Saint André Bessette Catholic Church, “Portland’s Downtown Chapel Since 1919,” is located at the heart of Old Town/Chinatown in Portland, Oregon. As a community driven by mission, we strive to provide hospitality, healing, and hope to the most marginalized members of our society. Through prayer, service, education and advocacy, our parish has become a vital resource to our neighborhood and to the greater Portland community.
Saint André Bessette, C.S.C. (1845-1937) was born Alfred Bessette in Quebec and orphaned by the age of twelve. In 1872, he joined the Holy Cross Novitiate and began his religious life as a humble doorkeeper at the College of Notre Dame.
Br. André opened doors and performed other manual tasks in a spirit of humility, obedience, and love for others. A majority of his hospitality entailed receiving and consoling the poor and the sick and providing healing through his own solace, grace, and readiness to listen. For the entirety of his life, he allowed himself to be fully present to the sadness of others, while retaining a fundamental joy for life.
On October 17, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI canonized St. André Bessette as Holy Cross’ first saint. In January 2012 the Downtown Chapel officially changed its name to St. André Bessette Catholic Church in honor of his ability to open doors and provide Hospitality, Healing & Hope.