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 September 17, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)
Fifty Years Ago: September 19, 1965
Lay Leadership Training Confab Begins Sept. 18
A two-day session designed to provide more lay leadership at the parish level has been scheduled by the Diocesan Council of Catholic Men for Sept. 18 and 19 at Fort Wright College.
Chairman, King Cole, who heads the nine-man Leadership Training Committee, announced that all parishes in the diocese have been invited to send two lay delegates to the program. Cole stressed the point that the format used for these sessions has been tested and found successful in other dioceses around the country.
The four Saturday sessions will be devoted to a better understanding of the role of the layman in his parish. Sunday’s sessions will explore the proper relationship between the pastor and his flock with emphasis on the need for the laity in each parish to fit their program to the special requirements of each pastor’s needs.
Chairman Cole said that the objective of the program is to prepare the men to return to their parish and be in a qualified position to ask their pastor, “What can we do?”
Committee members serving with Mr. Cole are: Don Wessels, Frank Perkins, Gerald O’Melvaney, Henry Swoboda, Frank Yuse, Bill Larson, Mike Doohan, John O’Connor and Phil Kuharski.
St. Augustine Parish will note 50th jubilee
St. Augustine Parish, Spokane, will celebrate its golden jubilee Sunday, Sept. 19, with a Mass at one o’clock in the parish church and a reception from 2-4 p.m. in the parish hall. The parish was established in 1915, its first building erected, and its school opened with Franciscan Sisters.
The Msgr. Stephen P. Buckley, pastor since Oct. 30, 1939, will celebrate the Jubilee Mass, and the occasional sermon will be delivered by Father James Ribble, rector of Mater Cleri Seminary.
The original parish church was constructed on Stevens street, facing 18th Avenue, in 1915 by the parish’s first pastor, Father W.V. Fitzgerald. It served for all functions of the parish, as church, school, convent, hall, and rectory. The Franciscan Sisters, who have staffed the school since its opening, lived on the top floor. The basement served as hall and rectory and the first and second floors as church and school rooms.
Other pastors were Fathers John Cronin and William J. Condon.
Twenty-five Years Ago: September 13, 1990
Spokane Serra Club welcomes first woman member
Since 1935, the Spokane Serra club has been an exclusively all-men’s organization.
On Aug. 4, that changed with the initiation of the group’s first female member, Carla M. Schoen, a Spokane freelance writer and regular contributor to the Inland Register.
Last October, Schoen wrote an Inland Register feature article on the Serrans which sparked not only reader interest but her own as well.
“When the past Serra Club president Bob Clemens told me that there was a shortage of priests and Religious in the area, I wished there was something that I could do personally to help the situation. But I didn’t know where to start,” Schoen said. “Then he mentioned that Spokane’s Serra Club didn’t have any women members. That’s when I decided to look into joining the club and do my part in teaching others about priesthood and Religious life, and perhaps increasing the awareness of people considering those vocations,” she said.
The principal mission of Serra is to encourage and promote vocations to the priesthood and Religious life.
She was given her club application about the time the story was printed, but taking several months off to have a baby put the application process on hold.
“It was at an April wedding that I ran into Jim Bertis, a two-time past president of Serra. He asked me why I hadn’t joined yet. To be honest, I had put it out of my mind because by then I’d been so busy with my new baby boy, I rarely had time to think about anything else,” Schoen said. “But once he mentioned it, my interest was sparked again and I couldn’t wait to get involved.”
It was the first part of June that Ms. Schoen and her husband were invited to a Serra Club luncheon meeting. The couple felt so welcome by the members that immediately they felt right at home.
“During the lunch, the guest speaker, a Jesuit from Gonzaga Prep, gave a speech that was so interesting and filled with spiritual meaning that I really felt like I could belong to this organization,” she said. “I left the meeting with such a feeling of closeness to the members and with God. It was as if God were present right there in the room with us. I could see the close relationship with God each member shared.”
Shortly after that, Ms. Schoen was voted into the Serra Club.
“Jim Bertis contacted me and told me that it was a unanimous decision to accept me as a member. I was thrilled. I finally felt as if I could help encourage vocations in our community.”
At the Saturday, Aug. 4 picnic, Ms. Schoen was inducted as the Spokane Serrans’ first woman member. The ceremony took place during an outdoor Mass at the home of past Serra International Vice President, Mike Doohan, celebrated by Jesuit Father Tony Lehman, the club chaplain.
A slight moment of confusion occurred when the time came for Jim Simpson, the club’s new president, to present Ms. Schoen with her official name badge. The Serra club badges are designed to hang from a suit coat pocket; Ms. Schoen was wearing a strapless dress.
He graciously handed her the badge and let her install it herself, and she was sworn in with the club’s new officers. A potluck dinner closed the evening.
“In the short time I’ve been involved with the Serra Club, my own spiritual awareness has increased,” Ms. Schoen said. “I’ve met some wonderful people. Before I was officially initiated, I convinced my father to join, and he loves it.
“I’d encourage other men – and other women – to become involved with Serra,” she said. “Not only is it a lot of fun, but it helps build personal spirituality and helps others in the religious community.
“It’s good that women are joining the Serra organization now,” she said. “Women are becoming more and more involved in the Church. Their involvement in Serra reflects this.”
(Father Caswell is archivist for the Inland Register, and a frequent contributor to this publication.)
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