Newspaper Archive of
Catholic Northwest Progress
Seattle, Washington
April 16, 1965     Catholic Northwest Progress
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April 16, 1965
 

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,y /: Friday, April 16, 1965 A [ THE PROGRESS--Page 3 By Fred Cordova The "open door ' to Rome is an unob- trusive store front, facing Seattle's busiest north-bound one-way avenue. Drivers, looking straight ahead on 4th Ave. and trying to dodge fast-moving cars, are not readily apt to spot on their right between Marion and Madison Sis. a large neon sign, proclaiming: "Catholic Information Center" The archdiocesan department serves both as an "open door" to non-Catholics, desiring to know about the Faith, and as a "main door" to Catholics in need of "catholic" information. Established in 1958 by the Most Rev- erend Thomas A. Connolly, Archbishop of Seattle, the Catholic Information Center has been directed since its Inception by Father William Treacy, the "ecumenical priest." Chairman of the Archdiocese's Com- mission for Church Unity and administra- tor of St. Patrick's Parish in Seattle, Father Treacy all during his fiveyears on the KOMO television and radio weekly series, "Challenge," had been always in- troduced to countless viewers and listen- ers as the "director of the Catholic In- formation Center." "There is much talk nowadays about grass roots ecumenism," Father Treacy once said. "We realize our obligation to inform others about our beliefs and to have some means available day in ad day out where the sincere inquirer can find out about the Catholic Church other than at an open house or through Knights of Columbus newspaper advertisements. Of course, the interested inquirer could call a parish rectory but not all are so inclined." These thoughts sum up the basis to the Archblshop.'s establishing the center. After seven fruitful years, the center's front door at 910 4th Ave. keeps opening and the center's phone through MA 2-2097" keeps ringing. It is recorded in 1964 that from 10 to 6 weekdays 4,025 visitors en- tered the center and 5,425 phone calls were received for an average of 38 contacts a day. The service is provided by Mrs. Cath- erine Dakin, who has been the center's receptionist since June. She is the successor to Lavina Stark, now in New York City. Mrs. Dakin's Irish wit (Gil~ hooley is her maldenname)shines through in the description of, her job: "I am the receptionist, manager, maid, Janitor, window trimmer, bookkeeper, in- terior decorator and doer of everything that has to be done. And I love every minute of itl" Mrs. Daktn figures the phone rings an average of 20 times a day and inthe sum- mer up to 100. "We get all kinds of calls from Catholics alone," the former social worker said. "These includedispensations and laws on fasting, employment, interpretations on current church developments, times of Masses and confessions, movle classifica- tions; where churches, parochial schools and even hotels are." She also recounted several incidents when people with problems phone and added: "Many people do not want to talk to their pastors. These people do not want them to know they are in trouble. And so after some persuasion we attempt to have them call their pastors." The center with a first floor area of 720 square feet displays numerous reading material, covering every subject of in- terest and important religious topics. On one wall are the lending and re- ference library sections with some 1,000 volumes. On the opposite wall are some 5,000 pamphlets on shelves and racks. There is also a rack outside when weather Permlts ? The large selection of pamphlets includes a full set of those published by the KofC. Two reading tables and comfortaDle lea- ther-covered lounge chairs provide a homey atmosphere for guests wishing to browse at the center. Operated under the system that guests are free to use the facilities during their leisure time and to come and go as they please, the center is used even by men to read during their lunch hours. Current magazines, both Catholic and secular, are also available. Some pamph- lets are free. The center is made to ac- commodate non-Catholics, whose quest- ions about the Faith generally fall into I0 main categories: * Why ai-e Catholics so sure there Is only one true Church? * By what right do Catholics pray to saints, especially to the Blessed Virgin Mary? * Do you really believe the Pope is Infallible? * Why the Church's attitude on birth control? * Do Catholics surrender their liberty to the Church7 * Why not accept the Bible as the only rule of faith? * Why do priests and nuns live a "different" life with celibacy, unusual clothes, etc.? * Where is purgatory referred to in Scripture7 * Why do Catholics confess their sins to a priest? * Why do Catholics abstain from meat on Fridays and observe certain fastdays? The sincerity of these questions are never doubted. "Many manifest an interest in taking a course of instructions," Father Treacy revealed. "We try to ascertain from their address the nearest parish where such instruction is available like inquiry classes and also invite them to take the free correspondence course offered by the Knights. About 50 persons each year have been enrolled in this course." The KofC through Seattle Council has played an important role in the develop- ment of the center. Another predominant organization has been the Legion of Mary. Father Treacy is chaplain of Seattle Council and also the moderator of the KofC Religious Information Bureau, which sponsors advertisements in 16 secular newspapers in the state. He Is also spirit- ual director of the Legion's Seattle Com- ttium, composed of 20 parish praesidia in Seattle, Tacoma and Everett. The KofC has given approximately $1.- 000 to its developmen t, The LI- les volunteer staffers from 6 to 8 each evening in the second floor mezzanine Legionnaires also meet every Wednesdty evening In the second floor mezzonie conference room. The .operating cost is approximately $5,000 a year and Is almost entirely shouldered by the Archdiocese. Other in- comes have come from previous ,rum- mage sales, pamphlet sales, magazine gift subscriptions, lending library fee ($1 a year per person) and some other small donations,mainly through materials. Mrs. Dakln is currently displaying for sale Japanese silk-print madonnaseither framed or in scrolls. These were procured from Jesuits in Tokyo's Jesus KalCentero What are some of the immediate needs" rep/finting of the Interior, installation of (Continued on Page 5) MRS. CATHERINE DAKIN Catholic Information Center's receptionist and the owner of "that voice'' on the other side of the phone wire.