Fr. Peter Smith Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Portland

by Sean Connolly

Fr. Peter Smith

Pope Francis has appointed Fr. Peter Smith (Vancouver-Portland) to be the auxiliary bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon. The appointment was announced in Portland at 9:30 a.m. Pacific time on Tuesday, March 4. Fr. Peter follows Bishop Kenneth Steiner who retired in 2011.


Peter has been a member of the Brotherhood of the People of Praise since 1983. He has served the Archdiocese of Portland as the vicar general and moderator of the clergy since July 1, 2013. His ordination as bishop is tentatively scheduled for April 29, 2014.


“Peter is a pastor who turns people’s minds and hearts to Jesus in his homilies,” according to Joel Kibler, who heads the Brotherhood and has been Peter’s friend for almost 30 years. “He prays with people for physical healing and he helps people to reconcile with the Lord. He has a great sense of humor and he is always dependable.”


Peter says, “I am humbled and grateful for the Holy Father's confidence in me. Please keep me in your prayers as I step in to this new role with all its responsibilities and challenges.  Pray especially for God the Father's blessing and protection."


Peter Smith was born in 1958 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. He is the oldest of six children. At age 18, he served in the South African army, before earning degrees in business and law from the University of Natal. In a biographical article he wrote for the book, A Priest’s Life, he says that he had expected to join his father’s law firm, until he heard the Lord calling him to explore Christian community in the United States.  “I didn’t know it then, but I was to spend only nine months in the next 26 years back in my homeland,” he wrote.


Kevin Ranaghan met Peter in South Africa in 1981. “I could see how deeply committed he was to the Lord and to the Church. I sensed that he was a young man seeking to serve and equipped with many gifts for service.”


Peter joined the People of Praise in South Bend, Indiana, in 1983. He was ordained a priest in 2001 at age 43. In 2006, he earned a licentiate degree in canon law (J.C.L.) from the Catholic University of America. He served as pastor of St. Rose of Lima parish in Portland from 2006 to 2013.


The Brotherhood of the People of Praise was established as a Private Association of the Faithful in the Catholic Church in 1999 by former Portland Archbishop John Vlazny, following years of work by Joel, Fr. Perron Auve (Vancouver-Portland) and others. This grant of juridical status paved the way for members of the Brotherhood to be ordained as Catholic priests, while remaining members of the Brotherhood and members of the People of Praise. Joel notes that the Brotherhood is an ecumenical association according to its statutes, though all of its current members are Roman Catholics. Following his ordination as bishop, Peter will continue to live in the Brotherhood house in north Portland.


“This is terrific news for our brother Peter,” said Craig Lent, the overall coordinator of the People of Praise. “I know I can speak for the whole community in expressing my heartfelt congratulations. I am delighted that Peter can serve the Catholic Church in this new way.”

Responses

  1. Mae says:

    Congratulations and many prayers and blessings to Fr. Peter!

  2. Beth Bulger says:

    Wow. What an honor for a fine brother. And what a grave responsibility. We Bulgers will be praying for you with gratitude, Peter.

  3. Deb Vernon says:

    Wow. Congratulations Peter.

  4. Paul Putzier says:

    Fantastic! The local church in Portland is being greatly blessed by this assignment. We will pray for Peter and all our spiritual leaders.

  5. Kim Doffing says:

    Glory to Our God!
    Our hearts are full of fervent prayer and praise!

  6. Barbette Brophy says:

    Fr Peter,
    You said "Yes" to the Father! Its amazing, but not totally surprising, what He has done in your life, and simultaneously in His Body, with you. Thanks for all the input and support here and there over the years, and to being so available when you were able to be!!!! God bless you. We will pray for you!!
    Barbette

  7. tom caneff says:

    Peter, you are bound to bear great fruit for the Lord, the Church and the People of Praise. We rejoice! And we'll pray for you!!

    Tom

  8. Whitlow Au says:

    Fantastic!!

  9. Tom Loughran says:

    As a once-fellow resident of Portland, I couldn't be happier for the Archdiocese that you've emerged into this leadership role, Peter. Count on our continued prayerful support.

  10. Peter Smith says:

    Thank you all for your support and encouragement. I got through the press conference this morning fine. This seems almost surreal to me, but here we are.

    Kevin Ranaghan and Clem Walters should also be thanked. They invited me to come and visit the POP. That opened the door to what has transpired 31 years later.

  11. Nancy Grams says:

    Peter, we are all honored because of your call to service as bishop. May the Father continue to use you for the building up of the body of Christ. Louis and I treasure our long standing friendship and will intercede especially for you today and the days to come for more wisdom and grace. Alleluia!

  12. Tom McNichol says:

    Peter, The Lord has used you in a mighty way and there is still so much more ahead. We are all blest by your willingness to lay down your life for the Lord and his people in the manner you have. Your brother in Christ, Tom

  13. Ray Hickey says:

    Congratulations Peter and the journey continues.

  14. Karen Xenakis says:

    Praise the Lord! What a wonderful gift you are to the Body of Christ, BISHOP Peter! We were so blessed to have you marry us last May, what a year it has been!

  15. Linda Finke says:

    Peter you just never know what the Lord is going to do with you when you say "YES" to Him.

    I will keep you in my prayers, and I hope you will do the same for me.

    God Bless.

  16. Bill Brophy says:

    Peter,
    You have so much to offer the Lord and His people. We will pray for you as you continue to touch lives through your life and through your work.
    God bless,
    Bill Brophy

  17. Julie Walters says:

    GLORY TO GOD! We are so blessed to hear that you have been named a Bishop. You will be a light in the darkness. Thank you for saying "Yes" so many times.
    Blessings and Prayers.
    Clem and Julie Walters

  18. Bob Linczer says:

    Bev and I lived in South Bend when Peter moved from South Africa. We had the great pleasure of getting to know him very well and we were always sure he had a bright future. He was and is a great young man, deeply spiritual with a true pastor's heart. He will make a great bishop and the diocese of Portland will be richly blessed by his presence. Pope Francis continues to amaze with his unexpected thoughts and homilies. This decision, however tops them all. Congratulations to Peter and we will keep him at the top of our prayer list. May God richly bless you, Peter, in your new role.

  19. Jill Boughton says:

    You will do a fantastic job in this new form of service, Father Peter. And the timing means you won't have to seek any additional forms of prayer, fasting or almsgiving for Lent this year!

  20. Cynthia Hagens says:

    Praise the Lord, Will continue to pray for you!

  21. Claudia Schmitz says:

    Congratulations Father Peter. Our prayers go with you as you continue to serve the Lord and his people.

    Claudia

  22. John Boughton says:

    Peter, I think you are the kind of man our Lord delights in appointing as one of his shepherds, one who loves humbly and sincerely, who does not put on airs, who maintains his brotherhood. I think you will be the same kind of shepherd that Francis is as Pope, full of refreshing surprises. I'm so glad you will be able to share your burdens of office with your brothers there in Portland. And we will continue to pray for you and the whole brotherhood in your service to the community and to the church.

  23. Ted Vernon says:

    What a wonderful gift to God's people you will be as a bishop, Peter. And what a marvelous lampstand you will make for the Light with which he has filled you. Continue to humbly and confidently walk in the Spirit and depend on the whole body for support. I will intercede for you!

  24. Jerry Wind says:

    Peter, your whole demeanor and all your actions have always embodied who we are as People of Praise-Christ in Us, the Hope of Glory. The Father couldn't have chosen a better man! What a guy!

  25. Tom & Diane Evans says:

    Congratulations! We will pray that The Lord will continue to use you in your new role.

  26. Norine Vogel says:

    Congratulations,You will be in my prayers more than ever before.
    God bless you.

    Norine

  27. Wayne Rosencrantz says:

    Congratulations! We will remember you in our prayers.

  28. Mike Rosener says:

    Congrats to you Peter. You are the best choice for leadership to the Church. You demonstrate the love of Jesus to everyone you meet. May He lead you even closer to His kingdom here on earth.

  29. Wayne Rosencrantz says:

    Congratulations and best wishes, our prayers are with you.

  30. Tom and Ann Davis says:

    Our hearts are full. God continually surprises us with his gifts. You have been a gift to our lives since you moved to Portland with the Brotherhood, getting to know you, benefiting from your wisdom, enjoying your humor, witnessing your service to us and to the Church through your studies for priesthood, through your service to the Church in Portland and always to the People of Praise in Vancouver/Portland. Thank you, dear brother, soon to be dear brother Bishop Peter!

  31. pat and kara hrbacek says:

    We are so thrilled Peter! Congratulations. We have always experienced the joy and grace of the Lord in you.

  32. David Zimmel says:

    Wow! Congratulations! Thank you for all you are doing for the Catholic Church!

  33. Bill Denton says:

    Peter its so good to see how God has led you along. Since I never said it before congratulations on your ordination. I have all the confidence in you and will keep you in my prayers. Be Blessed!!!

  34. Frank Bassett says:

    What great news, Peter! I was thrilled to read of your appointment. No doubt the Holy Spirit was involved in the process; Pope Francis made a wonderful choice. You have been a faithful brother and friend to all of us in the PoP, and we have benefited greatly from your wisdom and kindness. The Church shines a little brighter today!

  35. jack and haidy B says:

    I'm with Dave Z... WOW... we met Fr. Peter a few times in the past but haven't heard much until now... and He's a BISHOP!? Wow...congrats Fr. Peter and thanks for giving Glory to God and blessing POP.

  36. Jay Conway says:

    Peter I never knew you well in So Bend but my son benefited from all the guidance received from you and other members of the Brotherhood. From the first I could see in you that special quality of holiness that God the Father bestows on those called to the priesthood. You are a good holy man that the diocese of Portland will truly be blessed with as Bishop. God bless you brother!! Many in the community will be praying for you as you don the role of Bishop. I am grateful to be part of many to pray for your continued strength and wisdom in this new endeavor you are soon to wield. As Big John used to say " Glory to God " just before he'd give you a bone crushing hug. That's the kind of support you will certainly have from the POP. Peace to you Peter. Love from all of us.

  37. Karen Heintzelman says:

    Peter, this is so hopeful to the world! Thank you for accepting this wonderful position to be Christ to His People! You can count on our prayers.

  38. Susie Clairmont says:

    Congratulations Peter, and many blessings. Pope Francis continues to amaze and delight with his words and actions, like this one.

  39. Bernadette Fossen says:

    Peter,
    God will put you to good use as a bishop.Your way of being...your sharp mind, your varied experiences, your deep understanding, your ability to articulate, your kindness and respect...These traits of yours bless people.

  40. Mary Lynn Gaffney says:

    Fr. Peter,

    We are so happy and proud of you! May the Father continue to bless your work in the Church and in the People of Praise!

    Blessings, the Gaffney family

  41. BILL WILTZ says:

    I am proud of my Catholic brother . What a blessing to have such a great brother . I might be visiting the Portland area and would to see him.
    love Bill

  42. Tom Duddy says:

    The church benefits so much from good holy pastors. May your light shine brightly Peter!

  43. Noel Shirley says:

    Congrats Bishop Smith, my prayers are with you, you will do well.

  44. Karen Burlingame says:

    Congratulations. You are so deserving of this appointment. We are blessed to have you here. It was great working with you at St. Rose. You are missed.

  45. chris urbanski says:

    Glory to God! God is good and what a delight to see him working in such a special way.
    Chris Urbanski

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