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

Spokane’s Bishop Emeritus honored by Catholic Charities USA

by Eric Meisfjord, Editor, Inland Register

(From the May 19, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)

Bishop William Skylstad (IR file photo)

Bishop William Skylstad, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Spokane, has been selected as one of two recipients of the 2016 National Volunteer of the Year Award from Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA).

According to CCUSA, the award is given “to a volunteer who provides outstanding service, advocates for those being served, and encourages people of good will to do the same.”

In a letter to the bishop announcing the award, Dominican Sister Donna Markham, President and CEO of CCUSA, called Bishop Skylstad “an exceptional model of service.”

Bishop Skylstad will be presented with the award during the CCUSA annual gathering, this year in Boston, Oct. 10-12.

“On behalf of Catholic Charities, I thank you for being the hands of Christ to people served by Catholic Charities Spokane,” said Sister Donna.

Rob McCann, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Spokane, said, “We are beyond thrilled that Bishop Skylstad has been awarded the honor of National Volunteer of the Year by Catholic Charities USA. No one is more deserving than he is. Bishop Skylstad has been such a treasure to us at Catholic Charities for so many years.”

McCann referred to Bishop Skylstad as “a fixture in our organization. He is on the ground, in the programs, fundraising, and advocating. We cannot quantify the value of his service or express enough humble gratitude to him for his blessings. If only all the other Catholic Charities were so fortunate to have clergy like Bishop Skylstad dedicating their retirement to service!” The bishop, McCann said, “is the heart and soul of Catholic Charities, in our estimation, and not really just a Volunteer of the Year, but a picture-perfect role model of the consummate volunteer with a true heart of gold.”

Bishop Skylstad was born in Omak, Wash. His seminary formation was at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Worthington, Ohio. He was ordained to the priesthood May 21, 1960.

In the Spokane Diocese, he served as assistant pastor in Pullman. He was a teacher and, later, rector of Mater Cleri Seminary in Colbert, where he was also pastor of St. Joseph Parish.

He was pastor of Assumption Parish, Spokane, and Chancellor of the Diocese of Spokane prior to being named Bishop of Yakima in 1977. He was ordained as bishop on May 12 of that year. He returned to the Spokane Diocese as apostolic administrator, and in 1990 was named bishop of this diocese.

Bishop Skylstad was elected Vice President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and then president.

He has been chairman of the USCCB Committee on the Permanent Diaconate, and served on the conference’s Committee on Social Development and World Peace, and the Ad Hoc Committee for Bishops’ Life and Ministry.

He continues to work with Worldwide Marriage Encounter, and this summer will once again address the National Diaconate Institute for Continuing Education.

Bishop Skylstad is a regular volunteer at the House of Charity, ministering to the homeless of downtown Spokane.

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