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Archdiocese of Oregon City
Includes that part of the state of Oregon west of the Cascade Mountains, being bounded on the east by the counties of Wasco, Crook, and Klamath. It comprises an area of 21,398 square miles. By an indult of the Holy See dated 28 February, 1836, the Oregon Country north of the American line was annexed to the vicariate Apostolic of Mgr Provencher of Red River. By letters of 17 April, 1838, Rev. F.N. Blanchet was appointed vicar-general to the Archbishop of Quebec and assigned to the Oregon mission. The vicar-general established his first mission at St. Paul on the Willamette, and on 6 January, 1839, dedicated at that place the first Catholic church in Oregon. The church had been constructed three years earlier by the Canadian settlers who had anticipated the coming of a missionary among them.
As the line of demarcation between British and American territory was still undecided, and missionary priests had been sent into the country both from Canada and from the United States (De Smet had come from St. Louis), Oregon became a joint mission depending upon the Bishops of Quebec and Baltimore. At the suggestion of these bishops, the mission was erected in a vicariate Apostolic by a brief of 1 December, 1843. On 24 July, 1846, the vicariate was transformed into a province comprising the Archdiocese of Oregon City and the Dioceses of Walla Walla and Vancouver's Island. With the transfer of the See of Walla Walla to Nesqually (1848), the northern boundary of the Archdiocese of Oregon City was fixed at the Columbia River and the 46° lat. This territory was diminished by the erection of the Vicariate of Idaho (1868) and finally received its present limits by the erection of the Diocese of Baker City (1903).
Statistics for 1909: diocesan priests, 50; priests of rel. orders, 40; colleges, 3; secondary schools, 12; elementary schools, 35; pupils, 5500. BLANCHET, Historical Sketches (Portland, 1870); The Catholic Sentinel (Portland, 1870-1910), files; Catholic Directory; Diocesan Archives.
Edwin V. O'Hara.