Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
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Rectory for Republic parish to be dedicated in honor of former pastor
the Inland Register
(From the October 16, 2014 edition of the Inland Register)
Crews are busy constructing a new rectory for Immaculate Conception Parish, Republic. The rectory, which will include meeting space, will be dedicated to Father George “Howie” Morbeck, who served the parish for more than 20 years. (IR photo courtesy of Father Daniel Barnett)
On Monday, Sept. 8, the Feast of the Nativity of Mary, Immaculate Conception Parish in Republic broke ground for the brand-new Father Morbeck Memorial Rectory.
The new structure is named after the last in-residence pastor of the parish, Father George Howard (“Howie”) Morbeck (right), who served the parish from 1988 until his death on Nov. 3, 2011.
Father Morbeck was ordained April 30, 1952 and served in parishes at Pasco, Clarkston, Twisp, Brewster, Omak, Oroville, Ritzville, Newport, Tonasket, Curlew and Usk.
Upon the death of Father Morbeck, Father Steve Werner, already in residence and pastor in Colville, assumed the role of pastor of the parishes in Republic and Curlew. He saw that the parish needed a suitable rectory for a resident or visiting priest. Under Father Werner’s leadership the parish raised $86,000 in cash and in-kind donations from parishioners, neighbors, and local contractors, as well as Father Morbeck’s family, friends, and fellow priests. He also secured an $84,000 matching grant from the Catholic Extension Society. The Republic rectory is but one among several in the Spokane Diocese whose construction the Extension Society has supported over the years.
Father Daniel Barnett is the current pastor, and Father Tyler Smedley is the parochial vicar. Both priests serve the parish from Colville. According to Father Barnett, the new construction will meet a variety of needs, in addition to housing a priest. There is an attached meeting room which will provide ample space for pastoral ministry and small-group parish gatherings. The modest building is designed to withstand the difficult winter conditions which are common in Republic.
“Parishioners are very excited about this project. In addition to those from Immaculate Conception, parishioners from the larger Catholic community have supported it, as well as members of the community,” said Father Barnett. “Father Morbeck continues to have an effect on many people even now. More than once I have heard them refer to his constant self-sacrifice and attentiveness to their needs. In its own simple way, the new rectory will give testimony to a fine man and priest.”
Beaver Built Construction is constructing the building. Chasing away the winter snows, the parish hopes to dedicate the new rectory on Dec. 8, the 101st anniversary of the dedication of the parish.
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