A timeline for the Oregon Catholic Press Centennial


1922

The Ku Klux Klan is rampant in Oregon, including Ashland (above), seeking to eliminate Catholic schools. Archbishop Alexander Christie and priests form the Catholic Truth Society of Oregon Nov. 2 to “educate the general public about what the Catholic Church really is and what it is not.” Prof. JC Hughes, born near Cape Blanco on the south coast of Oregon, is the first president. Donations finance the association.





1925

Catholic Truth Society prints a quarter of a million pamphlets and distributes them for free. Priests give talks in eight public auditoriums in Portland. The company also buys a weekly 15-minute slot on KGW radio. Members urge publishers of secular newspapers to correct anti-Catholic content; reporters who refuse find the company urging advertisers to boycott.





1927

A two-tonne truck is fitted out for the mass and to move around for the talks in the outlying regions. It has a tent, bunks and a small kitchen for a priest and an assistant and carries a small film projector to show religious films.





1928

Catholic Truth Society acquires the Catholic Sentinel and, most importantly, the newspaper’s printing presses. This expands the publishing possibilities. Father Charles Smith (above), the society’s secretary, becomes a longtime Sentinel editor and prints letters from non-Catholics who have questions about the church.





1933

The society publishes a list of acceptable books in the Multnomah County Library holdings. GK Chesterton is at the top of the list.





1934

The Catholic Truth Society begins publishing “The Sunday Missal”. It presents the liturgy of each Sunday in English so that the faithful who do not know Latin can follow. Subscriptions cost 50 cents per year.





1942

“My Sunday Missal” subscriptions span from Oregon to all of the United States. The society also prints prayer cards.





1954

A Catholic Truth Society column published in the Oregonian contradicts the old idea that Catholics don’t like Scripture. The society opens a Catholic information office at 1605 NW Couch.


1965

“My Sunday Missal” is revised to increase Mass attendance among the faithful, one of the main objectives of the Second Vatican Council.





1971

The missal is expanded to include a wider selection of music and is renamed “Today’s Missal”.





1980

The company changes its name to Oregon Catholic Press. Workers like Bonnie Kelsch (above) develop layout skills for new worship books shipping across the country.





1982

OCP launches “Breaking Bread”, an annual missal with synopses for weekly readings and over 800 songs.





1989

OCP publishes “Flor y Canto” to serve Hispanic communities. It is still the best-selling Spanish Catholic anthem in the United States.





1994

OCP acquires music and products from North American Liturgy Resources, including the most popular Catholic hymn ever released, “Glory & Praise”. Shortly after, OCP releases an extended version. Workers like Kevin Walsh, Marie Phillippi and Bari Colombari (above) are helping to develop more music for parish use.


2001

OCP begins to provide Catholic parishes with financial assistance to improve the worship of their congregations. In 2022, OCP awarded more than $3.3 million to parishes nationwide through the Parish Grants Program.





2003

OCP launches Liturgy.com, an online liturgy preparation program that has helped thousands of parishes prepare liturgies. He’s also renovating his northeast Portland building (above).





2006

OCP begins publishing “Breaking Bread with Readings”, which includes the full version of the weekly readings, and is now one of the most widely used missals in the United States. The society also organizes more than 500 training events each year to help parishes across the country. , including one led by Rudy Lopez (above).





2009

OCP releases “Thánh Ca Dân Chúa”, the first Vietnamese anthem in the United States (above). The company establishes relationships with liturgical leaders in Vietnam.





2015

The digital revolution is on and OCP is offering unlimited access to downloadable editions of the music featured in the Spirit & Song youth anthem. The same service is available soon after for Breaking Bread.





2021

OCP launches eMissal, an app for individual phones that provides quick digital access to church music, readings, prayers and the order of Mass. OCP now administers over 20,000 music copyrights and publishes hundreds of music collections.