Fr. Franz Xavier Weninger was a traveling Jesuit who urged Portland’s Catholics to begin a newspaper. (Jesuit archives)
Fr. Franz Xavier Weninger was a traveling Jesuit who urged Portland’s Catholics to begin a newspaper. (Jesuit archives)

When we first conceived the idea of establishing a Catholic journal for this Northwestern coast, we were conscious of the difficult task we were about to undertake. It is therefore with mingled feelings of trepidation and of joy that we launch our craft upon the stormy and often disastrous sea of journalism. Trepidation, because of the knowledge that we have great difficulties in our path to overcome, and joy because it has been our lot to be the first in this great Northwest to embark on the glorious work of thus espousing and defending our holy faith, and to disabuse the minds of well-thinking people of existing prejudices against our doctrines and practices.

In coming before the people of this great and growing section of our country, we feel it our duty to acknowledge that we have an abiding faith in the firm and genuine support of the Catholic population of the same, and that we undertook the venture with that conviction; without its verification we fear for the result.

The Catholic Sentinel is in no small degree indebted to the Very Rev. F. X. Weninger, SJ, for its appearance at this time, as that zealous missionary, during his successful labors in this city, more than once particularized the utility of the Catholic press in the dissemination of sound, moral and religious principles, in destroying the many absurd prejudices against our holy Church, the necessity of encouraging and supporting the same and the

immense good it has already accomplished.

The Reverend Father also encouraged us personally in the idea of establishing a Catholic journal and that, together with

the kind services and moral aid which the Very Rev. J. F. Fierens, V. G. and Administrator of this Archdiocese, and the Reverend Clergy of the entire Ecclesiastical Province, have been pleased to accord us in the furtherance of our object, have determined us to make the attempt of establishing a Catholic journal.

It will not be necessary to again allude to the principles which will guide us in the work we have laid out for The Catholic Sentinel. Suffice it to say that we will not deviate one iota from those laid down in our prospectus, and that it shall ever try to be what its name purports — a sentinel or defender of our faith from outside and inside disturbances, and to our brethren, a medium for the interchange of ideas, having in view mutual improvement and benefit.

Our efforts will also be directed towards the early establishment of good schools for boys, which will enable Catholic parents to have their sons educated at home and in accordance with their religious principles, and also towards the erection of a cathedral in this city, worthy of the thousands of faithful children of our Church in this Archdiocese and an ornament to this young and prosperous city of Portland.

In conclusion we return our heartfelt thanks to all those disinterested friends who have assisted us in bringing this enterprise to its realization, and assure them that their acts of friendship will never be forgotten. We would also ask all true Catholics to unite and co-operate with us in this great undertaking, and with the blessing of God upon our joint efforts, we do not doubt but that the hopes of its projectors and its friends will be realized to their fullest extent.

— Henry Herman, editor, Feb. 5, 1870