Saturday, April 25, 2015

Seminary Community Gathers for 48th Annual Talent Show

The evening of Friday, May 24, students, faculty and staff, and friends of Mount Angel Seminary held the 48th Annual Seminary Talent Show.  The twelve acts included a variety of vocal and instrumental music; original music compositions, essays, and slideshows; and a jump rope routine.

The 1st place winner of the talent show, Ivan Mora, wrote and performed an original song, "We All Can Smile," which he performed with fellow seminarians Gerard Juan, Ethan Alano, and Emilio Gonzalez:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Five Seminarians Present Capstone Projects

Story by Philip J. Shifflet

Over the past two weeks, several fourth-year college seminarians presented their Capstones projects in the Mount Angel Abbey Library Auditorium.

On Tuesday, Apr. 7 at 12:15 pm, Jesus Sanchez (an affiliate of Mount Angel Abbey, who will enter the monastery as a postulant this summer) presented on the relationship between Hopkins’ notion of inscape and Heidegger’s notion of truth. His thesis is: "Developing the convergence between the works of Gerard Manley Hopkins with the thought of Martin Heidegger, particularly the relationships between inscape-instress and Ereignis-dwelling, will bring out from Hopkins poetry what Heidegger calls man's belonging to language."

On Tuesday, Apr. 13 at 10 am, Stephen Cieslak (Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon) presented on the philosophical and scientific benefits of the family. His thesis is: “The cultivation of the values of the human person within the context of the family may help increase the natural support system and probability of success in the individual. Furthermore, centering this family on God and de-centering the self through a familial self-giving love are ways to counter the culture of depression.”

At 12:10 pm on the same day, Dario Rinaldi (Diocese of Honolulu), an Oblate of Mount Angel Abbey, presented on the spiritual benefits of silence in the monastic tradition. His thesis is: “The spiritual life should include a regular period of meditative silence of a monastic sense in the Benedictine tradition so that, in an environment devoid of distraction, one’s spirituality may mature.”

On Thursday, Apr. 14 at 10 am, John Hesla (Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon) presented on St. Augustine’s notion of grace in the works of C.S. Lewis and Flannery O’Connor. His thesis is: “Augustine’s understanding of humanity’s fallen state and the necessity for God’s grace illuminates C.S. Lewis’s and Flannery O’Connor’s works and creates a bridge between theology and literature.”

At 12:10 pm on the same day, Zachary Ferell (Diocese of Tucson) presented on the symbolism contained within Green’s The Power and the Glory. His thesis is: “Graham Greene’s novel The Power and the Glory contains complex symbolism that ought to be interpreted with a Catholic historical approach starting with Our Lady of Guadalupe, as it provides literary and cultural insight and appreciation for the author as he demonstrates the struggles of a Catholic priest in Mexico after the Mexican Revolution of 1910.”

Select Capstone projects will be available through the Mount Angel Abbey Library by summer.

Guest Speaker Looks to Seminarians to Strike Up Ecumenical Dialogues

Story by Carl Sisolak

On Friday Mar. 20, the Mount Angel Abbey Bookstore was the location for a discussion on ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue presented by Fr. Al Baca from the Diocese of Orange. The event was hosted by seminarians Dario Rinaldi and Martin Magyar, the chairs for the Ecumenical Committee.

Baca said that we all have grown up in an ecumenical and inter-religious atmosphere. Baca said that Catholics were doing ecumenism long before the Second Vatican Council.

Baca began with making some initial and important distinctions between ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue. Ecumenical dialogue is dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian denominations. Inter-religious dialogue is with Non-Christian Churches and other religions such as the Hindi, the Buddhists and the Muslims, as well as the Mormons.

The goal of ecumenism, said Baca, “ is full organic Communion where one day we will all participate in the seven sacraments.”  Baca said, “There are non-negotiable elements of this goal such as seven sacraments as noted and a belief in the Trinity.”

Baca then proceeded to speak about those groups that are closest to Roman Catholicism and some of the ways that he and his Ecumenical Committee of 25 in his office are trying to promote this dialogue and sense of unity, including between Roman Catholics and the Orthodox. These churches are closest to Roman Catholicism because, said Baca, “the essentials are already in place and we can focus on the non-essentials.”     

In working with the Orthodox, Baca spoke about ideas and suggestions for starting dialogue. These are not only ideas that his ecumenical team are implementing but also ideas and suggestions that seminarians could put into practice.

Baca’s approach includes a kind of door-to-door evangelization in his community in Orange.  For example, he would knock on people’s door and ask them if he could do anything for them, such as pray for their needs or even just ask if he could talk with them for a few minutes.

Baca said, “Go out of your way to smile, say hello . . . The Roman Catholic Church expects you to be ecumenical.” Baca concluded, “If we don’t keep reaching out we are going to become isolated.  The Roman Catholic Church is always involved in the community.”

Friday, April 17, 2015

All Relative Defeats MAS Guardians

News Brief by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

This evening the MAS Guardians volleyball team lost a four-game match to a local team, All Relative.  In the spirit of good sportsmanship, the Guardians and their opponents added a fifth game at the end of the night.

The Guardians included several guest players for the match, including Fr. Theo Lange, a formation director for Mount Angel Seminary.  In the first game, Fr. Theo achieved several good serves and an excellent dig that resulted in a score for the Guardians.  All Relative won the first game, 24-26.

The second game included longer rallies, with the score tied at 22-22, 23-23, and 24-24 before the Guardians pulled ahead to win 26-24.

All Relative took the third game 23-25 and took the match after the fourth game with a win of 27-29.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mount Angel Seminary Holds Symposium on Lectio Divina

Story and photo by Philip J. Shifflet

St. Benedict, Ore. — On Tuesday, March 17, Mount Angel Seminary held its annual formation symposium. This year, Fr. Michael Casey, OCSO, was the keynote speaker. Fr. Casey is a renowned writer on monastic spirituality. He is a Cistercian monk of Tarrawarra Abbey in Victoria, Australia. His books include Seventy-Four Tools for Good Living: Reflections on the Fourth Chapter of Benedict's Rule, Toward God: The Ancient Wisdom of Western Prayer, and Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina.

From left to right: Rt. Rev. Peter Eberle, OSB, director of Human Formation at MAS; Rev. Michael Casey, OCSO; and Sister Judith Bloxham, associate director of Human Formation at MAS.

Fr. Casey’s symposium was on the practice of lectio divina, and it spanned across three conferences: two morning conferences and an afternoon conference. In the morning conferences, he gave a brief history of lectio divina, which is a slow, meditative reading of Sacred Scripture or other spiritual writings. Fr. Casey spoke of the importance of regularity in one’s sacred reading, the time allocation given to sacred reading in ancient monasteries, and the different types of books that were read by medieval monks. In the afternoon conference, he reflected on what he called the book of experience – the notion that “the full meaning of the Bible is yielded only through a relationship with God.”

Pastores Dabo Vobis, Pope St. John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation on the formation of priests, discusses the importance of the Word of God in the life of a priest: “the priest himself ought first of all to develop a great personal familiarity with the word of God. Knowledge of its linguistic or exegetical aspects, though certainly necessary, is not enough. He needs to approach the word with a docile and prayerful heart so that it may deeply penetrate his thoughts and feelings.”
After the community Mass in the Abbey Church, the faculty, staff, students, and guests of MAS gathered in the Damian Center for the beginning of the formation symposium. The two latter conferences were followed by a period for questions. Symposia are a standard part of the formation program at MAS and typically focus on theological or human formation-related issues. Earlier this school year, to celebrate the inauguration of its Master of Arts in Philosophy program, MAS held a philosophical symposium with Prof. William Desmond, in addition to its annual theological symposium, this year with Rev. Msgr. Kevin Irwin.

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 126 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.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

MAS Guardians Volleyball Takes a Loss

by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

In its first match of the season, the MAS Guardians volleyball team faced Los Pumas, a local team from Salem, Oregon.

The Guardians lost to Los Pumas in 3 games, 18-25, 6-25, and 20-25.  In the spirit of good sportsmanship, the Guardians and Los Pumas played an additional game to round out the evening.

The volleyball team and their fans were supported by a 3-man pep band consisting of a trumpet, saxophone, and keyboard.

Friday, March 20, 2015

MAS Seminarian Remembers Father Paschal Cheline with a Poem

This week Phillip Shifflet, a college seminarian studying for the Diocese of Orange, wrote a poem in memory of Father Paschal Cheline, OSB.  Father Paschal, a monk of Mount Angel Abbey and a member of the faculty of Mount Angel Seminary, died Friday, March 13, 2015.

MAS alumnus Dean Marshall also wrote a reflection honoring Father Paschal.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

MAS Alumnus Writes Reflection Honoring Father Paschal Cheline

As many friends and students join the monastic community of Mount Angel Abbey to mourn the passing and to celebrate the life of Father Paschal Cheline, OSB, MAS alumnus Dean Marshall has written a reflection, "On the Passing of a Friend and Mentor", honoring Father Paschal.

Marshall shares the gifts of literature and faith that Father Paschal offered him.  May he intercede for us and rest in peace!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Lay Student Expands His Life Experience with Study at Mount Angel

Story and photo by Carl Sisolak

35-year-old Brian Morin, a lay student at Mount Angel Seminary, said “I feel very connected to the seminarians here and feel very welcomed by the peaceful community” of Mount Angel.  “It is like Cheers where everybody knows your name.”

Brian Morin in one of the classrooms of Annunciation.

Officer and Teacher

For Morin a love for knowledge and learning is par for the course. Morin grew up in the New England town of Vernon, CT. After high school at East Catholic in Manchester, Morin signed up for ROTC training. He attended The College of Holy Cross in Worchester, MA, and received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 2002. He was commissioned into the Navy as an officer, and for 10 ½ years served around the country and around the world on active duty.

Morin worked for a time at the University of Maine teaching Naval Sciences.  He met his future wife, Shavonne, in the school’s Newman Center.  Shavonne was a student in the University of Maine’s master of forestry program. In February 2013, Morin transitioned to the US Naval Reserves at the rank of Lieutenant Commander. In the summer of 2010, Morin and Shavonne moved to Everett, WA, and then to Albany, OR, in 2014.

On realizing that he was nearing the end of the requirements needed for his master's in library and information science, Morin said, “I always wanted to get a master's in theology.” He said, “I hope to be a theological librarian at the university level or in a seminary library or even a position in a historical archives."  While studying at Mount Angel, Morin has been given the opportunity to work as an intern in the Mount Angel Abbey Library.

Mount Angel Lay Student

Morin said, “I stumbled across Mount Angel’s website" and learned about the graduate school.  Morin said he also learned about Mount Angel from seeing the seminarian vocation poster for the Archdiocese of Portland at his church, St Mary’s in Albany.

Morin said he brings to his church ministry what he learns at Mount Angel. He was asked by his pastor to lead a discussion group on Fr. Robert Barron’s video series Catholicism. He also leads another group that discusses the works of G.K. Chesterton. He said he chose G.K. Chesterton for his works that balance faith and reason.  He said, “I would like to use what I learn at Mount Angel to teach RCIA at my parish as well.”

This is the second semester of his first year here. He then will have two more years of study to complete his master's degree. He said, “I haven’t yet decided on a thesis topic yet, but it could be in the areas of either Celtic or Benedictine spirituality.”  Morin said his favorite classes include church history and patristic studies.

Hopefully in reading about Brian Morin, the rest of the Mount Angel community will now get to know Morin’s name.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

College I Seminarians Volunteer at St. André Bessette

Story by Matthew Knight

PORTLAND, Ore.— On Thursday, Feb. 19, a group of Mount Angel first-year college seminarians attended a retreat at St. André Bessette Parish to raise awareness of homelessness in downtown Portland.

Run by the Congregation of Holy Cross, the core of St. André Bessette’s outreach ministry is a program called “morning hospitality,” which is offered six days a week and open to all in the community. Community members experiencing homelessness, poverty, mental illness, substance addiction, and other serious issues are welcomed by the parish for two hours of food, coffee, and fellowship. The parish also offers an art ministry, allowing guests to express themselves by drawing or painting in a safe environment.

Seminarians assisted with serving breakfast and coffee, as well as socializing with the guests. Some helped direct the free clothes closet or worked in the art room. Morning hospitality began and ended with prayer and a round-table reflection, including the Gospel reading of the day.

“It’s amazing how many homeless people are very similar to the people one would meet in his or her day to day life,” said Isaac Allwin of the Diocese of Tucson.

“I really enjoyed being with the poor and homeless,” Conor Baer, Archdiocese of Seattle, agreed. “I sat with a man named Brad, who is a musician. He had a really cool story and I think we both felt we had gained a friend.”

Mass was celebrated at the parish by Fr. John Patrick Riley, C.S.C. Afterwards, the seminarians were given the opportunity to visit two other partner organizations working in the downtown metro area. Bud Clark Commons, the “front door” of Portland’s Transition Project, acts as a day center, providing showers, clothing, laundry, mail and message services, a computer lab, hair salon, and housing assistance.

Macdonald Center aims to break social isolation by reaching out to the “invisible poor,” those who may live in single-occupancy units rather than on the streets. They provide clean, safe, and affordable alternative housing. In addition to home visitation, they provide opportunities for community socialization, hosting birthday parties and memorial services, as well as offering spiritual care, support groups, and retreats. All three organizations, despite having different immediate goals, are working together to bring hope to the homeless in the heart of Portland.

The retreat was a uniformly positive experience, seminarians said.

“It was an opportunity to experience Jesus in those who are in great need,” reflected Br. William Petry, M.S.p.S. “It was a chance to actually see, touch, hear, smell and speak to Christ in the poor. It was the grace to break through the mere understanding of God’s presence in those in need, to the encounter of God in them.”