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 October 17, 2013 edition of the Inland Register)

From the Inland Register – Volume LII, No. 4
Fifty Years Ago: September 29, 1963

Your Bishop and You: To Rome Again

by Bishop Bernard Topel

You will read these comments after my departure for Rome. In fact, I shall probably be in Rome when you do read them. I leave Spokane Monday noon, drive to Helena, spend the night there, take the train to Minneapolis, and then fly to New York.

I will be in New York one day before my plane departs for Rome. My purpose in arranging this day is to visit the Daughters of the Poor, Health of the Sick. Perhaps you have never heard of this Religious community. They were founded several decades ago. I had heard very little about them till last spring. Then a letter came from them, inquiring about serving in our Guatemala region. The arrival of this unsolicited request to serve with us is one in a long list of unusual blessings we received for our work in Guatemala. Now everything is settled. In 1965, five of these Sisters will go to Guatemala and work in the village of Santa Lucia in our missionary region. Mostly they will do clinical and health work. There is a very great need for their services. When we went to Guatemala, among 40,000 people living in our region, there was not one doctor, not one hospital, bed, and almost no possibility for medical care. We now do provide some assistance, but very much more is needed.

First Mass in Mater Cleri

These days are momentous ones for our diocese. On Monday morning, the day of my departure, I will offer the first Mass in Mater Cleri Seminary. This extraordinary and all important institution will have opened. It is not totally complete yet, but it is usable. The chapel and gymnasium have considerable work to be done on them, also the administration wing. Otherwise, it is quite complete.

This week, too, the house on the Mater Cleri property will be occupied. It will be the first postulancy and novitiate of the community of Brothers we are founding. Father Mulligan and three candidates will be there. Two of these three are new to our Brotherhood.

These are extraordinarily important ventures; they need your interest, cooperation, and above all your prayers and sacrifices. I trust we can count on them.

In all prayers

On Sunday, Sept. 29, the second session of the Vatican Council opens. This session should be a working session that will produce more clear-cut results. The prayers of the priests, Religious, and the faithful are needed as they are for few other intentions. I ask that you make the Council an intention of all your prayers and sacrifices – of all, without exception.

If the Council is the success we hope it will be, the spiritual change of the Church will be exceedingly great. There will be external changes too, but the important change is internal. The help of the Holy Spirit is desperately needed so that the Fathers of the Council decide rightly what will renovate the Church and also what will not. Speaking for myself, I feel the need of Divine help very acutely. At this moment, I certainly do not know what decisions must be made in order to bring the new Pentecost into Mother Church. I need light, your help, your prayers.


From the Inland Register – Volume 46, No. 4
Twenty-five Years Ago: September 15, 1988

Parish Services: an enabling resource

by Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register

“We’re a resource, we’re not doers. We’re enablers, not meddlers.”

That’s one way Leif Kehrwald describes the mission of the Parish Services Office (PSO).

The goal of the Parish Services Office is to become a widely-used resource, helping parish ministers in their work of service.

Part of that resource involves education, but there is more – far more – involved.

Bishop Lawrence Welsh has said that the PSO “has facilitated the transition of the Church’s education mission from an almost exclusive focus on Catholic schools to the multi-dimensional focus on religious education, sacramental preparation, youth programs and adult education.

“Perhaps the greatest contribution of the PSO,” Bishop Welsh said, “has been the instruction and formation of the vast number of lay catechists throughout the diocese.”

Kehrwald assumed directorship of the PSO earlier this summer, replacing Sister Donna Storms. He had been working as the PSO’s family life ministry and adult education consultant.

The Parish Services Office has undergone some re-shuffling of responsibilities this year as a result of administrative changes and the fact that no extra personnel have been hired:

• Keith Forrester, the Youth and Young Adult Ministry consultant, has also taken responsibility for sexuality education.
• Don McKenzie, liturgy consultant and lay ministry coordinator, will also work on diocesan implementation of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) and sacramental preparation.
• Betty Mather, the office’s full-time secretary, will also serve as the media resource consultant.
• Mary Bressler will continue as a part-time secretary with the PSO.

But more is new in the office than simply redistributing responsibilities and changing office space. According to Kehrwald, two major projects will be tackled this year by the office.

The first will be the PSO’s Rural Ministry Project. The thrust is to be for greater service to rural parishes in the diocese. At least five gatherings will be held in the coming months in parishes with specifically rural ministry – Wilbur (Oct. 18), Wellpinit (Oct. 29), Rockford (Nov. 1), Connell (Jan. 21), and Colville (date to be announced).

The entire PSO consulting staff will attend the rural gatherings. Parish leaders from throughout the area will be invited to attend.

During the meetings the staff will listen to the “concerns and joys” of rural ministry, Kehrwald said.

“We want to raise their awareness of what we can offer them, and we want to reach a better understanding of the particular ministerial needs,” he said. The staff will then share resources and expertise.

The second major thrust will be an effort to become more culturally aware of people in the diocese. That effort will concentrate on the cultural needs of Hispanics and Native Americans.

There will be two in-service sessions this year for the PSO staff and willing chancery staff.

The first, in November, will concentrate on Native American culture and ministry, and will be led by Maureen Foley-Benson and Darlene “Doll” Watt in Omak.

The second, slated for January, will explore Hispanic culture and ministry. That in-service will be led by Father Heliodoro Lucatero and other Hispanic community leaders in Pasco.

“The whole idea,” Kehrwald said, “is that we’re all Anglos (in the Parish Services Office) and don’t have a good enough sensitivity to the concerns of Hispanic and Native American ministry. Their leaders throughout the diocese can teach us a lot.

“Hispanic and Native American ministries are a large part of the church in our diocese,” Kehrwald said. “To be effective, the PSO needs to be in touch with all the parishes of the diocese and all their ministries.”

The reorganization of responsibility brings with it a challenge that the PSO staff is eager to accept.

According to Keith Forrester (young adult ministry, sexuality education), his work will “change the least.”

He will be conducting the sexuality education program “Easing the Growing Pains” with Bonnie Powers, Jim Robinson and Ann Buckley Jones. Kehrwald had formerly implemented that program in the diocese.

Don McKenzie (liturgy, RCIA, lay ministry, sacramental preparation) said he is “very excited” about the completion and implementation of the Lay Ministry Formation program in the diocese.

The program was produced by the Lay Ministry Office over the last three years, and involves videotaped presentations, written materials, and discussion, designed to form and educate individuals for lay ministry in parishes.

The program is being implemented throughout the Diocese of Spokane and is already in use in five parishes of the Yakima Diocese.

Another “outstanding opportunity,” McKenzie said, is the Pastoral Leadership Program at Gonzaga University, co-sponsored by the PSO.

The program will require a commitment of four weekends per year for two years, and will deal with three main areas: theology of ministry, theology of lay ministry, and organizational skills. The program will include options to participate for academic credit.

The implementation of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) throughout the diocese, McKenzie said, is “one of the most powerful parish renewal processes that can be done.”

“All the parishes who have implemented RCIA have found the experience extremely positive,” McKenzie said. “It causes them to think, re-evaluate… The parishes have grown with the implementation,” he said.

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


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