Our Lady of Sorrows
I grew up in a town of fewer than 50 people on the Coeur d’Alene River in the mountains of northern Idaho. Some of my favorite memories include attending Holy Mass at the Cataldo Mission on the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the day in which the Coeur d’Alene Tribe makes its annual pilgrimage to that sacred ground. Jesuit priest Father Pierre-Jean De Smet founded the mission in the mid-1800s. Today the building is the centerpiece of Old Mission State Park and remains the oldest structure in the state. During high school and college summers, I worked at the park as an interpreter, tour guide, and grounds/maintenance laborer. I was able to meet and work with many of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe members and elders during those summers.
I never lost touch with the Cataldo Mission. While on summer breaks during seminary formation, I continued to attend the annual August 15th celebrations and served as a lector and acolyte at the Holy Mass. So when I was preparing for ordination to the priesthood and planning my first Holy Mass of thanksgiving, I chose to celebrate this first Mass at the Cataldo Mission. During that Mass, one of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe members presented a hand-made beaded medallion with an image of the historic mission church to me.
When the Bishop of Spokane informed me that my new assignment would include the Kalispel Reservation in Pend Oreille County, I was overjoyed. The tribe shares culture, customs, language (Salish), and history with the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. I look forward to serving the Kalispel people at Our Lady of Sorrows on the Pend Oreille River in Cusick. The Roman Catholic Church was established in the inland northwest through missions such as this. We owe a debt of gratitude to their ancestors who welcomed the first priests into this area.
- Father James Peak is assigned to 5 parishes in Pend Oreille County which covers more than 1,400 square miles in northeastern Washington State.