Thanks to Kristen Hannum for taking on the architecture of the Catholic churches in western Oregon. We don’t have much to crow about. Through our history, churches had to be practical and affordable, not always the best formula for creativity and beauty.

We were lucky that the great Pietro Belluschi accepted a number of Catholic commissions in the archdiocese. The fact that Belluschi was not a church-goer probably explains the inadequacies of his Catholic designs (his Lutheran and Methodist commissions were much more successful). The standout post-Vatican II church in the archdiocese is St. Edward in Keizer by Chris Di Loreto. But the finest example of Catholic church architecture in the archdiocese is our own St. Mary’s Cathedral. The sober, simple, classic lines of Joseph Jacobberger (1928) were skillfully enhanced (1996) by Thomas Hacker, who clearly understood not only the Catholic ethos but also the importance of beauty.

Msgr. Patrick Brennan

Pastor of St. Mary Cathedral

Northwest Portland