From the Pastor – August 28, 2016

frmnicks_mug_smallSerra is an international organization of the faithful, which seeks to “foster and affirm vocations to the priesthood and vowed religious life.” It is for this reason that Bishop Daly, in light of his expressed desire to foster vocations, has asked that a Serra Club be established in Walla Walla.

Many in our community have responded to this invitation. Happily, we will be celebrating the official chartering of the Serra Club of the Blue Mountains on September 15th with Mass offered by the bishop at St. Patrick Parish.

Though not yet officially chartered, our local Serra has already begun the work of promoting vocations. In particular, they will begin, next month, the traveling crucifix program to help facilitate an increase in prayers for those God is calling to priesthood and consecrated life.

Each month, a crucifix will be assigned to one of the three parishes in Walla Walla. While at the parish, individuals or families (who do not need to be members of the Serra club) will commit to taking the crucifix home, enshrining it in a place of honor, and promising to pray every night for vocation. Upon completing the week of prayer, this crucifix will be passed on to the next household. This will continue throughout the month until being transferred to one of the other parish communities in Walla Walla. The transfer of the crucifix will occur in the context of the weekend Masses.

The crucifix that will be utilized is a special type, designed to be placed on an altar. Therefore, it is sometimes called an altar cross. The Serra altar cross, therefore, while it is visiting a particular parish, will be used in the Mass to remind us of the importance of praying for vocations. After the last Mass of the weekend, it will be presented to the new family who will bring it home and spend the next week dedicating time in prayer for vocations.

Though many parishes, including St. Francis, have the custom of an altar cross at every Mass, it will be new experience for St. Patrick and Assumption. Though the crucifix will only be present one out of every three months, I wanted everyone to be aware of its connection to fostering vocations through the zealous activity of our local Serra club.

However, I would also like to take this moment to explain the purpose of the altar cross, even outside of the Serra club’s prayer campaign. The altar cross has two purposes. First, it is to remind us of what is occurring on the altar every time we celebrate the Mass. “At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages“ (Catechism of the Catholic Church).

The second purpose of the altar cross, is to orient our prayer. There are a thousand things that can grab our attention and distract us at Mass, but only one thing should be our focus, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we address the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit.

Indeed, the Church emphasized this by establishing the norm that the priest stand on the same side of the altar as the people, facing with them toward God in prayer. Since the Church in much of the world has moved away from this norm, opting for the custom of having the priest stand on the opposite side of the altar and facing against the people, the altar cross has taken on all the more importance. It reminds us that the people are not primarily talking to or praying at the priest, nor is the priest primarily talking to or praying at the people; rather, together, priest and people are turned toward God, if not physically, at least in their minds and hearts.

The altar cross, then, helps the whole assembly block out the many distractions that clamor for our attention and focus on the One who attained our salvation at the price of His Blood, the very Blood we receive as true food at the altar of sacrifice.

Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever!

In Christ,
Fr. Nicks

September 3rd – Saint Gregory the Great

Gregory used all that he had been blessed with, for the glory of God. He founded six monasteries on his Sicilian estate and became a Benedictine monk in his own home at Rome. Ordained a priest, he became one of the pope’s seven deacons, and also served six years in the East as papal representative in Constantinople. At the age of 50 he was elected pope. He was direct and firm. He removed unworthy priests from office, forbade taking money for many services, emptied the papal treasury to ransom prisoners of the Lombards and to care for persecuted Jews and the victims of plague and famine. He was very concerned about the conversion of England, sending 40 monks from his own monastery. He is known for his reform of the liturgy, for strengthening respect for doctrine. “Gregorian” chant got its name from St Gregory who served as a link between the early Church and the Middle Ages. As such, he symbolizes the chant of the churches in Rome. Called “the Great,” Gregory has been given a place with St. Augustine, St. Ambrose and St. Jerome as one of the four key doctors of the Western Church.

Information from American Catholic

Catholic Charities Volunteer Services

Do you have an hour or two to help a senior to continue living independently in their own home? Contact Catholic Charities Volunteer Services at 529-9062 for more information.

Serra Club of the Blue Mountains

All parishioners are cordially invited to the Serra Club of the Blue Mountains Charter Mass, with Bishop Thomas Daly as presider, on Thursday, September 15th, 5:00 p.m., at St. Patrick Church.

Join Us for Mass in the Extraordinary Form (Latin)

This Weekend

Sunday, August 28th at 5:00 PM

St. Patrick Catholic Church, Walla Walla, WA

FORMED: Are They Real?

Ever heard about “near death experiences”? Are they real? They report of feeling more alive than ever and experience beautiful music, peace, vivid color, and often encounter a “being”. What does this tell us? Hear about the studies of over 3500 near death experiences on Lesson 4 of the Magis Center’sHappiness” program. Find it on FORMED under [Programs]. Enter Parish Code: CE6DCX

Catholic Social Concerns Ministry

Pope Francis: “We received this world as an inheritance from past generations, but also as a loan from future generations, to whom we will have to return it!” 7/7/15, Ecuador

Caring for Creation: Conserve electricity and heat. Save money! In the summer don’t keep your house too cold – 78 degrees is fine. In the winter don’t keep your house too hot – 70 degrees plus a sweater is comfortable. If you can afford to invest in solar panels you will soon be saving a lot more money on monthly utility bills while helping decrease fossil fuel carbon emissions.

Guatemala Mission: Don’t forget that the pre-school, radio station, Colegio Santa Catarina, catechesis, depend on our donations. St. Patrick’s parishioners will find a special Guatemala envelope to use between 8/14-8/21 in your box. Be sure to return it next week if you haven’t so far. Some prefer to pledge a certain amount each month.

Giving Tree: A big thank you to all who donated much needed school supplies to K-12 students! Homeless high school students also received essential personal hygiene items. Your gifts are greatly appreciated. Thank you so much to Kay Barga and helpers who spearheaded this drive.

Feed the Hungry: Please keep up donations of non-perishable food items to BMAC and St. Vincent’s. A special new program to increase donations is being planned to begin in September.

Fair Trade Coffee and Chocolate: Don’t forget to buy CRS fair trade coffee and/or chocolate from Judy Pinney, Enjoy delicious organic, products while helping small farmers around the world to prosper.

Tri-Parish Community Garden at Assumption Church: Every Tuesday evening, 5:30-dusk, volunteers are welcomed to work and harvest produce from the garden to be distributed to workers, food banks, and homeless shelters.

The Shrine of Guadalupe and Mexico City

All airfare, transfers, meals and accommodations are included, as well as wine and mineral water with dinners. Two masses in front of the Tilma with Our Lady of Guadalupe. We will visit other churches and sites related to the shrine, as well, including a visit to the oldest Mexican ruin, Teotihuacan. See the flier in the church foyers for all the details or call; Christy Hall at 509-525-3958. Seats are limited so please reserve as soon as possible. Monthly payments are available. There is a $100 dollar discount for everyone, when we reach 20 passengers.

September 7-12, 2017 with Fr. Nicks
Only $2,099 departing from Seattle

Escorted trip to the Mediterranean

Catholic Charities is pleased to announce a fully escorted trip to the Mediterranean countries of Croatia, and Slovenia, and the Adriatic Coast in the Spring of 2017. Guided by knowledgeable tour guides and priests, this “very special 12-day journey” will depart Spokane March 25th and return April 5th, 2017. This predominantly Catholic region, which borders Italy, is host to many well-known churches, cathedrals, and Marian shrines which attest to the history, culture and deep-faith of these countries and their people. Organized by Collette Travel, the tour, which includes round-trip airfare, 4-star hotel accommodations, transfers, and most meals, is being offered at $3,649 double occupancy. Those interested in learning more about this tour are invited to attend a special travel presentation in Walla Walla at St. Patrick Parish on Tuesday, September 6th at 5:00pm in the John of the Cross Room. For more information contact Dennis Hake at 509.358.4255 or request a travel brief by sending an email to

Tri-Parish Religious Education

2016/2017 Registrations are still open for all programs!

  • Registration forms for this ministry are in all three church foyers and the parish office.
  • The Religious Education Program begins September 28th.
  • A training for all catechists will be held on August 27, 2016. Bring food to share; it will be potluck lunch
  • Training for VIRTUS will be on September 9th | 4:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Women of Faith

The next Women of Faith Bible study will begin Thursday, Sept. 15, 1-3 in the St. John room at St. Patrick Church. This fall’s topic will be following in Jesus’ footsteps around the Holy Land. Please purchase book PILGRIMAGE IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF JESUS by Stephen Binz from Twenty Third Publications at or call 1-800-321-0411. Contact Sue Logsdon at 529-3719 for more information. All women are invited and welcome to attend.

RCIA to begin September 22nd

Our annual Tri-Parish “RCIA” (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) discernment discussions will begin at St Patrick Catholic Church’s St. John-Of-The-Cross Room in the Parish Hall on Thursday, September 22nd, 2016 from 6:30 until 8:00 PM. These discernment sessions will continue almost every Thursday thru late spring. There are flyers with more information and registration forms available in the back of all three parishes. For more information, Contact the parish office at 525-1602 or Deacon Jim Barrow at 525-6833.

Upcoming School Events

WW Fair & Frontier Days: Wednesday, August 31 – Sunday, September 4. Wave to our WWCS students at the Parade on Saturday as our fire engine rolls by or eat at our WWCS Food Booths throughout the Fair!

Please visit our website for a complete listing of activities, events, and news.

Early Learning Center

The Early Learning Center at Assumption provides a warm, nurturing, Christ-centered environment with programs to create early learning experiences and provide a solid foundation for education. We have full, part-time, and drop-in child care as well as Pre-K and Preschool classes.

Laurel Mulkin is our new Early Learning Center Director. She earned a Bachelor of Science Liberal Arts Degree in 2013 with emphasis in sociology, human development, and religious studies. She has recently served as Interim Children’s Director at North Seattle Alliance Church. We are very excited to welcome Laurel to our WWCS community!

Please contact the ELC at (509) 525-9478 for more information.

Walla Walla Catholic Schools

Come on out to the Fair Labor Day Weekend for some wonderful culinary delights at the Walla Walla Catholic Schools kitchens. Once again this year you’ll find those legendary Pepe’s salads and pizza as well as “Fazzari’s Finest” pasta including baked lasagna, baked rigatoni, fettucine and spaghetti. Also, you’ll have another chance to try the best burger to hit the Walla Walla valley in over forty years! See ya at the Fair!

The Fatherhood Project

The Fatherhood Project is a mentoring program for fathers. Catholic Charities has decided to start a group here in Walla Walla this fall. There will be an orientation on October 2nd at 1:30 PM at St. Patrick’s. Mark your calendars, more details to come!

Join Us For Our Annual Blue Mass

Wednesday, September 14th, at 12:00PM
St. Patrick Parish in Walla Walla

This Mass will be in honor of those in the public safety field; police officers, firefighters, correctional officers, 911 operators and EMS Personnel.

The Mass is an opportunity for the community to pray for and show gratitude to first responders and their families. All are invited!