At a conference banquet, Catholic Sentinel editor Ed Langlois portrays Stephen McCormick, who edited the Oregon paper in the 1870s. (Rob DeFrancesco/Catholic Media Association)
At a conference banquet, Catholic Sentinel editor Ed Langlois portrays Stephen McCormick, who edited the Oregon paper in the 1870s. (Rob DeFrancesco/Catholic Media Association)
Almost 200 Catholic journalists and other church communicators gathered in Portland July 4-7 for the annual Catholic Media Conference. Another 200 took part in workshops and liturgies online.

It was the first time in Portland for the conference. The Catholic Media Association has been organizing such events since being formed in 1911.

The team from the Catholic Sentinel and El Centinela were local hosts, taking attendees to a picnic at Portland’s International Rose Test Garden, a reflective night at The Grotto and liturgies at St. Mary Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and St. Michael Church in downtown Portland.

Some attendees went to the Independence Day fireworks show at the Willamette River and after the glorious display had a Portland moment when protesters ignited a U.S. flag.

But most travelers said Portland charmed them. They gave local organizers a standing ovation on the final night.

Archbishop Alexander Sample addressed the group at a July 7 luncheon, telling the communicators he has come to love western Oregon and thanking them for their work to bring the good news to a world that needs it.

“Catholic media, over the centuries, has played a vital role in sharing the Gospel and the telling of our story,” Archbishop Sample said.

Archbishop Sample met with Xaverian Sister Nathalie Becquart, a Vatican official who had given a keynote address, urging communicators to explain synodality to the world and to listen to people on the margins of society. Another keynote speaker, theologian Timothy O’Malley from Notre Dame, urged the group to always tell the full story and avoid propaganda.

At the July 5 Mass at the cathedral, Auxiliary Bishop Peter Smith told the communicators they have a deeper mission than secular journalists. “You bring Christ’s point of view into every environment and situation, maybe never mentioning the name of Christ,” Bishop Smith said.

He cited a photographer in Ukraine who stopped taking photos to aid a people trapped by a Russian attack. She took 30 people to safety.

“Serve as Jesus served,” Bishop Smith said.

Local volunteers stepped forward to help with the conference, including Sue Anker, Marcy Marlow, Karen Mertens, Patrick Ryan, Claudia Dockter, Carol McMenamin and Miriam Garcia.