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


the Inland Register

(From the June 16, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)

Father Frank Costello SJ

Jesuit Father Frank Costello died May 24 at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center Infirmary in Los Gatos, Calif. He was 94.

The vigil service was May 31 in the Jesuit House Chapel on the campus of Gonzaga University. The funeral Mass was celebrated the next day at St. Aloysius Church, Spokane. Interment took place later that day at the Jesuit cemetery at Mt. St. Michael’s.

The fourth of seven children, Frank Bartholomew Costello, Jr., was born on June 12, 1921, in Spokane. Frank graduated from Gonzaga High School in 1939; intrigued by his older brother Bill’s vocation to the Jesuits and having a faith nourished by his devout Catholic family, he entered the Jesuit Novitiate at Sheridan, Ore., in August 1939. He followed the regular course of Jesuit formation studies and teaching experiences and was ordained a priest on June 21, 1952, in Spokane.

Though a deeply humble man, Father Costello was destined to occupy the world of higher education and to leave a lasting impression on his students, colleagues and people in positions of authority. After completing his PhD (Political Science) from Georgetown University in 1959, he spent 11 years at Seattle University as a professor and administrator (Academic and Executive Vice-President). Transferring to Gonzaga University in 1970, Father Costello undertook nearly the same roles until his full retirement in 2001.

He also was the rector of the university Jesuits (1980-86) and the high school Jesuits (1986-88).

A significant stroke in 2012 placed him in the Jesuit Infirmary. As his health continued to decline, Father Costello transferred to the Jesuit Infirmary in Los Gatos, Calif., in April 2015.

One of his favorite events of the year was the annual St. Patrick’s Day Party. Begun in Florence, Italy, on his sabbatical, Father Costello gathered a group of Gonzaga students studying there who pined for a celebration of their favorite saint. This event quickly grew in size and reputation – several restaurants declining a return engagement – but it brought people together in a joyful way.

He was preceded in death by his brothers, Jesuit Father William and J.J. (Joe) Costello, and his sisters Mother Mary Costello FSE, Catherine Costello, Helen Petrich, and Therese Hauer.

Memorial contributions in honor of Father Costello may be directed online to: The Thomas Jefferson Scholarship (, then choose “my Gonzaga Will Campaign Priority,” and specify “Thomas Jefferson Scholarship” in the “Fund Not Listed” box); postal mail: Gonzaga University, Attn: University Advancement, 502 E Boone Ave, Spokane, WA 99258 – specify the Thomas Jefferson Scholarship Fund on the check or letter; or, The Senior Jesuit Fund, c/o The Oregon Province, Society of Jesus, P.O. Box 86010, Portland, OR 97286.

Father James N. Meehan SJ

Jesuit Father James N. Meehan died May 29 at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center Infirmary in Los Gatos, Calif., at the age of 87.

The vigil service was held June 7 in the Jesuit House Chapel on the campus of Gonzaga University, Spokane. The funeral Mass was celebrated June 8, also at the Jesuit House Chapel. Interment was later that day at the Jesuit cemetery at Mt. St. Michael’s.

One of two brothers, James Nealen Meehan was born in Seattle to Stanley J. and Harriet L. (Dreaney) Meehan. He attended St. George’s Grade School and graduated from Seattle Preparatory in 1946. Inspired by the example of the Jesuits who taught him, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Sheridan, Ore., on July 30, 1946.

Following the regular course of Jesuit formation studies and teaching experiences, he was ordained a priest on June 13, 1959, in Spokane.

After completing his priestly formation, Father Meehan moved into the rapidly changing world of the 1960s to pursue studies in sociology. He completed a M.A. degree at Fordham University in 1962 and a doctorate in 1971 from U.C. Berkeley. While working on his doctorate Father Meehan also taught courses in sociology at Gonzaga University.

In 1973 he was awarded the “Outstanding Teacher Award” by the alumni of Gonzaga; that same year he took a leave from G.U. to be the Assistant for Education to the Jesuit Provincial of the Oregon Province. He served as president of Jesuit High School in Portland from 1977-1980 and returned again to Gonzaga in 1981 to continue teaching in the Sociology Department and provide support for University Ministry.

From 1991-2001, Father Meehan ministered as pastor at various churches in Washington and Montana until his return to Gonzaga as Chaplain and Search Coordinator in University Ministry from 2001-2006.

Not content to retire quietly, Father Meehan served as chaplain to the Spokane Catholic Urban Native American Community from 2008-2014.

Memorials in honor of Father Meehan may be sent to the Senior Jesuit Fund, Oregon Province of the Society of Jesus, P.O. Box 86010, Portland, OR 97286, or the charity of the donor’s choice.

Father Alberic Smith OFM

Franciscan Father Alberic Smith, 84, a member of the Franciscan Friars for 65 years, died at his residence, the friary of St. Francis of Assisi Church, Spokane, on May 31, 2016.

The vigil service was June 5, St. Francis of Assisi Church, Spokane. The funeral Mass was celebrated there the next day, Interment was in the Friars Mausoleum in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Born Albert Remling “Remy” Smith Nov. 1, 1931, at Los Angeles, he was the son of the late Dr. Cecil J. and Helen Ann FitzSimmons Smith.

He entered the seminary in 1949 during his senior year of high school. Upon graduation he went to St. Anthony Seminary, Santa Barbara, for college study.

In July 1955, he made his final vow as a Franciscan. He was ordained a priest Dec. 20, 1958.

His Religious career included teaching history, math, science, chemistry, and English courses at seminaries in Santa Barbara, Calif., Troutdale, Ore., and San Luis Rey, Calif. He also taught for four years in an English as a Second Language program in Los Angeles, a course designed for Latin Americans interested in entering the Franciscan order.

He spent three summers in the Philippines teaching science and geography at Our Lady of the Angels Seminary in Manila. From 1991-1997 he was administrator at St. Anthony Seminary, Santa Barbara.

He served three years – 1997-2000 – as pastor of Mission San Xavier del Bac, Tucson, Ariz., then became administrator and Religious superior at Old Mission Santa Barbara. At the time of his death, he was associate pastor at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Spokane and chaplain for the Poor Clare Sisters’ monastery.

Sister Margaret Mary “Peggy” (Marie Annette) Griffin OP

Sister Margaret Mary “Peggy” Griffin of the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa died June 8.

The funeral Mass was held in the Gathering Place chapel at Sinsinawa, Wis., June 14, followed by burial in the Motherhouse Cemetery there.

Sister Peggy was born Jan. 16, 1927, in Sioux City, Iowa, the daughter of James and Margaret (Duhaime) Griffin. She made her first Religious profession as a Sinsinawa Dominican Aug. 30, 1948, and her final profession Aug. 30, 1951.

Sister Peggy taught for 23 years and served as a missionary for five years in Cochabamba, Bolivia; in parish ministry for 13 years; and in various positions for the Sinsinawa Dominican congregation for 13 years.

Sister Peggy served in Minnesota, Illinois, Montana, Wisconsin, California, New Mexico, Texas, Alaska and Washington, as well as Bolivia.

In the Diocese of Spokane, Sister Peggy served as assistant prioress, liturgist, and pastoral minister at Dominican Center, Spokane, 2000-2004.

Memorials may be made to the Sinsinawa Dominicans, 585 County Road Z, Sinsinawa, WI, 53824-9701 or online at by clicking on “Donate Now.”

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