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Welcome to Diocese of Yakima

Our History

  •     Catholicism first came to Central Washington in 1847.
  •     The Diocese of Yakima was created on June 23, 1951, by Pope Pius XII.
  •     The new diocese was formed from the territory of the Archdiocese of Seattle and the Diocese of Spokane.
  •     The Diocese of Yakima serves 41 parishes in 7 counties.
  •     The original diocesan newspaper began as Our Times in 1959.

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Liturgy & Worship Newsletter Feb.-March 2014


Here is the latest Liturgy and Worship update from the USCCB!

+Bishop Joseph Tyson

Download this file (Liturgy_Worship_Feb-March2014.pdf)Liturgy_Worship_Feb-March2014.pdf[ ]327 Kb

Let Alleluia Remind Us of Christ's Victory

                       "The Morning of the Resurrection" 1882 by Edward Burne-Jones


Easter Vigil 2014

Genesis 1:1-2:2; Genesis 22:1-18; Exodus 14:15-15:1; Isaiah 54:5-14; Isaiah 55:1-11; Baruch 3:9-15, 32-4:4; Ezekiel 36:16-17a, 18-28; Romans 6:3-11; Luke 24:1-12

Most Reverend Joseph J. Tyson, Bishop of Yakima

(Haz clic aquí para leer en español la homilia del Obispo Tyson para la Vigilia Pascual)

Peace be with you!  We sing “Alleluia,” a Hebrew expression of timeless and endless joy!  We do so to uplift in our hearts the great uplifting of Jesus – who as God – brings the resurrection of God to each and every one of us.  

Yet we also know that when we leave this Vigil we reenter a world still broken and bruised by sins of violence, warfare, poverty and injustice – especially towards immigrants.

How is our sung “Alleluia” a truthful response to the darkness that surrounds us?  It was a Jewish German philosopher from the Frankfurter School – Theodor Adorno – who ultimately arrived at the insight that if there is ever to be real justice in the world it must be for all time and all places – current and retroactive – and it was our own Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI who connected this insight from Theodor Adorno on retroactive justice to the Easter resurrection. 

Christ is risen!  There is justice for the world!  And that justice is not just limited to the here and now of a today building for a better tomorrow.  It is a justice that retroactively heals the harm of the past because this justice is rooted in a God who IS love! 

Because God is love he does not allow any source of pain or suffering to drift into the past unnoticed.  But he does not overpower it or conquer it with violence.  No. As the all compassionate God, Jesus gets inside the injustice – he rescues it and redeems it.  In Jesus, God’s act of forgiveness from the tortuous death of the cross overpowers evil and injustice.  

How can we touch this divine love that Jesus – as God – brings to us in his rising from the dead?  I think the interpretive key is found in our second reading from St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans:  “Are you not aware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised form the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-5)

What St. Paul is telling us is that we united our sufferings to those of Christ. We unite our injustice to the injustice of the cross.  We unite our death to the death of Christ.  In doing so, we unite ourselves to his rising to new life.  In doing so we no longer suffer alone, we no longer live alone and we no longer die alone.  This is the core of our sacramental life as a Church. 

One word unites us to Christ this night – and that word is “Alleluia.” So when life is hard, when the world seems so hard, and when we become discouraged by our sin, let us resolve to stay close to this one-word Easter prayer: Alleluia – constantly rooting ourselves in our God who is love.  Peace be with you!

Finding the "Good" in Good Friday


Good Friday 2014

Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9; John 18:1-19:42

The Most Reverend Joseph J. Tyson
Bishop of Yakima

Peace be with you!  How is Good Friday good?  This last week I saw the recent blockbuster movie “Noah.”  It’s a fictionalized account of events that lead up to the construction of the famous “Noah’s Arc.”  Some of the events can be found in the Bible but others cannot.

One of the more compelling pieces of fictionalization in the movie involves Noah’s family.  They are trying to grasp why God who is good and the author of all creation would punish humans in such a brutal way, sending a flood to wipe all life off the face of the planet.  Just what kind of God is this?

This is even more the case when we consider what happens to God’s own son: Jesus.  Indeed, Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” and more recently Mark Burnett’s film “The Son of God” leave a lot of people wondering, did God really want this for his son?  Both films capture the brutality of what Jesus faced.

Today, we tend to knock the edges off the reality of crucifixion.  We wear crosses as jewelry items.  But the early Church was close enough to know that when a person was crucified – literally tied or nailed to a cross – what slowly killed him was the weight of his body slowly suffocating to death.  So when the centurions broke the legs of the criminals besides the crucified Jesus, they were actually hastening death. That means we can read the detail about the legs of Jesus NOT being broken as a fact that underscores the particularly cruel and tortuous kind of crucifixion that Jesus suffered before his death. 

Why is this?  Why did Jesus have to die?  Why did Jesus have to die this way?  Why did Jesus have to die in what seems to be one of the very cruelest forms of capital punishment?  Why did someone so good have to die in such a vile way?  Why did God allow this to happen?

Aren’t these our questions too?  I suspect there is not one of us who doesn’t at some point grapple with the great paradox of a God who is totally sovereign and a creation that is radically free. 

(Click "Read more" below to continue reading the Bishop's Homily)


Holy Thursday: Sacramentum and Exemplum


Holy Thursday 2014

Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14; Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-15

The Most Reverend Joseph J. Tyson
Bishop of Yakima

(Haz clic aquí para leer en español la homilia
del Obispo Tyson para Jueves Santo)

Peace be with you!  There’s an ancient Athabaskan Indian legend told by novelist Velma Wallis who lives on her ancestors’ lands in rural Northern Alaska.  The legend tells the tale of two old women, Sa’ and Ch’idzigyaak, who are turned loose by their tribe.  They were turned loose to fend for themselves during a particularly cold and brutal winter.  The caribou flocks had thinned.   Seal meat was rare.   The tribe found itself constantly migrating from place to place in search of food.  The two old women complained about the constant movement.  They complained about their health.  And because they were old and arthritic, they had to be carried from place to place.  All in vain.  Food was scarce everywhere.  Finally, more out of exhaustion than anger, the two complaining women were left on their own.  The tribe could carry them no more.

Left to their own they had only themselves.  They could no longer complain for no one could hear.  They overcame their arthritic stiffness and created little traps.  They hunted animals, cooked food, made clothing and tents.  The following spring, their surprised tribe found them well.  The two old women overcame their feelings of betrayal.  The tribe overcame its own sense of shame about leaving the women to die.

I start this Holy Thursday homily in this manner because in every culture and in every age we see terrible death in the face of hardship, suffering and persecution.  This is true today in the Central African Republic, in Syria, in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Sad to say, it’s also true today with gang violence right here at home.

Yet this is what makes the opening section of our Gospel from St. John so very powerful and very poignant.  John begins the account of the washing of the disciples feet with these words:  “Before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this word to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.” (John 13:1)  In effect, with the washing of the feet, Jesus wants his unjust death to be an act of love – agape – in the Greek original.

Can you do that?  Can you make – not just your final death – but all the unjust deaths of daily life an act of love?  That’s a question I ask myself.  Will my life and will my death be a sacrifice of love?

(Click "Read more" below to continue reading the Bishop's Homily)


Diócesis aprobó la Aplicación de Desafío para la Donación al Fondo de los Seminaristas, 2014

¡Buenas Noticias!  La Diócesis de Yakima aprobó la Aplicación de Desafío para la Donación al Fondo de los Seminaristas, 2014.  

El objetivo propuesto por la diócesis es recaudar $75,000 (enero 1 - diciembre 31, 2014) y Catholic Extension igualará hasta un máximo de $50,000.

A través de este programa, Catholic Extension está ofreciendo igualar los dólares recaudados para el fondo de donaciones para la educación de los seminaristas  hasta un máximo de $50,000 por diócesis.  El porcentaje específico igualado deberá ser propuesto individualmente por cada participante en su aplicación, pero no puede ser menos de $1 recaudado localmente por cada $1 igualado (puede ser más alto, como $2 o $3 recaudados localmente por cada $1 en fondos igualados.) Catholic Extension ofrecerá esta oportunidad a un número limitado de diócesis en el 2014.


Diocese of Yakima Approved The 2014 Seminarian Endowment Challenge Application

Great news! The Diocese of Yakima approved the 2014 Seminarian Endowment Challenge Application

The diocese target goal is to raise $75,000 (Jan. 1 - Dec. 31, 2014) and Catholic Extension will match a maximum of $50,000.

Through this program, Catholic Extension is offering matching dollars raised for seminarian education endowment funds, up to a maximum of $50,000 per diocese. The specific matching ratio must be proposed individually by each participant in their application, but must be no less than $1 raised locally for every $1 matched (and may be higher, such as $2 or $3 raised locally for every $1 in matching funds). Catholic Extension will offer this opportunity to a limited number of dioceses in 2014.


Annual Catholic Appeal - March ACA Report

Congratulations to Mattawa, Quincy, Richland, White Salmon, and Cle Elum for meeting your ACA goal. We also have Wapato, Moses Lake, Holy Family (Yakima), Selah and Moxee between 90%-96% from meeting their goal.  Thank you everyone for all your hard work!

ACA Moment: The Annual Catholic Appeal funds many different programs and ministries throughout the Diocese of Yakima.  One such program is Magnificat. Isaac Prieto, Assistant of Hispanic Ministries for the Diocese, explains Magnificat as a “school of faith formation for anyone.” Fr. Jaime Chacon, pastor of Holy Redeemer Parish in Yakima, is the Vicar of Faith Education and Hispanic Affairs. He and Isaac are the coordinators for Magnificat here in the Diocese. Magnificat began over ten years ago when it was first offered in both English and Spanish. For several years now, the program has only been offered in Spanish, but as of this year, it is again available in English. The program is open to any adult or young adult within the Diocese and offers classes on many different topics such as the sacraments, liturgy, dogma, spirituality, Mary and the saints, and apologetics. Magnificat is a three-year program of 16 classes. Over 200 people throughout the Diocese this year are benefiting from the faith education that this program offers. Click here to learn more.


English Magnificat Classes Resume April 12

Formation School of Faith For Leadership and Lay Ministry

Led by Bishop Joseph Tyson, the Diocese of Yakima has reintroduced the English-speaking Magnificat program, a formation school of faith for leadership and lay ministry. These classes are designed for growth in knowledge of our faith, creed and doctrine of the Church.

The Diocese of Yakima will resume classes of Magnificat on April 12, 2014.  All classes will be offered at the Diocesan Pastoral Center, 5301-A Tieton Drive, in Yakima, and will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Mary and the Saints by Father Mike Brzezowski
Ecclesiology by Bishop Joseph Tyson
Apologetics & Ecumenism by Stephanie Bafus
Maria y los Santos por Rev Tomas Vazquez
Antropologia por Rev Jaime Chacon
Apologetica y Ecumenismo por Dc. Carlos Luna

If you have any questions please contact Isaac Prieto at the Pastoral Center, 509-965-7117, or by e-mail at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Enter Holy Week with Operation Rice Bowl

“As people of faith, we are trying to live out the golden rule of loving our neighbors as ourselves and the call of Matthew 25 to ‘feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and welcome the stranger.”

– Father Rafael Garcia, Pastor, Immaculate
Conception Church, Santa Fe, N.M.

“Como personas de fe, estamos tratando de vivir la regla de oro de amar a nuestro prójimo como a nosotros mismos  así como el llamado de Mateo 25 de ‘dar de comer al hambriento, vestir al que no tiene ropa, y recibir al extranjero’.”

– Padre Rafael García, párroco, Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción, Santa Fe, N.M. 

As we prepare to enter Holy Week, Operation Rice Bowl offers many resources for making this time more spiritually profitable for us.  Click on the following links, and the attachments, for prayer and reflection materials.

Stories of Hope from Santa Fe, New Mexico / Historias de Esperanza de Santa Fe, N.M.

Entering the Holy City: Palm Sunday Reflection / Entrando a la Ciuda Santa: Domingo de Ramos

Clergy Continuing Education Day

Fr. Bryan Dolejsi and Fr. Jaime Chacon will speak on the New Evangelization on Thursday, May 8 at 10:30 a.m., at room 10 of Holy Family Religious Education Complex.

Volunteers Needed!

The Diocese of Yakima is in need of volunteers to assist at the front desk at the Bishop’s Office.

The office hours are Monday – Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Volunteers will be requested to serve during those times to answer phone calls, provide directions and attend to visitors.

If interested in volunteering, please contact Diana Aparicio at (509) 965-7117 or via e-mail at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

  • About Us
Catholicism first came to Central Washington in 1847. The Diocese of Yakima was created on June 23, 1951, by Pope Pius XII. The new diocese was formed from the territory of the Archdiocese of Seattle and the Diocese of Spokane. The Diocese of Yakima serves 41 parishes in 7 counties. The original diocesan newspaper began as Our Times in 1959.
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