Dedication 100th Anniversary

Article and photograph from The Portland Telegram, an afternoon newspaper, dated May 29, 1924.


“A sanctuary of peace for all peoples of the earth–and surely in this day, a sanctuary is needed.”

Archbishop Alexander Christie blessed the site of the Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother at Rocky Butte at high noon Thursday before an assembly of more than 3000 worshipers, gathered before an outdoor altar under the north shoulder of the cliff that breaks down from the summit toward the Columbia River highway. 

The setting for the ceremonial was marvelously beautiful.

The huge gray, gothic palisade of the cliff flung itself upward out of the moss and trees, 150 feet in height, with green banners of hazel and maple flaunting from its crest, and a golden pattern of moss dappling its sides.


Close against the foot of the cliff was the platform built of fresh, un­painted planks, and at its back the altar, surmounted with the figure of the Sorrowful Mother behind the crucifix and flanked with six tall, slender yellow tapers.

On the highway, not 200 yards away, the traffic was whirling undelayed, but there was peace in the place of ceremonial, as though it were in the heart of interminable forest.

The people gathered rapidly to­ward the appointed hour–people of all classes and conditions, whirling up in limousines or toiling in on foot. There were folk of all ages from gray haired grandparents to toddlers, and here and there, sitting on a mossy stone, one might see a mother with a babe in her arms, a vivid sudden reminder of the madonna.

Throughout the crowd there was the color of holiday dress and the spirit of joyous, but devout, holiday.


As the moment for the beginning of the mass approached, the priests who were to participate in it donned their vestments, and the rostrum became brilliant with the rich colors of the robes, lilac and yellow and scarlet and cloud white, that were caught up and repeated in all their notes by the blossoms of thimble­berry, or alpine flower, or daisies that clung to the rocks and sprung up underfoot all about.

The sun came almost due to the zenith, poising on the edge of the cliff just above the altar, and pour­ing down a warm light that shot and laced through the branches of maple and dogwood that canopied the meet­ing place.

Then began the singing of the choir, and the intoning of the mass, the worshipers kneeling and rising and kneeling again, the choral and the solo, the tinkle of the bell at the altar, and the incense mingled with the cool scent of thimbleberry bloom and wild honeysuckle.  


Incessantly through the solemn­ music came the sudden, sweet calls of birds, that darted and perched carelessly all about.

The Rev. E. V. O’Hara spoke briefly upon the origin of the movement that has come in this time and place to the founding of the proposed great sanctuary–the order of the Servite Fathers, formed by seven men in Florence, 700 years ago, and dedicated to the building of churches in honor of the Sorrowful Mother.

As the ceremonial of the mass came to a close, the archbishop gave his blessing to the site, dedicating it “not alone to the glory of God, but also to the peace of humanity.”

“Torn with differences and strife and grief, the world needs sanctuary where humanity may seek peace and consolation,” he said.

Following the ceremonies the crowd scattered through the grove, where baskets were unpacked and luncheons opened. The Catholic Daughters of America served sandwiches and coffee, and the rest of the afternoon was given to quiet picnicking.

$5,000,000 ENTERPRISE.

The Right Rev. Monsignor Lane of Albany sang the mass, with the Rev. Father Gregory, deacon; the Right Rev. Father Townley, O.S.D., sub-deacon, and the Rev. George Campbell of the cathedral, master of ceremonies.

The ceremonial was held on the day of the Feast of the Ascension.

The Rev. A. M. M[a]yer, representa­tive of the Servites in their work here, was present on the platform. The sanctuary when completed will consist of seven shrines and a cathedral, with other buildings for the accommodation of pilgrims, and the enterprise will cost more than $5,000,000 before it is completed.