Fr. Ben Hasse enjoys Archbishop Sample's story as the two talk outside St. Catherine Church in Marenisco, Mich.
Fr. Michael Jacobus with Archbishop Sample at St. Jude Parish, White Pine.
Here are testimonials about Archbishop Sample from those who have served with him:
• "Archbishop-elect Sample is a man of deep spirituality and of strong pastoral charity. In a particular way, as a true shepherd of the flock, he is dedicated to sound teaching of the faithful and the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy as the perfect expression of our faith. "I am most happy for the faithful and for all persons of good will in the Archdiocese of Portland to receive such a good, faithful and generous Archbishop." — Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura at the Vatican
• "Perhaps a useful lens through which to see Archbishop Sample is through considering his predecessor, Venerable Bishop Frederic Baraga, the first Bishop of Marquette. Bishop Baraga, known as the “Snowshoe Priest,” was an indefatigable missionary, a true pastor who braved every danger and bore many hardships in order to share Christ to others. Archbishop Sample is bringing such a zealous heart to his ministry in Portland. The priests and deacons, the religious and lay faithful will find him to be a courageous shepherd, strong in witnessing to the Gospel, compassionate to those burdened with weakness." — Archbishop Allen Vigneron, Archbishop of Detroit
• "Although I am 13 years older than he, your new Archbishop delights in reminding me that in the College of Bishops he has seniority over me. Together we attended what I affectionately refer to as 'Bishop’s Bootcamp' in Rome. One afternoon he and I played hooky from some presentation and went into Rome for a wonderful lunch and visit to St. Peter’s. When we returned later in the afternoon, Cardinal Re, who at the time headed up the Congregation for Bishops, chanced to be at the front doors. A bit awkward, but we handled it in good humor. "Your new Archbishop has a warm and kind personality. Like Archbishop Vlazny, he has an infectious laugh. He is bright, caring, and deeply spiritual." — Bishop David Choby, Bishop of Nashville
• "It has been a great pleasure to be a seminarian under Bishop Sample, a privilege to have him ordain me in 2009, and a joy to serve under him as a priest. He has been a good and faithful shepherd to his priests and people here in the Diocese of Marquette, a worthy successor of Venerable Frederic Baraga, our founding bishop. I am sad to see him go, but very happy for the people of the Archdiocese of Portland, who are receiving a fine, faithful, joyful, and loving shepherd." — Fr. Ben Hasse, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Wakefield, Mich. and several missions
• "He's a genuine man, very personal. He speaks to the lay person, to everybody. He doesn't speak like a king. I always feel he prays well as a priest; he's into the sacredness of the liturgy." — Aaron Bellisle, seminarian for the Diocese of Marquette
• "He's a very friendly person. That is what's been so good for our diocese — the younger viewpoint. He is so enthusiastic when he does things. It's a joy to watch him." — Paulette Aho, pastoral associate of St. Jude Parish, White Pine, Mich.
• "He's a priest's priest. He loves God, he loves Mary, he loves the church, he loves the pope. His great love of the church infects those around him. You feel inspired by him. Through the archbishop, you see the compassion of God." — Fr. Michael Jacobus, pastor of several parishes in the western Upper Peninsula
• "He brings to me and my family a sense of holiness. There is a lot of liberalism poking at the church, and to some extent trying to destroy it. I think he will be a great gift to the people of Oregon." — Deacon Matt Weaver of Holy Family Parish in Ontonagon, Mich.
• "He is a very intelligent man. He is very faith-filled. That may be the number one gift he brought to our diocese. He also loves people and is beloved." — Loreene Zeno Koskey, director of communications and development for the Diocese of Marquette
• "His preaching is amazing. It comes straight from the heart. He feels these things very strongly. He thinks about them and they go right to his heart. He has told us that bishops are meant to teach, govern and sanctify. He is true to those things." — Carol Parker, longtime Marquette Diocese accountant
• "We struck up a good relationship over our love of church, love of prayer and love of nature. That was very strong. People meet him and feel his distinguished presence. But you get to know him and you know he likes to laugh. "His sense of duty to God and prayer is so strong. One thing that's important to him is celebration of liturgy — that there is beauty. He wants people to know that it is a cosmic event — we are interacting with God at that moment." — Msgr. Ronald Browne, moderator of the curia for the Diocese of Marquette
• "'The center of our life together is Jesus.' With those words, Bishop Alex Sample began his remarks at our Lutheran-Roman Catholic prayer service. Together that night we celebrated the Joint Statement of Justification agreed to by the Vatican and the Lutheran World Federation. On behalf of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I offer my congratulations to now Archbishop Sample as he begins his work in this new ministry in Portland. May he continue to share Jesus with all people. He is our brother and my friend. The center of our life together in these years is the life, death and resurrection of Jesus." — Bishop Thomas Skrenes, Northern Great Lakes Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
• "Our diocese was greatly blessed by Bishop Sample; we were lucky to have such an engaged individual. I knew he was destined for "bigger things" in time; I just didn't think it would happen this soon. He's going to be very successful. He is faithful, humble, and an organized and effective leader. He has such enthusiasm for the church and a tremendous love for the people." — Deacon Chuck Gervasio Our Lady of Peace Parish, Ironwood, Mich.
• "He is a father, a brother, and friend to me. I’ve eaten meals with him, kayaked, prayed, laughed, and bantered with him. We’ve strategized and daydreamed. I’ve shared my deepest difficulties with him; he has shared with me his highest hopes. The most surreal thought to me concerning his departure is that I won’t be following him, as I’ve done my entire priesthood. We priests and parishioners are not just his assignment; we’re his family." — Father Michael Chenier, associate pastor of Holy Spirit Parish and Resurrection Parish, Menominee, Mich.
• "I’ll never forget the time Archbishop Sample joined our group of college and early career-aged adults at a restaurant in Marquette for Theology on Tap shortly before the new Mass translation was to be implemented. He had just flown in from Rome a few hours before joining our group of 20 or 30 young people, and despite exhibiting signs of fatigue both before and after his 60-minute talk, when he began to speak to us as our bishop, his countenance changed and an inner strength took hold of him that had not been there moments before. His eyes seemed to glow with holy fire and his back straightened. He had forgotten his fatigue for the sake of being our bishop." — Hans Whitmer, director of faith formation, Escanaba Catholic Faith Formation
• "Archbishop Sample has a God-given gift that makes a difference in the lives of the many people he has met and those he ministers to. That gift is to be able to inspire others by what he says. "He is an evangelist in the true sense of the word. His gift is not just in proclaiming the Word of God, but in making it relevant to those who are listening – in making it applicable to this time and this place in relation to what God wants of His people.His mission is to send those people, who are willing, out to become the hands, feet, heart and face of Christ to others." — Margaret Stripe, lector and extraordinary minister of Holy Communion, Holy Family Parish, Ontonagon, Mich.
• "Archbishop Sample understands the crucial role that Catholic schools play in the faith formation of our young people. His gentle guidance and support for the work that we do in the diocesan schools have created schools with a strong Catholic identity and academics. It has been an honor to work under his leadership and passion for the mission of evangelization through Catholic education." — Maria Farney, principal St. Mary School, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
• "Bishop Sample quickly proved himself to be not only a compassionate soul, but a competent administrator, who was determined to work with Catholic social services to ensure a successful ministry to the Diocese of Marquette. "My most admirable view of Bishop Sample came from witnessing his relationship with his mother. His mother and my mother are both seniors and live independently in the same building and have become friends. Bishop Sample makes it a priority to spend time with his mother every day in spite of his hectic schedule, often making me look bad in front of mine." — Mike Angeli, chief of the Marquette City Police Department and chair of the Board of Directors of Catholic Social Services of the Upper Peninsula
• "I have always been inspired by his deep faith and his gentle and humble nature. I have been blessed to know him more personally in the last several years, and I see that he is no different away from the 'public eye.' He attends to everyone with great consideration. He is zealous in his love for Jesus Christ and in the mission Christ entrusted to us all. He desires that we bring the love of Jesus to others, and in that regard, he sets a wonderful example for all to follow." — By Monica Shampo, funeral choir member, lector, and co-facilitator of PreCana weekends at St. Mary & St. Joseph Parish, Iron Mountain, Mich.
• "I would describe him as spiritual, faith-filled, humble, compassionate, caring, steadfast, firm, life-giving and — infectiously enthusiastic. Archbishop’s enthusiasm was very evident at a diocesan conference on the New Evangelization when he got up at the end and gave his own 'pep talk.' His 10 minutes expounding on the topic set me more 'on fire' than what had been said all day. "He has also visited our Diocesan Summer Camp several summers, and his love of our youth is evident. Our campers are awestruck that the bishop comes to be with them. "Archbishop Sample makes you feel so comfortable working with him and just being around him. I can truly say he epitomizes what it means to 'live our faith as the Body of Christ.' I will miss his infectious enthusiasm." — By Patty Peck-Faketty, music minister choir director and organist at St. Francis de Sales Parish, Manistique, and chair of the Diocesan Catholic Summer Camp
• "In spite of his work at the diocesan office, he attended parish council meetings and visited the parishioners who were homebound and in the hospital. One time when we were sharing ideas on some upcoming parish activities, he said that what he personally wants and desires is to be a parish priest. I asked him why he did not tell that to Bishop Garland (his predecessor). He got quiet and then said that he could not ask, since the Bishop will soon retire. With a hopeful voice, he said, “I will just wait and ask the next bishop!” — Sr. Francis Mary Mortola of the Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres, Outreach ministry, Our Lady Help of Christians Center, Sawyer
• "What marked me indelibly was the motto he chose as bishop, 'Vultum Christi Contemplari' or 'to contemplate the face of Christ.' That simple dictum has stuck with me, and I have tried to employ it daily as I have grown and continue to grow in my faith. I am certain that countless others have also followed this simple instruction. "My experience has convinced me that Archbishop Sample’s love of Christ, Holy Mother Church and the flock entrusted to his care will serve the Archdiocese of Portland well as it has us." — Steve Tackman cantor, lector, choir member, past parish finance council and pastoral council member, All Saints Parish, Gladstone
• "Archbishop Sample is a devout Catholic and has dedicated his life to the church. He has been an inspiration for all Catholics and others in the Peninsula. We are sorry to see him leave, but in our hearts, we always knew that someday he would move on to greater responsibility in the Church. – Susanne Boxer, member of Parish Finance Council, Resurrection Parish, Hancock