From the Pastor – October 4, 2015

frmnicks_mug_smallVirtually everyone has heard about something called the “Last Rites” and I don’t mean just Catholics. This series of prayers and blessings for the seriously ill has entered into popular culture through music, movies and literature. However, beyond their name and that they are often given to the very ill, generally little is known about them. Today, I would like to address two questions regarding these last rites: 1) What are they? 2) Do we want them?

First, what are the Last Rites? The Last Rites primarily refer to the last opportunity for an individual to receive the Sacraments of the Church. These include Confession, Holy Communion, and Anointing of the Sick. What should jump out immediately is that two of these Sacraments, Confession and Holy Communion, can and should be received regularly throughout one’s life. The third, the Anointing of the Sick, is a sacrament to give consolation, healing, and strength to those who, through advanced age or serious illness, face the real possibility of death. None of these three require that someone be on his or her deathbed. The Last Rites are not for the last minute.

In fact, if we were to wait until the last minutes or hours of someone’s life, it may already be impossible for the individual to fully receive the Last Rites. Often, by then, one has already lost the ability to eat or speak and, therefore, is not able to make a confession or receive our Lord in the Eucharist. If we wait too long, he or she may not be able to receive any of the Sacraments – death may come more quickly than we expected and the Sacraments are for the living, not the dead. A priest will surely come and pray with the family and for the one who has died, but it will no longer be possible to give the gifts of absolution, anointing and Holy Communion.

So, when should you call a priest for your loved one? If you or anyone in your family is asking the question, it is already time to call. It need not be an emergency, just serious. Even a fairly routine surgery, if they are using general anesthesia, is a reason to receive these Sacraments. I myself have done so. Serious illness and surgery are trying times; when better to receive the grace of God? Indeed, all three Sacraments are powerful and life-giving, many who were seriously ill, once having received the Sacraments, have experienced a restoration of health. Though they can certainly give comfort and solace as we die, they can just as truly restore us to the fullness of life.

Considering the consoling and healing effects of these Sacraments, it might seem absurd to ask that second question: do we want them? Of course we want them! But does our family know that? And do they know not to wait until the last minute? Maybe those who would be making this decision for us are not currently practicing the faith and wouldn’t know what to do.

No matter what the situation may be, I encourage everyone who reads this to tell those you know, family and friends, that you want to receive the Last Rites. Let them know that you don’t want them to wait until the last minute. Talk to your loved one’s today; encourage them to call a priest right away should you ever become ill and unable to speak for yourself. That way you can be assured of receiving the gift of his mercy and consolation at the time when you are most in need of it.

In Christ,
Fr. Nicks

Time with the Bishop

On Tuesday, October 20th, beginning at noon, Bishop Thomas Daly will host another one-hour live edition of “Time with the Bishop” on Sacred Heart Radio, KTTO 970 AM in Spokane. Please call with questions and comments and interaction with Bishop Daly at 509-327-3695 or email to

Catholic Daughters

Catholic Daughters is having their next business meeting this Tuesday, October 6th in the John of the Cross room at St. Patrick’s. Rosary at 6:30 pm with meeting at 7:00pm.

Standing for the Gospel Acclamation

When the Gospel Acclamation is begun, we all stand. We stand to honor Christ, whose word is being proclaimed. We stand because that is the stance of being at attention and ready to respond to God’s word. We stand in reverence and in praise and gratitude.

Fall Adult Education Offering

Women of Faith—a gathering of women for education and faith sharing, starts October 22, with a 9 week DVD series, “The Early Christians”, which meets at St. Patrick’s in the St. John of the Cross room, from 1-3 on Thursday. Please contact St. Patrick’s office to sign up.

Protest of Planned Parenthood in Walla Walla, WA

On Saturday, October 10, pro-life Americans throughout the country will gather at Planned Parenthood locations nationwide to protest the abortion giant’s practice of aborting babies and selling their body parts. Come join us help put a stop to this company’s assault on the dignity of women and children.

When: Saturday, October 10, 9:00-11:00 a.m.
Where: Planned Parenthood, 828 South 1st Ave in Walla Walla
More Info: Contact Valerie DeSomber at or see


Volunteers are needed at the American Cancer Society Cancer Resource Center located at Providence St. Mary Regional Cancer Center:

  1. Road to Recovery drivers willing to drive patients who need help with transportation to and from their treatments. Drive only when a request fits your schedule.
  2. ACS Cancer Resource Center (CRC) volunteers willing to work with cancer patients in a four-hour shift once a week. The CRC volunteers provide educational materials, wigs, hats, and scarves, as well as assist access to other ACS programs, including a skin care/makeup class, gas cards, lodging, and rides to treatment. A training class will be held in September.

You can make a difference in the lives of those going through cancer.

For more information, call Jean Carwile Masteller, the CRC chair, at 509-525-4264 or call the CRC at 509-529-8930.

Why Is the Responsorial Psalm Supposed to Be Sung?

The psalms in the Old Testament were written as songs. Some even have notes about instrumentation. They are poetic prayers that were used in worship by the community and by individuals. As poetry they express the whole gamut of human feeling: joy, sorrow, pain, gratitude, anger, praise. The psalms teach us that there is no feeling that we cannot bring to our God. We can stand honestly before God to express ourselves and know that God listens and understands. We have the examples of the Old Testament psalmist before us. The psalms have traditionally been attributed to David, but were actually written over a period of about 1,000 years. David is considered to be the primary author and compiler.

Pope Francis’ words on refugee crisis

Pope Francis’ words on refugee crisis: “We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond, as best we can, in their situation.” CRS is providing food and medical care for some of the millions of desperate refugee families fleeing persecution and death in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Donate online by going to Catholic Relief Services.

Guatemala Mission

Your contributions are making a big difference in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Guatemala, helping support a preschool, religious education, a radio station medical care, etc. Many choose to make a monthly donation. St. Patrick’s: Use your special Guatemala envelope in October.

St. Francis’ Feast Day

October 4, St. Francis’ Feast Day, Canticle of the Sun: “Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures!” Today say a prayer of thanks for God’s creation. Don’t forget your pets!

Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

The phrase in today’s psalm, “May you see your children’s children,” is really a prayer for a long life. The good steward knows that every day is a gift from God, to be lived with joy and thanksgiving. “May the Lord bless us all the days of our lives.”

From the Pastor – September 27, 2015

frmnicks_mug_small“To me, it seems to be negligence if, after confirmation in the faith, we do not study to understand that which we believe.” – St. Anselm (Cur Deus Homo)

We all seek to grow in our faith lives. It feels like a constant battle. We try to carve out more time to be with God, to pray the rosary, to read the scriptures. We might go to daily Mass. We seek out confession on a regular basis and do penance for past sins. We try to avoid our habitual sins and look for opportunities to serve others. The spiritual masters invite us to fast regularly. Perhaps we even go on retreats or days of reflection occasionally. These are all good and necessary for spiritual growth.

These tools for spiritual growth, though, primarily focus on doing something for God. We serve others, say prayers, and offer sacrifices. However, there is another area in which we can grow spiritually; not only doing something for God, but growing in our knowledge of God. Both knowing God better and serving him well go hand in hand. Today, as you can guess from the introductory quote, I want to invite us, as Christians, to spend some more time developing our knowledge of God. Properly speaking, this is the meaning of theology-the study of God. St. Anselm’s original title for his work the Proslogion was “Faith Seeking Understanding.” This is an apt description of theology. It is important that we don’t get those two things turned around. For the past two millennia, Christians have immersed themselves in the Sacred Scriptures, delved into philosophy, sharpened their understanding of logic and rhetoric, pondered early Christian writings, and studied ancient languages. However, this was not done in an attempt to demonstrate or prove the faith.

Faith is a grace that comes from God and, as such, is always an unmerited gift. We do not earn faith; God generously bestows it. However, once we have received this precious gift, it is natural that we should wish to deepen in our understanding of it. In fact, wouldn’t it be odd if we didn’t? When people fall in love, it is natural that they ask all sorts of questions about their beloved. They want to know their likes and dislikes, their history, their family, their hopes and dreams, things both important and trivial; they want to know it all. Faith establishes us in a relationship of love with God. If we have true and living faith, if God is our beloved, then that same thirst to know him should compel us to deepen our understanding of him. This love inspired desire to know God is the very origin of theology.

And so, returning to the point, I invite us to deepen in our knowledge of God. There are many ways in which we can do that: books, podcasts, videos, and more. In particular, I suggest that Catholics in Walla Walla try the new online resource “Formed.” It is a single site in which people can access high quality Catholic faith formation programs, books, audio presentations, and movies. Simply go to and enter the parish code: CE6DCX. You will have to set up your own free personal account, but will then have instant access to all of these exceptionally good materials in your own homes. For a Spanish resource, I recommend as a place to start. Finally, I echo the words of St. Paul: “Therefore, I, too, hearing of your faith in the Lord Jesus and of your love for all the holy ones, do not cease giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him.

In Christ,
Fr. Nicks

Touchet and Lowden Communities – Meet the Priests

Please join us in welcoming Father Nicks, Father Gaines and Father Ratuiste to the community.

This a great opportunity to share fellowship with them and your Catholic neighbors.

A potluck meal with pulled pork sandwiches and drinks provided will be served at 6:00 pm. Bring a salad, chips or dessert to share.

Please contact event coordinator Kathy Garbe and let her know to set a plate for you and your family at 509-394-2493.

Gospel Acclamation

After the second reading and a brief period of silence, the cantor begins the Gospel Acclamation. During most of the year this is an “Alleluia,” a song of praise to greet the Lord present in the Good News. Alleluia is a joyful word of praise and is used throughout the year, except during Lent. During Lent the Alleluia is suppressed. In a sense we fast from it throughout this season of preparation for Easter so that it may sound forth with renewed energy at Easter. Instead we sing, “Praise to you Lord, Jesus Christ, King of Endless Glory” or a similar acclamation of praise. The Gospel Acclamation is supposed to be sung. If it is not sung, it is to be omitted.