Archbishop Alexander Sample marks 25 years as a priest
6/23/2015 3:22:00 PM
Rick Keating/El Centinela
Archbishop Alexander Sample accepts a gift from Fátima Rodas at the St. Juan Diego Congress in Turner.
Ed Langlois Of the Catholic Sentinel
Archbishop Alexander Sample says his 25th anniversary of ordination is no more important than anyone else’s.
“I could not be more grateful to Almighty God for the tremendous
blessing he has bestowed on me during these past 25 years,” Archbishop
Sample says. “One of the greatest blessings has been the many people he
has placed in my life and allowed me to serve.”
He was raised in
Nevada, the youngest of three. A teacher-priest told the 17-year-old he
had a vocation to priesthood. But first, young Alex studied
metallurgical engineering at Michigan Tech. Then, before pursuing a
post-doctorate degree, he stunned professors by announcing plans for
He studied at the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul,
Minn. and the Pontifical College Josephinum Seminary in Columbus, Ohio.
After ordination for the Diocese of Marquette, he served as associate
pastor of St. Peter Cathedral and then was pastor of area parishes. He
studied canon law at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in
During his seven-year tenure as bishop of Marquette,
2006-2013, he wrote four pastoral letters, undertook a $10 million
capital campaign, set in place a unified catechesis, and developed plans
to secure Catholic schools.
He was named Archbishop of Portland
in 2013. Here, he has identified pastoral priorities, visited parishes,
prisons and migrant camps, spoken out against abortion and the death
penalty and catechized on marriage. In homilies to new priests and
deacons, Archbishop Sample says ministry is about Jesus, not gaining
“I feel a great and awesome holiness about him,”
says Angie Doyen, secretary at St. Anthony Parish in Gwinn, Mich. “He
has been a courageous priest who clearly desires to reach and inspire
his flock through his powerful words and prayerful, humble actions.”
Foye, director of faith formation for the Diocese of Marquette, calls
him “truly a remarkable teacher of our beloved faith.” Her abiding
memory is of the future archbishop teaching people who wanted to become
“He is quite simply a fine pastor, full of compassion
while upholding truth,” say Francis and Theresa Darr, who belong to St.
Peter Cathedral Parish in Marquette.
“He is the kind of priest
who boldly and unreservedly speaks the truth at all times, but always
tempered with love,” say Todd and Susan Rapavi, members of St. Peter
Archbishop Sample cites a retreat director who told
western Oregon clergy that priesthood is a mission worthy of their
existence. “This is a great life!” Archbishop Sample says. “I hope many
young men will respond to the Lord’s call to serve him as a priest.”