Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington



From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

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 December 20, 2012 edition of the Inland Register)

From the Inland Register – Volume XXI, No. 15
Fifty Years Ago: November 16, 1962

Jubilee in Deer Park is ‘just another day’

Usually there is a good deal of pomp and ceremony when a parish church celebrates its golden jubilee. Members of the Altar Society bustle about feeding hordes of visiting clergy.

The sanctuary is crowded with priestly personnel – usually including the bishop – for the Solemn High Mass of Thanksgiving. Old pictures of bygone parish buildings and departed pastors are dusted off and reproduced in souvenir booklets.

Parish old-timers are asked by the diocesan newspaper to scratch around in their memories for interesting, long-forgotten anecdotes.

In short, the average parish which has attained a ripe old 50 years becomes the focal point for an unprecedented amount of hustle and bustle.

This is not the case at St. Mary’s Presentation, Deer Park.

Franciscan Father Julian Girardot, who has been pastor there for almost six years, simply doesn’t have the time to arrange such a celebration.

He shepherds 200 families over 500 square miles of parish and mission territory, and most of the wage-earners are hard-working farmers. They don’t have the time, either, to arrange a big anniversary celebration.

The Deer Park golden anniversary is unique in other respects. Sunday Masses at 8 and 10 a.m. (and weekday Masses at 7:15 a.m.) are still being said in the same old cement block building which was erected in 1912.

The land the church stands on at Main Street and 4th was donated by a pioneer Catholic, F.J. Reuthinger, whose son is J.E. Reuthinger of St. Francis Xavier Parish.

The first contribution for the elderly church was given by a Jewish merchant of Chewelah named Emmanuel Oppenheimer. He donated $10 – a sum which bought considerably more in those days than it does now.

Naturally, a church of this vintage has its maintenance problems, and these have become the burden of Father Girardot. When this writer called him about an “anniversary” story for the Inland Register, he was very busy painting and repairing his church.

This, of course, was in addition to covering those 500 square miles of parish territory and serving as his own housekeeper and his own cook.

The church roof has had to be strengthened to hold the walls together, and the interior has been buttressed.

Currently, the pastor is helping a local carpenter repair an elderly four-room house next door to the church. This, when completed, will serve as a residence for the Sisters next summer when they come to Deer Park to conduct the annual two-week religious vacation school.

Not only does Father tend the Deer Park church, but the missions of St. Joseph, Colbert, and Elk as well. Altar socieites function at Colbert and Deer Park, and a two-parish CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) group has just been launched. There is no Holy Name Society. After three unsuccessful tries, Father Girardot sort of “gave up” that idea.

Naturally, since one priest cannot say two Masses at Colbert and two at Deer Park each Sunday, a priest from Spokane helps out. Father Girardot’s holy day schedule is almost as rugged – two morning Masses at Deer Park, one evening mass at Colbert.

Originally, the Jesuit Fathers from Gonzaga University served the area’s Catholics. In 1910, two years before the little church was built, Jesuit Father Balthasar Feisi, the resident pastor of Chewelah, made a monthly trip to Deer Park to say Mass. He said it in a place called “Kelley’s Hall.”

The Jesuits ministered to the growing community until 1916, when the Franciscan Fathers came to the parish. The Catholic cemetery at Deer Park was acquired in 1930, the parish hall in 1931, the rectory in 1952.

At the time the little church celebrated its silver jubilee in 1937, it was found that the roof was badly in need of repairs. Winter was coming. Funds were raised for “the most necessary work,” which turned out to be sufficient only for one side of the roof. It was some time before the balance of the roof sprouted new shingles.

Incidentally, quite a celebration was held in Deer Park in 1937. There was a Solemn High Mass, with a sermon preached by the late Bishop Charles D. White, who also was principal speaker at the banquet following. Members of the Schola Cantorum of Mount St. Michael rendered the Mass music, and the high school orchestra of Deer Park played during the banquet.

But that was 1937.

On Wednesday, Nov. 21, Feast of the Presentation, 1962, Father Girardot will offer a Mass of celebration. But it will be an ordinary Mass, and he will be alone in the sanctuary.

And later in the day, he will probably be found at that little house next door – hammering, sawing, and painting.

A golden jubilee in Deer Park is “just another day.”


From the Inland Register – Vol. 45, No. 8
Twenty-five Years Ago: December 10, 1987

School board members discuss why they serve

(Editor’s note: The following is the first in a series of articles from members of the Diocesan Schools Board, writing to explain the reasons that draw them to this type of service.)

John Heffernan, Chairman of the Board of Education

I am here because I believe that to grow in my faith there must be an expression of that faith by service. Among the most important gifts I receive is life and time. I want to give back time in service.

The opportunity to be of service to the Church in education, an area I believe is important to the overall mission of the Church, has been very positive for me. I believe the children and youth of today will be the Church of tomorrow. We, the Church, need to make an investment in our children and youth so that Christian values have life in the years ahead. I have a strong bias that the best system of support to the families of our Catholic faith community can occur within our schools, strongly supported by local parishes. I know my wife, Kathy, and I and our five children have been encouraged and enhanced by the loving and value-oriented climate which has been and is available at St. Charles School and Gonzaga Prep. We as parents, with school support, have been able to better share our Christian values with our children.

Internal to the Board, my agenda is to stress the need of our schools to be part of the faith community and support the whole faith community. We cannot afford in private schools to forget about just salaries for our teachers or to isolate ourselves from the lives, struggles, and pressures of our parishes. We need to provide solutions and support families of the total parish through service.

Robert Scanlon, Vice-chairman

I first view my service on the Board as a form of the stewardship to which each member of the Church is called. I hope that, through my Board service, the goals of the church in Spokane can be furthered. But since service on any church board or committee is a form of stewardship, the question remains: Why have I chosen to give my time and talent to the Board of Education?

I serve on the Board, quite simply, because I am committed to Catholic education. Thirty years ago, my parents helped to build a parish grammar school for my brothers, sisters and me to attend because they saw the inherent value of that education religiously, academically, and morally. As one, then, who has been the beneficiary of a Catholic education, I firmly believe that a great deal of the person I am is a result of that education. I feel a profound obligation to my children to make a similar education available to them.

The Spokane area is fortunate to have many excellent public school systems. But one cannot lose sight of the fact that our Catholic school system does not compete with these systems. It is an inherently different and, I believe, superior system of education. Thus, I feel that parents who choose, for whatever reason, not to take advantage of available Catholic education are doing a disservice to their children.

I believe equally firmly that the obligation to support Catholic education is owed by the entire diocese and should not fall primarily on the shoulders of the parents of the students. A generation ago, the faculties of Catholic primary and secondary schools were composed almost entirely of Religious men and women. Tuition, on a primary level, was either non-existent or was nominal and well within the means of everyone. That, for a variety of reasons, is no longer the case. As a result, parents who want their children to have the benefit of a Catholic education may find the cost of that education prohibitive. This problem, I believe, is one which must be faced and dealt with by all of the people of the diocese.

The Board has begun to address this problem from a long-range perspective. Many schools are doing similar planning. I feel that through my membership on the Board, I can help to assure that Catholic education is available not only for my children, but for their children as well.

Susan Bloom, Secretary of the Board

Being on the Diocesan Board of Education has redefined for me, with beautiful clarity, the value of Catholic schools. The opportunity, the setting for my spirit to be nourished, to be touched, to be challenged as a member of the Board parallels the opportunity and the setting I had as a student in Catholic schools.

Throughout my year on the Board, I have been deeply moved by the liturgies, the faith, the love, the insights, the theology, the work, the humor, and the giftedness of each individual member.

I have come to appreciate how my own education and experiences in Catholic schools, as well as the upbringing I had in a loving, Catholic family, fed my spirit constantly and continually. When I graduated from the university and moved away from home, my opportunities for this nurturing and spiritual growth were not so available. I am personally aware of how this affects the human spirit; without the opportunities, the settings for growth, for challenge, for enrichment, the spirit becomes weak. And so it is for our children. It is important for all of us to seek out opportunities for personal, spiritual growth by broadening our base of Christian community and service. This extends to the opportunities we provide for our children in the home, at school, and in the community.

I am so very happy to be a member of the Board for the additional opportunities it has provided for my own personal spiritual growth and for giving clarity to the great value of our Catholic schools, It has affirmed for me the importance of our work, our struggle, our planning for the future.

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



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