Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Preparing Himself to Serve: A Hilltop Profile of Br. Joseph Mary Tran, OCD

by Br. Jesus Romo, MSpS

Br. Joseph Mary Tran belongs to the Discalced Carmelite Friars, and he is currently studying in Pre-Theology II at Mount Angel Seminary.  Three main things move him to give the best of himself in the academic formation: work for the salvation of souls, being able to help others, and trying to do the will of God.

Seminary Formation

Br. Joseph Mary really likes to study at Mount Angel Seminary because of the ambience of peace and prayer.  For him this aspect is really important, as he mentioned that “this place helps you not only to study but also to pray and through prayer get the strength to do your studies.”

Brother Joseph Mary Tran

Br. Joseph Mary said that communication will be very important for his future priestly ministry; therefore, during his academic formation he has been taking some courses to help him communicate in a better way.  For example, he took grammar classes last year to improve his writing skills, and he is currently taking Fundamentals of Speech to help him deliver clear messages to the people he will minister to in the future.

His interest in becoming a better public speaker is noticeable to Ms. Kathy Akiyama, his Fundamentals of Speech professor. Ms. Akiyama mentioned that he is not required to take this course; however, “it is impressive how motivated he is to improve his public speaking,” she said.

A good speaker is the one who knows who his audience is and what they need to hear. Ms. Akiyama said that Br. Joseph Mary is already a good public speaker because he is not individualistic but he thinks about who his audience is.    

She considers Br. Joseph Mary a hard worker and responsible student since “as a result of his motivation he does everything on time and he is always in the classroom early.”

It is not difficult for Br. Joseph Mary to interact with people, and he is a community-oriented person. This aspect of his personality will be beneficial in his formation and for his ministry as a future priest.

He also knows how to deal with different personalities because he has experience working in customer service.  Br. Joseph Mary worked as a systems engineer for five years in a company called Dimension Data.  There he had the opportunity to answer phone calls and also present computer programs to customers.

Due to his experience as a systems engineer he has the ability to operate different computer programs, and he is very good at using technology.  Br. Joseph Mary recognizes this ability as a gift from God which he uses to help other seminarians, showing them how to use different computer programs and fixing technical problems.

He is an open-minded person who desires to work with different cultures and in different languages.  He took two semesters of Spanish classes last year, and he desires to continue learning the language in order to be able to celebrate Mass, hear confessions and give spiritual direction in Spanish.

Some Challenges

Br. Joseph Mary has been a student in Mount Angel Seminary since the fall of 2015.  Because he had a bachelor degree he began his academic studies in Pre-Theology, and he is still taking three philosophy courses.

He recognizes that philosophy is a challenge for him since he prefers not to get into arguments. Because of this he has to put in extra effort in order to develop philosophical skills.

Br. Joseph Mary finds his writing difficult because it takes him a lot of time.  “I find it difficult to put my ideas out on paper,” he mentioned.

To help his formation, the seminary assigned Br. Joseph Mary a ministry at St. Mary’s Parish in Mount Angel where he is going to be working with a high school youth group once a week.  The youth group works with a program called Alpha which allows the youth to share their opinions about the Catholic faith in small groups.

He will be facilitating the opportunity for the youth to participate, and he might have to lead one of the small groups.  This is Br. Joseph Mary’s first time serving in a youth group; therefore, he feels challenged but at the same time excited and grateful for this opportunity to learn from young people.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A Brief Reflection on the Year of Mercy

by Dominic Sternhagen

Editor's Note: One of Mount Angel Seminary's Theology One students, Dominic Sternhagen studying for the Diocese of Salt Lake, offers this reflection on the Year of Mercy.  It will also be published in Utah's Catholic paper, Intermountain Catholic.

What is your favorite image of mercy? The prodigal son? An image of the Good Shepherd? Christ feeding the multitudes, or welcoming children?

All of these are beautiful, and I love them all, but my personal favorite is the cross. The cross, because here we see mercy that holds nothing back, that gives everything, even life. Christ did not do some nice things, he did everything he could for those whom he loved.

Saint Teresa of Kolkata, the saint of this Year of Mercy, said in her acceptance speech on receiving the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize that we have to give until it hurts.

True love, true mercy, is not easy. Love means becoming vulnerable to others, putting oneself at risk. But without love, there is no mercy, only tolerance. In my experience, it is relatively easy to give money, but much harder to give of ourselves, to look the people that are left for dead by the sides of our streets in the eye and love them, as the good Samaritan did.

But this is the mercy that we are called to give this year: to reach out, reach out to those whom we left by the roadside of our lives, estranged family or friends. To mend relationships, give of ourselves to those most in need. Love.

The cross hangs, often forgotten, in the shadows of our churches and our lives. Too often I see only an ornament and forget the magnitude and the love of that sacrifice. I know how far I am from following the example of love without limits that is contained in the image of those simple crossed beams and that broken body, but I am inspired by it. I am inspired to follow it, inspired to give everything I can, or at least to try, like Him, to become mercy.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Mount Angel Seminary Begins Its 128th Year of Forming Men for the Priesthood of Jesus Christ

By Phillip J. Shifflet; Photos by Br. Lorenzo Conocido, OSB

St. Benedict, Ore. – In the opening verses of his Holy Rule, St. Benedict urges monks to pray to Christ the Lord most earnestly to bring every good work they begin to completion. Faithful to his exhortation, the monks, seminarians, faculty, staff, and friends of Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary gathered on Monday, August 29, to celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit, thereby inaugurating the seminary’s 128th academic year.

Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, OSB, processes in, followed by seminarians from the Diocese of San Diego, Deacons Nathan McWeeney and Bill Zondler III.

Abbot Jeremy preaches his homily.

The recently-elected Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, OSB, celebrated the Mass in the Abbey Church, during which the Holy Spirit was invoked upon the endeavors of the coming year. Monsignor Joseph Betschart, President-Rector of the seminary; Abbot Peter Eberle, OSB, and Fr. Terry Tompkins, Vice Rectors; and other priests from the abbey and various religious communities concelebrated. Ethan Alano and Luke Stager, seminarians for the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, and Phillip Shifflet, a seminarian for the Diocese of Orange in California, served as cantors.

Following over three months of summer vacation, during which students return to their home dioceses for pastoral assignments, Abbot Jeremy began his homily with these words: “How beautiful it is to see the church so full of students, new and returning, with Msgr. Betschart at the helm, along with professors, formation directors, spiritual directors, support staff of every kind, other hilltop employees, friends, volunteers, and at the center of it all, this monastic community. As Flannery O’Connor once rightly remarked of the Catholic Church, ‘Here comes everybody.’”

Commenting on the significance of invoking the Holy Spirit, Abbot Jeremy said that it is “a gift that is always given when asked for in faith. What does the Spirit look like? How will we know if it has been given? Ah! there will be all sorts of ways . . . many different gifts and manifestations. That is Mount Angel! Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary hard at work on any given day. A place full of gifts that differ but, says St. Paul, one and the same Spirit produces all of these. This is the Holy Spirit, for whom we are praying at the opening of this school year.”

Following the Mass, Dr. Seymour B. House, Associate Dean for the Graduate School of Theology and professor of church history and literature, delivered the Inaugural Address. Entitled “The Trouble with Facts,” Dr. House presented a comically brilliant reflection on the nature and pitfalls of historical narrative. “We all think of facts,” Dr. House said, “as things that are true, some sort of absolute real, like the speed of light or the number of players on a baseball team. Or facts are things that have happened in the past, like the birthday of Henry VIII or the discovery of radium. But they can also be things that didn’t happen, like the dog that didn’t bark in chapter sixteen of The Odyssey, or the missing 18.5 minutes of the Nixon tapes, or the marriage of Elizabeth I. So facts are things that happened or didn’t happen or happened but we only know about it because they’re missing. Already we’re on slippery slope.”

Dr. Seymour House delivers his Inaugural Address.

“Facts are not simple. We want them to add up to something, but we don’t agree what that should be.” Speaking from his vantage point in the field of history, Dr. House remarked, “Historians select and arrange facts to tell stories, to say something truthful, but once you have to start choosing about what to include and what to forgo, your story loses some of its scope, some of its range. It becomes less like life, and more like a story.”

In the afternoon, Msgr. Betschart gave his first Rector’s Conference of the year; and in the evening, gathering after Vespers, the entire hilltop community enjoyed a community barbeque on the lawn in front of the Abbey Church.

Mount Angel Seminary began forming men for the priesthood in 1889 and is now the oldest and largest seminary in the western United States, and the only seminary in the West that offers both a college and a graduate school of theology.  Since its inception 128 years ago, MAS has educated and formed thousands of priests, and many qualified religious and lay men and women as well, for service to the people of God in nearly 100 dioceses and religious communities across the country and around the world.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Mount Angel Seminary Celebrates 127th Commencement Exercises

by Phillip J. Shifflet

“The fields are ripe! O bless the Lord, our God!” echoed through the Abbey Church as Mount Angel Seminary (MAS) celebrated its annual Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement Exercises at the end of its 127th year of forming men for the priesthood of Jesus Christ.

On Friday, May 13th at 4pm, students, faculty, staff, family, and friends of the seminary gathered with the monastic community to celebrate the Baccalaureate Mass in the Abbey Church. The Reverend Stephen Clovis, Vice-President for Administration and Director of Pastoral Formation, served as the principal celebrant and delivered the homily. Myrna Keough and the Seminary Liturgical Choir provided music for the Mass, which included Kevin Allen's polyphonic composition of "Domine Non Sum Dignus."

Fr. Clovis opened his homily with an oft-repeated saying of Pope St. John Paul II: "In the plans of Divine Providence, there are no coincidences." He quoted from the late Roman Pontiff because the Gospel reading used for the Baccalaureate Mass was not specially chosen for the event - rather, it happened to be the reading from the Lectionary for the day. In the reading from St. John's Gospel, Jesus asks Peter three times, "Do you love me?" Fr. Clovis further commented, "It's a Gospel that's incredibly rich, offering us a deep source from which to draw great spiritual insight."

In his homily, Fr. Clovis reflected on the importance of three words from the Gospel reading, "words that elevate the exchange between Jesus and Peter from what might first appear to be an interrogation of sorts, to a level of personal encounter with profound implications." These words were "you," "me," and "my." Seemingly insignificant, but rich with meaning. Fr. Clovis ended his reflection by exhorting both the graduates and congregants: "May all you do, may all you are, may all you proclaim in word and deed be a resounding 'yes' to the one who calls you in love to care for those he calls his own. And in all things, may God be glorified in you."

The Commencement Exercises were held the next day, Saturday, May 14th at 10am.

The Most Reverend J. Peter Sartain, Archbishop of Seattle, delivered the commencement address. He began his address with a question: "Who's wise?” “Wisdom," he went on to say, "is not necessarily the product of a lot of education... Sometimes wisdom is expressed in eloquent words, and other times it's expressed in silence." Given these considerations on wisdom, one might rightly ask: where, then, does true wisdom come from? Archbishop Sartain gives the answer: "True wisdom comes from relationship with Jesus, one that's fed by prayer and humble ongoing conversion." He ended his address on a hortatory note: "Your conversion will demonstrate your wisdom, who is Jesus. Your conversion will make you hunger and thirst for a deeper understanding of what you have learned at Mount Angel... May Jesus be praised and glorified in all we do. And may our serving and striving after him make us wise."

G.P. Palestrina’s composition of “Sicut Cervus” was performed as a musical interlude by Mount Angel Polyphony, an a capella group comprised of seminarians Ethan Alano, Tim Meurer, Raymond Philip Napuli, Phillip Shifflet, and Luke Stager. The Reverend Mister Anthony Ahamefule, a graduate of the seminary Theology program for the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, delivered the annual senior farewell. Msgr. Betschart gave the final remarks, and the Right Reverend Jeremy Driscoll, OSB, the newly-elected Abbot of Mount Angel Abbey, imparted the final blessing upon the graduates and congregants.

Mount Angel Seminary offers undergraduate degrees in Philosophy, with possible double majors in Literature or Religious Studies. At the graduate level, the seminary offers the Master of Divinity degree and Master of Arts degrees in Philosophy and Sacred Theology, as well as the Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology degree offered in affiliation with the Pontifical Athenaeum of Sant’ Anselmo in Rome, Italy. This year, the seminary granted 17 undergraduate degrees and 29 graduate degrees to seminarians, religious and lay students from around the United States and the Pacific Islands. Additionally, three seminarians received certificates of completion for the pre-theology program.

Mount Angel Seminary, established by pioneer monks, began forming men for the priesthood in 1889. MAS is the oldest and largest seminary in the western United States, and the only seminary in the West that offers both a college and a graduate school of theology.  Since its inception 127 years ago, MAS has educated and formed thousands of priests for service to the people of God in nearly 100 dioceses and religious communities across the country and around the world.

Mount Angel Seminary – Graduating Class of 2016

Bachelor of Arts:  
Oscar Luis Anaya Cuevas - Fresno
Huong Dinh - Oakland
Ryan Paul Dixon - Fresno
Gerson Alfonso Espinosa Velasco - Portland in Oregon
Emilio Gonzalez - Fresno
Jesús Gonzalez - Reno
Neil Giancarlo Frivaldo Guan - Las Vegas
Randy Hoáng - Portland in Oregon
Br. Timothy Kalange OSB - Mount Angel Abbey
Brian Kim - Orange
Walter Martinez - Fresno
Br. Rudolfo Martinez Guevara MSpS - Missionaries of the Holy Spirit
Peter Joseph Murphy - Boise
Luis Alejandro Núñez Lara - Monterey
Nicholas Lee Paige-Schneider - Baker
Eseese Filipo Tui - Honolulu
James Wallace - Juneau
Pre-Theology Certificate of Completion:  
Joshua Daniel Falce - Boise
Junghoon Park - Seattle
Br. Benjamin Dinh Tran OSB - Mount Angel Abbey

Master of Arts (Philosophy):
Ethan Kevin Alano - Portland in Oregon
Br. John Cannon III OCD - Discalced Carmelites
Cheeyoon Timothy Chun - Orange
Joshua Thomas Keatley - Portland in Oregon
Master of Divinity:
Anthony Chijioke Ahamefule - Portland in Oregon
John Janer Becerra - Portland in Oregon
Alexander A. Estrella - Sacramento
Arjie Dacua Garcia - Portland in Oregon
Edgardo Josué Garcia Valazquez - Sacramento
Br. John Vianney Lê OSB - Mount Angel Abbey
Juan Jesus Maldonado - Fresno
Joseph Huân Nguyen - Orange
Cody Lane Ross - Seattle
Cesar Solorio Maldonado - Fresno
Derek Wayne Twilliger - San Diego
Mark W. Uhlenkott - Boise
Tetzel Ballogan Umingli - Portland in Oregon
Leon J. Vigil - Santa Fe
Cody J. Williams - Helena

Master of Arts (Theology):
Anthony Chijioke Ahamefule - Portland in Oregon
Andres M. Emanuelli Perez - Sacramento
William Bradley Hall
John Kucera - Boise

Friday, May 13, 2016

Joe Paddock: "Prison Ministry Creates an Oasis in Jail"

by Rodrigo Llorente, SSJ

Since September of 2015 students of Mount Angel Seminary started working in the Oregon State Penitentiary. Every Tuesday and Thursday seminarians from Mount Angel Seminary drive to the prison to carry on activities of evangelization and formation inside the prison. Joe Paddock, a seminarian for the Diocese of Helena, was interviewed on his experience and impressions on his time of ministry in the prison.

When Mount Angel students arrive at the prison, they go through multiple check stations, where they are scrutinized due to security reasons. Paddock shared about the place: “It's cold and sterile. It's weird, when you go the bar gate opens and then closes behind you and then you have this guy asking questions: what are you bringing in there?  They have to make questions but you are not used to this. The assumption there almost is that you are doing something wrong until you prove that you are not. I suppose they want to make that stance because they want to make it a safe place.”

After going through several bar gates they arrive to the room where they hold their meetings. Paddock was surprised by the inmates’ reaction to them: “Once I got in the room my impression was immediate acceptance. The guys are just incredible! They are very on fire and they are very hungry. They’ve been praying for us at least for a month before we even got there!”

Paddock highlights the heroic faith of these men: “These guys a lot of times are persecuted because they are faithful. Some of them are amazing. What do they do when they go back to their cell? They read the Catechism. There is one guy that is studying Greek and translating. They have a lot of prayers books.  They are studying the Bible and they hold them as precious gifts that they got from our group. And they are really devout. A lot of the other prisoners look at them and think how these guys think that they are holier than us! It’s tough for them to be faithful. I have a lot of admiration for these men.”

The meetings consist in a communion service followed by a catechetical session. Paddock really values the opportunities for talking one-on-one with prisoners:  “Sometimes a guy has a tough day so we go out in the hall to talk. They need to take something out of their chest because there is a lot of bad stuff going on there. This is clearly an oasis for them. Away from all that! Is a beautiful time where they can relax.”

When asked about what has impacted Joe the most, a word quickly popped up: “Conversion. These guys had hit rock bottom and now they have opened their hearts to Christ.”

This impacted his way of viewing and approaching the prisoners: “These people look like good people that made a mistake and now they are atoning for them. To really get to know these guys on a personal level made me take a really humble approach and seeing them as children of God.”

Paddock testifies with confidence about God’s action in the prison: “It is amazing what Christ is doing in these people’s lives. We receive 10 times more that those guys get from us.”

Reviewer Offers Final Reflection on the Unfamiliar Genre Project

by Chi-Nhan Vo

Editor's Note: MAS Journalism has also published Chi-Nhan's restaurant review.

I chose to work on a food review as an unfamiliar genre primarily because it sounded fun to do, even as a class assignment: combining writing, food, and meticulous analysis into one package is a dream come true for me. Even my sister used to poke fun at me when we’d try new foods, calling me “Gordon Ramsay” as I tried to use important-sounding words to describe a meal, but despite this predisposition to the assignment I’ve never formally done a written review of anything. The UGP sounded like a perfect opportunity for me to try something new.

On starting my research, my enthusiasm only grew. More and more these days, user-driven aggregators like Yelp or Google Reviews are the big players in the game, where people always turn to in deciding on a restaurant. It makes sense, really: professional reviews don’t have the advantage of providing an averaged opinion of a place, and are susceptible to bias or even bribery in extreme cases. Most damning is the fact that they’re unavoidably longer: when someone’s deciding on this place or that, what they need is the down and dirty, as quickly as possible.

This trend in restaurant reviews makes for a great opportunity for me to do a traditional one. Looking at all the different reviews I could find, I found that there was a lot more variety in tone, style, organization and focus than the image of the traditional point-by-point breakdown that I had pictured. These days, an in-depth review has to have something unique about it to draw people in.

My own review ended up being structured fairly basically, not too far from that uninspired point-by-point formula; considering that this is my first time with reviewing, I suppose that’s to be expected, although it doesn’t mean I’m happy about it. At the very least, I hoped to mitigate the tedium with vivid detail in all five senses, as well as with personal detail about the restaurant, emphases which I borrowed from my collected reviews.

Sitting down for an extended, professional interview was probably the highlight of the research process. I didn’t find anything particularly different about researching the writing process of a food review from any other academic problem, but conducting an interview, looking someone face-to-face, is a whole different sort of problem that can’t simply be researched. Thankfully I’d had brief experience asking single questions to people on the hilltop in my work for the journalism blog, but that didn’t stop my nerves during the interview. It wasn’t unpleasant in the end, though, and I think I could do it much more easily if it ever comes up again. The quotes I got ended up being a great help in writing my review as well. I’m sure there will be a next time, so when it comes I want to have more interaction: rather than simply moving from question to question as written, I could have done a better job of drawing out more information in a natural, conversation-like manner from the interviewee’s responses.

There was also an issue of integrity in the writing process. After all, one bad review can wreck a business in extreme cases, and I certainly didn’t want to do that to people that I’d met face-to-face. But on the other hand, I couldn’t cover up any flaws in good journalistic conscience. My solution was to be honest, but phrased gently. Thankfully this wasn’t a huge issue seeing as how I genuinely enjoy the restaurant, but in one particular case regarding the restrooms my word choice was pointed out to be unfairly inaccurate. By simply using honest, concrete descriptions, I was able to balance my interests as well as improve the quality of the writing itself, as I exemplified when I spoke on the bathrooms: rather than simply calling them “filthy,” I described them as being “dim, cramped and scarred with discoloration” to paint a much more accurate picture.

I quite enjoyed writing this restaurant review as part of the Unfamiliar Genre Project. I didn’t experience any major bumps along the way, and by working continually with Sr. Hilda I could continually refine my project into something worthwhile. I was able to practice research skills and descriptive writing, and I also was able to get new experience in conducting an interview and professional courtesy. My bank account doesn’t share my satisfaction, of course, but my very happy taste buds provide some needed balance.

I would recommend this project highly to any seminarian, for the simple fact that it allows ample room to tackle something interesting while still pushing the bounds of comfort. Not only did it provide an opportunity to practice writing skills, it forced me into learning interviewing skills, both of which are highly useful to a student. Moreover, the hands-on nature of the project breaks up the tedium of lecture classes.  It was a great experience for sure.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Journalism Student Explores Restaurant Reviews

by Chi-Nhan Vo

Editor's Note: This semester, journalism student Chi-Nhan Vo chose to do the Unfamiliar Genre Project with a focus on restaurant reviews.  MAS Journalism is pleased to publish his final centerpiece, a review of a favorite local restaurant.

Thai Dish: A Seminary Favorite

Chef and owner Manos Jantarasri serves up traditional Thai favorites in a small but homey space.

It’s a quiet Thursday evening in Mount Angel, as most evenings are: cold and rainy, just begging for a warm meal to bring it together. Thankfully, there’s a perennial favorite next door in Silverton’s Thai Dish, a cozy, unassuming hole in the wall that’s played host to years of hungry seminarians. Some seminarians and I decided to take a closer look at the restaurant that’s so often recommended to hilltop newcomers.

Thai Dish is the work of Mr. Manos Jantarasri and his family, who moved to Oregon and opened his restaurant in 2001. Mr. Jantarasri had worked and studied at various other restaurants in California, where he’d first come in the US, to learn how to conduct a business.

He gives all the credit for his love and skill for cooking, however, to his mother, a journey that he’d begun long before he’d come stateside. “Since I was 8, everything she did, I watched and I did it too,” he says, reflecting back on his childhood in Thailand with a smile. “I was always asking questions. It was hard work, very tiring, but I liked it.”

This homegrown, down-to-earth background seems to be the driving force behind the restaurant’s creative energy, including the décor. Many newer Thai restaurants in Portland are lavishly decorated from floor to ceiling with ornate paintings and bronze and gold statues. Thai Dish, on the other hand, is rather humble in comparison: its modest space is peeling with paint in the corners, and the hallway and restrooms around the back aren’t much more impressive, dim, cramped and scarred with discoloration.

However, its walls and tables are collaged with pictures and clippings of Thai people and places, mixed in with crayon drawings collected from the restaurant’s younger patrons through the years. When these sights come together with the wonderful sounds of relaxed conversation and sizzling plates, it’s clear why such a place has become a town fixture. “[Since I first opened] many people have moved to this town. It’s very safe, good for kids,” says Mr. Jantarasri. “Many of my customers are families.”

The food itself exemplifies the same sense of pleasant intimacy. “A lot of other restaurants, they . . . change to a more American taste,” notes Mr. Jantarasri as he describes the sweeter, saltier palate of American-oriented cooking. “I try and make very traditional Thai style.” The menu isn’t short by any means, filled with all the old Thai standbys of curry, rice, stir-fry, and noodles, and a fair variety of drinks, appetizers and desserts, but it also isn’t needlessly long: there’s more than enough to be able to pick and choose without being overwhelmed. Most dishes also have the option of choosing a degree of spice, anywhere from barely-noticeable to fire-in-the-mouth. There’s also usually a choice of meat, all of which are delicious, although the seafood options are rather pricey.

Service at Thai Dish is very friendly, doing a good job of checking in through the meal without being overbearing. Only one server is usually operating at a time, though, so service can be somewhat slow depending on how full the restaurant is. Orders do come out surprisingly quick, though, just enough to get settled and comfortable before the plates arrive.

A number of visits allowed us to sample through a good portion of the menu. As in other southeast Asian cuisines, a soup is often the first portion of a meal, most famously the spicy and sour Tom Yum. Thai Dish’s version comes out on an impressive flaming burner that keeps it warm and turns eyes as it makes it way to the table. The broth, while not short on sour citrus flavor, is a little less complex than other restaurants’, but goes down easily without sticking heavily in the throat as the usual Tom Yum does.

Curry is usually the first dish that comes to mind with Thai food, and is a great measure of the restaurant’s quality as a whole. The red curry at Thai Dish is nothing short of amazing, boasting a host of vegetables like eggplant, green pepper, and bamboo that manage to retain individual taste and texture amongst the rich, flavorful curry. The smell, too, hints enticingly at the curry’s complex flavors without hanging pungently in the air. If anything, the only problem with it is that it’s a rather small portion relative to the price: even including the rice, a college-aged male could down two helpings without much trouble.

Another centerpiece of the Thai restaurant is sweet, silky-smooth Thai Iced Tea, which Thai Dish does quite well: it’s definitely on the sweeter end of the spectrum, but it’s not overpowering, and the finish is relatively light. The presentation of layers of red and orange under the cover of perfectly-sized ice is quite appealing as well. The smaller size is proportionally expensive, which is a great excuse for upgrading to the almost-too-large size.

Stir-fried dishes are some of the restaurant’s most popular, and for good reason, as with the fried rice which exemplifies traditionally complex, multifaceted Thai flavors like savory, sour, and sweet: every bite has something new, bursting with chaotic flavors that somehow form a cohesive whole. The uneven textures are somewhat jarring, though: large slices of tomato and tiny bits of onion, peas and carrots don’t mesh well together. Both the satisfying pad Thai and crispy rad nah noodles are favorites of ours, which have a more unified taste and texture that is no less delicious. There’s no more satisfying sight to greet hungry eyes than a plate of rad nah, a deep-fried crown of golden perfection and laden with earthen greens and browns. All of these are fair portion sizes for a hungry seminarian, and nothing at Thai Dish disappoints for taste.

“Maybe I am going to retire soon, take a break,” reflects Mr. Jantarasri, rubbing his shoulder as he thinks back on the years of hard work he’s put into establishing Thai Dish. “But my customers keep [coming] back,” he says wryly. With such a homelike taste of Thailand in the middle of Silverton, Oregon, who’s to blame them?

Thai Dish
209 N Water St # A, Silverton, OR 97381
(503) 873-8963

Hours: 11-10 Sat & Sun, 11-9 all other days
Environment: small, but cozy and down-to-earth dining room
Service: quick and competent, although prone to bottlenecks
Taste: great range of traditional Thai flavors
Options: plenty for vegetarians, especially with tofu, although ubiquity of eggs makes it tougher for vegans
Price: mid-range, not especially cheap or too expensive

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

MAS Faculty Presents Her Musical Sabbatical

by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

The afternoon of May 10, Kathy Akiyama, an associate professor at Mount Angel Seminary, offered a Shakespeare lecture recital to the seminary community as part of her 2015-2016 sabbatical.  She performed with Debra Huddleston, a collaborative pianist.

Ms. Akiyama offered four sets of songs from the plays of Shakespeare, and between each set she offered a short talk in which she explained the place of each song in its given play.  36 of Shakespeare's 38 plays include songs, many of which would have been familiar to Shakespeare's contemporaries.

Professor Kathy Akiyama with her vocal coach and body mapping trainer, Cynthia McGladrey at the conclusion of her recital.

Along with her musical work, Ms. Akiyama's sabbatical has included work on book on themes of love.  She will return to teaching in the fall.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Appreciation Dinner Honors Supporters of Mount Angel Seminary

story by Dean Marshall; photos by Ace Tui

Saint Benedict, Ore. – On Tuesday, April 19, 2016, Mount Angel Seminary celebrated its annual Appreciation Dinner, held to give thanks to various members of the seminary community, particularly those involved in the Pastoral and Spiritual Formation of the seminarians.

After praying Vespers in the Abbey Church and a brief social, community members and guests gathered in the dining room of Aquinas Hall to begin the evening’s festivities, led by Deacon Leon Vigil from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe acting as Master of Ceremonies.

After Prior Vincent Trujillo, O.S.B. of Mount Angel Abbey led an opening prayer and grace before dinner, everyone gathered was treated to musical interludes, including the vocal quartet Mount Angel Folk singing “How Deep the Father’s Love,” consisting of seminarians Chi-Nhan Vo of the Archdiocese of Portland, Phillip Shifflet and Brian Kim of the Diocese of Orange, and Andriel Ruperto of the Diocese of Fresno. The Mount Angel String Quartet also performed, and it consisted of seminarians Cheeyoon Chun from the Diocese of Orange, Raymond Philip Napuli of the Diocese of San Diego, Luke Stager of the Archdiocese of Portland, and Father Rory Pitstick from the Mount Angel Seminary faculty. They played the first movement from Motzart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.”

The members of Mount Angel Folk during their performance

The chairs for the dinner were John Mosier of the Diocese of Boise and Randy Hoang of the Archdiocese of Portland.

After dinner, several groups of people were recognized for their contribution to the seminary community, including spiritual directors, deacon supervisors and pastoral ministry site supervisors who work with seminarians off-site at placements such as food banks, R.C.I.A. programs, prisons, and homes for the elderly, to name a few.

Of special note during the evening was the recognition of Mrs. Nancy Holt, the Associate Director of Pastoral Formation, who received this year’s Saint Bonaventure award, presented by Msgr. Joseph Betschart, President-Rector of Mount Angel Seminary. The Saint Bonaventure Award is given each year for an outstanding contribution from a faculty member. Mrs. Holt would later say, “It is an honor and joy to be involved in this work. Receiving the St. Bonaventure Award affirms the past years of service and encourages me for the future. The paraphrased statement of Dag Hammarskjold, 'For all that has been -- Thanks; for all that will be -- Yes!,' characterizes my response on receiving this award.”

Mrs. Nancy Holt and Msgr. Joseph Betschart

Mount Angel Seminary is the oldest and largest seminary in the western United States, currently celebrating its 127th year of forming men for the Catholic priesthood. Founded by the monks of Mount Angel Abbey, the seminary serves both graduate and undergraduate seminarians from the United States, Canada, the Pacific Islands, and as far away as Hungary, as well as seminarians from various religious communities and many lay students.

The seminary is supported by a wide variety of individuals, clergy, religious, and lay people, who generously donate their time, talent, and treasure in order to further the seminary’s mission of, as the Most Rev. William H. Gross, C.Ss.R. of Oregon City said in 1889, “send[ing] forth angels in flesh and blood to promote, as not even angels in heaven can do, the glory of God on earth."

Monday, May 9, 2016

Writing Center Sponsors Successful Write-In

by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

The evening of Sunday, May 8, the staff of the Mount Angel Seminary Writing Center hosted another end-of-the semester Write-In at the Press for the seminary community. 

All students were welcome to bring their final essays and other projects to the Write-In.  Writing assistants Philip Shifflet, Matthew Knight, and Isaac Allwin, and Sister Hilda Kleiman, the faculty coordinator for the Writing Center, were available for consultation and assistance.

Both college and theology students took part in the Write-In.  The assignments they brought included those for Research Writing, various literature classes, philosophy classes, and church history classes.

Write-In events are also planned for the the 2016-2017 school year.