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 January 21, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)

From the Inland Register – Volume LIV, No. 32
Fifty Years Ago: December 5, 1965

Your Bishop and You: To Rome – Also Decisions
November 26, 1965

When you read these words, God willing, I shall be in Rome. Three times I have made plane reservations for Rome to attend the Council. Each time my health made it necessary to cancel them. My fourth effort, with God’s help, will bring me there for the last days of the Council.

What I now write is of most special interest to the Catholics of the City of Spokane. After considerable consultation, much thought, and more prayer, I have come to a most important decision. It has been a most difficult decision too.

Certain decisions must be made – and in the last instance can only be made – by the man in highest authority. President Kennedy necessarily made the decision for the ill-fated invasion of Cuba in the Bay of Pigs. He too had to make the dangerous decision of confronting Russia in the missile crisis. President Johnson: It was he who made the decision for a greater involvement in Vietnam. So, too, there are important decisions that must be made by the bishop. I am now writing about one of these.

Like the presidents in their decisions, I sought advice. Advice from individuals (priests, Sisters, and laymen). Advice, too, from a committee set up for this very purpose – a committee of priests, Sisters, and laymen. I have listened and read what was said and written. I am very grateful for all the advice given, but it is I, the bishop, who had to make the final decision. That is where prayer comes in, of course. This particular decision was especially difficult because there are so many important considerations involved in it. Many of our people feel very strongly in one direction or another because of the emphasis they give to this consideration or that one.

I am writing of my decision on the Catholic high school situation in Spokane. I think it is the right one because I am convinced it is the one our Heavenly Father wants.

The problems involved in making a decision on new Catholic high schools in Spokane are many and diverse. There is the matter of the location and size. There is the question of whether we should aim at “shared time” or not. There is the matter of what kind of teaching will be used, whether it is to be team teaching, copious use of closed circuit TV or more conventional teaching. These are some of the problems in addition to the usual ones of whether we can finance the building of a high school and whether we have the religious teachers to staff it. Then, too, the future growth of the City of Spokane enters into the decision very much. Most certainly we also must keep in mind that existing facilities must continue to be used.

My decision is the following: As soon as possible we shall build high schools, both on the north side and on the south side. These will be built to accommodate present needs and those of the immediate future. In building these high schools, however, we will keep in mind that we eventually expect our enrollment of 1,600 in each.

Each high school will be co-institutional. This means that there will be two almost distinct institutions using common facilities. One will be for boys and on will be for girls. We have two sites available. The city planning commission tells us that these are ideally located for the future of Spokane – for 15 years from now. Each is at the edge of the city as of now.

A survey will be made. This will determine where the greatest need is and which school therefore will be built first. The survey will also determine how many students the high school must be able to accommodate at the start. The greater need, whether in the north side or the south side, will determine the first high school to be built. We hope that we shall be able to begin the second one very quickly thereafter.

When will the first high school open? It is my belief that we shall certainly be opened by the fall of 1968. It is even possible that we can make some arrangement to have the first freshman class start in the fall of 1967. I hope so.

Obviously, I am aware that high schools need to be built elsewhere, too – in localities outside of the City of Spokane. But one must remember that building a high school is a very expensive undertaking; it is also expensive to operate a high school. I am certain that the parishes in Spokane can afford to build one high school; I believe that they can afford to build two. But that will become more certain later. As soon as other regions or cities can demonstrate that they can afford high schools, we shall, of course, do our utmost to find a staff for them and build them, too.

From the Inland Register – Volume 48, No. 10
Twenty-five years ago: January 17, 1991

Annual Catholic Appeal helps support programs and ministries throughout the Spokane Diocese

Bishop White Seminary: When it was founded in 1956, Bishop White Seminary was a high school-based seminary, not unlike a prep school for prospective priests. Since 1965, the seminary has been a college house of study for young men seriously considering a vocation in the priesthood.

This is yet another program that receives vital funding through the Annual Catholic Appeal. Donations to the Appeal enable the beginning formation process at Bishop White in addition to funding the seminarians’ graduate studies in theology outside of the diocese.

The environment at Bishop White Seminary nurtures the becoming process for these young men. Their growth is multidimensional – balancing their academic studies at Gonzaga University with community life, liturgical celebration, spiritual development, pastoral field work and personal growth.

Father George Haspedis, Rector of Bishop White since 1988, oversees this process and evaluates the progress of those who choose to enter it. In his role as Director of Seminarians, Father Haspedis is responsible for guiding all diocesan seminarians, those at Bishop White and those who have gone on to graduate studies in theology outside of the diocese.

For the three young men currently living at Bishop White Seminary, the Diocese of Spokane offers support on a number of levels.

The seminary facility is financially supported by the diocese, and room and board for the seminarians is subsidized. Also, the diocese provides resources and personnel to guide and nurture seminarians in their multi-dimensional growth process.

Father James Kuhns, who served as rector of the seminary from 1983-1988, said the Spokane area offers rich soil for the nurture of seminary students. “In my time at Bishop White, we never lacked for resources,” he said.

The diocese continues its financial support of seminarians completing their graduate studies outside of the diocese. This includes funding their education, providing a stipend to cover living expenses, and subsidizing transportation costs.

Father Haspedis said at least 40 percent of the priests currently serving in the Spokane Diocese came through Bishop White Seminary. Two seminarians who are completing their graduate studies outside of the diocese are scheduled to be ordained as diocesan priests in 1991.

Father Kuhns spoke with pride regarding the diocesan seminarian program. He remembers the impression Bishop White Seminary left on one distinguished visitor a few years ago.

During the ’60s, Rome commissioned the American Seminary Visitation. Then Msgr. Donald Wuerl, who now is the Bishop of Pittsburg, functioned as the priest in charge of this study. Father Kuhns remembers that after the visit Msgr. Wuerl described Bishop White Seminary as an unusually fine program – what a college house of studies ought to be.

A team of people collaborate in guiding the progress of seminarians at Bishop White. Father Haspedis works with the Priestly Formation Committee, an advisory body.

Each seminarian selects a priest to serve as his spiritual director, someone who serves as a confidant. Each seminarian has a formation advisor for guidance in personal growth and development.

While completing undergraduate studies in philosophy at Gonzaga, Bishop White seminarians do pastoral field work. This is “people ministry,” Father Haspedis said. Some have worked with parish youth, conducted youth retreats, served as Eucharistic Ministers, taught catechism, done liturgical work in the Hispanic community, or done prison visitations.

The three diocesan seminarians living at Bishop White are Gerardo Gonzalez, from Oroville, Wash.; Kevin Ketchie, from Pullman, Wash.; and Tim Hays, from Spokane.

Also living at the seminary are two seminarians from other dioceses who are studying at Gonzaga.

Six diocesan seminarians are pursuing graduate studies in theology outside of Eastern Washington. These include Tom Khue, Richard Poole, Pedro Cortes, Gene Tracy, Darrin Connall and Rory Pitstick. Cortes and Tracy will be ordained in the coming year.

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


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