Our Parish for the Week of January 28:
Ascension Catholic Church in Southeast Portland
Ascension Catholic Church in SE Portland is a vibrant, welcoming parish which continues to grow toward realizing their parish vision. Led by their pastor, Fr. David Jaspers, and an incredible parish staff, the Parish Vision and Mission Statement reads:
We are a unified, diverse community
of imperfect people, both young and old,
working at growing in faith and holiness.
We want to strive to be neighborly, welcoming, friendly, spiritual,
and generous in putting our faith in action.
At the heart of all our programming and events is Christ, who became one of us
to lead us to union with God and our neighbors.
Ascension’s bilingual Mass has opened communication in their multicultural families to explore and meet half-way to celebrate God in languages each are comfortable with. For the majority of the parish, that means Spanish for parents and English for young children and teenagers. They have also expanded outreach to the community by celebrating Mass every Friday in a different retirement home in the local area.
The best compliment that they receive as a parish is that people always notice the parking lot is full and the church is open almost every night. This gives testament to the diversity of programming, learning, and praying opportunities for people to come and explore, grow, and live out their Catholic faith. Everyone can find something at Ascension, no matter their language, age, or situation!
Some groups currently active in English are: Men’s group, Women’s group, Omega Young Adults, High School Youth Group, social concerns and Lunch Bunch.
Some groups active in Spanish are: Divina Misericordia, Clases de Padres, Escuela San Andres, Grupo de Oracion, Franciscanos Seculares, y Noches Carismaticas.
Ascension has hosted a shelter since the 1980’s (with an intermission while they re-organized) and are now a hosting church for Family Promise Shelter. This means that they host families for 4 weeks in the summer, and the shelter rotates to other churches throughout the year. They recently hosted a Multnomah County Emergency Shelter during the recent winter storm.
Ascension’s dynamic Young Adult Ministry serves ages 18 – 35 with a wide variety of activities. They will be regularly partnering with Family Promise each month as an act of service. They encourage young adults ages to reach out to Ascension at any point if they wish to help at these Family Promise nights!
Community liturgies include Tuesday night Confessions from 5 – 7 p.m., Adoration Tuesday all day and Sunday at 2:30 pm, daily Mass at Noon Tuesday – Friday, sacramental prep for all ages, 5 Masses on the weekends with volunteers serving in liturgy, coffee, and donuts, plus Family Promise and Saturday night socials.
Anyone with questions about getting involved in this incredible community are encouraged to check Ascension’s website, and to say hello to the staff at the information table before or after Mass, where they handle all questions and welcome information.
Some upcoming events include:
- Young Adult Ministry, especially Family Promise Nights
- Tuesday Evening Confession, 5 – 7 pm, Adoration available all day Tuesday
- Motherhood Ministry
- Adult Faith Formation: regular monthly Couples Gatherings, Men’s Scripture Study, Women’s Ministry, Catholic Social Teaching, Service to Family Promise, Social Night
- Lunch Bunch on 3rd Thursdays
- Saturday Social 2nd Sunday of Each Month (February 10 is next one)
History of Ascension Parish
In 1891, at the urging of Father L.A. Brosseau, in charge of the parish at Gervais, Oregon, Archbishop Gross wrote to Mother Catherine Aurelia, foundress of the Precious Blood order, inviting the nuns to come to Oregon.
The first Precious Blood sisters arrived from Canada early in 1892. In June of 1892 they left Gervais and moved to Portland where they found carpenters still working on their new Monastery. On June 24, 1892 the first Holy Mass was celebrated in their new monastery chapel by Father Brosseau. According to an agreement made with Archbishop Gross the chapel of the new monastery was to serve, for a time, as the new parish Church. This would appear to be the first Mass offered for parishioners of what was to become Ascension Parish.
On March 28, 1909 the new Ascension Parish Church and School was dedicated on Passion Sunday, with the parishioners moving their services from the monastery, which had served as the parish headquarters for 18 years and 9 months. Pastor at the dedication was Father P.J. Fitzpatrick of the diocesan clergy, who had been named in August of 1908, when the preparations for the new church and school were begun. Up to this time, the monastery had been the setting for the parish church services and for the small school which the sisters of Mercy conducted.
The arrival, in 1915, of Father Aegidius Herkenrath was the the beginning of a long line of Franciscan Friars to serve at Ascension Parish. At the end of Ascension’s 100th year in 1991, one of the young Friars was ordained in Ascension’s Parish Church.