Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Saturday, April 30, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Pacifica Senior Living - Calaroga Terrace

Home : News : Local
1/5/2014 5:39:00 PM
WATCH: 'Now it's your turn'
Archbishop urges members of historic church to revive evangelization of founding days
Catholic Sentinel photos by Ed Langlois
Model of the first Catholic church in Oregon, where the first Mass occurred, stands outside the 1846 St. Paul church.
Catholic Sentinel photos by Ed Langlois
Model of the first Catholic church in Oregon, where the first Mass occurred, stands outside the 1846 St. Paul church.

Children from the parish sing during anniversary Mass.
Children from the parish sing during anniversary Mass.

+ view more photos
Archbishop Alexander Sample prepares to enter St. Paul Church.

Ed Langlois
Of the Catholic Sentinel

ST. PAUL — In 1834, French Canadian settlers in the remote Willamette Valley began begging for priests. They had turned from itinerant fur trapping to farming and thirsted for Catholicism as part of a settled life.

"Such a request from persons deprived of all religious attendance could not fail to touch my heart," answered Bishop J.N. Provencher from his post in Red River, Manitoba. But the bishop would not be able to find a missionary to send west for four more years, so the former voyageurs and their Indian wives kept the faith alive as best they could.      

The pioneers' prayers were answered on Jan. 6, 1839, when Father Francis Norbert Blanchet arrived after an eight-month trek from Montreal and presided at Mass for the Feast of the Epiphany. Archbishop Alexander Sample today paid tribute to the zeal of the settlers and missionaries when he came to this historic town to note the 175th anniversary of the first Mass celebrated in what is now Oregon.  

"Every person in the church today has inherited from your ancestors the gift of faith, the gift of community, the gift even of this church," the archbishop said. "I'm sure there were many sacrifices to build this community, to hand it on. Now it's your turn."

He urged parishioners to re-dedicate themselves to the work of evangelization. Referring to the feast of the Epiphany, when the wise men from the East followed a light to find Jesus, the archbishop told parishioners: "You are the light now."

Father Blanchet, who would become Oregon's first archbishop, left Montreal in May 1838 traveling by canoe, barge, horseback and foot. He and his companion, Father Modeste Demers, said Mass at camps along the way, arriving at Fort Vancouver on the Columbia River in late November. By the start of 1839, Father Blanchet began the trek up the Willamette with men from French Prairie as guides. He disembarked to walk around dangerous Willamette Falls, having become acquainted with deadly rapids on other rivers.   

In St. Paul, the missionary found a 30-by-70-foot log chapel. The indefatigable settlers had built it in 1836, aware that Methodist missionaries had constructed their own house of worship not far away.  

In his memoir, in which he refers to himself in the third person, Archbishop Blanchet recalled Jan. 5, 1839: "The Vicar-General took possession of a part of the church at the back of the altar, measuring 12 by 30 feet, which being afterwards divided by an alley of six feet, gave sufficient accommodation for two bedrooms on one side and a kitchen and dining room on the other."

On the following day, Jan. 6, "being Sunday and the Epiphany of our Lord, the church was blessed under the patronage of the great apostle St. Paul, after which was celebrated the first Mass ever said in the valley, in the presence of the Canadians, their wives and children."

In addition to the first Mass, Father Blanchet preached a month-long mission, teaching the catechism, baptizing 74 faithful and blessing 24 marriages. He took up residence in St. Paul later that year, bringing with him an 80-pound bell the men suspended from an oak tree.  

By 1844, a school would begin at St. Paul and by 1846, a larger brick church replaced the chapel. The California gold rush would siphon away much of the population, but a hearty few stayed to farm and live a good Christian life. Those are still the values here.

"Not much changes in St. Paul," says Mark McKay, a farmer whose family has worked the land around here for six generations. Being a part of the history matters to him. When venerable St. Paul Church was under repair after a 1993 earthquake, McKay had his daughter baptized in the building, even though it was full of scaffolding, dust and piles of tools.   

"We have no plans to go any place else," McKay says, staring up at the steeple of the church, which has stood beacon here since the days of Archbishop Blanchet.

Not that there weren't hijinks. Wally Pohlschneider, an altar boy during the 1950s, recalls when some boys — he's not naming names — broke a stained-glass window during a dirt clod fight.  

At today's anniversary Mass, Archbishop Sample, the 11th Archbishop of Portland, said that the Epiphany was an appropriate time for the first Mass in the region. The feast marks recognition that Jesus is savior of all nations. The archbishop explained that Father Blanchet came so that Christ would be known to more and more people.

"Yes, we look back and celebrate the past," the archbishop said. "But more importantly we look to the future. You, my friends, are heirs of a great tradition."

Children of the parish, some in their finest blue jeans and shiniest belt buckles, sang William McDowell's "Here I am to Worship" for the congregation. In part, it said: "Here I am to say that you're my God. All together lovely. All together worthy. All together wonderful to me."

After Mass, the archbishop and others sang Happy Birthday for 103-year-old parishioner Irene Hiller. He also assented to pose for a photo with three former St. Paul Rodeo queens.

“The parish community of St. Paul is a study of a lived faith throughout the history of the Catholic Church in Oregon,” says Msgr. Gregory Moys, who gave a history of the parish at the close of Mass. “It seems that each year brings another milestone in the historical development of our community. Historical celebrations not only remind us of our origins pointing the way to new beginnings in fulfilling the hopes and visions of those who have gone before us and our hopes and visions in a faith lived today.”

Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, January 6, 2014
Article comment by: Rolando Rodriguez

Thank you, Archbishop and Father Francis Norbert Blanchet, for blazing a trail.
Thank you sisters and brothers of our family at St. Paul, for your indefatigable endurance and faithfulness .
Thank you, Archbishop Sample, for celebrating the gift of faith we inherited from our ancestors, and reminding us that, "Now it's your turn."
Thank you, Msgr. Gregory Moys, for recounting the hopes and visions of those who have gone before us and our hopes and visions in a faith lived today."
Deo gratias.
Paz y Bien, Rolando, OFS.

Article Comment Submissions
Submit your comments, please. 
Comments are reviewed before being posted to the site. Comments must use respectful language and address the story. Comments are not posted immediately to the site. The site editor may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours. Comments may also be considered to appear as letters in our print edition, unless the writer specifices no.
Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved