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Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Sunday, March 18, 2018

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Two St. Francis classes sent to Camp Howard thanks to scholarships
Courtesy Jacquie VanHoomison
St. Francis fifth-graders Noah VanHoomison, Roenin Egger and Joseph Crowell prepare to board a bus headed to Camp Howard July 9. The three boys, who shared a cabin at the camp, were able to attend thanks to scholarships and the initiative of Sister Krista von Borstel, Camp Howard executive director. 

Courtesy Jacquie VanHoomison

St. Francis fifth-graders Noah VanHoomison, Roenin Egger and Joseph Crowell prepare to board a bus headed to Camp Howard July 9. The three boys, who shared a cabin at the camp, were able to attend thanks to scholarships and the initiative of Sister Krista von Borstel, Camp Howard executive director. 

ROY — The day St. Francis of Assisi fifth-grader Joseph Crowell first heard about Camp Howard at school, he came home begging his mom to send him.

“I’m so sorry, buddy, but we can’t afford it,” his mother, Ursula Crowell, responded.

“We have six kids, and we just couldn’t,” she explained recently. Joseph’s persistent plea was repeated for several days, until one afternoon he bolted across the school field, wrapped his arms around his mother and exclaimed: “I’m going to Camp Howard, Mom, I’m going.”

Thursday, July 27, 2017

De La Salle student's collection for Congo on hold due to instability, violence

Escalating violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo temporarily stalled the efforts and hopes of De La Salle student Felix Songolo. This spring, the then-junior organized a collection for Congolese youths — gathering enough clothes, shoes and backpacks to fill five large bags and receiving about $400 in donations. The plan was to distribute the items during his first-ever visit to his parents’ native country. The family fled the Congo to Zambia before Songolo was born.

An updated travel warning issued by the U.S. Department of State will keep the teen from returning to his roots this summer. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017
CYO helps the youngest begin lacrosse
As lacrosse flourishes in the Portland area, many youth players are experiencing the sport for the first time in the Catholic Youth Organization league. Since 2011, CYO coaches have guided youths through fundamental skills to advanced techniques. St. Pius X and St. John Fisher parishes provide fields for practice. Home games are played at Valley Catholic and Jesuit high schools.
Friday, July 28, 2017
Oregon City priest scores with dance moves
St. John the Apostle fourth-grader Owen Smith and Fr. Maxy D’Costa, pastor of St. John the Apostle Parish in Oregon City, celebrated one of Smith’s goals this spring by “dabbing” — a playful trendy dance reminiscent of the Macarena.
Thursday, July 27, 2017
WATCH: Portland Pickles reach out to churches and there is a Catholic flavor at the ballpark
On a fragrant Saturday evening in Southeast Portland, Adam Richards, Corrine Montana and Rosie Berg are making their way out of Walker Stadium. The Portland Pickles baseball team has lost, but the trio from Portland’s L’Arche community are beaming anyway. They were able to secure a foul ball, a memento that will go back to the Catholic-inspired house where people with disabilities and their assistants live together. 
Monday, July 24, 2017
Tech-savvy missionary priest has Portland roots

A Portland man has been ordained as a Divine Word Missionary and will leave for Central Africa in the fall. 

Father Huy Khanh Tran, 34, was ordained May 20 in Northbrook, Illinois. He is the eldest son of Tran Su and Nguyen thi Tuan-Khoi and the first grandson of Tran Thua, all of Our Lady of Lavang Parish in Northeast Portland. Father Tran offered Masses this summer at his home church. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017
Catholic prison ministers convene to strengthen work

MOUNT ANGEL — Curtis Gibson was jailed for almost four years for a white-collar crime. In the end, the Portland man says, it was a good thing, because that is where his faith was forged. 

During a prison ministry workshop June 10 at Mount Angel Abbey, Gibson told 60 participants that prisons and jails are frightening places because inmates seek to grab territory and secure influence.  

Thursday, July 20, 2017
Priest and his father hit the road for vocations
Father Jeff Eirvin, director of vocations for the Archdiocese of Portland, and his father, Jeff Eirvin Sr., walked nearly 150 miles in Portugal and Spain. The 10-day walk, which ended in early July, was a prayerful journey to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, one of the world’s foremost Christian pilgrimage sites. The father and son team prayed for an increase in vocations to priesthood and religious life.
Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Tweets be to God: Priests and religious sisters embrace social media

“Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary use social media,” said Father William Holtzinger, recasting a quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi.

The pastor of St. Anne Parish in Grants Pass and many of his fellow priests and religious sisters see social media as helpful — and increasingly necessary — in their ministry, especially in their efforts to reach youths.   


Monday, July 17, 2017
Church seeking insights of young people

Young people of the world: Pope Francis wants to hear what you think. That’s true even if you’re not Catholic or if you’ve stepped away from the church. 

In preparation for the fall 2018 Synod on Young People and Vocational Discernment, dioceses around the globe are reaching out to teens, 20-somethings and 30-somethings and asking about their relationship with the Catholic Church. The answers may influence ministry all over the globe, including Oregon. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Portland man ordained as Jesuit

A 36-year-old man who was raised in Portland has been ordained a Jesuit priest in Los Angeles. 

Father Sam Conedera, who grew up as a member of St. Philip Neri Parish, attended All Saints School and Lincoln High School. 

Father Conedera’s first assignment will be at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Phoenix. He celebrated his first Mass with his fellow Jesuits at Loyola Marymount University.

Friday, July 7, 2017
For more than four centuries, the Vatican Observatory has been a model and haven

A quick check of science history shows that Catholic priests played a key role in many areas, from Albert the Great in 13th-century physics to Father Gregor Mendel in 19th-century genetics. 

Not surprisingly, churchmen have excelled most in study of the heavens. The Vatican Observatory has been their inspiration and guide.   


Thursday, July 6, 2017
It’s easy to forget that one of Oregon’s Catholic bishops is an immigrant.
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Sr. Denise Desil elected mother general

This spring, the Little Sisters of St. Therese in Haiti elected Sister Denise Desil as mother general. Mother Denise, a frequent visitor to Portland, is a midwife who speaks on healthy birthing in developing nations. 

For many years, Mother Denise applied her training as a midwife in rural Haiti. She survived a building collapse in the 2010 earthquake and last year's Hurricane Matthew. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017
Archdiocese of Portland combats porn

He’s a husband and a father. He goes to Mass every Sunday. But what started off as a peek at a magazine escalated into an out-of-control diet of pornography.

Viewing pornography creates “a chemical reaction in the brain,” says Jason Kidd, director of the Portland archdiocesan Marriage and Family Life Office. “In order to achieve the high, you need increasingly large quantities for your brain to get the same response.” 

The porn-burdened father who confided in Kidd is not a rare case. “I get phone calls from spouses, from concerned mothers, from young males,” Kidd says. “We know pornography is a problem, but not everyone realizes how big.”

Friday, June 23, 2017
Marylhurst student earns third degree at 94

Velda Metelmann was born in 1922; Auriana Cook is 22. Both will accept their Marylhurst University diplomas as they join 300-plus degree candidates honored at Marylhurst’s 123rd commencement June 24 at the Oregon Convention Center. 

Velda Metelmann, 94, will pick up her third Marylhurst diploma. She earned her bachelor’s in her mid-80s and her master’s in interdisciplinary studies three years ago. Now she has completed a master’s in food systems and society, attending classes predominantly online from her home in King City. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017
WATCH: Thanks to Catholic Charities, new tiny houses development opens

With Catholic Charities of Oregon guiding the project, 14 formerly homeless women moved into a village of tiny houses June 10 in North Portland. 

“It makes a difference to be able to say, ‘This is my place,’” said Desiree Rose, who lives at a similar grouping on city land a few miles away. Organizers of Kenton Village asked Rose to give advice on the new project, one of four in the city.  

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Priests celebrate milestone anniversaries

Congratulations to priests in the Archdiocese of Portland celebrating their 60th, 50th and 25th jubilees. 
Here are their brief biographies and reflections on the priesthood. 

Monday, June 19, 2017
Wage theft
As a child in Mexico, Selso Sarabia worked in the fields. So when he came to America, he wanted a job working outside. But about eight years ago, what he found was a landscaping job with a boss who never paid him.

Sarabia thought his boss would be a good guy. He was Christian. He asked his workers not to drink and not to smoke. He even played Christian music in the work truck. His workers worked hard: 12- or 13-hour days with no water, no lunches, no breaks and no bathrooms.

Saturday, June 17, 2017
Adapted liturgies: A history of 'the happiest' Masses

Back in the 1980s, Ramona and Wenceslaus Polivka took turns going to Mass. The couple had three children, two of whom were profoundly autistic. Their third child, Marie, coped with Asperger’s syndrome. The Polivkas couldn’t bring Joseph and Laura to Mass, so one would watch the children so the other could receive the Eucharist.

The Archdiocese of Portland wasn’t unique in its lack of Masses that could make families like the Polivkas feel comfortable enough to come with their children. Most dioceses didn’t have accommodations for people with special needs, in particular, people with cognitive disabilities like autism. 

Friday, June 16, 2017
Senate approves legislation affecting end-of-life decisions

SALEM — The Oregon Senate approved legislation June 8 modifying the state’s advance directive, bringing into question the future of end-of-life decisions for Oregonians.

Currently, the default advance directive rule states that health care representatives cannot make life-ending decisions unless the patient gives them that authority. Oregon Right to Life believes that the likely outcome of the advance directive legislation, Senate Bill 494, will change this rule, giving health care representatives life-ending authority unless patients say they cannot.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Sisters of the Holy Names in solidarity with migrants
The Sisters of the Holy Names have made a commitment to enter into solidarity with migrants and refugees. In what they call a “corporate stand,” the sisters prayed and voted on the statement, which is meant to guide ministries, events and public advocacy.
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Veterans flourish at Marylhurst University
Lisa Payan, a former gunner with the Army military police, sought spiritual groundedness. Cody Mills had worked on Black Hawk helicopters but hoped to heal others through music. And Ian Beaty, who serves in the Army National Guard, wanted a master’s degree program that could accommodate a potential deployment.

Each of the military veterans discovered, with a touch of surprise, a place to fulfill their goals at a small Catholic school located 10 miles south of Portland.


Monday, June 12, 2017
Valerie Chapman, longtime St. Francis of Assisi pastoral administrator, steps aside

When Valerie Chapman talks about the day she discovered St. Francis of Assisi Church in Southeast Portland, it sounds like falling in love at first sight — or perhaps the thunderbolt we imagine when a vocation is revealed.

It was the late 1980s and Chapman’s children attended St. John the Baptist School in Milwaukie, where the family lived. She was simply going along with a friend who liked St. Francis.

“I cried through part of the Mass,” Chapman, now 59, says. “It felt like home.”

Monday, June 12, 2017
Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women hold biennial conference
The Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women held its biennial conference this spring at St. Therese Parish in Portland.  Archbishop John Vlazny, who took on emeritus status in 2013, concelebrated Mass with Father Stephen Geer, pastor of St. Therese. Prior to the Mass, the Knights of Columbus presented the colors, and ACCW President Sue Anker opened the conference and offered a welcome.
Monday, June 12, 2017
Hispanic youths seen as potential apostles

Each year after Easter, scores of Oregon Latino Catholic youths convene in a space of friendship, prayer and coexistence.

Almost 200 young people from eight parishes gathered in late April at Aldersgate Camp near Turner for a weekend titled “Rise Up with Jes

Friday, June 9, 2017
Michigan woman's return to the church linked to PDX archbishop, archdiocese
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.
Thursday, June 8, 2017
Commencement at Mount Angel: Look what God can do
ST. BENEDICT —Mount Angel Seminary’s graduating class of 2017 celebrated a baccalaureate Mass May 12 and commencement the following morning. In the 128th year of Mount Angel Seminary, this year’s graduating class included nine for the bachelor’s degree; seven for pre-theology certificates; six for the master’s in philosophy; 22 for the Master of Divinity; 10 for the master’s of theology; and eight for a baccalaureate in sacred theology.
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Made in Oregon: The Encuentro cross

Encuentro, a major national consultation on Latino ministry in the Catholic Church, is symbolized by a simple but elegant wooden cross that has been carried to the Vatican and other sites worldwide. The cross, blessed by Pope Francis, will be part of meetings set for the next several years as U.S. church leaders seek to discover needs and opportunities among Hispanics, especially young people. 

The 5-foot-tall, 60-pound cross was made in Oregon of sturdy local white oak.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Ordinations a high point for the church
More than 500 people filled St. Mary Cathedral June 3 for the ordination Mass for Fathers Zani Pacanza and Hans Mueller.

Both lay people and clergy at the ordination expressed how the ordinations refreshed their own faith.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017
New administrator for Queen of Angels
MOUNT ANGEL — Holy Names Sister Jane Hibbard was installed as the pastoral administrator of Queen of Angels Monastery this spring. Benedictine Sister Joella Kidwell, president of the Federation of St. Gertrude, presided at the blessing and installation.
Monday, June 5, 2017
Eugene Catholics march for environment

EUGENE — Members of St. Thomas More Parish here marched with University of Oregon students and hundreds of others this spring to show support for climate safety.

The St. Thomas More and Newman Center group brought a Catholic presence to the event, which was coordinated with similar marches around the nation. The walks come in response to President Donald Trump’s plans to decrease funding for environmental protection and possibly step away from global climate change agreements (which he later opted to do). 

Friday, June 2, 2017
Longtime photojournalist donates prints to historic preservation organization
Gerry Lewin, longtime photojournalist in Salem and for the Catholic Sentinel, spoke this spring at the Willamette Heritage Center. Lewin, being honored for his contributions to public life in Salem, has donated his prints to the historic preservation organization.
Friday, June 2, 2017
WATCH: St. Francis Park Apartments an antidote to high rent

Curtis Tice, 64, has been living in a shelter near the Hawthorne Bridge. The former bus driver, grocery store clerk and cabinet maker considers his new one-bedroom unit on the bright third floor of the St. Francis Park Apartments “beautiful and secure, a place to call my own.” 

Doug Smith, 67, will be Tice’s neighbor. Smith had a small room in outer East Portland and rode his bicycle an hour to his job as parish musician for St. Francis Parish. Now he’ll have a two-minute walk to the Southeast Portland church. 


Thursday, June 1, 2017
Northwest Family Services goes solar
Northwest Family Services, which focuses on poverty reduction programs, was awarded an $87,288 PGE Renewable Development Fund award to install a solar panel array and system at their Southeast Portland headquarters.

There’s a ribbon cutting Wednesday, June 21, from 12 p.m.–1 p.m. to celebrate the installation of the new rooftop solar array. The community is invited to come and enjoy a snack and learn more about solar energy.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Homeless teens in Eugene to find a home, thanks to St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County

EUGENE — St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County is converting a former Presbyterian Church into housing for homeless teens. 

The innovative Catholic agency has been providing employment for the youths for three years, but leaders long have wanted to add housing and social services as a way to create a transformative ministry. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Remembering the hero of Soissons
It was Memorial Day in 1922 when Sgt. Walter Schaffer’s body was carried by his comrades into Northwest Portland’s St. Mary Pro-Cathedral for his funeral Mass.

“Through all the city a hush of reverence has descended, for the observance of this Memorial Day is in the presence of the body of Sergeant Walter Schaffer, hero of Soissons, the last of Oregon’s men to come home,” reported the Oregon Daily Journal.

Monday, May 29, 2017
Commuter train defender a Catholic Army vet
On a crowded Portland commuter train May 26, a selfless Catholic father of four stepped forward to calm the situation. Rick Best defended two women being accosted by a furious, imbalanced and racist passenger. Best, a 53-year-old member of Christ the King Parish in Milwaukie, would die for his noble deed.
Monday, May 29, 2017
Writer Doyle dies at 60
Brian Doyle, award-winning author and editor of Portland magazine for 25 years and columnist for the Catholic Sentinel, died May 27 from complications related to a brain tumor.
Sunday, May 28, 2017
At Mariachi Mass on Portland waterfront, worshippers called to serve selflessly

Oregon may be home to both English- and Spanish-speakers, but now it’s time for everyone to speak a common language of selfless love and service.  

That was the message May 7 as Archbishop John Vlazny presided at the annual Mariachi Mass on Portland’s waterfront during the Cinco de Mayo festival. The retired leader of the Archdiocese of Portland is a fluent Spanish speaker and a well-known face at Portland’s Cinco de Mayo, which for 33 years has celebrated Mexican culture and Latino life — including the Catholic faith. 

Friday, May 26, 2017
Abortion-fund ban supported

The Archdiocese of Portland is encouraging Catholics to sign the Stop Taxpayer Funding for Abortion petition to qualify a measure for the next general election in Oregon.

The proposed law would block the use of state funds on elective abortions.

Friday, May 26, 2017
Catholic inmate no longer on death row
SALEM — A Catholic inmate on Oregon’s death row was transferred to the general prison population in January. A lay Catholic minister at Oregon State Penitentiary says Greg Bowen has been joining other inmates for Mass, something he could not do while he was isolated as a candidate for execution. 
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Hispanic students express fear, uncertainty in wake of immigration clampdown

Countless immigrants across the country and here in western Oregon live in a climate of fear sparked by actions in the new administration, including President Donald Trump’s plan to build a U.S.-Mexico wall, his executive order on immigration enforcement and a number of highly public raids.

Alongside the concerns of adult immigrants are the worries of their children. At dinner tables and in classrooms, young Latinos are trying to make sense of overheard conversations, the onslaught of immigration-related stories disseminated by news outlets and activists, and — foremost — the instability in their families.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Sportsmanship is champ at CYO

It was March Madness with a Catholic twist and youthful fun. 

The season of Catholic Youth Organization basketball for third- through eighth-graders began with historic, wild weather but was snowed under with excitement to the conclusion. The City championship tournament ended March 12, having run for three weeks. Teams played many thrilling title games, with several being decided in the final moments. Most importantly, fans witnessed teams showing good sportsmanship. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
The 82nd Seminary Tea brought out stylish hats and spring sunshine

Attendees at this year’s Seminary Tea sipped tea and nibbled on cucumber sandwiches (with the crust trimmed off, of course) with archbishops, bishops, priests and, most importantly, the seminarians who are benefited by the fundraiser. 

“These guys are the future,” Archbishop Alexander Sample told the crowd at the Portland Golf Club May 3 as he thanked them for their support. “They’re your future shepherds.”

Friday, May 19, 2017
Oregon woman joins youth missionary group

Gemma Cowan of Star of the Sea Parish in Brookings is serving in Wisconsin with a group of young adult missionaries seeking lost sheep.  

SPIRITUS was founded in 2009 as a missionary disciple formation program with the goal to inspire Catholic youth and form lifelong missionary disciples to be leaders for the church.  

Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Archbishop Sample and his mother share unique bond of respect
On ordination day, as her 6-foot-2 son lay prostrate on the floor of the sanctuary and vowed his life to God and God’s people, Joyce Sample thought of the sick infant she almost lost. The memory marked the beginning of a unique relationship — between a mother and her priest son.
Thursday, May 11, 2017
Camp's message to kids: You're not alone in grief

Jennifer Wilkinson was at work in 2013 when her husband died in front of the children. 

“It was traumatic and hard,” says Wilkinson, who at the time lived in a small North Dakota town. “No matter how we tried after that, we were ‘the people that happened to.’”

She moved with Layla, now 11, and Alexander, now 9, to Vancouver, Washington, hoping to escape the cloud that hung over them. The three went to family counseling. But there was no peace — not until Camp Erin.  

Thursday, May 11, 2017
Talk on immigrants, refugees in Oregon to conclude Marylhurst speaker series
Marylhurst University will host “The Space Between Us: Immigrants, Refugees and Oregon,” a conversation with Manuel Padilla, May 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the Old Library at the university, 17600 Pacific Highway, Marylhurst. 
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
St. Francis Park Apartments seen as a blessing amid Portland's housing-cost rampage

A 106-unit low-cost housing complex is about to open in the surging Buckman neighborhood of Southeast Portland.

Adjacent to venerable St. Francis Church — home of the oldest Catholic parish on Portland’s east side — the St. Francis Park Apartments will be blessed at 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 17. Nearby blocks are being readied for market rate apartments as Portland’s housing costs continue to soar. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017
For REACH Family Institute, no one is a lost cause

MEDFORD — Charles and Conceição Solis believe God keeps working on us long after we’re born. Members of Sacred Heart Parish here, they offer therapy for struggling children, convinced there are no lost causes. 

Founders of REACH Family Institute, the Solis’s offer parents techniques to help children’s brains develop, especially if there was a problem along the way — traumatic birth, a car crash, near drowning, autism, dyslexia, attention deficit, epilepsy, cerebral palsy or neglect. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

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