Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
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 August 20, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)
Fifty Years Ago: August 8, 1965
Veteran social worker to be honored at dinner program: Father Bernard L. Schiller
A veteran social worker whose career spans nearly two decades will be honored at a dinner on Thursday, Aug. 12.
He is the Rev. Bernard L. Schiller, who has relinquished his job as director of Catholic Charities of the Spokane Diocese to be full-time spiritual director at Mater Cleri Seminary, Colbert.
Father Schiller was named to the Mater Cleri post a year ago, but has divided his time between two offices while his successor at Catholic Charities, Father Frank J. Bach, became acquainted with the operation.
Several hundred persons associated with the voluntary social service agencies in the Spokane Diocese, both Catholic and non-Catholic, have been invited to the no-host dinner at the Davenport Hotel. Bishop Topel will be among those speaking in tribute to Father Schiller’s work.
A native of Walla Walla, Father Schiller attended St. Patrick grade and high school. He entered St. Edward Seminary at Kenmore, where he was ordained a priest Dec. 18, 1943; one of what he calls “the war baby class.”
His first job for the Spokane Diocese was as assistant pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Spokane. He held several other parish assignments, both in and out of Spokane, before the late Bishop Charles D. White sent him to Catholic University in 1947.
While working for his master’s degree in social work, Father Schiller worked with the Bureau of Rehabilitation in Washington, D.C., and with social work agencies in Virginia and California. He returned to Spokane in August of 1949 and was named director of Catholic Charities, succeeding Father Paul D. Reilly, who had held the post for nine years.
During Father Schiller’s tenure as director of charity work in the Spokane Diocese, many new facilities were added and others were improved and enlarged.
New facilities include Morning Star Boys Ranch, de Porres Manor for unwed mothers, House of Charity for men, and St. Margaret Hall for homeless women. The St. Vincent de Paul Society greatly expanded its facilities, adding a salvage bureau in Spokane, Pasco, Walla Walla and Clarkston.
St. Anne Children’s Home added maternity services and built a new addition on its main building during Father Schiller’s administration.
Also expanded were the casework and counseling services offered by Catholic Charities. Branch offices were established in Walla Walla and Pasco, and in 1962, the casework service changed its name to Catholic Family Service, with more emphasis on counseling both children and parents.
Through Father Schiller’s efforts, the Spokane Diocese opened its doors to displaced children from Cuba. Federally financed, the Cuban Children’s Program found homes and living accommodations for children all over the United States. At one time, 118 of these children were being cared for in the Spokane Diocese.
In addition to his work with Catholic agencies, Father Schiller has taken an active role in other voluntary social service agencies, serving on a variety of boards and committees. These include Mental Health Clinic Board, Community Welfare Council, Mental Health Association of Spokane County, Spokane Human Relations Council, Spokane County chapter of American Red Cross, retarded children’s group, and Washington Association of Child Caring Agencies, which he headed as president in 1964.
He was active in organizing a state association of Catholic Charities and participated actively in the National Conference of Catholic Charities. In fact, while attending the 1960 meeting of NCCC in New York, Father Schiller suffered a heart attack and was convalescent in New York several weeks before he could return to Spokane.
Father Schiller also has held membership in the Academy of Certified Social Workers.
In his new job as spiritual director at Mater Cleri Seminary, Father Schiller will be working with young men who aspire to the priesthood, guiding and counseling them through their hopes, fears and doubts.
John P. Moloney, chairman of the board of Catholic Charities since its reorganization in 1961, expressed the thoughts of the board when he said, “We will miss Father Schiller’s leadership very much. It has been a privilege and an inspiration to work with Father Schiller on the various affairs of Catholic Charities in the Spokane Diocese. His devotion, his dedication to the ideals of Catholic leadership and Christian charity will continue to serve us even though Father Schiller is now engaged in other activities.”
Twenty-Five Years Ago: August 2, 1990
Oblate of Mary is new Yakima bishop
WASHINGTON (CNS) – Pope St. John Paul II named Father Francis E. George, an Oblate of Mary Immaculate and coordinator of the Cambridge Center for the Study of Faith and culture in Cambridge, Mass., as bishop of Yakima, Wash.
The announcement was made in Washington July 10 by Msgr. Rino Passigato, charge d’affaires at the U.S. apostolic nunciature.
Francis E. George was born in Chicago Jan. 16, 1937.
He entered the novitiate of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1957, and studied theology at the University of Ottawa in Canada. He was ordained a priest Dec. 21, 1963 in Chicago.
In 1965, Bishop-designate George earned a master’s degree in philosophy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, and in 1970, a doctorate at Tulane University, New Orleans.
He taught philosophy at Jesuit-run Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., and later became department chairman. In 1973 he was elected provincial of the Central United States province of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in St. Paul, Min.
Appointed vicar general of his congregation, Bishop-designate George lived in Rome and worked on a doctorate in theology at the Urban University. Since returning to the United States, he was named coordinator of the Cambridge Center for the Study of Faith and Culture.
Bishop-designate George will be “well-equipped to serve as a pastor and teacher for the Church of Yakima,” said Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen and Coadjutor Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy, both of Seattle, in a statement issued July 10.
The new bishop success Bishop William S. Skylstad, who was named Bishop of Spokane April 17.
The Diocese of Yakima, established in 1951, includes some 58,500 Catholics, many of them Spanish-speaking.
(Father Caswell is archivist for the Inland Register, and a frequent contributor to this publication.)
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