Colleagues call Archbishop Alexander Sample an “iOS” power user.
He used Google Earth to explore the exterior of St. Mary Cathedral in Northwest Portland before setting foot in Oregon. He employed available technology to learn about the people of his new archdiocese (They don’t carry umbrellas) and the proper pronunciation of regional landmarks (Willamette = Wil-lamb-et).
During his introductory press conference, Archbishop Sample was asked about the role of social media in the New Evangelization. He responded enthusiastically that the topic was “near and dear” to his heart.
“We have to bring the gospel where the people are and where the people are talking to one another,” he said. “We have to enter the conversation.”
A Twitter and Facebook user, the incoming archbishop will take the Archdiocese of Portland’s leadership to new level of tech savvy.
When he found out he would be coming to Portland, Archbishop Sample tweeted about the change, and word spread as his news was re-tweeted again and again.
Last fall, Bishop Sample traveled across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He planted a wooden cross at each of the churches he visited, and his team updated social media along the way.
Archbishop Sample’s iPhone was used as a wireless router, enabling him and his team to send digital photos and video from an iPad on the road.
He often uses social media to highlight news from the U.P. Catholic, the newspaper of the Diocese of Marquette. He posted photos during the March for Life in Washington, D.C., as well as the ordination of a new priest in the diocese.
“We have to be there,” Archbishop Sample said. “I know there is some anxiety about using new media…but we can’t be afraid of using those means, even though there is some bad associated with them.”
Connect with Archbishop Sample on Twitter @ArchbishpSample and Facebook at facebook.com/bishopalexandersample.