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

Rest in peace: Msgr. James Ribble, 1931-2013

the Inland Register

(From the November 21, 2013 edition of the Inland Register)

Msgr. James Ribble (IR file photo)

Msgr. James Ribble, a priest of the Diocese of Spokane for more than 56 years, died the evening of Oct. 19. He was 82 years old.

The vigil was held Wednesday, Oct. 30, at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes in Spokane. Father Darrin Connall, the Cathedral’s rector, presided.

The funeral Mass was celebrated the next day, also at the Cathedral. Bishop Cupich presided; Bishop William Skylstad, Bishop Emeritus of the Spokane Diocese, preached.

Entombment was that afternoon at Holy Cross Cemetery.

“Msgr. Ribble’s passing is a passing of an important era in the life of our diocese,” said Bishop Cupich. “Having distinguished himself as a caring and loving pastor, an able and efficient seminary rector, and a gifted preacher, he also was responsible for inspiring the vocations of many of the priests who presently serve in our diocese. We pray that God will continue to bless us with vocations to the priesthood like his. We also pray that Msgr. Ribble may now awaken to new life with the words we all long to hear: “Well done, my good and faithful servant.... Come, share your master’s joy” (Matthew 25:23).

“I was privileged to serve in Mater Cleri Seminary with Msgr. Ribble in my early days as a young priest,” said Bishop Skylstad. “Over the years as we served together in the diocesan presbyterate, I came to know him as a great friend, a devoted priest, a generous man, dedicated in an eminent way to the Church, and always loyal to his bishops. In these later years, he faced his deteriorating health with a sense of realism and deep faith that I found inspirational. May he rest in peace.”

Msgr. Ribble was born March 11, 1931, in Duluth, Minn. He graduated from high school in Aberdeen, S.D., and from Carroll College, Helena, Mont., before entering St. Paul Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., where he completed priestly formation prior to ordination to the priesthood on May 30, 1957.

He had a long-standing interest in media; as a seminarian he produced a short film for vocations awareness used by the Spokane Diocese’s Vocations Office. He later engaged in graduate studies at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and completed a doctorate in communications at Washington State University.

He was first assigned as a temporary assistant pastor at St. Patrick Parish, Walla Walla, before being named Director of Vocations and teacher at Bishop White Seminary.

In 1963 he was named principal of Bishop White, and two years later, rector of Mater Cleri High School Seminary in Colbert, Wash.

That was followed by an appointment as principal of DeSales High School in Walla Walla.

After completing his doctoral studies in Pullman, he became pastor of Sacred Heart Parish there, where he served for four years before being chosen as president-rector of Mount Angel Seminary, St. Benedict, Ore. He held that appointment for six years.

After a sabbatical, Father Ribble was appointed rector of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes in downtown Spokane. He remained at the cathedral until his retirement in 2005.

He was invested as a monsignor April 4, 1997.

Besides his many years of priestly service, Msgr. Ribble was also an adjunct professor at Gonzaga University; a Knight Commander of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre; a member of the Oregon Governor’s Committee on Higher Education, and vice president of the National Federation of Priests Council.

During his time as rector of the cathedral, a number of substantial additions were made, including commissioning and installing the bronze doors, addition of the elevator pavilion, and creation of a significant endowment fund to help create financial stability for the cathedral for years to come.

Memorial contributions may be made to “The Ribble Endowment Fund” at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, 1115 W. Riverside Ave., Spokane, 99201.

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