Oregon embraces new Catholic leader

This week Archbishop Alexander Sample was installed as the new Archbishop of Portland Oregon.  See KGW-TV news clip of his ceremony.

Background on new Archbishop & the honored position from the Portland Archdiocese Press release highlights announcing the ceremony.

Archbishop Sample was appointed to the Archdiocese of Portland by Pope Benedict XVI on January 29, 2013. He succeeds Archbishop John G. Vlazny who is retiring at age 76.  Archbishop Carlo M. Viganò, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, will be the installing prelate. The Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon is comprised of the western part of the State of Oregon from the summit of the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, from the Washington to California borders.

Alexander K Sample was born in Kalispell, MT on November 7, 1960 to Alexander K. Sample, Jr., (deceased) and Joyce V. Sample. He graduated from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, NV in 1978. He attended Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Metallurgical Engineering in 1982 and a Master of Science degree in Metallurgical Engineering in 1984. After studying philosophy at the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, he studied at the Pontifical College Josephinum Seminary in Columbus, OH earning a Master of Divinity degree in 1990. He was ordained a priest on June 1, 1990 at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette, MI.

Father Sample served as an Associate Pastor at St. Peter Cathedral from 1990 – 1993, and then as Pastor of St. George Parish in Bark River, MI, at Sacred Heart Parish in Schaffer, MI and at St. Michael Parish in Perronville, MI from 1993 until 1994. He then moved to Rome for studies in Canon Law at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum) earning a Licentiate in Canon Law in 1996.

Upon returning to the Diocese of Marquette in 1996, he served in several diocesan positions including Chancellor, Director of Ministry and Priest Personnel, a member of the diocesan tribunal in several capacities and as Executive Director of the Bishop Baraga Association. He served as a member of the College of Consultors and as a member of the Diocesan Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People. He was also the Canonical Pastor of St. Christopher Parish in Marquette from 1996 until 2006.

Bishop Sample was appointed Bishop of Marquette on December 13, 2005. He was ordained a bishop on January 25, 2006. While Bishop of Marquette, he served as a consultant to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) committee on priestly life and ministry, a member of the USCCB committee for the 2010 Spring Assembly and as a visitator for the Apostolic Visitation of U. S. seminaries. Archbishop Sample currently serves on the USCCB subcommittee on Native American Catholics and on the USCCB subcommittee on the Catechism. He also served as a member of the Michigan Catholic Conference Board of Directors, a member of the Catholic Social Services of the Upper Peninsula Board of Directors, a member of the Board of Directors of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe (LaCrosse, WI), and as a member of the Sacred Heart Seminary Board of Trustees in Detroit.

The Mass of Installation will be attended by Cardinal William J. Levada, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the eighth Archbishop of Portland in Oregon. It is anticipated that roughly 40 archbishops, bishops and abbots will attend the installation as well as 200 of priests from the Archdiocese of Portland and from other dioceses.

In order to celebrate his arrival with the Catholic communities of western Oregon, Archbishop Sample will celebrate regional Masses on the North Coast, South Coast, in the Southern Oregon Vicariate, in Salem, Eugene and in the Portland Suburban areas. Specific dates, times and places will be announced later.

The history of the Archdiocese of Portland began with the arrival of Father Francis N. Blanchet and Father Modeste Demers, missionaries from Canada, at Ft. Vancouver on November 24, 1838. The first Mass celebrated in the current state of Oregon was celebrated by Father Blanchet in a log church built in St. Paul on January 6, 1939. The Oregon Territory was named as a Vicariate Apostolic by Pope Gregory XVI on December 1, 1843. It was erected as the Archdiocese of Oregon City on July 24, 1846 by Pope Pius IX. It is the second oldest archdiocese in the United States after Baltimore. The name was changed by Papal Decree of Pius XI on September 26, 1928, to the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon.

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