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 January 16, 2014 edition of the Inland Register)

From the Inland Register – Volume LII, No. 38
Fifty Years Ago: January 19, 1964

Your Bishop and You

by Bishop Bernard Topel

WASHTUCNA, WASH. – January 30, 1964.

Last Sunday, I visited the little town of Washtucna for the second time. Have you ever been there? Washtucna is located about 30 miles south of Ritzville; it has a population (I think) of about 350. I was there Sunday to bless the recently finished combination church and hall.

It so happens that I have a special interest and fondness for small missions. There is a reason for my attitude. The only “parish” I ever had was composed of two small missions which were under my charge for three or four years while I was teaching at Carroll College. One was 36 miles north of Helena, the other was 44 miles south. Neither at that time had as large a congregation as Washtucna has now. Yet in not too many years, without the community growing in population, the number of Catholic parishioners increased, especially in one of the missions.

Mass once a month

Eight years ago, Father Depiere was pastor of Ritzville. In his parish at that time, in addition to Ritzville, were located the towns of Othello, Connell, Lind and Washtucna. Taking care of so many missions, he could not give Sunday Mass to Washtucna. It was only after Othello and Connell were made into a separate parish that Father was able to begin having Sunday Mass in Washtucna once a month. Later on, while Father Pash was pastor of Ritzville, I offered Mass in Washtucna. Mass was said in the BVD (Be Very Diligent) Hall. This was not a very satisfactory place for Divine services, but better than no place at all. I remember especially the large number of children attending the Mass together with their parents, and the hope came to me then that someday Washtucna would have its own little church. Last Sunday that hope was realized.

Early this year, Father Abel asked to build a hall that could be used for Mass, for CCD classes, and for parish meetings. I was very pleased last Sunday with what I found in Washtucna. Surprisingly, ample facilities are now available. In addition to the hall, which has a very attractive sanctuary at one end, there is a sacristy, a room for the pastor containing a deck and a bed, a kitchen for the hall, toilet facilities, and even a shower! The total cost was, I believe, somewhat under $14,000. Many gifts were not included in that cost; notably the church furnishings like the tabernacle, chalice, and vestments were given by The Catholic Extension Society. The present debt of just over $4,000 is not too much for the 15 families that comprise this mission.

The new building shows progress in a material way. There has also been good spiritual progress as can be seen in the attendance of Sunday Mass, CCD classes, etc. Now Washtucna has Holy Mass every Sunday!

Clarkston’s new church

Next Sunday (it will be “last Sunday” to the reader) I shall bless the new church in Clarkston. Unlike the new building in Washtucna, the new church in Clarkston is a large edifice. I saw it last when I laid the cornerstone quite some time ago. I have, therefore, not too good an idea what it looks like, specifically its interior. But those who have attended Mass there since its completion have the highest words of praise for the beauty and the functional value of this new church. I shall be pleased on the Feast of the Holy Family to dedicate this new church to the Holy Family.

My mother

It has been too long since I have mentioned my mother. During my absence, it seemed best to place her at Holy Family Home. Throughout my stay in Rome, she was in very good health, especially when one considers that she is past 90 years of age. About 10 days ago, though, some congestion developed in her lungs and there was the recurrence of a mild kidney infection. She has improved now, but is not as yet as good we should like.

Most days when I visit her we say the rosary together. In addition, I try to interest her by talking about things she is interested in, like flowers and gardens. About a week ago, I really surprised her when I told her that day I had brought in Swiss chard and kohirabi from my garden in January – quite a lot of each – and it was good too!


From the Inland Register: Volume 46, No. 10
Twenty-five Years Ago: January 14, 1989

New Prep president named

Jesuit Father Richard Case, a Seattle native and rector of Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma, has returned to Gonzaga Prep as president, effective July 1, 1989.

Father Case, 46, is the 26th president of Prep. He succeeds Jesuit Father Ivan Hutton, who resigned last June and is now a member of the School of Education at Seattle University.

“The trustees were impressed with Father Case’s many qualifications and diverse background,” said Molly Van Marter, president of Prep’s Board of Trustees. “He brings to Prep’s presidency an open and communicative leadership style, a consensus-building management approach and a delightful sense of humor. Most importantly, the trustees were impressed with his sense of priesthood and commitment to his vocation.”

Commenting on his appointment, Father Case said he is looking forward to becoming a part of the Catholic community in the Spokane area.

“I am enthusiastic about being a part of the community of Spokane,” Father Case said. “Gonzaga Prep is an outstanding institution that has served the Inland Northwest for more than a century.”

“I have tremendous hope for Prep. There is lots of room for leadership, working with talented people who are already doing a great job,” he said.

Father Case has been a member of the Society of Jesus for more than 25 years. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1975, after earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and letters, and a master’s degree in economics, both from St. Louis University. He also studied theology at the Catholic Theological Institute, Amsterdam, Holland.

Father Case was a student teacher at Spokane’s University High School and taught World Contemporary Problems and geometry at Prep for three years. During that time, he was a member of the football and track coaching staffs. After completing theological studies in Holland, he returned to Prep for one year of campus ministry service.

He completed his tenure as pastor in 1987, when he became rector of Bellarmine Prep. He was acting president of that school in1988.

He is a licensed flight instructor and has flown for more than five years.

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


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