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


Compiled by Father Tom Caswell, for the Inland Register

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

From the Inland Register – Volume LIII, No.39
Fifty Years Ago: January 24, 1965

‘Welcome Home’ dinner greets Bishop Topel

Over 100 laymen and priests honored Bishop Topel at a “welcome home” dinner on Jan. 12 in the Ridpath Hotel, Spokane. The men, members of the Diocesan Council of Holy Name (DCHN) Men, and 24 priests, pledged their loyalty to the bishop and their support of him in all the works he designates.

The men chose the welcome home theme, because it was their first public opportunity to greet Bishop Topel after his return from the Vatican Council in November.

Don Wessels, DCHN president, said: “We are bent on being the best possible apostolic men, singly and in a group. We know that Catholic organization activity is not sufficient. Our pastors are responsible for the spiritual good of people within their parish boundaries, not just the Catholics. We know that we are charged with helping him spread the good news to those that are not now of his flock. How we help him is limited only by his leadership and our eagerness to follow.”

Wessels called on the chairmen of eight bureaus in the council. These in turn called on chairmen of the 28 committees under their charge. These and their chairmen are:

Under the organization and development bureau and Frank Perkins: membership, Duane Pugh; president’s council, Henry J. Swoboda; parish unit development, Gerald R. O’Melveny; lay leadership training, King Cole.

Under the public relations and communications bureau and John O’Connor: public lecture series, Philip M. O’Neill; county fair booths, Al Kiefel; pamphlet and literature racks, Harrry Goedde; open house, Bob Duncan; radio and television, Bill Akers.

Under the religious activities bureau and John Riley: perpetual adoration, Gene Kraft; daily Mass program, Gene Thibault; memorial day field Mass, Phil Kuharski; retreats, Marin Winton.

Under the civic and social activities bureau and William Larson: human rights, Frank Yuse; Newman centers, Ed Mertens; Christ in Christmas, John Geraghty; race relations, Peter Welk.

Under the family life and youth bureau and Richard J. Richard: Cana conferences, Maurice “Bud” Sisk; Teenagers, Mel Anderson; Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Wesley Waybright; Christian Family Movement, Dick Sprute; Scouting, Marshall Duggan.

Under the world affairs and missions bureau and Michael J. Byrne: Papal and Extension Volunteers, Mike Byrne; Guatemala missions, Dr. Thomas Gardner; Project American Homes, Morrie Gales; Legislative and Government Bureau, Fred Woeppel; Press Bureau, Jack O’Brien, Jr.

Diocesan Council of Holy Name Men officers are Don Wessels, president; John O’Connor, Gene Kraft, Maurice “Bud” Sisk, and John Geraghty, all vice presidents; William Larson, corresponding secretary; Tom Dawson, recording secretary; and Don Ryder, treasurer.

Spiritual director is the Rt. Rev. Msgr. John J. Coleman, J.C.D., vicar general of the diocese.

Bishop Topel urged that “laymen be patient with the clergy and that the clergy be patient with laymen” during the current transition in the liturgy with its emphasis on lay apostolic action. The bishop quoted from the chapter on the laity in the Constitution or the Church stating that the laity “should openly reveal to them (the pastors) needs and desires with that freedom and confidence which is fitting for children of God and brothers in Christ,” The bishop encouraged such dialogue “through the organs erected by the Church for this purpose ... rather than through secular newspapers, etc.

Phil Kuharski, past president, presented the resolution that the men passed “in gratitude to the bishop because he “constantly kept in mind the needs and requirements of all members of his flock” and furthered projects for their spiritual moral welfare. The resolution pledged the men to continuous loyalty toward the bishop and support of his projects.

Earlier Bishop Topel had written to the men: “No one can doubt that these last years the work of our Diocesan Council of Holy Name Men has made good and substantial progress.” After expressing his thanks, the bishop had written: “I ask that all Catholic men of our diocese join their parish Holy Name Society and bend their every effort to further its important work.”


From the Inland Register – Volume 47, No. 14
Twenty-five Years Ago: April 12, 1990

WSU Newman Center students take ‘urban plunge’

Spring break for many college students might mean a vacation – off to the beach, the mountains, the ski resorts.

For members of the Newman Center at WSU in Pullman, part of spring break this year meant a trip to the marginalized members of Spokane society.

The idea for an urban plunge experience began last year in New Orleans, at a campus ministers’ meeting there, said Father Mike Krieg, one of the ministers at WSU.

Young adults, he said, “respond to hands-on experiences.” This was one way to experience the lives of urban poor, the handicapped, the elderly – the “marginalized” of society.

“Spokane has more opportunity for that kind of experience than Pullman,” Father Krieg said.

The idea was developed by the Newman Center’s social concerns committee, said Providence Sister Rosalie Locati, another minister at the Newman Center. It was an opportunity, she said, for the marginalized to tell their own stories, to put names and faces on “them.”

The group worked with Spokane residents who are involved in various aspects of social ministry – Mike Ryan of Catholic Family Services; Providence Sister Fran Stacey; Joe Gaffney-Brown; and Jim Thomas.

The group’s hands-on experience was varied.

Sleeping arrangements were made with the House of Charity, the diocese’s mission on Spokane’s Skid Row. Some plunge participants visited St. Anne Infant Home or St. Margaret Hall. Others explored Our Place, an ecumenical referral service, clothing bank and emergency food bank. Six churches, including St. Joseph, support Our Place.

Other organizations visited Crosswalk, a ministry to teens on the street; the Omega Center, similar to Our Place; and the Homeless Project of the Downtown Neighborhood Center.

Before the urban plunge began, students were required to attend an informational meeting. The students made their choices of wherever they would like to go, in order of preference.

They met in the evenings during their time in Spokane to discuss and share their experiences. They also heard talks from Jesuit Volunteers who served at the House of Charity, and Sisters of Providence with extensive backgrounds in various social ministries.

Betty Kam, chairperson of the Newman Center’s social justice committee and one of the principal organizers of the plunge experience, called the time spent in Spokane a “step to reality.”

This is part of the world we live in, she said. “Not everyone is as fortunate as we are – we don’t have to worry about meals, about warm clothes. And we can’t ignore it anymore.”

Student reactions and observations showed how the experience had touched them.

“These people aren’t numbers anymore,” said one student. “They are not just drunken bums. They are individuals with personalities.”

One student described St. Margaret Hall, which offers residential care for developmentally disabled women, as “like a dorm at school.”

“There was teasing. They worried about getting jobs, what they would do when they left St. Margaret’s. They talked about boys. They were so happy.”

Working with the marginalized, the students learned, meant treating the people “for what they are. You can’t afford to show pretense, your prejudices. Those make up walls.”

(Father Caswell is archivist for the Inland Register, and a frequent contributor to this publication.)


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