Sunday, April 20, 2008

Winona's Gift to Portland, Ore.: Archbishop John Vlazny

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Archbishop receives seminary's highest award

Fr. Paschal Cheline, Fr. Gregory Duerr, Archbishop Vlazny, Fr. Richard Paperini, Abbot Peter Eberle

Fr. Paschal Cheline, Fr. Gregory Duerr, Archbishop Vlazny, Fr. Richard Paperini, Abbot Peter Eberle
Mount Angel Seminary photo

ST. BENEDICT — Mount Angel Seminary presented Archbishop John Vlazny its highest honor, the Lumen Gentium (“The Light of Nations”) Award during its annual Appreciation Dinner here on Monday.

Archbishop Vlazny received the Award due to his faithful support and service.
The commendation read when the award was presented began by noting that Archbishop Vlazny was appointed after Archbishop, now Cardinal, Francis George, was assigned to serve in Chicago. These are excerpts from the commendation:

“Now, 10 years later, we can say that the wait was well worth it. Archbishop George went to Chicago and from Chicago, by way of Winona, Minnesota, John George Vlazny came to Portland. What a gift Archbishop Vlazny has been for the people and the Church of Portland! It did not take people long to be inspired by his preaching and edified by the graceful way he presided at the liturgy. It took even less time for them to be put at ease in his presence.

“Every religious community and parish in the Archdiocese of Portland must have their own stories to tell of Archbishop Vlazny’s ministry to them. Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary certainly have theirs.

“Archbishop Vlazny has been a supporter extraordinaire of the Seminary. Even though he, like every bishop, has a shortage of clergy, he has been most generous in providing priests to serve in the Seminary, both on the faculty and in administration.

“But quite apart from all the generous presence and support he has brought to the Seminary community, undoubtedly we, along with the entire Archdiocese, are most indebted to him for the marvelous, but ever so painful service, he rendered” [in seeing the Archdiocese through the recent litigation and subsequent bankruptcy proceedings].

“He came into the Archdiocese long after the accused priests had retired, or been removed from active ministry. He was innocent of wrongdoing in connection with the cases. And yet, due to his office, he was forced to assume the heavy burden and worry of trying to pick up the pieces, keeping the Archdiocese solvent, and maintaining morale of both clergy and people. There must have been plenty of occasions for worry and tears, but in public there was always the joy and hearty laughter that kept all of us going.

“Archbishop Vlazny is a man of vigorous faith in the Lord, and it was this faith that kept him strong during these very difficult years.” Catholic Sentinel

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