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:
Annual Catholic Appeal in Lent 2015

by Father Michael Savelesky

(From the February 19, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

Father Michael Savelesky

Press Release

Following a mediation conducted by former Bankruptcy Judge Ralph Mabey (Salt Lake City, Utah), the parties to the litigation pending in In re Catholic Bishop of Spokane in the United States Bankruptcy Court in Spokane, have settled their disputes in a manner satisfactory to all parties.

By mutual agreement, the terms of the settlement are confidential. The settlement does not constitute an admission of wrong doing by either side; rather, it is a resolution of differences in an amicable manner which allows the parties to move forward with the important work that each conducts in the service of the common good.

There will be no further press releases or public comment by either party or their attorneys.

Announced at the Catholic Pastoral Center, January 23, 2015

Once again it is time to conduct the Annual Catholic Appeal throughout the Diocese of Spokane. This year, all of us – laity and clergy alike – encounter a unique set of circumstances as we move to support the welfare of our Catholic faith community through our contributions to this Appeal.

On the one hand, we Catholics join the Universal Church in embracing the liturgical season of Lent. We seek to make ourselves more responsive to the covenant of salvation God offers us in the Passion, Death and Resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ. Once again it is a season of vulnerability to grace. It is a time to clothe ourselves in the sackcloth and ashes of repentance, focusing our lives anew on what is important and lasting in our journey of faith. With the onset of the 2015 ACA it also is a time of sacrificial giving. Lent and ACA are not in competition; they are partners in responsible Christian living.

On the other hand, with a mixture of cautious anxiety and excited anticipation, we Catholics also prepare to welcome the leadership and shepherding of our next bishop. During this time, however, we should not hesitate to foster the mission of the Church in our diocese. Every one of us is called by our baptism – and not just by the one who sits in the bishop’s chair – to do our part according to our means to foster the Kingdom of God. As the 2015Annual Catholic Appeal echoes again this year, We Are the Diocese.

Over the years, the Catholic faithful have responded to the grace of God’s Holy Spirit in working with perseverance and dedication to assure a strong Catholic presence throughout this part of Washington State. Without question, precisely because liturgical seasons like Lent are not without their impact on us, our parishes and missions are vibrant communities of faith. Our next Chief Shepherd will inherit the blessings of that support and sacrifice. Our participation in the 2015 Annual Catholic Appeal is a very practical way of assuring the continued strength of our witness and commitment to our mission. No one needs to remind us that our contributions to the ACA are critical for the funding for a variety of ministries and administrative needs.

Both Lent and the recent mediated settlement of the diocese’s lawsuit against the Paine Hamblen law firm have provided an encouraging context for our response to the 2015 ACA. (Editor’s note: The text of the diocese’s press release regarding that settlement is included on this page.) The lawsuit is terminated and, as public court records testify, the diocese’s bankruptcy case is closed. The settlement is “a resolution of differences in an amicable manner which allows the parties to move forward with the important work that each conducts in the service of the common good.”

The diocese is pleased with the settlement which the litigating parties were able to achieve. The nature of a mediated settlement is one of compromise. By mutual agreement, typically, the settlement sum and other terms may not be disclosed. Given that fact, it is pointless to continue the argumentation, even in private conversation. It is time to turn the page and move on. It is time for peace and reconciliation. It is a time of repentance – literally, a re-seeking that which is important to the mission Christ has entrusted to us believers.

As we embrace this season of Lent, no parish in the diocese is under the threat of foreclosure. Nonetheless, the diocese and its parishes remain obligated to cover any Future Claims awards which could be granted according to the “Plan of Reorganization” which was approved by the bankruptcy court in 2008. That responsibility will be ours for the next 17 months. However, the diocese is in a better position now to address that need than we were in 2008.

The juxtaposition of Lent and the achievement of the recent settlement agreement give our local Church the opportunity to focus our attention anew on the mission of our respective faith communities. We have important work to do, both individually and collectively. The future of the Catholic mission in this part of Washington State is ours to build as we address the challenge of the 2015 Annual Catholic Appeal and prepare to welcome a new bishop to shepherd us. May we repent, and may we be generous!

May God bless you in every way.

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

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