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

Retired pastor returns to present Lenten Mission during St. Augustine’s centennial year

the Inland Register

(From the February 20, 2014 edition of the Inland Register)

Msgr. Robert Pearson (left) will lead a six-day mission for Lent, “Finding Christ in Everyday Life,” Saturday-Thursday, March 8-13, at St. Augustine Parish, Spokane. The mission is open to all.

The mission begins at weekend Masses and continues with two daily sessions, Monday-Thursday. The morning session is 8:45-9:15 a.m., after the 8 a.m. Mass. The evening sessions are scheduled for 5:15-6 p.m. in the church.

Msgr. Pearson was pastor of St. Augustine Parish Aug. 16, 1988-June 30, 2004.

Members of St. Augustine Parish have submitted a nomination to the Spokane City/County Historic Preservation Office for the parish to be included in the Spokane Register of Historic Places.

In 1914, after an informal census revealed that a significant number of Catholic families were living in the area west of South Grand Boulevard and south of West 12th Avenue, the diocese decided to develop a Catholic parish with a church and school to offer Catholic worship, religious instruction, and scholastic education to the surrounding community.

The parish’s multi-purpose building was erected in 1915 just one block east of Cannon Hill Park between 18th and 19th Avenues on Stevens Street on Spokane’s South Hill. The parish was named St. Augustine in honor of the patron saint of Spokane’s Bishop Augustine Schinner. Prominent Spokane architect, Kirtland Cutter, was commissioned to design the building, which housed a church and elementary school classrooms on the first floor, additional classrooms on the second floor, housing for the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration (the teachers) on the third floor, and rooms for the parish priest in a raised basement.

Less than 15 years after the building was constructed, St. Augustine Parish had outgrown its 1915 church and began planning for a separate and larger church building. After delays caused by the Great Depression and the outbreak of World War II, construction began in 1949. The first Sunday Mass was celebrated in the new church on Oct. 1, 1950.

Built atop the high, hilly site along Bernard Street, and with a tall steeple and spire, the new church could be seen from all directions throughout the neighborhood. From 1959 to 1967, Hidejiro Yamagiwa hand-built the basalt rock retaining wall, which frames the church. He transformed the rocky hillside into what is now a picturesque terraced garden.

At the same time, modifications were made to the original building that allowed it to be used solely as a school. What began as a parish of 75 families now serves over 500 families.

In 1971, St. Augustine School was renamed Cataldo School to serve families and children from the parishes of St. Augustine, Sacred Heart, and the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Pastors who have faithfully served St. Augustine Parish include Fathers W. V. Fitzgerald (1915-1923) and John Cronin (1923-1933); Bishop William Condon (1933-1939), Msgr. Stephen Buckley (1939-1968); Fathers Albert Austen (1968-1980), and Joseph Pash (1980-1988); Msgr. Robert Pearson (1988-2004); and Fathers Robert McNeese (2004-2013) and Steve Dublinski (2013-present).

St. Augustine is located at 428 W. 19th Ave. in Spokane.

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