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 March 21, 2013 edition of the Inland Register)

From the Inland Register - Vol. XXI, No. 26
50 Years Ago: February 1, 1963

Your Bishop and You
by Bishop Bernard Topel

Met him at Council

Sunday afternoon Bishop Padiyara of Ootacumund, India, left Spokane after a 10-day visit here. During the Council in Rome he sat in the seat directly in front of me. We became acquainted, and out of this came his visit here.

His is a new diocese in South Central India, not far north of the region of his birth, Kerala. In his youth he belonged, as do most of the Catholics in Kerala, to the Chaldean Rite. Now he belongs to our Latin Rite.

One of the many advantages of the Council is that it makes the bishops better acquainted with the Church elsewhere. Before the Council, I knew that only about 1 percent of the people of India are Catholics, and of the extreme difficulty of converting Hindus. I knew something also of the poverty of the priests and of the Church and the even greater poverty of the people of India. Now I know these things in much more detail.

Marriages in India

There were other things I did not know at all. Thus I have found out that mixed marriages (practically speaking) do not exist among the Catholics of India! Neither is there any breakup of marriages by separation or divorce. Moreover, almost no Catholics (who are able) fail to go to Mass on Sundays.

These things surprise me the more because the same is in no way true in the United States. I found out, too, one of the great reasons for the Catholic marriages in India and for their permanence. Marriages are arranged by the parents, not by those entering marriage!

Normally, the first time the young man in India sees the girl he is to marry is the day of the formal engagement; the second time is the day of the marriage. This does not mean that those getting married know little about each other. Quite the contrary. In fact, in many important ways much more is known about by them than by those getting married in the United States. In India a real investigation is made by the Catholic parents before the engagement. Only a Catholic is considered by Catholic parents, so there are no mixed marriages. The background, the health, the financial status, the morals, the character, and the suitability of the prospective spouse are all investigated most carefully.

Too far opposite

Obviously, I am not proposing that we should adopt the system of India. But I do believe that we have gone much too far in the other direction. Too often parents know almost nothing about the one marrying into their family. The son (or daughter) often does not know much more. In the American system, the reasons for choosing a partner are often not nearly so important nor of such lasting value as those that prompt the choice in India. So it is that our marriages here collapse so much more often than they do in India.

Moreover, in India there is no such thing as courtship, no such thing as dating, nor even social mixing of the sexes before marriage. We cannot help but wonder if we have not gone entirely too far in permitting companionship between the sexes before marriage. Moral dangers and the sins that follow speak for themselves. The results in broken marriages likewise do.

More reason

One wonders if the time has not come that we should retrace our steps somewhat and reduce the mixing of our young men and women socially. One wonders too if the time has not come that there should be more reason and more solid reasons in the selection of partners for marriage.

From the Inland Register – Vol. 45, No. 13
Twenty-five Years Ago: March 24, 1988

Bishop’s Secretary for Catholic Schools resigns

Sister Joseph Marie Kasel SSND (School Sisters of Notre Dame), Bishop’s Secretary for Catholic Schools for the past six years, has resigned her position effective July 1988.

Under Sister Joseph Marie’s direction the reorganized Diocesan Board of Education has operated effectively and professionally. She has also inserviced local parish school boards on a cyclical basis. She introduced the National Catholic Education Association Vision and Values Program, which focuses on the identity of Catholic schools and the integration of Gospel values within the total educational setting.

Sister Joseph Marie was instrumental in bringing qualified consultants, both national and local, to the diocese to work on long-range planning, development, and financing.

The Education Office has sponsored a variety of workshops and enrichment programs for administrators and teachers. In 1984-85 the total diocesan curriculum was revised. Under her guidance the Diocesan Board of Education has consistently strived to establish salary guidelines within the frame of justice.

In 1984 this diocese was the first to open a Catholic Educare facility in the Northwest. There are now six licensed Educares in the diocese.

A study of Catholic school perceptions of priests, students and parishioners was initiated and completed through Eastern Washington University, under the direction of the Diocesan Board of Education.

Sister Joseph Marie organized and planned the recent 1987-88 Priests’ Gathering and Open School Forum (“The schools of our diocese are our schools,” IR 3/3/88).

She also initiated the Religion Certification of Teachers program in 1985-86.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in English history from St. Catherine’s College, St. Paul, Minn., and a master’s degree in administration and supervision, from St. Louis University.

Sister Joseph Marie has served in a variety of administrative positions in education. She helped write a religion and social studies curriculum for the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis.

She designed and wrote the accreditation of schools program for the Minnesota Accreditation Association. Sister Joseph Marie served six years on the Executive Committee of the National Superintendents of Catholic education. She was the School Sisters of Notre Dame educational consultant for six dioceses in the Midwest, as well as Washington and Montana.

Prior to coming to Spokane, Sister Joseph Marie served as Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Winona, Minn. She was an Associate Superintendent in the Office of Education for the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa, for five years.

She taught summer courses in curriculum and supervision at Loras College in Dubuque; Mount Mary College, Milwaukee; college-level classes in child development at Good Counsel, Mankato, Minn.; and curriculum and communication in catechetics at the College of St. Teresa, Winona. She is a member of several professional education organizations.

She currently is in the process of searching out a superintendency in another diocese.

(Editor’s note: Sister Joseph Marie died Dec. 13, 2011, at the age of 88.)

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

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

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