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 June 20, 2013 edition of the Inland Register)

From the Inland Register – Vol. LI, No. 51
Fifty Years Ago: April 21, 1963

Your Bishop and You

by Bishop Bernard J. Topel

Plans Seven Years Ago

Seven years ago last August, I was appointed Coadjutor to Bishop White in the Diocese of Spokane. When a bishop is unable to do the work in a diocese, whether because of sickness or the size of the diocese, either an auxiliary bishop or a coadjutor bishop is appointed. Normally the coadjutor automatically succeeds to the diocese; the auxiliary does not. My appointment to Spokane was with the “right of succession.”

As soon as my appointment was announced, I was interviewed by a local newspaper. I was asked what projects and what directions my work would pursue. I answered that I would do what Bishop White wanted done. That was my intention and desire, especially because of my inexperience as a bishop. But I added that since for more than 10 years my work in the Diocese of Helena had been with vocations and since the need of vocations was great in the Diocese of Spokane, I assumed I would work in that direction. This I have tried to do.

The work for priestly vocations is related to an important anniversary. On July 15 of this year, we celebrate the fourth centenary of the establishment of seminaries by the Council of Trent. This is a most significant year therefore. It has been said, “If the Council had achieved nothing else, this one decree (of establishing seminaries for the training of priests) compensates for all their labors and troubles.” This is true. The intellectual and, above all, the spiritual training of the priests through the seminaries that were established as a result of the Council of Trent changed the Church for the better. This was true reform. It is the sort of thing that must come out of our Second Vatican Council if it also is to be a success.

Trent and Mater Cleri

It is a glorious coincidence – and providential – that in this fourth centenary of the Council of Trent we are constructing our Mater Cleri Seminary. This seminary is progressing very well indeed. What is below ground is finished; the building is now rising above ground.

Our diocese pledged a magnificent $845,000 for the construction of Mater Cleri. We believe its total cost will be just beyond that. Contributions from this campaign have passed $600,000; by the time you read this, it will probably be $610,000. You must remember, though, that about $150,000 of this is used for our diocesan collections and expenses. Thus we have some distance to go before we have our seminary completely paid for.

We had our sights on beginning construction last August. For a variety of reasons (as so often happens) we began late, actually in November. Notwithstanding, we are assured by the builders and the architects that the seminary will be finished by September 1 unless something unforeseen arises. This is a truly glorious achievement … due, as you know, to the leadership, interest, and generosity of our priests and laity.

Hail Mary for Vocations

Through the years we have striven to do what we could for vocations. The first appointment I made after coming to the diocese was to make Father Robert O’Neil our diocesan Director of Vocations. Our first concern was to get our people to pray for vocations. The Hail Mary was added to each Mass and devotion and meeting and to night prayers each night. This has been a big step in the right direction. We expect our Catholics also to make the increase of religious vocations an intention in all their prayers and sacrifices.

But all other means must be used too for the promotion of vocations. Of special interest in this direction was the recent Vocation Festival held at St. Charles Parish. In the parish hall, there was a magnificent display. All the communities of Sisters in the diocese had most interesting displays, each in its own booth. Also there was the booth for the Tertiary Brothers of the House of Charity. At the head of the hall there were displays for the groups of priests working in the diocese: the diocesan priests, the Jesuits, and the Franciscans. Displays far exceeded what I thought possible both in interest and in quality.

To me, the highlight, though, was the 4 p.m. Solemn High Mass in the beautiful St. Charles Church. The eighth graders of the city were in attendance, as were others. The Church was overcrowded. The ceremonies, the choir, everything was done with great dignity and reverence.

This effort made me feel that we must repeat the Vocation Festival in succeeding years.


From the Inland Register – Vol. 45, No. 17
Twenty-five Years Ago: June 16, 1988

SNJMs distribute $6,000 to 19 grants

The Sisters of the Holy Names’ Province Advisory Board recently awarded $6,000 in grants to 19 recipients for ministry projects during 1988-89.

Attention was paid to geographic distributions, how the funds would assist the poor, whether matching funds were available, and particularly how a given project would contribute to the educational mission of the Sisters of the Holy Names.

The Apostolic Grants Committee is made up of six lay persons and two Holy Names Sisters, and has awarded grants since 1982.

Grant applicants must be a member of the Washington Province of the Sisters of the Holy Names.

Ten grants were awarded in the Diocese of Spokane. Those receiving grants were:

• Sister Barbara Clare Altman, for sending supplies to the missions.
• Sister Charlyne Brown, for peace and justice curriculum at St. Aloysius School.
• Sister Aletha Deegan, for materials for visitation ministry.
• Sister Aloysia Maria Harman, for materials for jail and visitation ministry.
• Sister Mary Hurley, for Faith and Light Community development.
• Sister Peggy Kennedy of Miryam’s House of Transition, for board and room for women without means.
• Sister Betty McLellan, to assist Holy Names Associates in helping missions.
• Sister Carol Qualley, for music materials for a tri-parish program.
• Sister Marcia Schrapps, for tuition assistance to St. Patrick School.
• Sister Marianne Therese Willkinson, for promotional materials for Habitat for Humanity.

Other grants were awarded for the Diocese of Yakima and the Archdiocese of Seattle, as well as mission projects in Juarez, Mexico, and Arequipa, Peru.

Two grants this year were “challenge grants,” for which a Sister must match funds received by app0roaching other sources.

Holy Names Foundation coordinates monetary as well as non-monetary contributions, such as time and materials.

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


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