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


Bishop revitalizes Diocesan Pastoral Council; first meeting at IHRC

the Inland Register

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

Bishop Cupich has taken a major step in bolstering the success of diocese’s Pastoral Plan, born from the ongoing Know, Love & Serve initiative. That step is the revitalization of the Diocesan Pastoral Council (DPC).

The DPC was established in the diocese following the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and the Church’s call for genuinely pastoral collaboration between bishops and the People of God, especially the laity.

The DPC serves as one of Bishop Cupich’s three primary advisory groups. The other two are the Presbyteral Council (priests) and his Finance Council. All three reflect the need for the bishop of a diocese to shepherd his flock by listening to their voices and knowing their needs.

“The Diocesan Pastoral Council reflects the ‘face’ of the local church,” Bishop Cupich told the Council members when they convened at Immaculate Heart Retreat Center on Friday, Aug. 29. “In revitalizing the group, we made a concerted effort to identify members who would assure diversity in gender, age, ethnicity, ministry experience and present role in the Church.”

Members of the revised DPC include several laity, both men and women, who are currently serving as members. New members were appointed by Bishop Cupich from among the participants in last spring’s Know, Love & Serve Leadership Summit, and from other venues of ministry in the diocese.

DPC members are:

Kathy Beacham, St. Joseph Parish, Metaline Falls.
Mary Lou Bentley, St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Spokane.
Herb Dierks, St. Mary Parish, Spokane Valley.
Dave and Doreen Kishel, St. Mary Parish, Spokane Valley.
Leo Lapke, Assumption Parish, Walla Walla.
Joyce Mayer, St. Boniface Parish, Uniontown.
Nam Nguyen, Vietnamese Community, St. Anthony Parish, Spokane.
Dominican Sister Judith Nilles, St. Aloysius Parish, Spokane.
Deacon Victor Ortega, St. Patrick Parish, Pasco.
Jessica Otterson, St. Rose of Lima Parish, Cheney.
Kim Ploss, Newman Center, Eastern Washington University, Cheney.
Anna Salmerón, Sacred Heart Parish, Othello.
Janice Stripes, St. Anthony Parish, Spokane.
Jama Van Brunt, Sacred Heart Parish, Nespelem.

Because members serve five-year terms, the DPC will be reconstituted every five years.

Both the Vicar General and the Moderator of the Curia of the diocese are ex officio members. Father Mike Savelesky and Father Pat Kerst were appointed Vicars General on Sept. 1 – Father Savelesky as Vicar General for Internal Matters, and Father Kerst as Vicar General for External Matters. Father Savelesky continues his role as the diocese’s Moderator of the Curia.

During the course of the August meeting, Herb Dierks was elected chairman for 2014-2015. Mary Lou Bentley was elected vice-chair.

“As envisioned by the Second Vatican Council, the Diocesan Pastoral Council advises the local bishop about the pastoral needs of the diocese and helps him devise ways of addressing them,” Bishop Cupich instructed the Council. “You serve as an important sounding board for me and for one another as we consider a variety of issues which come before us.”

The bishop encouraged the members to speak forthrightly and frankly in the course of the Council’s discussions.

The Council’s constitution calls for it to convene at least annually, but the bishop anticipates that it will meet much more often.

Given the fact that every parish in the diocese has been invited to engage in the development of a Pastoral Plan for the diocese, the first meeting of the revised DPC focused its time and energy on reviewing an advance copy of the bishop’s pastoral letter, “Joy Made Complete.” The letter can be found beginning on page 4 of this issue of the Inland Register.

Brian Kraut, recently hired for the directorship of the diocese’s Parish Support and Renewal Services, was invited into the discussion. He will play a key role in the diocese-wide implementation of the Pastoral Plan put forth in the bishop’s pastoral letter.

The Council’s discussion of the letter evidenced an enthusiasm for the renewal and focus it would bring to the entire diocese as it begins to write the next chapter of diocesan history “in the living color of a lived faith,” as one member characterized the challenge. Other members observed that the faithful “are eager, not to forget its lessons, but to move out of the pain and embarrassment we have endured in our bankruptcy era.”

Members particularly spoke appreciatively of the letter’s emphasis on the need for individual, personal decision on the part of Catholics to take responsibility for furthering the mission of Christ in this part of Washington State. Members particularly lauded the call for the revitalization of family life, youth ministry, and catechetical formation.

The Council expressed gratitude to all those parishioners and diocesan administrators whose dedicated efforts for the welfare of the Catholic Church in Eastern Washington is now blossoming into a four-year Pastoral Plan. Before the evening session concluded, members offered various practical tips regarding the publication of “Joy Made Complete” and expressed hope that an on-going and enthusiastic promotion at the parish level of the Pastoral Plan will bless the diocese with renewed appreciation of and engagement in the Catholic Faith shared by thousands of the faithful. Said one member, “we must move forward boldly.”

Another member pointed out that, as the Church in Eastern Washington enters its second century, “the future is ours to shape,” under God’s grace and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.


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