We join area area Catholics, indeed a great many others, in bidding a sad farewell to Bishop Alexander K. Sample as he prepares to leave the Upper Peninsula for his new station as archbishop in Portland, Ore. Sample, 52, is expected to depart Marquette in about one week for Portland. His installation there is scheduled for April 2.
A mass at the St.Peter Cathedral in Marquette recently served as a kind of goodbye ceremony for Sample, who has been in the U.P. for 35 years and considers it his home. A native of Kalispell, Mont., Sample noted how difficult it was for him to leave the area.
"Some of the emotion of it is hitting me. When it's some distance away you can be busy with packing, wrapping up things here and taking care of business that's already pulling at me from Portland." he said in a recent front page story. "I love the Upper Peninsula. The Upper Peninsula is such a beautiful part of the country and I love the nature and the beauty of the Upper Peninsula. But what I'll miss most is the people."
And the people will miss him, judging by the number of people who packed into the cathedral for the goodbye mass.
When Sample took over as Bishop of Marquette - a post he has held for seven years - he was the youngest bishop in the U.S. The almost entirely rural Diocese of Marquette encompasses the entire Upper Peninsula.
The archdiocese of Portland is quite another place. It is home to more than 415,000 Catholics and 124 parishes, as well as 40 Catholic elementary schools, 10 high schools, two universities, a seminary and 10 hospitals.
We congratulate Sample on a job well done and wish him all the best.