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.

Parish City, State Diocese Jesuit Priest Native Community Served
Sacred Heart Mission DeSmet, ID Diocese of Boise Peter Byrne, SJ Coeur d’Alene
Reservation
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Plummer, ID Diocese of Boise Peter Byrne, SJ Coeur d’Alene
Reservation
St. Michael the Archangel Worley, ID Diocese of Boise Peter Byrne, SJ Coeur d’Alene
Reservation
St. Ignatius Parish/Mission St. Ignatius, MT Diocese of Helena Craig Hightower, SJ,
Pastor
Victor Cancino, SJ,
Parochial Vicar
Thomas Lankenau, SJ,
Parochial Vicar
Flathead Reservation,
Confederated Salish
and Kootenai Tribes
Sacred Heart Mission Arlee, MT Diocese of Helena Craig Hightower, SJ,
Pastor
Victor Cancino, SJ,
Parochial Vicar
Thomas Lankenau, SJ,
Parochial Vicar
Flathead Reservation,
Confederated Salish
and Kootenai Tribes
St. John Berchman’s Mission Jocko, MT Diocese of Helena Craig Hightower, SJ,
Pastor
Victor Cancino, SJ,
Parochial Vicar
Thomas Lankenau, SJ,
Parochial Vicar
Flathead Reservation,
Confederated Salish
and Kootenai Tribes
St. Joseph Parish Omak, WA Diocese of Spokane Jake Morton, SJ
Joe Fortier, SJ
Colville Reservation
St. Michael’s Parish Inchelium, WA Diocese of Spokane Jake Morton, SJ
Joe Fortier, SJ
Colville Reservation
St. Rose of Lima Keller, WA Diocese of Spokane Jake Morton, SJ
Joe Fortier, SJ
Colville Reservation
Sacred Heart Nespelem, WA Diocese of Spokane Jake Morton, SJ
Joe Fortier, SJ
Colville Reservation
St. Andrews Mission Pendleton, OR Diocese of Baker Mike Fitzgerald, SJ Umatilla Reservation,
Confederated Tribes of the Cayuse,
Umatilla and
Walla Walla People
St. Leo’s Tacoma, WA Diocese of Tacoma Fr. Patrick Twohy, SJ
Various parishes and organizations Seattle, WA Diocese of Seattle Fr. Patrick Twohy, SJ Archdiocese of Seattle’s
Chaplain for Urban
Native Americans
Ministry City, State Institution Jesuit Priest
Indian Law Clinic Spokane, WA Gonzaga University School of Law Bryan Pham, SJ
300 Beartrack Avenue
St. Ignatius, MT 59865
(406) 745-2768
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