The pews were filled with parishioners at St. Peter Cathedral Sunday afternoon. They all came out to say farewell to the man who touched so many lives in the Upper Peninsula: Archbishop Alexander Sample.
"I'm so grateful to God for our friendship, for our spiritual friendship, and his leadership all these years," said Carol Masuga. "You know, he's taught me so much about following God. He's always told me (to) embrace the cross."
After more than twenty years of service in the Diocese of Marquette, he will be moving to Portland, Oregon as the new Archbishop.
Archbishop Sample says the U.P. is his home and he will miss the people.
"I've traveled the entire Upper Peninsula, getting to know the people and having them get to know me," said Archbishop Sample. "I feel very, very close to the people here. I must say this farewell is not with great ease for me, it's very difficult for me to say goodbye."
His message to everyone was to not think of the past and to look forward to a new bishop. He says change is good and believes God already knows who the next bishop will be.
"You will be forever in my heart and in my prayers. God bless you and thank you," Archbishop Sample said.
Parishioners stood in line after mass to say their goodbyes, get autographs, and pictures taken with him.
"There were a lot of people tearful, but at the same time, we are hoping he keeps doing the work of the Lord, and we wish him the best," said Paulette Bruno.
Archbishop Sample's last mass will be on Easter.