Portland Holy Cross Priest Wins National Catholic Writing Award

Published: July 27, 2011

Author: Lucha Ramey


Notre Dame, Ind. - Rev. Ronald Patrick Raab, C.S.C., associate pastor for Saint André Bessette Church, also known as the Downtown Chapel, in Portland, Oregon, was recently recognized by the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada (CPA). Father Raab’s writing, and ministry, focuses on the vulnerable and marginalized members of our society.

The Downtown Chapel, renamed Saint André Bessette Church this past year to honor the canonization of Holy Cross’ first saint, has been sponsored by the Congregation of Holy Cross since 1989. Through prayer, service, education, and advocacy, the parish has become a vital resource to the neighborhood, as well as the greater Portland area. Dedicated to serving those experiencing poverty and homelessness, the parish’s community programs-- hospitality center, food pantry, and the Br. Andre Café--are dynamic expressions of faith in action.

CPA is an association of newspaper and media specialists specialized on reporting on the Roman Catholic Church. Founded in 1911, it has over 600 member organizations. It reaches over 26 million people. The awards were announced in late June.

Fr. Raab won first place, out of more than 600 entries, in the “Best Regular Column Spiritual Life” category. Fr. Raab’s column Wheels Of Misfortune; Saint Doorkeeper; Advent: A Housing Projectwas in Celebrate!, published by Novalis in Toronto, Ontario. In recognizing Fr. Raab, CPA’s panel of judges said this, “Father Raab’s columns are marked by strong, clear, and vibrant writing. His descriptions are earthy yet deeply spiritual creating vivid word pictures that fill the reader’s imagination. His stories connect everyday life experiences with profound connections and meanings of the sacred. These columns reflect theology made real and invite readers to a deeper spiritual life.”

Fr. Raab also won third place, out of 244 entries, in the book category for his work, Real World, Real Worship, World Library Publications, Franklin Park, Ill. The CPA judges’ comments about the book were, “Wonderful personal reflections on the intersection of liturgy and life from the perspective of a pastor of a city parish serving the poor and those on the margins of society. Very creative method of forming ministers.”

From his experiences in living the Gospel among the poor in the Portland, Fr. Raab speaks about prayer and service and knowing the love of God through our common poverty. He hosts a weekly radio scripture program offering a reflection on the Gospel and writes for several liturgical magazines. Visit Fr. Raab’s blog at and there learn more about his articles, books, and listen to his podcasts.