Ministries: Pastoral Ministries

Through the knowing of our true relationships with one another may we find that though we all walk separate paths, we are all on one sacred Journey.
-Patrick Twohy, SJ, “Beginnings”

Jesuits answer the call to be “at the frontiers” through their sustained commitment to the Rocky Mountain Mission, a collection of parishes and missions that serve Native American communities both on the reservation and off. Jesuits minister in companionship with Natives to respond to the Gospel’s call for love, hope and justice. The Rocky Mountain Mission serves three distinct cultural regions in the Pacific Northwest: Plains, Plateau and Coastal cultures.

In 1839, a delegation of Salish Flatheads from the Bitterroot Valley in Montana journeyed East to petition for Jesuit priests. They encountered Fr. Peter DeSmet, S.J. in St. Louis and convinced him to come to the Flatheads. Upon arriving West in 1840, Fr. DeSmet was so impressed with the eagerness of the Flatheads, and their background in Christianity, that he returned shortly to St. Louis to recruit other priests and financial support for the founding of Catholic missions in the Rocky Mountain West.

When DeSmet returned in 1841, he found many of the Western tribes desiring to have their own missions, and to gain the spiritual benefits of the priests’ religion. In rapid succession, Fr. DeSmet and his fellow Jesuit missionaries founded large mission establishments – “mother missions” – among the Flatheads in 1841, the Coeur d’Alenes in 1842, the Kalispels in 1844 and the Colvilles in 1845.

In later years, permanent mission churches and schools were also developed with other tribes as part of the Jesuits’ Rocky Mountain Mission: the Blackfeet in 1862, Spokanes in 1866, Yakimas Assiniboines in 1885, and the Crows and the Okanogans in 1887.

Following are the missions still active today.

ParishCity, StateDioceseJesuit PriestNative Community Served
Sacred Heart MissionDeSmet, IDDiocese of BoisePeter Byrne, SJCoeur d’Alene
Reservation
Our Lady of Perpetual HelpPlummer, IDDiocese of BoisePeter Byrne, SJCoeur d’Alene
Reservation
St. Michael the ArchangelWorley, IDDiocese of BoisePeter Byrne, SJCoeur d’Alene
Reservation
St. Ignatius Parish/MissionSt. Ignatius, MTDiocese of HelenaCraig Hightower, SJ,
Pastor
Victor Cancino, SJ,
Parochial Vicar
Thomas Lankenau, SJ,
Parochial Vicar
Flathead Reservation,
Confederated Salish
and Kootenai Tribes
Sacred Heart MissionArlee, MTDiocese of HelenaCraig Hightower, SJ,
Pastor
Victor Cancino, SJ,
Parochial Vicar
Thomas Lankenau, SJ,
Parochial Vicar
Flathead Reservation,
Confederated Salish
and Kootenai Tribes
St. John Berchman’s MissionJocko, MTDiocese of HelenaCraig Hightower, SJ,
Pastor
Victor Cancino, SJ,
Parochial Vicar
Thomas Lankenau, SJ,
Parochial Vicar
Flathead Reservation,
Confederated Salish
and Kootenai Tribes
St. Joseph ParishOmak, WADiocese of SpokaneJake Morton, SJ
Joe Fortier, SJ
Colville Reservation
St. Michael’s ParishInchelium, WADiocese of SpokaneJake Morton, SJ
Joe Fortier, SJ
Colville Reservation
St. Rose of LimaKeller, WADiocese of SpokaneJake Morton, SJ
Joe Fortier, SJ
Colville Reservation
Sacred HeartNespelem, WADiocese of SpokaneJake Morton, SJ
Joe Fortier, SJ
Colville Reservation
St. Andrews MissionPendleton, ORDiocese of BakerMike Fitzgerald, SJUmatilla Reservation,
Confederated Tribes of the Cayuse,
Umatilla and
Walla Walla People
St. Leo’sTacoma, WADiocese of TacomaFr. Patrick Twohy, SJ
Various parishes and organizationsSeattle, WADiocese of SeattleFr. Patrick Twohy, SJArchdiocese of Seattle’s
Chaplain for Urban
Native Americans
MinistryCity, StateInstitutionJesuit Priest
Indian Law ClinicSpokane, WAGonzaga University School of LawBryan Pham, SJ
300 Beartrack Avenue
St. Ignatius, MT 59865
(406) 745-2768
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