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Alexander King Sample (born November 7, 1960) is an American prelate of the Catholic Church. He has been the eleventh Archbishop of Portland, Oregon, since 2013. He was previously the twelfth Bishop of Marquette, Michigan.

His Excellency, The Most Reverend

Alexander King Sample
Archbishop of Portland in Oregon
ArchdiocesePortland in Oregon
AppointedJanuary 29, 2013
InstalledApril 2, 2013
PredecessorJohn George Vlazny
OrdinationJune 1, 1990
by Mark Schmitt
ConsecrationJanuary 25, 2006
by Adam Maida, James Henry Garland, and Mark Schmitt
Personal details
Born (1960-11-07) November 7, 1960 (age 58)
Kalispell, Montana
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous postBishop of Marquette (2006-2013)
Alma mater
(English: "To contemplate the face of Christ")
Styles of
Alexander King Sample
Coat of arms of Alexander King Sample.svg
Reference style
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleArchbishop
Ordination history of
Alexander King Sample
Priestly ordination
Ordained byMark Schmitt
DateJune 1, 1990
Episcopal consecration
Consecrated byAdam Maida
DateJanuary 25, 2006
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Alexander King Sample as principal consecrator
Peter Leslie SmithApril 29, 2014


Early life and educationEdit

Alexander King Sample was born in Kalispell, Montana, to Alexander and Joyce (née Dory) Sample (d. 2017),[1] his father was of Scottish heritage and his mother Polish.[2] He graduated from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1978. He attended Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan, where he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in 1982 and a Master of Science degree in metallurgical engineering in 1984.[3]

Interested in becoming a priest since the fourth grade, he decided to study for the priesthood after graduating from MTU, saying, "I knew I would never know peace until I explored the vocation to be a priest."[4] He graduated in 1986 from the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, and then entered the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio.[3]


Sample was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Marquette by Bishop Mark Schmitt on June 1, 1990.[5] He was parochial vicar at the parish of St. Peter Cathedral from 1990 to 1993, and then served as pastor of St. George Parish in Bark River, St. Michael Parish in Perronville, and Sacred Heart Parish in Schaffer (all of which were consolidated into St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in 1995).[6]

In 1994, he was sent to further his studies in Rome at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), later earning a licentiate in canon law in 1996.[2]

Upon his return to the Diocese of Marquette in 1996, Sample was named chancellor and pastor of St. Christopher Parish.[3] He also served as a member of the College of Consultors, director of Ministry Personnel Services and of Ongoing Formation of Priests, and diocesan chaplain to the Knights of Columbus.[2] Within the Marriage Tribunal, he served as judge, adjutant judicial vicar, defender of the bond, and promoter of justice.[6] He was also director of the Bishop Baraga Association and vice-postulator of the cause of beatification for Bishop Frederic Baraga.[3]

Episcopal careerEdit

On December 13, 2005, Sample was appointed the twelfth Bishop of Marquette by Pope Benedict XVI.[5] He received his episcopal consecration on January 25, 2006, from Cardinal Adam Maida, with bishops James Garland and Mark Schmitt serving as co-consecrators. At the time of his consecration, Sample was the youngest Catholic bishop in the United States and the first to be born in the 1960s.[7] He selected as his episcopal motto: "Vultum Christi Contemplari", meaning "To Contemplate the Face of Christ".[2]

On October 7, 2007, at the invitation of Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke, Sample attended the Red Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, delivering the homily. In April 2009, Sample expressed his "disappointment and dismay" over the University of Notre Dame's decision to have President Barack Obama deliver its commencement speech and receive an honorary degree, given Obama's pro-choice views.[8] He added, "It saddens me beyond words that the great university named after Our Lady would bestow distinction and honor on a politician who would seek to expand threats to such innocent human life."[8]

In July 2012, Sample ordained five seminarians to the diaconate, and ten new subdeacons. Among these new subdeacons are five from the United States for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.[9]

Sample has stressed that permanent deacons should not regularly preach at Mass; rather they should preach at other services and serve the Church in the course of their daily witness to Christ. His 19-page letter, titled "The Deacon: Icon of Jesus Christ the Servant", cited the principle that the one who presides at a liturgical service or who is the principal celebrant at Mass should also give the homily: "This should be the ordinary practice." Deacons should preach the homily at Mass "for some identifiable advantage for the faithful in the congregation, but not on a regular basis."[10]

The Diocese of Marquette serves roughly 70,000 Roman Catholics in the Upper Peninsula.[11]

On January 29, 2013, Sample was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to be the new Archbishop of Portland in Oregon, to succeed the retiring archbishop John George Vlazny.[12][13] He was installed on April 2, 2013, (Easter Tuesday), at the Chiles Center Arena on the campus of the University of Portland.[14]

In 2017, Sample issued a decree stating that sexually-active homosexuals as well as divorced and civilly-remarried persons should not receive the Holy Eucharist, and that they must "sacramentally confess all serious sins with a firm purpose to change" before they can do so.[15][16]

In May 2018, Sample determined that those attending Holy Mass will [again] kneel from the Lamb of God to Holy Communion, starting from June 3, which is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi.[17]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Langlois, Ed (January 1, 2018). "Joyce Sample, mother of the archbishop, dies at 89". Catholic Sentinel. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  2. ^ a b c d "Bishop's Office". Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette.
  3. ^ a b c d Maluchnik, David (January 25, 2006). "Bishop Alexander Sample To Join Michigan Catholic Conference Board of Directors" (Press release). Michigan Catholic Conference. Archived from the original on October 30, 2014.
  4. ^ "Tech Alumnus Becomes Bishop". Michigan Tech Magazine. Michigan Technological University. 43 (1). Spring 2006.
  5. ^ a b "Bishop Alexander King Sample".[self-published source]
  6. ^ a b "Chancellor Named Bishop of Marquette, Michigan; Bishop Garland's Resignation Accepted" (Press release). United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. December 13, 2005.
  7. ^ Palmo, Rocco (December 13, 2005). "Breaking the Barrier". Whispers in the Loggia. Self-published.[unreliable source]
  8. ^ a b "Bishop Disapproves of Obama Commencement". Negaunee, MI: WLUC-TV. April 7, 2009. Archived from the original on April 13, 2009.
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ Jones, Kevin J. (June 21, 2011). "Deacons should preach less at Mass, Michigan bishop says". Catholic News Agency.
  11. ^ Palmo, Rocco (January 26, 2006). "Birth of the Baby Bishop". Whispers in the Loggia. Self-published.[unreliable source]
  12. ^ Walsh, Mary Ann (January 29, 2013). "Pope Accepts Resignation Of Archbishop John Vlazny; Names Bishop Alexander Sample To Succeed Him" (Press release). United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
  13. ^ "Appointments: Bishop Sample to Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon". Vatican Radio. January 29, 2013. Archived from the original on December 24, 2013.
  14. ^ Haught, Nancy (April 2, 2013). "Archbishop Sample calls Catholics to recognize Jesus, proclaim good news". The Oregonian. Retrieved 2018-02-02.
  15. ^ "Portland archbishop: active gays must repent and change before receiving Communion". July 11, 2017. Archived from the original on July 15, 2017. Retrieved May 7, 2018. Archbishop Alexander Sample of Portland, Oregon, issues guidelines for implementing 'Amoris Laetitia,' says persons living unchastely must "sacramentally confess all serious sins with a firm purpose to change, before receiving the Holy Eucharist"
  16. ^ B. Kelly (July 12, 2017). "Portland Archbishop: no Communion for Adulterers or active homosexuals". Archived from the original on September 13, 2017. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  17. ^ "Archbishop Sample Abolishes Standing In Front of the Blessed Sacrament". May 3, 2018. Archived from the original on May 7, 2018. Retrieved May 7, 2018.

External linksEdit