Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington



From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302


Compiled by Father Tom Caswell, for the Inland Register

(From the Sept. 18, 2014 edition of the Inland Register)

(In the recently found “1914: Parishes-Priests,” we have detailed information on the priests of the diocese of that time. The Diocese of Nesqually eventually becomes the Diocese of Seattle, from which Spokane begins in 1914. Our founding priests were mainly from Europe and had impressive educational backgrounds. They also spoke or could understand several languages – someone added some post-1914 information to some of these biographies. Continued from the Aug. 21 Inland Register, here is Part II of the section on descriptions of priests serving in Eastern Washington.)

Rev. Joseph Fleck: Rector of the Sacred Heart Church, Tekoa, Wash. Father Fleck was born at Haineredorf, Styria, Austria, Jan. 7, 1883; studied classics at Graz, Styria, and Brixen, Tyrol; philosophy and theology at Graz; finishing his theological course at St. Paul, Minn. He was ordained to priesthood on June 11, 1908 at St. Paul, Minn. by Archbishop J. Ireland. He was ordained for the Diocese of Fargo, N.D.; was appointed to new Rockford, N.D., July 1908; to Jamestown, N.D., September 1909; St. Matthew, St. Paul, Minn., August 1910; Assumption, St. Paul, Minn., August 1912; and Sleepy Eye, Minn., February 1913. He can preach and hear confessions in German and English. Father Fleck came to the Diocese of Spokane in November, 1914; was assigned to the Dayton missions, Nov. 13; and appointed to his present incumbency Jan. 1, 1915.

Rev. Emile Frederick: Pastor of Sacred Heart Church, Pullman, Wash. Father Frederick was born Sept. 15, 1881 in the city of Luxemburg. After absolving his classical course at the gymnasium of his home city, he entered the Grand Seminary of his diocese for his philosophical studies. At the American College of Louvain, he received his theological training. In 1905, at the request of Archbishop Orth, Bishop Koppes of Luxemburg ordained Father Frederick a priest for the Archdiocese of Vancouver Island. Father Frederick’s stay on Vancouver Island was but brief. In spring of 1906, he registered as a student of canon law at the Apollinare in Rome, Italy; and in December 1907, he arrived in Seattle, where he was immediately incorporated into the diocese by Bishop O’Dea. Since then, he has held the following pastorates: Bremerton until November 1908; Pasco until December 1910; Cheney until September 1913; and at Pullman since the last mentioned date. He possesses a competent knowledge of the English, French, German and Italian languages. When the Jesuit Fathers surrendered Chewelah and missions to the diocese, Father Frederick was appointed their first secular pastor June 27, 1916.

Rev. James L. Frei: Present rector of St. Gall Church in Colton. Father Frei was born at Widneu, Canton St. Gallen, Switzerland, May 6, 1845. He studied classics at the Little Seminary of St. Georgen, Switzerland, and completed his philosophical and theological studies at Dillingen and Eichstadt, Bavaria. Bishop Carl J. Greith ordained him for the Diocese of St. Gallen, Switzerland, Aug. 16, 1868. After serving as assistant pastor and professor at Ragaz (September 1868 until July 1873), he held the pastorates of Weistannen from 1873 to 1876, Gommiswald until 1881, Flums until September 1891, and arrived in Uniontown, Wash., in 1893 to assist Father Jöhren. He has been pastor of Colton ever since the establishment of that district in 1893. Father Frei can speak English and German, and can hear confessions in French and Italian.

Rev. John P. Hayes: Pastor of Tekoa and missions. Father Hayes was born at Doon, Co. Limerick, Ireland on Aug. 9, 1883; made all his classical studies, including philosophy and theology, at St. Patrick College, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, Ireland, where he was also ordained for the Diocese of Seattle by Bishop T. Fennelly, June 19, 1910. Father Hayes arrived in Washington the following October, and after being temporarily stationed at Aberdeen until Jan. 3, 1911, he became successively assistant priest at St. Patrick, Tacoma, until April 20, 1911, and at St. Patrick, Walla Walla, until Nov. 2, 1913. He holds his present position at Wilbur since the last mentioned date. Father Hayes left for Ireland, to enter the Trappist Order, Jan. 1, 1915.

Rev. Peter Leroux: Pastor of Colfax and missions. Father Leroux was born at Nantes, France, April 11, 1870; studied classics at the Little Seminary of Guerande; and philosophy and theology at Nantes. He then came to the Diocese of Nesqually and was ordained to the priesthood in 1898 by Bishop O’Dea at Vancouver, Wash. Father Leroux was first assigned to the Tulalip Indian Mission, and later in 1900, to Sedro-Woolley and missions. He holds his present incumbency since 1904. He speaks English and French.

Rev. Hermann J. Loffler: Rector of St. Boniface Church, Uniontown. Father Loffler was born at Sankt Märgen near Freiburg, Baden, Germany, June 21, 1877; made his classical studies at Sasbach, Germany, and at Engelberg, Switzerland; and his philosophical studies at Eichstädt, Bavaria. He was ordained for the Diocese of Nesqually by Bishop von Leonrod of Eichstädt on July 3, 1904. After his arrival in the diocese, he was assigned October 12, 1904 as assistant to St. Patrick Church, Walla Walla, where he remained until the date of his appointment to the pastorate of Pomeroy, Jan. 5, 1909. His present incumbency he holds since Sept. 1, 1914. Father Loffler speaks German and English, and can make use of French in the confessional.

Rev. Charles McAleer: Pastor of Harrington and missions. Father McAleer was born in New York City, Jan. 1, 1871; studied classics in England; philosophy and theology at Southwark, England. He was ordained by Bishop Bourne of Southwark on July 28, 1901. He came to Seattle and was incorporated into the diocese in 1908. After serving as chaplain of the North Camp at Aldershot, England for four years, Father McAleer went to Italy to study. Since his arrival in the State of Washington, he has had the following charges: assistant at the Cathedral until May 1909, and pastor of Harrington since that time. He understands English, French, German and Italian and can also hear confessions in Spanish, Slavonian and Croatian.

Rev. William John Metz: Present secretary to Bishop Schinner of Spokane. Father Metz was born at Ubertiefenbach, in the diocese of Limburg, Germany on Feb. 10, 1861; made his classical studies at the Kaiser Wilhelm Gymnasium, Hadamar. After spending two years in England and Ireland, there being no seminary open in northern Germany, he studied philosophy and theology at Chevilly, near Paris, France. Still unable to return to Germany on account of the Kulturkampf, he went to Martinique to teach at the bishop’s seminaire-college. During that time, Bishop Carméné conferred on him the priesthood, March 25, 1886. In 1887, Father Metz returned home, and was assigned as vice-director to the Little Seminary; in 1890, he became vicar at the Cathedral of Limburg, and director of the Choir-School at Kiedrich-on-the-Rhine in 1895. Through Msgr. Willemsen, Director of the American College at Louvain, Father Metz came to the diocese of Seattle in 1897. Here he was successively appointed to the Skagit County missions in October 1897; to the Chehalis County missions, in July 1899; to Seattle, where he organized St. Mary parish, in November 1901; and to Uniontown in Whitman County, July 1, 1909. Since the 1st of September 1914, he holds his present position. He was incorporated into the Diocese of Nesqually in 1900. He speaks English, French and German fluently, and can also hear confessions in Italian.

Rev. Patrick Henry Moffatt: Assistant at St. Ann, Spokane. Father Moffatt was born at Isabel, Kan., on April 29, 1888; made his classical and philosophical studies at Gonzaga College; studied theology at St. Patrick Seminary, Menlo Park, Calif.; was ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Spokane on May 17, 1917 by Bishop A.F. Schinner of Spokane. He was appointed assistant at St. Ann immediately after his ordination.

Rev. Jeremiah Murphy: Pastor of Cheney and missions. Father Murphy was born at Auburn, New York on May 9, 1885; studied classics at St. Andrew, Rochester, N.Y.; philosophy at St. Bernard, Rochester, N.Y. Cardinal Gibbons ordained him to the priesthood for the Diocese of Seattle on June 21, 1912. After his arrival in Washington, he was assigned as assistant pastor to St. Joseph Church in Spokane. On Nov. 6, 1913, he was appointed to the same position at St. Patrick Church in Walla Walla. He holds the pastorate at Cheney since Sept. 1, 1914.

Rev. Adolphe E. Nowicki: Rector of Immaculate Conception Church, Republic. Father Nowicki was born at Warsaw, Poland on Dec. 25, 1865; made his classical studies at St. Petersburg, Russia; studied philosophy and theology at St. Francis in Milwaukee, Wis. He was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop P.A. Feehan of Chicago on Nov. 20, 1890. He labored at St. Michael, Chicago, from Dec. 15, 1890 until July 27, 1900; at St. John, Pittaton, and St. Mary, Scranton, Pa., from September 1900 until June 1908; at Cheteck, Waerhauser Ladysmith in the Diocese of Superior from February 1909 until April 1913; in Holy Trinity Parish, St. Louis, Mo., from May 1913 until Jan. 19, 1915; was appointed pastor at Marcus, Wash., on Jan. 15, 1915. When that missionary territory was divided, he became pastor of Republic and missions on July 1, 1917. Father Nowicki can preach in English, German, French and Polish; can also hear confessions in the Slavic idioms, Italian and Spanish. He is not yet incorporated.

Rev. Karl Philipp: Pastor of Odessa, Wash., and missions. Father Philipp was born on Dec. 1, 1876 at Tiefenbach, Baden, Germany; received his classical studies at the technical school in Snsheim and at the gymnasium in Freiburg, Baden. After his arrival in America, he studied philosophy and theology at the Grand Seminary of Montreal. Father Philipp was ordained for the Diocese of Seattle on Dec. 20, 1913 by Archbishop F. Brucheal of Montreal. He arrived in Washington at the beginning of 1914, and was assigned pastor to St. Ann Church, Spokane. On Sept. 1, 1914, he was appointed to Odessa and dependent missions. Father Philipp speaks English, French and German, and in case of necessity, he can hear confessions in Polish and Spanish.

Rev. James J. Rebmann SJ: Pastor of St. Francis Xavier Church, Spokane. Father Rebmann was born at Spayer, Rheinpfalz, Germany on June 20, 1851; received his classical education at the gymnasium of Spyer, and his philosophical and theological education in the Society of Jesus. He was raised to priesthood in 1884 at Liverpool, England. Father Rebmann was president of Gonzaga College from 1886 to 1890 and again from 1896 to 1900; pastor of St. Aloysius Church from 1896 to 1904; of St. Ann Church from 1905 to 1906, and of St. Francis Xavier Church since 1904. He speaks fluent English, German and French.

Rev. Peter Lambert Taufen: Rector of Our Lady of Rosary Church at Pomeroy, Garfield Co., Wash. Father Taufen was born at Cold Spring, Minn., on March 4, 1883. He received his classical education at Gonzaga College, Spokane, and completed his philosophical and theological studies at St. Francis Seminary, Milwaukee, Wis. Bishop E.J. O’Dea ordained him to priesthood for the diocese of Seattle on July 10, 1909. At the erection of the Diocese of Spokane, Father Taufen became thereby a member of the clergy of the new diocese. After his ordination, he was for a brief period (August 1909-February 1910) assistant at St. Leo Church, Tacoma, Wash. In 1910, he was placed in charge of the missions attached to Vancouver, Wash., which he retained until 1913, when the condition of his health forced him to take a vacation. In September 1913 followed his appointment to Cheney, Wash.; and on Sept. 1, 1914, he was transferred to the pastorate of Pomeroy. While he preaches only in English, Father Taufen understands German perfectly.

Rev. Henry John J.N. Van De Ven: Present irremovable Rector of Walla Walla. Father Van De Ven was born at Hertogenbosch, Holland; made his classical studies at St. Michelagestel, and his philosophical and theological studies at Haaren. Bishop Adrian Godschalk conferred on him the order of priesthood on June 11, 1881. Being ordained for the Diocese of Hertogenbusch, he remained as an assistant priest in Holland until April 1893. He then emigrated to America, and entered the Diocese of Helena, Mont., in which he was employed until 1896. In November 1896, he came to the Diocese of Nesqually and was assigned to Sprague and dependent missions, which then embraced all the stations north of the Columbia along the Northern Pacific Railroad and extended northward to Harrington and Odessa. He was appointed to Walla Walla in November 1906. Besides English and Dutch which he speaks, Father Van De Ven can understand sufficiently French and German.

Rev. Aloysius Alphonsus Verhagen: Rector of Our Lady of Lourdes, Spokane. Father Verhagen was born at Beek-Donk, Holland, August 11, 1869; made his classical studies at Gemert, Hollland, and his philosophical studies at Floreffe, Belgium; and took his theological course at Louvain, Belgium. In 1891, at Maastricht, Holland, Bishop Van De Vyver of Richmond, Va., ordained him at Louvain for the Diocese of Nesqually in 1892. After his arrival in Washington, Father Verhagen became assistant at Our Lady of Lourdes, Spokane, and in 1899, pastor of Colfax. He has held his present position since 1901. He speaks English and Dutch, and can hear confessions in French.

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


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