Becky Cairati lives thousands of miles and several states away from Oregon. But her journey to full communion with the Catholic Church included a special stop in Portland that linked her to her baptism and a familiar face — Archbishop Alexander Sample.
Cairati, whom the Catholic Sentinel featured in the March 17 story on the Rite of Election, lives in Ishpeming, Michigan. She was baptized in the Catholic Church but raised Lutheran.
This Easter, she returned to her home of faith, participating in the Easter vigil at St. John the Evangelist in Ishpeming.
Several weeks prior, Cairati enjoyed a trip to Portland, organized by her boyfriend and confirmation sponsor, Anthony Bertucci. Before the pair left, they’d realized the jaunt would overlap with the Rite of Election and Call to Continuing Conversion — a key step for individuals seeking full inclusion in the church. But Cairati received permission from her local bishop to participate in the Portland archdiocesan ceremony, celebrated by Archbishop Sample.
During the approval process, Father Larry Van Damme, pastor of St. John the Evangelist, recalled the name he’d seen on her birth certificate: “Father Alexander Sample.” The then-priest had baptized the infant Cairati 25 years ago in Michigan.
At the end of the Rite of Election in Portland’s St. Mary Cathedral this March, Archbishop Sample pointed out Cairati to the congregation. Standing beside her boyfriend in the pews, Cairati flashed a slightly embarrassed, delighted smile.
Now a full-fledged Catholic back in Michigan, Cairati’s faith story is forever tied to the Portland Archdiocese and a tall, beloved priest-turned-archbishop.