Oregons first Catholic church was celebrated Jan. 5 with the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Portland and more than 200 participants.
St. Paul Catholic Church housed the great number of people for Mass, led by the nations youngest archbishop, Archbishop Alexander K. Sample, to recognize the 175th anniversary of the first Mass in what is now Oregon.
He took over in April, so this was his first official visit to St. Paul, said Monsignor Gregory Moys, who has been pastor of St. Paul for more than four years. He loves rural areas and really made himself at home at his first visit. Hes full of joy and very personable.
The event also featured a history presentation by Moys about the origins of St. Paul and a concert at the oldest church building in Oregon.
The crowd then assembled at St. Paul Community Hall for a dinner celebration, which was donated by parishioners.
We planned lunch for 150 and we served 225, said Maureen Ernst, a member of the St. Paul Parish Committee, which started planning the event eight months ago. It was just phenomenal.
She added that the weather couldnt have been more ideal, the Mass led by the archbishop couldnt have been more inspiring and the excitement over the number of guests couldnt have been more heart-warming.
It was everything we could possibly have hoped for, she said.
St. Paul Parochial School, Oregons oldest Catholic School, will celebrate its 170th anniversary in the fall.