The longest-ordained priest who is making a change this year is Fr. James Coleman, who moves from St. Luke in Woodburn to senior status.
The longest-ordained priest who is making a change this year is Fr. James Coleman, who moves from St. Luke in Woodburn to senior status.

UPDATED JUNE 14, 10 A.M.

The Archdiocese of Portland has announced clergy reassignments to take effect July 1, unless noted otherwise. In all, 22 priests are making a move. 

PASTORS

Fr. John Boyle

Previous assignment: adjutant judicial vicar, Archdiocese of Portland

New assignment: pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Cottage Grove/St. Philip Benizi Mission in Creswell

Father Boyle was born in London in 1958. He studied electrical engineering at a university in Manchester, England, before entering the Pontifical Beda College in Rome. Ordained for the Archdiocese of Southwark in England March 1997, Father Boyle eventually studied canon law at Rome’s Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, also known as the Angelicum.

During a sabbatical he served in the Diocese of Marquette, Michigan. In 2013, he was named director of the Archdiocese of Portland tribunal and was subsequently appointed adjutant judicial vicar.

Father Boyle served as pastor of St. Stephen Parish in Southeast Portland from 2015 to 2017 and became incardinated, or bound, to the Archdiocese of Portland in 2016.

He will continue canon law work in the archdiocese during his new assignment.

 

Franciscan Fr. Jorge Hernandez

New assignment: pastor of Holy Redeemer in North Bend, Holy Name in Coquille and St. Anne-St. Michael in Myrtle Point

Previous assignment: pastor of St. John the Baptist, Milwaukie

Father Hernandez was born in San Francisco del Rincon in central Mexico, in 1965.

His initial studies were done in Mexico before he emigrated to the United States in 1987.

He joined the Franciscan Friars in 1989, finishing his college education at Holy Names in Oakland, Calif., before attending the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif., and receiving a master’s in divinity. Father Hernandez was ordained in 1998.

He served in California before coming to Ascension Parish in Southeast Portland. In 2010, Father Hernandez received a master’s degree in liturgical studies from the University of Notre Dame. He was assigned as pastor in Milwaukie in 2012.

He was a frequent concelebrant at the Mass held annually on the grounds of the Cinco de Mayo Festival in downtown Portland. In 2015, he celebrated his silver jubilee as a Franciscan.

“St. Francis was a free spirit, very humble, always in touch with God and God’s creation,” Father Hernandez told the Sentinel. “He wanted to walk in Jesus’ footsteps. The Gospel calls us to find God in every level of our existence.”

It was Father Hernandez who invited the Franciscan Spiritual Center to move into a vacant convent on parish property in Milwaukie.

 

Fr. Moises Leal Gonzalez

Previous assignment: administrator, St. John Parish, Yamhill

New assignment: pastor, St. Luke Parish, Woodburn, together with its mission, St. Agnes Church in Hubbard

Father Leal Gonzalez, 45, was born in Jalisco, Mexico, in 1973. He attended elementary and secondary school in Jalisco, graduating from secondary school in 1989. He took his philosophy classes in Mexico City, earning his degree in 2006, and part of his theology at Mount Angel Seminary, finishing his master’s degree in divinity at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wisconsin, in 2014.

“My dream is to become an intelligent and holy priest and follow the steps of Christ,” he wrote as a deacon, introducing himself to the people of Sacred Heart Parish in Medford. “I love my vocation so much; it is a gift from God.”

He also has served at St. Mary, Corvallis, St. Alice, Springfield, St. Pius X, Portland, St. Paul, Silverton, St. Luke, Woodburn, and San Martin de Porres Mission, Dayton; and at two parishes in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Portland by Archbishop Sample in 2014. His first assignment as parochial vicar was at Ascension Parish in Portland.

In 2014, when he was ordained, the priest’s younger sister, Augustina Leal, of Los Banos, California, said her brother constantly “played Mass” as a young boy. “He’s very active and very compassionate,” his sister said. “I always knew he’d become a priest.”

 

Fr. John Marshall

New assignment: pastor of St. John the Baptist, Milwaukie

Previous assignment: in residence at Our Lady of the Lake, Lake Oswego

Father Marshall, who has been pursuing postgraduate studies at Mount Angel Seminary, was born in Pendleton in 1978. After attending the University of Portland, he entered Mount Angel, earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 2000. He worked for Umpqua Bank for four years.

As a seminarian studying theology, he served at St. Paul Parish, Silverton; Our Lady of the Mountain Parish, Ashland; and The Madeleine Parish, Northeast Portland.

He was ordained at St. Mary Cathedral in 2013 by Archbishop Alexander Sample and served for a year as administrator at St. Peter Parish, Eugene. He became administrator of St. Anthony Parish in Forest Grove in 2014. While there, he ministered to both English- and Spanish-speakers, taking part in spiritual events like a Good Friday play in which he played Simon of Cyrene, who helped carry Jesus’ cross. He also launched an annual Corpus Christi procession. In 2015, he made a pilgrimage to Turin, Italy, where he attended Mass with Pope Francis and saw the Shroud of Turin. He traveled with Father Sean Weeks, and the two met many religious leaders, even posing for a photo with a Buddhist monk.

 

Fr. Chrispine Otieno

Previous assignment: parochial vicar, St. Henry Parish in Gresham

New assignment: pastor, Our Lady of Sorrows in Portland

Father Otieno was born the oldest of five children of John Otieno Oriang and Margaret Otieno in Siaya, Kenya in 1982. He entered the Consulata Institute of Philosophy in Kenya in 2001, earning a diploma in philosophy and religious studies in 2005. He then began studying at the Pontifical Urbaniana University in Rome where he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 2005, as well as a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology in 2009. After some discernment, the now priest volunteered to be a missionary in Oregon, where he finished his studies at Mount Angel Seminary, earning a master’s degree in theology in 2013.

Father Otieno was ordained by Archbishop Alexander Sample in 2013.

He has since served as parochial vicar at St. Henry in Gresham, St. Paul in Silverton, St. Mary in Corvallis, St. Mary  in Eugene and Sacred Heart-St. Louis in Gervais.

 

ADMINISTRATORS

Fr. Amalanathan Irudayaraj

Current assignment: pastor, Sacred Heart Parish, Tillamook

Additional assignment: administrator, St. Mary by the Sea Parish, Rockaway, while continuing as pastor of Sacred Heart

Father Irudayaraj — known as Father Amal — was born in Nallamanayackenpatty, in the state of Tamil Nadu, in southern India, in 1965. He attended Arul Anandar College in Madurai and St. Paul Seminary in Trichy. He also studied at Kamaraj University in Madurai and Annamalai University in Chidambaram for postgraduate work.

He was ordained in 1991 for the Trichy Diocese.

Father Amal, who is the nephew of Father Panneer Selvam, pastor of Our Lady of the Dunes Parish in Florence, came to the archdiocese from India in June 2005. He worked as administrator of St. Boniface Parish in Sublimity until September, when he went back to India. He returned in 2007, serving as parochial vicar of St. Anthony Parish in Tigard 2007 – 2008, then as administrator of St. Boniface Parish 2008 – 2013. He moved out of the archdiocese for two years, returning to temporary ministry at Our Lady of the Dunes in 2015. In early 2016, he was parochial vicar and then administrator of Ascension Parish in Portland. In July 2016 he was assigned as administrator of Sacred Heart Parish in Tillamook, together with its mission, St. Joseph Church in Cloverdale. Father Amal was vicar forane of the North Coast parishes 2016 – 2018.

 

Fr. Jonah Lynch

Previous assignment: parochial vicar, St. Joseph Parish in Salem

New assignment: administrator, St. Jude Parish in Eugene

Father Lynch was born in 1978, grew up in Turner and graduated from Cascade High School in 1996. He attended McGill University in Montreal, where he rediscovered his faith through friendship with members of the Communion and Liberation ecclesial movement. While at McGill, he studied physics and played violin. During his last two years of college, he discerned a vocation to the priesthood and entered the seminary of the Fraternity of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo in Rome in 2000. After ordination in 2006, he worked for nearly a decade as a teacher and administrator in the seminary, also writing books, doing theater and producing video documentaries. In 2017, he finished a doctorate in fundamental theology with a thesis on mystical prayer and preaching. He then served vice-rector at the Seminary of the Priestly Fraternity of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo before being named parochial vicar of St. Joseph Parish in Salem in 2018.

 

Fr. Zani Pacanza

Previous assignment: parochial vicar at St. James Parish in McMinnville

New assignment: administrator, St. John in Yamhill/San Martin in Dayton

Father Pacanza grew up in Manila, Philippines where he earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast communication at the University of the Philippines-Diliman in 1999. He worked as a writer, producer and reporter for several news and public affairs programs of the ABS-CBN Broadcast Network. In 2003, the now priest worked as a communications trainer for customer service call center companies in Manila. He worked there for four years before discerning a call to the priesthood.

In 2008, Father Pacanza entered Christ the King Mission Seminary. Three years later, in 2011, he transferred to Mount Angel Seminary where he began studying for the Archdiocese of Portland.

He was ordained by Archbishop Alexander Sample in 2017 and has since served as parochial vicar at St. James Parish in McMinnville. During his time at St. James, Father Pacanza has also served the community in Grande Ronde where he served at St. Michael Mission there.

 

Father Edgar Rivera

New assignment: administrator of St. Helen Parish, Junction City, and St. Rose of Lima Parish in Monroe (effective December 22, 2018)

Previous assignment: parochial vicar at St. Mary, Eugene

Father Rivera was born in Tepic in western Mexico in 1981. He attended elementary and secondary schools in Tepic, graduating from high school in 1998. He attended the Universidad Autonoma de Nayarit in Tepic, where he earned a degree in accounting in 2004.

He entered the Seminario Hispano de Santa Maria de Guadalupe in Mexico City in 2004. He attended the Instituto de Estudios Ecclesiasticos where he earned a degree in philosophy in 2007. He later enrolled at Mount Angel Seminary.

His ministry training included assignments at St. Luke Parish, Woodburn, clinical pastoral education in Washington, D.C, and a pastoral year at St. Edward Parish, North Plains and at St. Alexander, Cornelius.

He was ordained in 2015 by Archbishop Alexander Sample and assigned to St. Mary in Eugene that same year.

Father Rivera began his service in Junction City and Monroe at the end of 2018 after the previous administrator was removed after a substantiated allegation of sexual misconduct that had occurred elsewhere.

 

CHAPLAIN

Fr. Andrew Thomas

Previous assignment: parochial vicar, St. John the Baptist Parish in Milwaukie

New assignment: chaplain, Our Lady of Peace Retreat Center, Beaverton, was effective April 1

Father Thomas was born in Pittsburgh in 1976. After teaching at Queen of Peace School in Salem for two years, he entered Mount Angel Seminary in 2000, earning a master’s of divinity in 2005.

His ministry formation assignments took place at St. Joseph Parish in Salem, St. Henry Parish in Gresham, St. Clare Parish in Portland and St. Paul Parish in Silverton. He completed his clinical pastoral education at St. Luke Regional Medical Center in Boise, Idaho.

Father Thomas served as parochial vicar of Sacred Heart Parish in Medford and Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Lake Oswego before being assigned as priest at Holy Trinity Parish in Bandon in 2008. In 2010, he was named pastor of St. Mary Parish in Albany.

In 2017, after a period of leave, he was named parochial vicar of Holy Trinity Parish in Beaverton. He went on to serve as parochial vicar of St. John the Baptist Parish in Milwaukie.

 

PAROCHIAL VICARS

Apostles of Jesus Fr. Macdonald Akuti

New assignment: parochial vicar of St. Mary by the Sea, Rockaway

Previous assignment: parochial vicar, Holy Spirit and St. Mary Magdalen parishes, Los Angeles

Apostle of Jesus Father Macdonald Akuti hails from the Moyo District in the East African country of Uganda. The youngest of nine children, he grew up in a small village overlooking the Nile River. At a young age, he was moved by the power of the Eucharist and became interested in becoming a priest.

Following secondary school, he pursued degrees in philosophy and theology at Apostles of Jesus Schools in Nairobi, Kenya, earning two undergraduate degrees. He made his first vows in the religious institute in 2006 and final vows in 2010 and became a priest in 2011. Father Akuti served in seminaries in Moshi, Tanzania and Bukinda, Uganda.

He had his first parish experience at Holy Spirit and St. Mary Magdalen parishes in west central Los Angeles, parishes guided by the Apostles of Jesus. He says he was excited to share his love of the Gospel and serve as a good shepherd in the multicultural area. Several other Apostles of Jesus priests are serving in western Oregon already.

 

Fr. Suresh Amalraj

Previous assignment: parochial vicar, Immaculate Conception in Stayton, Our Lady of Lourdes in Jordan and St Catherine of Siena in Mill City

New assignment: parochial vicar, Our Lady of the Lake in Lake Oswego

Born in Melapudur, India, Father Suresh Amalraj was ordained in 1978 for the Diocese of Tiruchirapalli. He holds master’s degrees in theology, education and Sanskrit. He also has a doctorate in comparative religions.

Before coming to Oregon in 2017, Father Amalraj served as the rector of St. Augustine Minor Seminary and vocation promoter for the Diocese of Tiruchirapalli in India. In his home country, Father Amalraj worked in the field of interfaith relationships and Christian unity for 17 years at diocesan, regional and national levels. Afterwards, he worked as principal and correspondent in the Diocesan English Medium School.

 

Fr. Peter Nhat Hoang

Previous assignment: parochial vicar, St. Mark and St. Peter parishes in Eugene

New assignment: parochial vicar, Sacred Heart Parish in Medford, was effective Dec. 16, 2018

Father Hoang was born in Saigon (now known as Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam, in 1984. He attended Grant high School in Portland before entering Mount Angel Seminary, transferring to St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, California, to complete his studies.

He was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Portland in 2013 by Archbishop Alexander Sample. Father Hoang previously served at St. Mary Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, St. Joseph Parish in Salem and Christ the King Parish in Milwaukie. In 2018 he was appointed parochial vicar of St. Mark and St. Peter parishes in Eugene.

 

Deacon Peter Julia (to be ordained a priest June 15)

Previous assignment: seminarian, North American College in Rome

New assignment: parochial vicar, Immaculate Conception Parish in Stayton/ St. Catherine Siena Mission in Mill City/ Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Jordan/ St. Patrick Mission in Lyons (summer only)

Deacon Julia was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1979. The family moved to New Jersey and then Texas. It was in Texas that he earned a bachelor’s degree in health and fitness from Baylor University. He then moved to Colorado Springs before settling in Portland in 2008. He worked as a rock climbing instructor, coach, guide, bicycle mechanic and a salesman before discerning a call to the priesthood.

Deacon Julia studied at Mount Angel Seminary for two years before moving to the North American College in Rome to continue his studies. His pastoral ministry assignments have included Central Catholic High School in Portland, Providence Benedictine Nursing Center in Mount Angel, Marymount International School in Rome and the Naples Navy Base in Italy. Father Julia served as a deacon at St. James Parish in McMinnville.

 

Deacon Stephen Kenyon (to be ordained a priest June 15)

New assignment: parochial vicar of Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point

Previous assignment: deacon, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Aloha

Deacon Stephen Kenyon, born in 1990 in Taichung, Taiwan, grew up in Taiwan and China where his parents were serving as Pentecostal Missionaries. When he was a teen, he and his family returned to the United States and moved to Portland where he graduated from Lincoln High School in 2009.

Deacon Kenyon went to college at George Fox University in Newberg, preparing to become a math teacher.

During his freshman year, he discerned God’s call to become a Catholic priest.

As a result, he joined the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults at St. Matthew Parish in Hillsboro and became Catholic at the Easter Vigil in 2011.

He completed his degree at George Fox in mathematics and philosophy while being involved at St. Peter Parish in Newberg.

In 2013, he entered Mount Angel Seminary. Since then he has served in pastoral assignments at St. Alice Parish in Springfield, Holy Family Parish in Southeast Portland, St. Anthony Parish in Tigard, San Lorenzo Tezonco in México City, Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Washington, St. Patrick Parish in Canby, and a pastoral year internship at St. Joseph Parish in Salem.

He was ordained to the diaconate in May 2018. As a deacon, he has served at St. Anne Parish in Grants Pass and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Aloha.

 

Fr. Richard LeFaivre

Previous assignment: studying at the Pontifical North American College, Rome

New assignment: parochial vicar, St. Pius X Parish, Portland

Father LeFaivre was born 1966 in Columbia, Missouri, and moved to Beaverton as a youth. He graduated from Beaverton High School in 1984 then earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Lewis and Clark College in 1989, spending a year abroad studying at the University of Edinburgh. He worked for Lewis and Clark College’s technology department, for CompUSA and for Office Depot, coached youth soccer for West Sylvan Middle School, and volunteered at the Goose Hollow Family Shelter. He was baptized a Catholic in 2008 at St. Clare Parish in Southwest Portland.

Discerning a call to the priesthood, he entered Mount Angel Seminary, completing pre-theology courses in 2013. He then studied at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, earning a sacred theology baccalaureate from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in 2016. He was ordained a deacon at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome in 2017.

Father LeFaivre served as a parochial vicar at St. Mary Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland in summer 2018 before returning to Rome in fall 2018 to complete a sacred theology license in spiritual theology. He served as a deacon at the University of Mary in Rome. He was ordained by Archbishop Alexander Sample in 2018 at St. Mary Cathedral of Immaculate Conception.

 

Fr. Henry Rufo

Previous assignment: parochial vicar, Holy Redeemer Parish in North Bend, Holy Name Parish in Coquille and Sts. Anne and Michael Mission in Myrtle Point

New assignment: parochial vicar, Holy Name Parish in Coquille and Sts. Anne and Michael Mission in Myrtle Point

Father Rufo was born in Cebu City, the Philippines, in 1965, one of eight children. He graduated from Holy Rosary School of Pardo, Cebu City, in 1982 and received a bachelor’s degree in commerce and accounting from the University of San Carlos, Cebu City, in 1987. He also studied at the Cebu Institute of Technology and at the University of Urbaniana in Rome, Italy.

In 1995, he entered Mount Angel Seminary.

He was ordained for the Archdiocese of Portland in 2001 and served as a parochial vicar of St. Anne Parish in Grants Pass and Sacred Heart Parish in Medford. Has was pastor at St. Helen Parish in Sweet Home and was pastor of Nativity Parish in Rainier and St. John the Baptist Parish in Clatskanie.

In 2017, after a period of leave, he was named parochial vicar of Holy Redeemer Parish in North Bend, Holy Name Parish in Coquille and Sts. Anne and Michael Mission in Myrtle Point.

 

Fr. Julio Cesar Torres

Previous assignment: parochial vicar, St. Pius X Parish, Portland

New assignment: parochial vicar, St. Henry Parish, Gresham

Father Torres was born in Cardenas, Tabasco, Mexico in 1982. He attended elementary and secondary schools in Aqua Dulce, Veracruz, Mexico, graduating from high school in 2000. He studied at the Major Seminary of Mary Immaculate earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 2004 and a bachelor’s degree in theology in 2007.

He began his priestly studies at St. Patrick Seminary, Menlo Park, and then transferred to Sacred Heart School of Theology, Hales Corner, Wisconsin, where he earned a master of divinity. He was ordained a deacon in 2013, and ordained a priest by Archbishop Sample in 2014. His pastoral year as a deacon was at St. John the Apostle Parish, Oregon City.

Suzanne Maschler was among the large group from St. John the Apostle who came to see Father Torres ordained in 2014. Maschler said at the time that it was apparent from Father Torres’ service that the priest is a natural teacher. At least 25 students from St. John the Apostle School lined the pews of the cathedral for his ordination.

Father Torres served as a parochial vicar at St. Anthony Parish in Tigard before going to St. Pius X in 2017.

 

ENTERING SENIOR STATUS

Fr. James Coleman

Previous assignment: pastor, St. Luke Parish, Woodburn

New assignment: entering senior status

Father Coleman, a fifth-generation Oregonian born in 1946, attended Serra Catholic High School in Salem and Mount Angel Seminary High School and College. He then studied at the Canisianum in Innsbruck, Austria, receiving a license there, and then at the University of Innsbruck, where he received a master of divinity.

He was ordained by Archbishop Robert Dwyer at St. Joseph Church in Salem in 1973. St. Joseph was his home parish. After his ordination, he served as associate pastor at St. Andrew Parish in Northeast Portland, St. John the Apostle in Oregon City and St. Henry Parish in Gresham; then as pastor of St. Andrew, 1983 – 88, at which time he began work as a missionary for the Society of St. James in Ecuador and Bolivia.

Carol Bitz, a St. Andrew parishioner, told the Catholic Sentinel that Father Coleman kept parishioners apprised of life in South America through vivid letters about the people he worked with, the cows ambling past his window, and the amazing insects. In his letters, he would ask after the children in the parish by name.

He came back to Oregon in 2002, serving as parochial vicar back at his home parish, St. Joseph in Salem. He became pastor of St. Joseph in 2003, remaining at that parish until 2007, when he departed for more work as a missionary in the Diocese of Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

Father Coleman’s ministry resumed in Oregon in 2010, when he served as parochial vicar at Sacred Heart, Medford, July 1 – Aug. 31. He then traveled to Yamhill, where he was priest administrator of St. John Parish, and then Woodburn, where he has been pastor since 2013.

Father Coleman has also served as vicar of Hispanic ministry for the archdiocese.

Fr. Joseph Heuberger

New assignment: Entering senior status

Previous assignment: administrator, Our Lady of Sorrows, Southeast Portland

Father Heuberger, a native of Sublimity and son of a carpenter, was born in 1944. 

He studied at Mount Angel Seminary high school and college and then went on to St. Thomas in Kenmore, Washington, then served as a deacon at St. Charles Parish in Northeast Portland. 

Archbishop Robert Dwyer ordained him a priest in 1970 at St. Boniface Church in Sublimity. He presided at his first Mass in the same church where he spent much of his childhood. He went to St. James Parish in McMinnville as associate pastor until 1977, when he was named associate pastor at St. Matthew Parish in Hillsboro.

In 1981, he was named pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Toledo (now closed) and its mission, St. Mary in Siletz. He oversaw weatherization of the Toledo church in 1984, saving the parishioners about $2,000 per year in heating and cooling costs. 

He served as parochial vicar at St. John in Oregon City from 1987 to 1988 and at St. Cecilia in Beaverton in 1988 before being named pastor of Immaculate Heart Parish in North Portland. He worked hard, but told the Sentinel in 1988: “In many cases, a pastor’s role is to stay out of the way and let people do their jobs.”

He sat on a committee to reflect on evangelization to black Catholics. He rued the closure of Immaculate Heart and St. Andrew schools, which had become strong hubs of outreach to non-Catholics. 

He has a sense of humor. In 1994 he became pastor of Visitation Parish in Verboort. He quipped that school children were selling cookie dough so the school could “make some dough.” In 1998, he called the annual summer picnic “The Young and the Rest of Us.” He also joked that he would excuse parish council members and staff from a 1999 reconciliation service because they had just prepared the budget and that was “penance enough.”

When he first moved to St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Salem in 2003, he welcomed many visitors to the door who thought the rectory was the St. Vincent de Paul Society thrift store. He would jokingly offer them his furniture. 

He was known for keeping pet chickens in his yard in Salem. He also did the plumbing and some carpentry at the church. He was chaplain of the Catholic Order of Foresters.  

Father Heuberger has been a presenter at Engaged Encounter workshops, helping couples about to wed. “Marriage is supposed to open our relationships to everyone else,” the priest said at a 2014 session. 

Upon the illness and death of Father Ron Millican, Father Heuberger offered pastoral care at Our Lady of Sorrows in Southeast Portland. 

He will live at St. John Vianney residence in Beaverton. 



Fr. James Graham

Previous assignment: pastor, Holy Redeemer Parish in North Bend

New assignment: Entering senior status

Father James Graham was born to a Pentecostal family in Boise, Idaho, in 1948. His family moved around in his youth, living in Alaska and then Oregon. He graduated from Oregon City High School in 1966 and then enlisted in the Navy — during the Vietnam War.

After the Navy, Father Graham worked for the Ford Motor Co. Eventually, he attended an Assemblies of God bible college, Vanguard University, earning a bachelor’s degree in religion-pastoral ministry in 1983. He then studied at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif. In 1993, the now priest went to work for the Oregon Department of Human Services, Adult and Family Services in Roseburg. It was there at St. Joseph Parish that Father Graham decided to embrace the Catholic faith. He converted to Catholicism in 1995. He entered Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wis., in the fall of 2007. He earned a master’s degree in divinity at Sacred Heart in 2012 and was ordained in Portland by Archbishop John Vlazny the same year.

He’s been serving at Holy Redeemer Parish in North Bend, as well as being administrator of Holy Name in Coquille and Sts. Anne and Michael in Myrtle Creek since 2012.

His ministry training included work at Our Lady of the Lake in Lake Oswego, St. John the Apostle in Oregon City, Church of the Gesu in Milwaukee, Wis., St. Camillus Assisted Living/Skilled Nursing Center in Wauwatosa, Wis., St. Stephen in Portland and Holy Apostles in New Berlin, Wis.

 

Fr. Thomas Yurchak

New assignment: entering senior status

Previous assignment: pastor of St. Jude, Eugene

Father Yurchak was born in Sioux Falls, S.D. He graduated from Portland State University (Archdiocesan House of Studies). He continued with seminary studies at the Collegium Canisianum, University of Innsbruck, Austria, and was ordained in 1976 at St. Paul Church in Eugene.

Father Yurchak served as associate pastor of St. Paul Parish in Eugene St. Mary in Albany, St. Pius X in Portland and St. John the Apostle, Oregon City.

He then served as chaplain at the Newman Center of Oregon State University in Corvallis 1985-90. During his tenure at the college, he offered an analysis of the draft U.S. bishops’ pastoral on campus ministry. “We want the intellectual lay person to be religious,” Father Yurchak told the Sentinel. “But the devout Catholic of the future must also be intelligent."

From 1990 to 1992, he studied canon law at the University St. Paul in Ottawa, Canada. Upon his return he was presiding judge and judicial episcopal vicar for the Archdiocese of Portland. He also was administrator of the Church of the Resurrection in West Linn 1992-93 and began working full time at the Pastoral Center as judicial vicar. 

He was assigned as pastor of St. Patrick Parish in Canby in 1994, where he served for a decade.

In 2004, he was named to the post at St. Jude, where he stayed for 15 years.

In Canby, he took part in all sorts of functions. He once baked a chocolate cake for a Knights of Columbus benefit auction, fetching $90.

In 2005, he and a Eugene rabbi teamed up to offer a five-week adult education class on folk religion, piety and art in their two traditions.

Father Yurchak served on the archdiocese’s priests’ senate and helped begin Oregon’s Wholistic Peace Institute. He was an early adopter of Pope Francis’ Year of Mercy initiative.