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

Regional Report

the Inland Register

(From the May 16, 2013 edition of the Inland Register)

Archdiocese of Seattle

OLYMPIA – On Friday, March 22, more than 560 Catholics from more than 54 parishes gathered in Olympia for Catholic Advocacy Day. Catholic service and justice organizations use this day to meet with state legislators and advocate for the care of the poor and respect for religious liberty.

The morning began with a Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Eusebio Elizondo at St. Michael Church. After the Mass, Washington State Catholic Conference lobbyist Donna Christensen gave the participants a briefing on issues of economic justice, health care, housing and religious liberty.

Father Gary Zender, vicar for Catholic charities and pastor of St. Anthony Parish in Renton, explained the need for ministry to the poor.

“May it also be a new day for the poor and vulnerable in the state of Washington,” he said. “As Pope Francis recently said, ‘I want a Church for the poor.’ We rely on the strength that comes from God alone to serve the poor in our time.”

The participants, many dressed in red and all carrying bright red folders, took part in more than 100 meetings with legislators and their staff, urging them not to forget the poor when setting budget priorities and advocating for religious liberty.

- Catholic Northwest Progress (Archdiocese of Seattle)

Archdiocese of Portland

“What’s that word I told you to remember today?” Sister Beatrice LaFramboise called out to warm up the crowd.

Like a tidal wave, 280 11-year-olds roared in response: “Vocations!”

Two rallies, one at St. Pius X in Portland and one at Queen of Peace in Salem, gathered sixth-graders from all over the Archdiocese of Portland to learn about the full range of vocations, including Religious life and priesthood.

After a successful pilot program in 2007, the archdiocese has run the program every year. Church leaders hope to emphasize the universal call to holiness through the sacrament of baptism, with the call to live out that commitment in married life, single life, ordained life or religious life, Sister Beatrice said.

Father John Henderson, archdiocese vocations director, asked the crowd, “What do you want to do when you grow up?”

Children called out “fireman,” “basketball player,” “teacher.”

If people had asked the disciples what they wanted to be, they would have said “fishermen,” Father Henderson said. However, when Jesus Christ, asked them to be leaders, he said, “they decided to follow him in a very real and close way.”

So the real question, Father Henderson said, is “Who is it that the Lord is really calling us to be?”

Students spent the day learning vocations-related vocabulary, and meeting Religious Brothers, Religious Sisters, seminarians, postulants, and priests.

Franciscan Sister Christine Still started out by reassuring the sixth-graders that Religious were once children just like them, trying to figure out who they were called to be. Some youngsters seem to think Religious and priests come from another planet, Sister Christine joked.

“Well, guess what? There is no planet of vocations,” she said. “The vocations come from you guys. It might be you, or it might be the person sitting next to you.”

Nuns eat pizza and play soccer, she assured the children.

“We’re normal people,” she said. “We do not sit in a chapel in a rocking chair, praying the rosary all day.”

The rally was broken into segments throughout the day, including a prayer service, various presentations, games and exhibits.

The goal is to let children know that people in Religious life and ordained life are people of joy, Sister Beatrice said.

“The question always comes up, “Are you fulfilled and do you have a lot of meaning in life?” she said. “We are able to talk about people like Óscar Romero, or tell about our own life.”

Sister Beatrice tells students about the 12 years she worked at a homeless shelter for women and children. Though she has never given birth to a child, she knows she has given life by providing a safe shelter for people in need.

– Catholic Sentinel (Oregon)

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