In the beginning -
March 2000 by Fr. Kurt Burnette -
We have a new church building, thanks to the great charity of Archbishop
John Vlazny and the people of the Archdiocese of Portland, especially
the people of the North Portland Catholic Community and their pastor
Father Dave Gutman.
The building was a Roman Catholic Church since 1923,
although it was completely rebuilt in 1958. It seats 250 souls, and
has a full social hall with a kitchen. The church was called Blessed
Sacrament, and we are happy to say that the Blessed Sacrament is still
present in the neighborhood, although the name of the building has
The church is centrally located with easy freeway access.
With the location, and the beautiful facilities, we hope to be of
service to many people, especially eastern Catholics from the slavic
countries, Slovakia, Ukraine, Bosnia, Romania, and others. It is our
mission to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations.
The pictures below show how the church looked when we
first purchased it. We have done extensive remodeling in preparation
for the traditions of the Divine Liturgy.
The altar area has been extensively remodeled in preparation
for our traditional iconostasis. It doesn't appear as it does in these
photos anymore. The Romans left everything in the church in perfect
repair. The pews are high quality, and the floors and carpets in the
nave are new and in excellent condition. The social hall is located
underneath the church. We hope that, with some work, this entrance
may make the entire facility wheelchair accessible.
Our first Divine Liturgy was on the Feast of the Annunciation,
anno Domini 2000. We simply planned to have the first Liturgy as soon
as practical after the contract was effective. It was God's providence
that it fell on one of the greatest of all Feast Days. Concelebrating
was Father Frank Knusel, a Roman Catholic priest of the Archdiocese
of Portland. Father Knusel, a native of Scapoose, has been the guardian
angel of the Byzantine community in Portland for over twelve years.
In addition to making his own parish available since 1988, Father
Knusel has served as a bi-ritual priest, and has celebrated liturgy
for the community when no byzantine priest was available. It was proper
and just that he should be a concelebrant at this first Divine Liturgy
in the new building. Also concelebrating was Abbouna Jonathan Decker,
the pastor of the Maronite church in Portland. Abbouna admonished
the community to preach the good news to Oregon's many unchurched,
not just to the baptized Catholics of the area.
Other guests included Father Robert Antonelli, C.S.C.,
the archivist of the University of Portland, and Father John Kurtzke,
C.S.C., the chairman of the math department at the University of Portland.
After the Liturgy, the community celebrated with a small party in
the social hall. Out of habit, all the adults crowded into the kitchen,
just as we used to socialize in the kitchen of my house. The attendance
at the Liturgy was about 55 people.
October 2005 -
The front and side view of the church.
The interior of our church and one of the two sacristies.