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Worship service at Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral in Spokane/Peter Houston-Hencken - SpokaneFAVS

Where We Worship: Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral is a downtown staple

By Peter Houston-Henck

Located at 1115 W Riverside Ave., The Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes had stood in downtown Spokane for 130 years.

Founded in 1886, the cathedral has since been one of Spokane’s oldest catholic church. In 1881, Jesuit Father Joseph Cataldo started the first Catholic church in Spokane named the Church of St. Joseph. However, the towering cathedral soon took its place and had its cornerstone laid in 1903.

The cathedral was named after the Marian Apparitions at Lourdes, when the Virgin Mary appeared to a 14-year-old girl in France. On 18 separate occasions the Lady of Lourdes—or Mary—appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, who would later become a Saint.

“I’ve heard that when it was built, it was the tallest structure between Seattle and Minneapolis at the time,” Rev. Darrin Connall, rector of the cathedral, said.

With tall ceilings and large stained glass windows, the cathedral proves that it has a special eye for dramatic and beautiful art.

“One of the things that we believe is that sometimes you can convey a truth about God easier through symbols, art and architecture than you can through the spoken word,” Connall said.

As one looks around the church, the art tells chronological stories from the Bible. Inside, a window on the left-hand side holds a depiction of the nativity scene and the birth of Christ. Moving to the center of the church, there is a marble altar that holds images of the crucifixion. Finally on the right-hand side, a window presents a scene from Christ’s resurrection.

The church is served by four members of clergy. These members consist of revs. Connall, Jason Hiner, Curtis Seidel and Deacon John Sicilia. The cathedral’s presiding bishop is Thomas Daly.

The church did not receive a bishop until 1913, when the pope formally created the Diocese of Spokane. Our Lady of Lourdes holds Daly’s cathedra; a seat reserved for only the Diocese’s Bishop.

The cathedral has used its geographic positioning to its advantage. Our Lady of Lourdes has attempted to be a “leaven” in their community.

“The church has always tried to be a leaven in the world,” Connall said. “We don’t really believe in escaping the culture or being absorbed by the culture. We try to be a leaven in the culture and a positive influence in the culture. It makes perfect sense then, to be in the heart and the center of downtown Spokane, in the middle of commerce and other activity.”

The church has also worked to help its community with some of its issues. The cathedral offers assistance programs for those suffering homelessness and/or substance abuse.

Twice a day, the cathedral hands out sandwiches made by the church’s parishioners. The church manages to hand out an average of 20,000 sandwiches per year.

Each week, the church holds 16 gatherings for Mass. Each weekday, the church holds services at 6:30 a.m. and noonOn Saturday, the cathedral has Mass at 7:00 a.m. and a 4:00 p.m. vigil. Sunday hosts three services in the morning, 7, 9, and 11 a.m. Finally, at 5:30 p.m. is the Sunday evening Mass.

If you would like your church featured in the SpokaneFAVS Where We Worship series email TracySimmons@SpokaneFAVS.com.

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About Peter Houston-Hencken

Peter Houston-Hencken is a recent graduate of Whitworth University with a degree in journalism. Peter currently works for a background investigation firm but is passionate about freelancing on the weekends. Peter grew up as the son of a Presbyterian pastor. He feels strong in his faith and his commitment to Jesus Christ. He aspires to have a career in journalism and help people get more informed about the events in their communities.

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