Portland, Ore., Apr 3, 2013 / 15:19 pm
Archbishop Alexander Sample was installed as head of the Archdiocese of Portland, Ore. on Tuesday, using his homily to encourage local Catholics to proclaim the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
"Jesus is alive and has become for us the source of eternal life. By his death he has destroyed death, freed us from the corruption of sin and opened up for us the way to the Kingdom of Heaven," he said April 2.
"We must always keep our eyes fixed on Jesus...It is always about him, and we must never lose sight of that."
The 52-year-old archbishop encouraged Catholics to imitate St. Peter's "bold and fearless proclamation of the Good News."
His installation Mass was held at the Chiles Center on the University of Portland campus.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the apostolic nuncio to the U.S., read the papal letter from then-Pope Benedict XVI which appointed the former Bishop of Marquette, Mich. to head the archdiocese.
Mass con-celebrants included Archbishop Vigano, Archbishop emeritus of Portland John Vlazny, and auxiliary Bishop emeritus of Portland Kenneth Steiner.
Onetime Portland archbishop Cardinal William Levada attended the Mass with about 40 archbishops, bishops and abbots and 200 priests.
During his remarks, Archbishop Sample urged the congregation to come to know Jesus Christ "intimately and profoundly" so that they can share him with others.
"We need saints for our own day to be the salt of the earth, the light of the world, and a leaven in society," he said.
Among the challenges of the present age, Archbishop Sample noted "an almost unprecedented and increasing radical secularism that seeks to push God out of the picture." He echoed Benedict XVI's and Pope Francis' warnings against a "dictatorship of relativism" that does not recognize "unchangeable truths," especially about human dignity.
He also warned of the "challenges of our own making," including sex abuse scandals.
The archbishop asked others to pray for him, entrusting his ministry to Mary Immaculate, the patroness of the archdiocese. "May she form in me the likeness of her Son, Jesus, who is the Good Shepherd.
Archbishop Sample previously served as Bishop of Marquette from 2006 to early this year. He was 45 when he was ordained and was the youngest U.S. bishop at the time. Born in Kalispell, Montana in 1960, he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Marquette on June 1, 1990 by Bishop Mark F. Schmitt.
There are more than 415,000 Catholics in the western Oregon archdiocese, where they make up 12 percent of the archdiocese's total population. The area holds 124 parishes, 150 diocesan priests, almost 400 women religious, 78 brothers and 79 permanent archdeacons.
The archdiocese is the second oldest in the U.S. after the Archdiocese of Baltimore, having been created in 1846. Its present territory is almost 30,000 square miles and reaches the state borders of Washington and California.
Archbishop Sample will tour his new archdiocese and celebrate regional Masses across western Oregon, with dates and times to be announced later.