Pope selects new Portland Archbishop

By Portland Archdiocese

Pope appoints eleventh Archbishop of Portland in Oregon Pope Benedict XVI has appointed the Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample of the Diocese of Marquette, MI to be the eleventh Archbishop of Portland in Oregon. The announcement was made by the Vatican this morning. He will succeed Archbishop John G. Vlazny who is retiring at age 75 years old.

Archbishop Vlazny said of the appointment, “It is with heartfelt appreciation to our heavenly Father and our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, that I welcome my successor, the eleventh archbishop of the Archdiocese of Portland, the Most Rev. Alexander K. Sample, to the world of “sprinkles and sunbreaks.” He comes well prepared to assume his new responsibilities as the chief pastor of this local church. For months now our people have been praying, “Send us now a good shepherd after the heart of your Son to guard and guide your Church in western Oregon……Choose him for us, just as you have chosen us for him, that together we may serve you and love you.” Today our prayers have been answered. We rejoice and are glad! Michigan’s loss is Oregon’s gain. A new day of hope is dawning for us during this Year of Faith. May we seize the moment and grow stronger as children of God and disciples in mission together. God bless you, Archbishop Sample. Ad multos annos!”

Archbishop-Designate Sample was born in Kalispell, MT on November 7, 1960. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Metallurgical Engineering from Michigan Technological University in1982, and a Master of Science degree in Metallurgical Engineering in1984 also from Michigan Technological University. He studied at the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, and at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, OH, earning a Master of Divinity degree. He was ordained a priest on June 1, 1990 at St. Peter Cathedral, Marquette, MI. Following ordination, Father Sample served as parochial vicar at St. Peter Cathedral Parish in Marquette, as pastor at St. George Parish, Bark River, MI, at Sacred Heart Parish in Schaffer, MI, and at St. Michael Parish in Perronville, MI.

In 1996 he earned a licentiate degree in canon law from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (The Angelicum) in Rome. Upon returning to the Marquette Diocese in 1996, he was appointed Chancellor of the diocese. He has served as a member of the diocesan Presbyteral Council, as a member of the College of Consultors, a member of the Marriage Tribunal, Director of On-going Formation of Priests, Director of the Department of Ministry and Priest Personnel, and as Diocesan Chaplain to the Knights of Columbus. He served as Executive Director of the Bishop Baraga Association and as a Member of the Diocesan Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People. He was appointed Bishop of the Marquette Diocese on December 13, 2005 and was ordained Bishop on January 25, 2006 by Cardinal Adam Maida. Archbishop-Designate Sample is a Member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Sub-committee on Native American Catholics, and the USCCB Sub-committee on the Catechism. He also serves as a Member of the Board of Directors of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe (LaCrosse, WI), and as a Member of Sacred Heart Seminary (Detroit) Board of Trustees. Archbishop John G. Vlazny was born in Chicago in 1937.

He was ordained a priest at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on December 20, 1961. He served in several parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago as well as serving on the faculty of Quigley Preparatory North seminary from 1963 until 1979, served as Pastor at St. Aloysius Parish 1979 – 1981, and then as Rector of Niles College Seminary from 1981 – 1983. He was named a Bishop by Pope John Paul II, and was ordained an Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin on December 13, 1983. Bishop Vlazny was appointed to the Diocese of Winona, MN in 1987. On October 28, 1997 he was appointed Archbishop of Portland in Oregon, and was installed as the tenth Archbishop of Portland on December 19, 1997. The Mass of Installation for Archbishop-Designate Sample will be held on Tuesday, April 2, 2013.

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