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2/1/2013 11:26:00 AM
Welcome, Archbishop Sample
Catholic Sentinel photo by Jon DeBellis
Archbishop-designate Alexander Sample and Archbishop John Vlazny address the press.
Catholic Sentinel photo by Jon DeBellis
Archbishop-designate Alexander Sample and Archbishop John Vlazny address the press.

 Catholic newspapers are in a unique position to observe the times and the temper of an archdiocese.  Those who chronicle the events and personalities of the local Church pass on the history to those who follow. That’s simply the nature of the medium. We know all sides of the story and the personalities involved. On occasions like this, our collective memory swings into action. We remember the last chapters of our story and project the coming ones.

The history of the Archdiocese of Portland can be written in 10 chapters—each defined by the Ordinary at a particular time ( an Ordinary is  the archbishop or bishop in charge of a diocese.) One might think that the length of the chapter would be determined by the length of the Archbishop’s tenure but that would not be true. The Archdiocese of Portland has had 10 archbishops. Archbishop Howard was in charge from 1926 until 1966. Cardinal George was Archbishop for less than a year.

April 2, 2013 will mark the beginning of a new era. On that day, Archbishop-designate Alexander Sample will become our Archbishop. Like all transitions, it will be a bittersweet occasion. We will mourn the loss of an archbishop who has been dearly loved and we will rejoice in the installation of his successor. We are reassured that Archbishop John Vlazny will remain in this Archdiocese and as Archbishop Emeritus he will help our new archbishop know who we are.

The Archdiocese of Portland is a strong archdiocese with energetic and committed priests and lay people. Those of us who have been around for any length of time have seen our parishes move from latent congregationalism to a Church with strong links to the Archdiocese and the universal Church. This is largely due in recent years to the respect and affection of our priests for our archbishop.

Our presbyterate in turn has shared leadership with a growing number of committed lay people on parish staffs.

We are proud of our Archdiocese and the archbishops who have helped make us a strong Church. We are eager to welcome Archbishop-designate Sample and to step into a new era.

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