By Elizabeth Backstrom
St. Augustine Catholic Parish marks its 100th year on Spokane’s South Hill this year. Since it began in 1914 with Augustine B. Schinner, the first bishop of the new Spokane diocese, and 75 families who called it home, the church has grown to more than six times its original size. Its current membership is about 550 families, according to Liz Sestero, church spokesperson, and the church is also responsible for Spokane institution Cataldo Catholic School, along with parishes Sacred Heart and the Cathedral.
The church is planning a busy year to celebrate its centennial, which began in November 2013 and continues through October 2014, with various parish events. Members hope to put the building on Spokane’s National Historic Registry in honor of the 100th year in the area, and are currently awaiting approval on the building’s status as a historic place. The parish also put on a picnic and antique car show featuring cars from 1914 into the 1950s, and carved new centennial signs for its church and school locations.
Cataldo Catholic School occupies the original building of St. Augustine Parish on 18th and Stevens Street, designed by Spokane architect Kirkland Cutter, who designed notable local structures such as the Glover and Patsy Clark mansions. The church begin to outgrow this building in the mid-1920s, and members hired a Seattle firm to begin a new building. However, the advent of the Great Depression put a damper on their plans. The redesigned building, still currently used and located at 428 West 19th Avenue in Spokane, wasn’t built until 1950, when it was dedicated by Bishop Charles White.
The church recently welcomed Fr. Steven Dublinski, appointed by Bishop Blase Cupich as the pastor in August 2013.