Catholics pose in front of the St. Anthony Chapel Car, funded by the Catholic Extension Society, in 1909. (Sentinel archives)
Catholics pose in front of the St. Anthony Chapel Car, funded by the Catholic Extension Society, in 1909. (Sentinel archives)

1846 — The Catholic Church of the Pacific Northwest is raised to the Archdiocese of Oregon City — the second archdiocese in the United States.

A brick church is constructed at St. Paul.

1847 — Archbishop Blanchet ordains J.F. Jayol to the priesthood at St. Paul, the first ordination in the new archdiocese.

In an anti-Catholic ruse, deaths of Protestant missionaries near Walla Walla are falsely linked to Catholic missionaries, leaving the new archdiocese on the defensive for decades.

1851 — Portland’s first Catholic church, St. Mary, is built in the woods at what would later become Northwest Fifth and Couch. In three years, it would be moved to Southwest Third and Stark.

1853 — A building in Salem is rented and used as a church for more than a decade.

Sent by Archbishop Blanchet, Father James Croke rides and walks hundreds of miles from seashore to mountains in the southern Oregon Territory, counting 303 Catholics, most of them “lukewarm.”

1858 — Miners in the Jacksonville area donate for a 23-by-36-foot church, which Archbishop Blanchet dedicates Nov. 1. Father Croke makes it his Catholic center, hoping to inspire fervor. Built without nails, it still stands.

1859 — In Portland, Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary found the all-girls St. Mary’s Academy, the oldest Catholic secondary school in Oregon.

1862 — Archbishop Blanchet moves to Portland.

1864 — A wooden church holding 300 faithful is established in Salem.

1868 — Vicariate Apostolic of Idaho and Montana created, shrinking the territory of the Archdiocese of Oregon City.

1869 — First meeting of the St. Vincent de Paul Society on the Pacific Coast takes place at St. Mary Cathedral in Portland.

The Holy Names Sisters win the admiration of the region by tending to patients during a smallpox epidemic in Jacksonville.

1870 — The Catholic Sentinel is founded by Catholic laity.

Catholic women of Jacksonville pose in the 1870s. (Sentinel archives)

1874 — St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish is established in Astoria. Irish American soldiers from Fort Stevens took up a collection, pulled stumps, cut thickets and graded the slope. The church still sits on the hilly site.

1875 — Mother Joseph and the Sisters of Providence found St. Vincent Hospital in Portland, the city’s first hospital.

1882 — Mount Angel Abbey founded; five years later, Mount Angel College is founded. It will become Mount Angel Seminary.

1885 — A soaring new gothic cathedral in Portland makes a statement — Catholics cannot be marginalized.

1887 — St. Mary is established as the first Catholic parish in the Eugene area. Masses are celebrated in a church bought from Methodists.

1888 — St. Monica Parish is founded in Marshfield, later to be called Coos Bay.

1889 — Parish priests from St. Mary in Corvallis had traveled the muddy roads to Newport for years when Father P.J. Lynch decides that Newport’s small Catholic community needed a church of its own and builds it.

St. Mary Parish School is founded in Eugene. Almost 90 years later, the school will be renamed for Archbishop Edwin O’Hara (ordained in 1905).

Gold has played out in Jacksonville. Four years earlier, the railway had picked a route that missed the town, and it began to fade. Precious Blood Father A.M. Grussi visits and is struck by the poverty. He notices a hungry cow eating old playbills off a post.

Immaculate Heart Parish stands on Portland’s east side in 1889. (Sentinel archives)

1890 — Archbishop Gross approves fundraising for a church in Tillamook, which had been served for 30 years by priests from the Grand Ronde mission. Indigenous peoples live in the area, as do Irish settlers and later Germans, who saw ads posted in a German Catholic newspaper.

After dedication of the new church in Ashland, Archbishop Gross gives a two hour lecture on “The True Church of Christ.” The archbishop also dedicates St. Michael, the first Catholic church in Medford.

1896 — Workers complete St. Ann Church in Grants Pass but there is no money for a rectory. The priest sleeps in the sacristy.

1901 — Archbishop Christie buys the land and buildings (with help from the Congregation of Holy Cross) that will become the University of Portland.

A small Catholic chapel is established in Seaside with famed Povey stained glass.

1903 — The Diocese of Baker is created, further shrinking the archdiocese’s territory.

1906 — Mercy Hospital in Marshfield (Coos Bay) opens, with the local pastor, Father Edward Donnelly, as founder, architect and builder. The Sisters of Mercy staff it.

1908 — The Holy Names Sisters move southern Oregon’s St. Mary’s Academy from Jacksonville to growing Medford.

1909 — The first railroad chapel car arrives in Portland. The Pullman-style cars, featuring pews, an altar and a confessional, bring priests and the sacraments to outlying areas in Oregon. “Wherever it goes, the chapel car inspires people with the desire to have their own church where there is none,” writes Father Hugh McDevitt.

Catholics pose in front of the St. Anthony Chapel Car, funded by the Catholic Extension Society, in 1909. (Sentinel archives)

1913 — To keep Catholic children from attending the Protestant Sunday school, Genevieve Ryan of Newport conducts a Sunday school class when a priest cannot come for Mass.

1915 — The first Newman Club in Oregon is established at the University of Oregon. In the 1920s, the city’s Ku Klux Klan gained 4,000 members by opposing the club.

1922 — Oregon Compulsory Education Act is passed by Oregon voters. It would require all children to attend public schools. The Holy Names Sisters and Hill Military Academy sue the governor, and in three years the Supreme Court decides the act is unconstitutional.

Catholic Truth Society is founded. It will become Oregon Catholic Press.

1924 — The first Catholic church in Brookings, built just a year prior, is destroyed by fire but immediately rebuilt, showing the can-do attitude of south coast Catholics.

1926 — A new Romanesque cathedral is dedicated at Northwest 18th and Couch in Portland.

1928 — Archdiocese of Oregon City officially changes its name to the Archdiocese of Portland.

A new Sacred Heart Church in Medford is built to seat 600 worshippers. It is still in use and has thousands of registered families.

1933 — Archbishop Howard creates Catholic Charities of Oregon to serve as an umbrella organization for the growing number of ministries flowing from the Catholic community in response to the Great Depression.

A resident of St. Mary’s Home for Boys gears up for the gridiron in 1930. (Sentinel archives)

1936 — Benedictine Father Vincent Carey addresses 100 Tillamook youths on the difficulties, dangers and spiritual problems of modernity, including mixed marriages, drink and immorality. The priest in Newport moonlights as a fisherman and dishwasher to support himself during the Great Depression.

1937 — Father Francis Leipzig begins a monthly journey to offer Mass for a large group of Catholic boys at the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp south of Florence. Local Catholics attend. Florence would have its own parish within three decades.

1939 — Archbishop Howard founds Central Catholic High School — a school supported by the entire archdiocese.

1948 — Archbishop Howard dedicates the first church in Springfield — St. Alice. The chapel was obtained from Medford, where parishioners dismantled and transported it.

1950 — Newport Catholics come on summer evenings with their axes, shovels and saws to prepare the site for their new church.

Father James Mosely is ordained in Mississippi; he will serve as the first African American priest in the Portland Archdiocese.

1952 — To help Lane County families and individuals in need, Msgr. Edmund Murnane organizes Catholic Charities of Lane County as a Eugene branch of Catholic Charities of Oregon.

Archbishop Howard dedicates All Souls Church in Myrtle Creek. Parishioners not only donated the money but did much of the construction themselves.

1957 — A half-dozen Carmelite sisters from the Los Angeles area establish Carmel of Maria Regina in Eugene. The plan for a new monastery includes a turnstile through which the house can receive packages and food from outside.

1959 — An explosion in Roseburg severely damages the Sisters of Mercy’s Hospital, but the women roll up their sleeves, find partners and rebuild.

Home visits have been the core of St. Vincent de Paul life since its Portland start in 1869. Here in 1960, Vincentians Charles Royer and Frank Stark deliver food to a family. (Courtesy Portland Council of St. Vincent de Paul)

1971 — Sacred Heart Parish in Medford announces it can’t afford to continue its high school. A lay group keeps it going as an independent venture.

1974 — Archbishop Dwyer confers the permanent diaconate on Loris Buccola, principal of Mount Angel High School, making him the first ordained married deacon in the archdiocese. The permanent diaconate was reinstituted in 1967.

1977 — Sacred Heart High School in Tillamook closes. The grade school will follow in three years.

1981 — Archbishop Power establishes the Southeast Asian Vicariate at the old Holy Child Academy campus in Northeast Portland.

1982 — Nativity of the Mother of God Ukrainian Parish is founded in Springfield. Many original members are Ukrainians who immigrated to the United States after World War II.

1987 — In Seaside, Our Lady of Victory Parish’s first Sunday dinner for the poor serves 19 people. Within five years, it would feed about 150.

1988 — Father Bob Krueger, who supports the labor movement, is pastor in Medford. “Our hope for the community is that we will become truly concerned about the issues of love and justice and peace in our world,” he says.

1990 — Members of All Souls Parish in Myrtle Creek begin a St. Vincent de Paul conference to help an increasing number of families hurt by the collapse of the timber economy.

1996 — Father Martin King is the first African American to be ordained within the Portland Archdiocese.

2004 — The Archdiocese of Portland is the first Catholic diocese to declare bankruptcy after a spate of clergy sex abuse suits. The bankruptcy would extend into 2007.

Kathy Nelson and Cheryl Magnano dress the altar in the new St. Anne Church in Grants Pass in 2018. (Marc Salvatore/Catholic Sentinel)

2018 — The people of Grants Pass complete a new church. “The hope is that this will inspire our fellow Catholics who have not been attending Mass that this is a beautiful faith,” said parishioner Kathy Nelson.

2020 — All Masses in the Archdiocese of Portland suspended for several months due to the coronavirus pandemic. Number of worshippers drops off.