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

Regional Report

the Inland Register

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

Archdiocese of Portland

PORTLAND – Seventy-six St. Agatha middle school students gave back to local and state community members in need by volunteering at the Oregon Food Bank this fall. Students, staff and parents sorted more than 5,000 pounds of pinto beans, adding ingredient labels and instructions on how to cook and serve.

The volunteer effort provided more than 4,000 meals for the hungry, with an average of 44 meals prepared by each student.

Students reported feeling good knowing they were able to provide so much assistance and good will.

“This was a great way to kick off our service learning for the year, and support our Friends of St. Agatha annual giving theme of ‘the common good’” says Chris Harris, new principal at St. Agatha.

SAINT BENEDICT – Two monks entered the Mount Angel Abbey novitiate in September. They were invested with a scapular, part of a monastic habit, and received the book of the Holy Rule. They will spend a year of study, prayer, living in community, and deepening their relationship with God, while discerning their vocation to the Benedictine monastic life. The novitiate is a time for creating a new way of being in the world.

Brother Joseph Kalange, 35, was born and raised in Twin Falls, Idaho. His parents are Benedictine Oblates. Brother Joseph attended Mount Angel Seminary from 2004-06 as a seminarian for the Diocese of Boise, and has worked as an operations manager for a video production company in Orlando, Fla. As a novice, Brother Joseph will work as an assistant cellarer (provider of food and drink) and assistant laundry manager.

Brother Marvin Ramos, 48, is from Manila in the Philippines. He is the eighth of twelve children, and has an older sister who is a Salesian nun and a younger brother who is a Salesian priest.

Although Brother Marvin considered a religious vocation as a young man, family circumstances required him to provide for the family.

He earned a master’s degree in education and worked for many years as a human resources director for a multi-national company based in the Philippines. The past two years were spent as a human resources director in Saudi Arabia. Brother Marvin will work as assistant monastery guest master and assistant church decorator and florist.

Brother Stephen Cox of California was approved to enter the novitiate but died on Sept. 4, three days before the investiture. His family was present that day and received the scapular and the Holy Rule on his behalf. His body was laid to rest alongside with the departed monks of Mount Angel at the abbey cemetery.

PORTLAND – A math teacher dismissed from Benson High School last year is suing Portland Public Schools, saying the district fired him in part for his Catholic beliefs.

Bill Diss, a member of Holy Rosary Parish in Portland, has asked for $390,000, relatively modest in such cases.

Starting in 2007, Diss began leading a movement to block Planned Parenthood from opening a large center in Northeast Portland, where many of his students live. He said the organization not only performs abortions but perpetuates a culture of promiscuity. Diss had seen students with dropping grades and depression after becoming sexually active. Eventually, he tried to block a Planned Parenthood-sponsored youth group from entering his classroom to recruit members.

School officials later dismissed him, citing his “rude” behavior, not his beliefs and activism. His reviews had long been positive and only went downhill once he started opposing Planned Parenthood.

The 38-page suit counters that Diss suffered a violation of free speech, was discriminated against because of his faith and was wrongfully discharged. In March 2013, he was escorted off school grounds by a police officer.

Students came to hearings, some carrying “We Love Mr. Diss” signs.

The school district says it will fight the suit, filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court. The suit, filed by a lawyer for the California-based Life Legal Defense Foundation, seeks $90,000 in economic damages for lost wages and $300,000 for emotional distress.

– Catholic Sentinel (Oregon Catholic Press)

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