Former Downtown Chapel Closes its $2.1 Million Campaign

Removation work at Saint Andre Bessette Catholic Church

Only 15 months since the public launch of its $2.1 million The Open Doors Campaign, Saint Andre Bessette Catholic Church, Portland, Ore., has reached its goal!

In addition to daily Mass and other Sacraments, Saint Andre Bessette welcomes more than 150 men and women every weekday, most of whom suffer from extreme poverty, homelessness, mental illness, addiction and severe isolation. The ambitious $2.1 million endeavor focused on the expansion of outreach services that offer meals, clothing, hygiene and triage. The project also included renovation of all program spaces in the 1911 building (last renovated in 1971), and creation of a sustainable development plan to ensure the community’s long-term work.

“We started this campaign during a time of transformation – from the Downtown Chapel to Saint Andre Bessette – and completed it during times of leadership transition – in staff and committees – and yet support never wavered,” said Michael Bergmann, co-chairman of the Campaign Steering Committee. “The inspired work from our community and those that believe in the amazing work of this small parish is truly a gift from God. Thank you to all who came along for the journey!”

Moving back into the renovated kitchen

The church, which has been reaching out to those on the margins of society since 1919, had never engaged in comprehensive fundraising in the past. With the economic decline of 2008, however, the community saw the number of guests served on a daily basis more than double in less than five years. The strain on resources and space required an immediate and effective response. Rev. Steve Newton, C.S.C., pastor from 2010-2013, in consultation with parishioners and others in the community, decided upon a capital campaign.

To celebrate this great achievement, Saint Andre Bessette will host a “Day of Gratitude” for all members of the community on Feb. 25. The all-day celebration will highlight gratitude-filled events led by staff, volunteers and the community’s newest addition, Rev. John Patrick Riley, C.S.C, parish administrator. Events will include volunteer opportunities, mini urban immersions, Mass and Anointing of the Sick, a community luncheon, an official campaign close event and scheduled visits from Archbishop Alexander K. Sample and local funders and advocates. All of the day’s activities are free; however, registration is required.

You can learn more about Saint Andre Bessette, The Open Doors Campaign and register for Day of Gratitude events by visiting

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