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

Father Michael Savelesky retires; 42 years a priest

by Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register

(From the December 17, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

Father Michael Savelesky (IR file photo)

Bishop Thomas Daly has accepted the resignation of Father Michael Savelesky, effective Nov. 30.

In an email to the priests of the diocese, announcing the retirement, Bishop Daly expressed his gratitude for Father Savelesky’s 42 years of active priestly ministry.

“I am grateful that he will continue to serve the people of Holy Rosary Parish in Rosalia and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in St. John,” wrote Bishop Daly. “His short time as pastor of those parishes has already resulted in spiritual growth as well as some necessary healing.”

Father Savelesky grew up in Davenport, Wash., before entering seminary formation for the Spokane Diocese.

He studied at Mater Cleri and Bishop White Seminaries before completing his theology studies at the American College in Louvain, Belgium, where he received a PhD in religious studies, with emphasis on the study of morality.

He was ordained to the diaconate on March 30, 1972, and ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Spokane on Aug. 4, 1973.

He served in several parishes of the diocese: as assistant pastor of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes, and pastor of St. Peter and Assumption Parishes, Spokane; St. Patrick and St. Francis of Assisi parishes, Walla Walla; and the parishes in Oakesdale, Rosalia, St. John, and Tekoa. He also served for one year as administrator of St. Rose of Lima Parish, Cheney.

His 15 years at St. Peter Parish saw the construction of a new church and office complex for the parish.

Father Savelesky has also held a number of administrative positions in the diocese, including various roles at Bishop White Seminary, editor of the Inland Register and Communications Director for the diocese, and the diocese’s Director of Pastoral Ministries.

He directed the formation process for classes of permanent deacons for the diocese, and also has taught as an adjunct assistant professor at Gonzaga University.

After his term as editor of the IR, Father Savelesky wrote a spirituality column, from September 1985 until last June.

He was named Moderator of the Curia of the diocese in 2011, and Vicar General for Internal Matters in 2014. After Bishop (now Archbishop) Blase Cupich was named to the Chicago Archdiocese, Father Savelesky was elected Diocesan Administrator, serving until Bishop Thomas Daly was installed last May.

In his last “Spirituality” column for the IR, titled “Time to Land,” Father Savelesky offered some insights that also apply to a life of ministry, in service to God’s people:

“Like teaching theology, learning bankruptcy law, mentoring seminarians, and overseeing church construction – and similar ministry engagements for which the seminary did not prepare me – I hardly ever expected during seminary formation to write a regular spirituality column for a newspaper. But like these other areas of engagement, I feel uniquely honored and privileged to have done so…. I do hope that my words (often a version of a homily given here or there) have bolstered the reader’s faith, provided a different perspective on God’s amazing love, or produced greater understanding of the challenges encountered on the journey we share together as disciples of Jesus Christ.”

Father Savelesky will be honored by his brother priests at next year’s Presbyteral Assembly.

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