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  • Consecrated virgins from across North America  convene in Beaverton
    BEAVERTON — Dying to self and living for Christ filled the thoughts and hearts of 10 women from across North America during a retreat for consecrated virgins. The group of church-recognized virgins gathered at Our Lady of Peace Retreat Center July 20-23.
    Father Jeff Eirvin, vocations director for the Archdiocese of Portland, spoke about the virgins’ identity, relationships and mission in the church. The virgins themselves shared vocation stories. Archbishop John Vlazny, retired head of the archdiocese, celebrated Mass and heard confessions during the retreat and preached on the mystery of the Eucharist. 
  • Oregon woman makes Franciscan vows
    An Oregon woman recently professed vows as a Franciscan sister. 
    Sister Emily Brabham is the daughter of Linda and Dale Brabham of Sherwood. She professed vows of poverty, chastity and obedience during a July 29 Mass at Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton, Iowa. 
  • ASTON, Pennsylvania — The Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, who have a long history in Oregon, have voted to commit themselves to ecological education and concrete actions to preserve the environment. During a June assembly, the sisters said they wanted to answer the call to defend creation issued by Pope Francis in his encyclical “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home.” 
  • Liturgical readings
    Liturgical readings through Aug. 20
  • A moving Vatican experience
    While visiting the Vatican’s library and secret archives for research, I was invited to accompany Father Virgil Funk to a conference on international liturgical music. Father Funk is president emeritus of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, or NPM. The Archdiocese of Portland has an active chapter of NPM for all diocesan musicians, which meets four times a year. It was fascinating to hear global music leaders speak about the nature of music used to celebrate throughout the world. However, for a non-musician, two events outshone seminar presentations: vespers in the Sistine Chapel and greeting Pope Francis. 
  • Providence sisters celebrate decades of religious life
    Nine Sisters of Providence will mark their jubilees Saturday, Sept. 9, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Seattle at 10:30 a.m. Among them will be three with ties to Oregon: Sisters Maryann Bochsler and Mary Fox, celebrating 70 years of religious life, and Sister Maribeth Carson, celebrating 25.
  • Liturgical conference with Cardinal Burke draws attendees from across country
    MEDFORD — Portland Archbishop Alexander Sample received loud applause and cheers when he proclaimed, “Every priest and seminarian should learn the extraordinary form of the Mass.”

    More than 400 people from around the country descended on Sacred Heart Parish here for the 2017 Sacred Liturgy Conference, held July 12-15. 
  •  Archbishop Sample’s schedule
    Archbishop Alexander Sample’s schedule through Aug. 19.
  • Archbishop Sample helps guide aid organization

    Archbishop Alexander Sample is a member of the administrative council for Aid to the Church in Need, a pontifical organization that began after World War II to help refugees. 

    The group also

  • Vocations and the Camino at Our Lady of the Lake

    Father Jeff Eirvin, director of vocations for the Archdiocese of Portland, will give a talk about walking 142 miles on the Camino de Santiago (Way of the St. James) Wednesday, Aug. 16, after a 7 p.m. Mass for vocations at Our Lady of the Lake Church in Lake Oswego.

    Father Eirvin made the walk with his father, Jeff Eirvin Sr., June 29 – July 8 for an increase of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life. They took their backpacks and set out across the Portuguese Way portion of the pilgrimage route, which passes through several countries. 

  • Grotto retreat to celebrate grandparents
    An outdoor Mass and reflection honoring the special role of grandparents will be held at the Grotto plaza July 26 at 7 p.m. The Summer Twilight Retreat is an invitation to reflect on the lives of Sts. Anne and Joachim, the parents of Mary and grandparents of Jesus, pray for their intercession and celebrate the Eucharist with the Servite community.
  • Learn more about being an oblate
    The Benedictine Sisters of Queen of Angels Monastery in Mount Angel are hosting an opportunity for the community to learn more about being an oblate. They’ll address what oblates are, what the word means, and what oblates do, among other questions.
  • A Year of Prayer for our Priests
    “A Year of Prayer for our Priests” is a ministry of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women. We share the joy of this devotion with all Oregon Catholics. A day each month is set aside to pray for the names of priests serving in the Archdiocese of Portland. Please remember them and all priests, deacons and religious in your daily prayers.
  • Devoted server: Colette Henry almost canceled a trip to DC so she wouldn't miss altar serving

    CENTRAL POINT — An eighth-grader from Shepherd of the Valley Parish here proved that she’s not only smart, but also might be one of the most zealous altar servers in the nation. 

    Colette Henry, who will attend Hedrick Middle School in Medford in the fall, was chosen to represent the Pacific Northwest at a June youth leadership conference sponsored by the White House. Her grades and community service won her the honor. 

  • Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon celebrate six jubilarians

    BEAVERTON — The Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon this month honor six women who have given a combined 350 years of ministry.

    Sister Clare Vandecoevering will celebrate her 70th jubilee. Sisters Paula Fox, Marianne Giesel and Sharon Kirk will be honored for 60 years of service. Sisters Charlene Herinckx and Patricia Marie Landin will celebrate their 50th jubilees.

    The jubilarians will be honored during a Mass and reception on Sunday, July 30, at 1:30 p.m. in the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Chapel of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon motherhouse. 

  • Missionary discipleship
    I guess I have a small confession to make. I went to the recent Convocation of Catholic Leaders held in Orlando, Florida, with very low expectations. I was unsure and somewhat skeptical about the intent and expected outcome of the event. I was pleasantly surprised, as was our local delegation.
  • Men's conference at Mount Angel Festhalle this fall to explore Fatima
    MOUNT ANGEL — The Holy League Men’s Ministry and Oregon Knights of Columbus will hold their second Holy League Catholic Men’s Conference October 20 ­– 21 at the Mount Angel Festhalle. The theme for the year’s conference is: “100th Anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima vs. 100 years of Communism, 300 years of Freemasonry and 500 years of the Protestant Revolt.”
  • Work in the world: A day in the life of a modern sister
    After walking into the Portland State University Newman Center house, Sister Teresa Harrell immediately goes to the adoration chapel to say hello to Jesus. Her housemate, visiting priests and some students follow suit.

    Communication is important in Sister Harrell’s relationship with God. That’s one of the reasons she attends Mass daily. Not going would be like going a day without talking to a spouse, she says.
  • Oregon church leaders attend national convocation on missionary discipleship

    A delegation from the Archdiocese of Portland traveled to Orlando, Florida, July 1-4 to help devise ways to best reflect the church’s missionary call in today’s world.

    Part of the group of 3,000 at the “Convocation of Catholic Leaders: The Joy of the Gospel in America” were Archbishop Alexander Sample; Auxiliary Bishop Peter Smith; Deacon Kevin Welch, director of pastoral ministries; Todd Cooper, special assistant to the archbishop; Jason Kidd, director of the Office of Marriage and Family Life; Rolando Moreno, director of the Office of Catechesis and Faith Formation; and Clint Bentz, chair of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council.

  • Q. I am a Catholic priest who has long been puzzled by Leviticus 20:9-21. In that passage, God gives Moses a long list of people who should be put to death: those who curse their parents, adulterers, homosexuals and many others.

    In my own mind, God could not have given this order for two reasons: First, he would have been violating his own Fifth Commandment, which says “You shall not kill”; and secondly, these offenses do not deserve the death penalty.

  • Archbishop Alexander Sample’s schedule through July 22. 

  • Archbishop Sample's guidelines on family and marriage urge truth, mercy

    In guidelines for implementing his pastoral letter on marriage and family life, Archbishop Alexander Sample has urged truth-telling and patience as a path to joy.


  • College students from around Oregon gather for GOFISH Getaway in Newport
    NEWPORT — The weekend after Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, more than 150 college students representing 18 different schools gathered here for the first GOFISH Getaway. The social retreat was designed to bring together young Catholics from across Oregon in celebration of Easter. 
  • Year of Prayer for Priests
    “A Year of Prayer for our Priests” is a ministry of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women. We share the joy of this devotion with all Oregon Catholics. A day each month is set aside to pray for the names of priests serving in the Archdiocese of Portland. Please remember them and all priests, deacons and religious in your daily prayers.
  • Archbishop Alexander Sample’s schedule through July 15. 

  • Care for the dying
    MOUNT ANGEL — In Caroline Lindstedt’s experience, patients approaching the end of their lives often talk about travel. Trains to be boarded, airplanes to be caught, luggage to be packed or journeys to be taken.

    Lindstedt has a job that most people would find difficult. “Your job must be so hard. How can you do it?” It’s a question she often hears. Her answer is simple.
  • Why we love our dads: Reflections from around the archdiocese
    In honor of Father’s Day, we asked an assortment of Catholics — including a musician, a Franciscan sister, kindergartners and high schoolers — to share what they love about their dads. 

    From rebels and role models to jokesters and teachers, these are the men who tend to us when we are small and often shape and inspire us decades after they leave this earth.
  • Tattoos and the art of evangelization
    Darren Cools grew up hearing that tattoos were mortally sinful. And he grew into adulthood never having gotten a tattoo. Then he met the woman who would eventually become his wife. She had a tattoo of the Trinity knot, a Celtic symbol representing the Holy Trinity, on her back. One of his high school friends got a tattoo of the Holy Spirit. His perspective began to change. Three years ago, as a 32-year-old man, he got his first tattoo.

    “I decided I wanted a Catholic tattoo as a reminder to myself and as a silent witness,” says Cools.
  • Year of Prayer for Priests
    “A Year of Prayer for our Priests” is a ministry of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women. We share the joy of this devotion with all Oregon Catholics. A day each month is set aside to pray for the names of priests serving in the Archdiocese of Portland. Please remember them and all priests, deacons and religious in your daily prayers.
  • Serving God far from home
    SEASIDE — It’s a beautiful day at Our Lady of Victory Parish, just blocks from the sandy Oregon coastline. Holy Spirit Father Joseph Barita is joyful as he talks about his time in Oregon. He likes the weather and the wonderful people. The priest came to the Archdiocese of Portland in 2004, sent from Tanzania by his religious order to minister in parishes here.

    Father Barita has served as the pastor at St. Birgitta Parish in Portland, St. Frederic Parish in St. Helens and as parochial vicar at St. Pius X Parish in Portland. Before coming to Our Lady of Victory, he was helping build a spiritual center in Usa River, Tanzania.
  • Oregon's Catholic women leaders: A model for all

    Sister Charlene Herinckx, who is serving a second five-year stint as superior general of the Sisters of St. Mary of Oregon, is a fan of the histories of religious communities. 

    “Historically, women religious have been the ones who take the church out from the centers to serve those at the edges — in hospitals and through social work, for instance. We can be proud of serving those in need.”

    Women’s leadership, almost always a team effort, can at times be forgotten in the history of the Archdiocese of Portland and even more forgotten in the wider history of the state. But women religious as well as lay Catholic women have been key in building much of what the church and state take pride in. 

  • A missionary nun celebrates silver jubilee in her homeland

    A missionary nun serving in Oregon traveled to her native Kenya recently to celebrate the silver jubilee of her entry into the Congregation of the Sisters of Mary of Kakamega. 

    Sister Dorothy Radoli was reminded of the deep hospitality and faith in her homeland and the generous energy of Catholics in Oregon, whom she calls her “extended family.” She’s grateful for both.

  • Genesis and the Big Bang: Both contain truth

    In 2014, Pope Francis told a group of scientists that both the biblical stories of Genesis and the Big Bang theory are consistent with Catholic faith. Secular media swooned at what seemed revolutionary. 

    But reporters missed that Catholicism has long understood Scripture and science as different ways of telling the truth. 

  • Liturgical readings
    Liturgical readings through June 18.
  • 10 tips for raising committed Catholics

    It’s not breaking news that young Catholics are leaving the faith. A 2015 survey by the Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life found 50 percent of millennials (those born in 1982 or later) who were raised Catholic no longer identify as such. And many who remain in the church often don’t know “the central core of their Catholic faith,” observed Pope Benedict XVI at a weekly general audience in 2012.

    The good news? Parents can help.  

    Here are suggestions from local Catholics with experience cultivating lifelong believers who both value and understand the faith. 

  • Archbishop Alexander Sample’s schedule through June 16.

  • Archbishop Sample to ordain two new priests
    Archbishop Alexander Sample will ordain Deacons Zani Pacanza and Hans Mueller to the priesthood at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 3, at St. Mary Cathedral. 
  • Liturgical readings
    Here are the liturgical readings through June 4.
  • Bios of the two newly ordained deacons 

    Two men were ordained deacons on the path to priesthood in a rite May 20 at St. Mary Cathedral in Portland. 

    Archbishop Alexander Sample ordained Brent Crowe of the Archdiocese of Portland and Santiago Feu of the St. John Society to a life of service. Both hope to be ordained priests next year. 

  • Archbishop Alexander Sample’s schedule through June 4. 

  • A year of prayer for our priests
    “A Year of Prayer for our Priests” is a ministry of the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women. We share the joy of this devotion with all Oregon Catholics. A day each month is set aside to pray for the names of priests serving in the Archdiocese of Portland. Please remember them and all priests, deacons and religious in your daily prayers.
  • Why I'm Catholic: Former deputy uses strength for God

    ASTORIA — He moved from shy stutterer, to brawler, to cop. Now he’s a Catholic super-volunteer. 

    Tim Wilker, a 72-year-old member of St. Mary, Star of the Sea Parish here, is a mentor to teens who are performing community service. He and wife Janet tend the parish grounds. He works for the parish food bank and delivers food to hungry kids, shelters and retirement homes. He’s a Knight of Columbus who sets up tables and chairs for all kinds of events. On average, Wilker spends two hours daily helping at his parish, set on a hill overlooking the mouth of the Columbia River.

  • We are all familiar with the popular riddle, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Although this riddle has no real answer, I would like to propose another riddle along the same lines that does have an answer: “Which came first, the archdiocese or the parish (or the school, or the Catholic institution, etc.)?”
  • Q  — Recently my seventh-grader came home from his CCD class and said that his teacher had taught them that all rich people are “evil, going to hell and don’t work” and that all poor people are “good, going to heaven and work hard.”

    In the teacher’s defense, English is her second language, so it’s possible that something was lost in translation — but that was still the lesson my son came away with.


Shrines and gardens around the archdiocese yield prayer, blooms and fresh veggies

    Transformative moments in faith history occurred in gardens: The Garden of Eden was a place of protection, freedom and then sin; Jesus faced his greatest struggle before surrendering to the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane.

    For parish communities, spiritual sustenance is foremost within church walls in the Eucharist, but outside the sanctuary, parish gardens also nourish faith life. These set-apart spaces, along with outdoor shrines and statues, inspire and focus meditation and prayer and can serve as memorials. Some parish gardens yield fresh fruits and vegetables for the hungry in our midst.

    Here’s a sampling of the shrines and gardens in the Archdiocese of Portland. 

  • Q & A with Fr. Jeff Eirvin: Latinos and vocations
    The Archdiocese of Portland’s director of vocations explores the idea of the calling to priesthood among Oregon’s fastest-growing Catholic group — Hispanics. Father Jeff Eirvin says the need is great for priests who speak Spanish — and know the local culture.   
  • Confirmation schedules
    Here are confirmations in western Oregon through May 20.
  • Advice from moms: See the big picture

    Two Oregon Catholic moms, who also have decades of experience in Catholic education, offer advice for parents: See the big picture instead of sweating the small stuff.

    “Don’t worry about the little things,” says Sue Gerding, a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Jordan and a mother of five adult children with husband Ben. “Don’t worry if your house is not as clean as before kids came along. Enjoy the kids as they grow up.” 

  • The song of the Mass
    The sounds of Mass … the plunk and clunk of kneelers as they hit the floor, and the creak and clank as they are flipped back into position after Communion … the lovely ragged opening of the chorus as the congregation works its way into the Our Father … the plink and ring of guitars and piano before Mass as the musicians stretch and tune up and tease each other with snippets of songs they will never play during Mass …
  • Liturgical readings
    Here are the liturgical readings through May 21.
  • Archbishop Alexander Sample’s schedule through May 20.

  • Our Lady of Fatima pilgrims to convene on Portland cathedral May 13

    Catholics from around western Oregon will take part in a series of Portland pilgrimage walks May 13, converging at St. Mary Cathedral for prayer and devotion in honor of Our Lady of Fatima. 

    This year marks 100 years since shepherd children in Portugal had an encounter with Mary, who urged peace amid World War I, penance, personal conversion and prayer for the conversion of the Soviet Union, which was in the process of the Bolshevik revolution.