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


Three diocesan priests mark jubilee of ordination

by Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register

(From the June 20, 2013 edition of the Inland Register)

Three priests of the Spokane Diocese will be honored for the jubilee of their ordination to priesthood during the presbyteral assembly next September.

Fathers John Birk and Dan Wetzler celebrate 50 years of priesthood this year. Father Ed Marier celebrates 25 years.

Father John Birk was ordained to the priesthood for the Spokane Diocese on June 8, 1963, in Chicago, after studies at Quigley Seminary, Chicago, St. Mary Seminary, Baltimore, and Regina Cleri Seminary, Saskatchewan, Canada.

His ministry in Eastern Washington has included years as an assistant or associate pastor in Spokane, Walla Walla, Pasco, and Spokane Valley. He has also served as administrator of the parishes in Dayton, Waitsburg, Brewster, and Twisp, and pastor of the parishes in Newport, Metaline Falls, Ione, Usk, West End, Wellpinit, Ford, Northport, and Kettle Falls.

Much of Father Birkís ministry has been devoted to chaplaincy of a wide variety of organizations: the Civil Air Patrol, the Christian Family Movement, the dioceseís Guatemala Mission, the Catholic Union of the Sick in America, the Knights of Columbus, and especially Worldwide Marriage Encounter, in which he has been involved since 1973.

He retired from active ministry in 2005.

Father Dan Wetzler was born in Fort Collins, Colo.

After studies at St. Thomas Seminary, Denver; Mount Angel Seminary, St. Benedict, Ore.; and St. Thomas Seminary, Kenmore, Wash., he was ordained to the priesthood May 25, 1963, in Spokane, by Bishop Bernard Topel.

As a priest, he served as assistant pastor of St. Anthony and St. Anne parishes, Spokane, before being named Diocesan Director of the Catholic Youth Organization and then chaplain and head of the religion department at Marycliff High School, Spokane.

In 1975 he was named associate director of Mater Cleri Center in Colbert.

The next year Father Wetzler began ministry as pastor of the parishes in Tekoa and Rockford, and then as diocesan director of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

He continues his ministry with the Renewal, as the groupís spiritual director.

Father Wetzler went on to serve as pastor of the parishes in Othello, Eltopia, Connell, and St. Paschal in Spokane Valley before his retirement in 2002.

Father Ed Marier was ordained a priest of the Spokane Diocese on May 21, 1988, by Bishop Lawrence Welsh at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes.

He was born in Coeur díAlene, Idaho, and attended Bishop White Seminary in Spokane and St. Patrick Seminary, Menlo Park, Calif., prior to ordination.

Father Marier has been an associate pastor at St. Mary Parish, Spokane Valley, and St. Patrick Parish, Pasco. Additionally, he has been pastor of the parishes in Wilbur, Odessa, Metaline Falls, Newport, Usk, Colton, and Uniontown.

Most recently, Father Marier has been serving as a chaplain to Spokane-area nursing and retirement homes.

(IR file photos)


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