Catholic Sentinel photo by Patty Frangipani
Walkways around St. Ignatius Parish were cleared for those who braved the winter storm.
Catholic Sentinel photo by Patty Frangipani
Walkways around St. Ignatius Parish were cleared for those who braved the winter storm.

A winter storm blew through western Oregon on Wednesday evening, leaving many areas blanketed in snow and/or ice. Parishes and schools throughout the Archdiocese of Portland experienced different consequences from the storm. 

"We had four ladies and Father at Mass this morning," said Holy Redeemer parish staffer Karen Wackerly, whose husband brought her to work in his four-wheel drive pickup.

At St. Ignatius in Southeast Portland, only 10 folks showed up Friday morning to attend a Mass of the Anointing, but Pattty Frangipani kept the doors open. School at St. Ignatius was cancelled for the day, and staff spent the morning shoveling pathways for safety. 

The offices at St. Mary Church in Albany were closed. Phones were directing people to voicemail, and the recording at the parish said its offices would be closed until next Tuesday. No Friday morning Mass was held, adoration was cancelled and the parish's soup kitchen ministry was shut down.

In Lincoln City, Father Joseph Sebasty said that Highway 101 was free of all traffic, and its surface was "like glass."

"Yesterday we had freezing rain, and in the evening it turned to a white mist," he said. "I doubt anyone will be going anywhere for a few days, but I'm here if anyone needs anything." 

Father Patrick Donoghue at St. Anthony Church in Southeast Portland celebrated all scheduled Masses. A few people even showed up, including one man from the nearby assisted living center who traversed the ice and snow on his walker.

“There is a practical reason for at least having the church open. This is so that people could get in out of the cold,” Father Donoghue said. “More importantly there are sacramental and spiritual reasons for saying Mass.  Some of these reasons are to sanctify the day, to pray for the Church and to pray for my parishioners and for my own spiritual well-being.”

After Mass on Sunday, Father Donoghue spent the afternoon and evening walking through the snow to deliver Communion to the sick and homebound.

Holy Family Parish in Southeast Portland went ahead with a Feb. 7 funeral for longtime parishioner Gene Szekely, who was 96, and well loved. Despite the weather, the parish was packed. People returned the next day for a funeral for Colette Taylor, a longtime parishioner who worked at Central Catholic for 20 years.

At St. Anthony Parish in Forest Grove, parishioners arrived at church with a tractor and shovels to plow enough space for church-goers to safely park and walk for the Saturday vigil Mass. Sunday Mass was cancelled.