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

Father Michael Savelesky elected administrator of Spokane Diocese

the Inland Register

(From the December 18, 2014 edition of the Inland Register)

Father Mark Pautler, the chancellor and judicial vicar of the Spokane Diocese, conducted the election for Diocesan Administrator. He is pictured opening a ballot as Father Steve Werner, a member of the College of Consultors, looks on. (IR photo courtesy of Msgr. Kevin Codd)

Father Michael Savelesky has been elected Administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Spokane by its College of Consultors.

The Code of Canon Law provides a process for the selection of a diocesan administrator to take charge of a diocese when its bishop has left office. This can come about through death, resignation or, as was the case for the Diocese of Spokane, through transfer of the bishop to another diocese. On Sept. 20, the transfer of Archbishop Blase Cupich from Spokane to the Archdiocese of Chicago was announced. The See of Spokane became vacant on Nov. 18, when Archbishop Cupich was installed as the Archbishop of Chicago.

Church law requires that the College of Consultors meet within eight days to elect the Administrator. The College of Consultors is a group of seven priests, who had been selected by Bishop Cupich from the members of the Presbyteral Council. The College has specific responsibilities defined by canon law, one of which is the election of the Diocesan Administrator.

The election took place Nov. 20, at Immaculate Heart Retreat Center, Spokane.

There is no formal liturgical ritual for the installation or inauguration of the Administrator. He obtains the office by accepting the election. After accepting election as Administrator, Father Savelesky made a profession of faith in the presence of the College of Consultors, as required by canon law.

As the Administrator, Father Savelesky will govern the Diocese of Spokane until a new bishop is appointed by the pope and takes canonical possession of the Diocese. He exercises the administrative authority of a diocesan bishop, but is prohibited by law from undertaking actions that would be detrimental to the governance of the new bishop. He cannot initiate new policies, programs or ministries, nor substantially alter existing ones. His function is largely one of maintaining good order until the Diocese of Spokane is blessed with a new Chief Shepherd.      

Father Savelesky was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Bernard Topel on Aug. 4, 1973. His major assignments have included Director of Deacon Formation; rector of Bishop White Seminary; editor of the diocesan newspaper, the Inland Register; pastor of St. Patrick and St. Francis of Assisi parishes, Walla Walla; pastor of St. Peter and Assumption parishes, Spokane; and Vicar General for Internal Matters.

He presently serves as the diocese’s Moderator of the Curia and as pastor of the parishes in Rosalia and St. John, and administrator of the parish in Cheney.

The members of the College of Consultors for the Diocese of Spokane are Msgr. Kevin Codd (Pastor of St. Thomas More Student Center at WSU in Pullman and co-Director of Vocations for the diocese); Father Tim Hays (pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Colbert and Director of Priests’ Continuing Education); Father Pat Kerst (pastor of St. Mary Parish, Spokane Valley, and St. Joseph Parish, Rockford); Father Miguel Mejia (pastor of Our Lady of Fatima Parish and Coordinator of Detention Ministry, Charismatic Movement and Cursillo);  Msgr. Pedro Ramírez (retired); and  Father Steve Werner (Pastor of St. Patrick Parish, Pasco). Father Savelesky had also been a member of the College prior to his election as Administrator.

The College serves as the Administrator’s principal advisory body.

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