Archbishop Alexander Sample — near the eighth anniversary of his April 2, 2013, installation as head of the Catholic Church in Oregon — modeled evangelization when he appeared on Real Life Catholic last month.

He listened as host Chris Stefanick described how there are more and more enemies of Christian culture and Western civilization, how Portland was the epicenter, with “people who are destroying everything in the name of injustice.”

Stefanick asked, “So you’re archbishop in this place. You’ve experienced attacks on the church itself from this really anti-Christian culture. Help us make sense of what the heck’s going on.”

In his response, Archbishop Sample eschewed the talk of enemies and instead turned the conversation toward evangelization — just as he did upon his appointment.

He acknowledged that the Pacific Northwest has long been a secular place — noting that he had understood that when he was named archbishop of Portland in 2013. “I see it as rich, fertile ground for the planting of the new evangelization,” he said then, explaining his belief that Christ is what people of all kinds yearn for, even if they don’t yet realize it.

On Real Life Catholic, he said the people he sees on the streets are not enemies but rather children of God, seekers and potential converts.

He added that there’s an openness in the culture here, and he sees in that the opportunity to share the Gospel, “the good news, the joy, the key that unlocks the meaning of life.”

The archbishop also said people shouldn’t think Portland is only what they see on the news, and that the archdiocese is on the verge of new initiatives to proclaim the Gospel afresh to Catholics and also to the wider culture.

In refusing to characterize Oregonians in terms of their differences, and in particular declining to define Catholics by a division against our neighbors, Archbishop Sample reminded listeners that we evangelize through hope and love.

That’s a message we all need to hear.