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

From the Diocesan Administrator: Picking up the pace

by Father Michael Savelesky

(From the January 15, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

Father Michael Savelesky During the several days of the just-ended celebration of Christmas I had the opportunity to not only celebrate Eucharist with my own two parishes in Rosalia and St. John, but also with the Catholic communities in Brewster and Twisp. This experience enriched my awareness of two facets of our identity and life as Catholics.

First of all, from one corner of the Diocese of Spokane to the other, the Eucharist truly is the focus of our lives that creates a rich and often unrecognized close bond among us. That is the way it should be. Often we forget how celebrative and formative our gathering for the Breaking of the Bread is, and can be even more, for us disciples of Jesus Christ. Despite our age, gender or ethnic background, every one of us who come to the Table of the Lord is in the midst of a faith journey. And if we took the time to put it to words, my guess is that our hearts would be warmed by the testimonies of a rich and living faith.

Secondly, for one who now spends the majority of his week pecking at a keyboard, pushing papers at a desk, or attending meetings – all that stuff that goes into assisting the administration of a diocese – my experience confirmed the adage that “Church really happens in the parishes.” As necessary as it is for the mission of the Church, administration is but a support for the wide-spread living of the Faith in the 80-plus parishes and missions in our Diocese. It is always good for the administrator type to pray with the People of God in the parish setting. That truly is where the Gospel touches, molds and transforms lives.

These insights come to mind as the month of January signals a re-start of what many of us call the “Ministry Year.” After the several days of Christmas celebration, it is time to pursue with renewed faith and commitment the business of being Church. Whether we be a parishioner in the pew or a pencil-pusher at the Catholic Pastoral Center, we are the Church. Whether we are a parent, single person, student, or member of this or that influential group, we are the Church. Individually and collectively, we are the Diocese of Spokane. Our decisions and activities bring life and vitality to the reality of that Church. Forming the Body of Christ in Eastern Washington, we bear witness to the gift we have received: namely, the life-giving Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are more than Catholics; we are disciples of the One whose title we bear, “Christians.”

Our present circumstances of waiting word about our next bishop present us with a unique challenge as a community of believers. There is a natural tendency to hold back, waiting to assess whom the Holy Father may appoint to be our Chief Shepherd. But hesitation does not build up and foster the mission of Christ. Bold, generous and committed action does. We do need a bishop, as much as the new bishop will need each and every one of us. At the same time, being the diocese, being the local Church, is about Eucharist and living faith. It is not primarily about who sits in a cathedra which, at the moment, is vacant. As Catholics, I sense that we know this very real dimension of our faith. That’s why in this sede vacante moment, the life of the diocese has continued to flourish. From Twisp to Walla Walla, from Metaline Falls to Othello, the Eucharist continues to bind us together and our professed Faith continues to set us on mission.

May we keep all this in mind in a couple of weeks when the pastors of our parishes and the mailboxes of  Catholic households announce one of the most significant ways in which we keep the mission of the Church alive in Eastern Washington. Yes, it soon will be time to conduct the 2015 Annual Catholic Appeal. This collection is where the needs of mission (including administration) and the dedication of Catholics join forces. It is where our witness to a shared responsibility for our Catholic faith is demonstrated. This year, uniquely more so than in years past, we have the opportunity to not only contribute money to the 2015 ACA, but also contribute the gift of ourselves. When the new bishop arrives, he will be proud to find us committed to our Faith and even willing to sacrifice for it.

God bless in your goodness and in your generosity this New Year 2015!      

(Father Savelesky is the elected administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Spokane.)

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