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 January 15, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

Archdiocese of Portland

ST. BENEDICT – Benedictine Abbot Joseph Wood, abbot of Mount Angel Abbey from 1997-2001, died. He was 91.

Born on March 22, 1923, in San Francisco, Abbot Joseph grew up in Chehalis, Wash. After graduating from Chehalis High in 1941, he served in the Army during World War II. He was honorably discharged in 1946 and entered the University of Portland, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1949.

Later that year, at age 26, he entered Mount Angel Seminary. Soon after, he decided to enter the monastery and made his monastic vows in 1952 and was ordained in 1956.

He went on for further studies at Columbia University and then Fordham University, where he earned a master’s in sociology in 1959. Upon his return, he taught courses ranging from sociology to economics and from anthropology to Catholic social doctrine in the seminary until 1975. He was the college prefect of discipline, now known as formation director, and dean of the graduate school of theology.

After a two-year assignment as director of continuing education and director of the summer program in the seminary, Abbot Joseph was assigned as assistant pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Tillamook in 1975. From 1979-’81, he served as director of ministries for the Archdiocese of Portland, and then as director of clergy personnel. He was appointed as pastor of St. Paul Parish in Eugene until 1991.

Returning to monastic life, he served at the Monastery of the Ascension in Jerome, Idaho. It was then that God surprised him with a new assignment – Abbot of Mount Angel Abbey – at the age of 74.

During his tenure as abbot (1997-2001), he made many changes to the hilltop, including a new approach to development and more effective management of abbey departments.

MOLALLA – Homelessness is an issue commonly associated with heavily populated urban centers, but people are living outdoors in rural areas, too.

To serve those members of their community, a coalition of community volunteers launched a warming center at St. James Church here. When temperatures drop below freezing or severely inclement weather hits, the parish hall opens so people who are homeless in this area of Clackamas County can take shelter.

“This has brought the community together,” said Father Ted Prentice, pastor at St. James. “People from different churches, and diverse backgrounds and ages, are coming together and working for a common goal.”

The Molalla Warming Center is coordinated by a group of interfaith volunteers, representing several denominations in the area, who came together in 2012 to figure out how to offer the warming center service.

Molalla Warming Center Steering Committee Chairwoman Leota Childress said their team of volunteers presented the idea to a group of church leaders, and Father Prentice voiced interest.

After getting the consent of the parish council, he offered space at his parish.

“This is a community that desires to be of service, but they are a little far from Portland to have a strong connection to what is going on at (St. André Bessette Parish, in downtown Portland) and other places that serve the homeless,” he said.

The program receives a small amount of funding from Clackamas County, but is mostly supported by donations. Volunteers bring vats of soups or casseroles so shelter visitors and volunteers can have a warm dinner together before people settle in to watch a movie or play games and then retire to the sleeping area.

“Clackamas County provides a range of services ourselves, but we’re also part of (a network) of other community organizations, county divisions, school districts, many different people across community who are also concerned about and working to end homelessness,” said Erika Silver, Clackamas County’s Human Services manager.

When the steering committee sent out an invitation for a volunteer training, 72 people showed up, Childress said.

“That shows what this community is capable of doing and wants to do,” she said.

– Catholic Sentinel (Oregon Catholic Press)

Inland Register Index | Home

© The Catholic Diocese of Spokane. All Rights Reserved