parish is St. Vincent, Connell, Wash.
• Michael Wong is also a student at WSU, where he is studying for his post-graduate degree in civil engineering. He is also a member of the St. Thomas More Center and is involved in the liturgy committee as well as the Newman Club. His family resides in Hawaii.
At the meeting, reports were given on completed parish visitations (“DPC begins parish visitation program,” IR 1/22/87). The DPC is now selecting parishes for the second round of visitations. Since many of these parishes are some distance from where the DPC members live, scheduling for this round of visitations will take more coordination between parishes and the DPC members.
The visitation project was begun at the request of Bishop Lawrence Welsh. The information gathered from the visitations is being compiled and will be given to diocesan administration staff.
Msgr. William Van Omeren, Vicar General of the Diocese of Spokane, joined the DPC meeting to give the members an encouraging update on the progress of Bishop Welsh’s recovery. Msgr. Van Omeren encouraged the DPC members in their work as listeners and as advisors to the bishop, and asked for their prayers for the bishop and himself.
After a lengthy business meeting and committee reports, officers were selected.
Dan Leary of Othello will serve another term as chairman of the DPC. Rich Kuh of Kettle Falls was selected as the new vice-chairman. The officers will choose the DPC Executive Committee before the next DPC meeting scheduled for June.
Emily Ehlinger of Spokane’s Sacred Heart Parish also joined the DPC as an observer for the day. Parish Council members and parishioners from throughout the diocese are welcome to attend any DPC meetings as observers. Those interested in observing the DPC should contact DPC staff person Gabriela Egging at 456-7100.
(Father Caswell is archivist for the Inland Register, and a frequent contributor to this publication.)