Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The New President of the Filipino Community

Our journalism students have completed their first stories for the semester, and a number of them pursued profiles of seminary students and faculty.  Emmanuelle del Castillo focused on the leader for one of the seminary's ethnic communities.

Neil Guan: President of Mount Angel Seminary's Filipino Community
Story and Photo by Emmanuelle del Castillo 

Neil Guan is the new president of Mount Angel Seminary's Filipino community.  He was elected by the community for the 2011-2012 academic year.  He studies for the Diocese of Las Vegas and is in his second year of philosophical studies here at Mount Angel Seminary.  He was born in the Philippines and has lived in Las Vegas for the past fifteen years.  He is the eldest of three children.

Newly Given Role

This is the first time Neil has taken the leadership role, but he has experience from his home parish.  Even though he has officially been president for about a month, he has already established important connections to Catholic Filipino communities from Salem, Silverton, and Portland.

Neil Guan with a statue of Saint Lorenzo, the first saint and martyr of the Philippines
 This year Neil is very willing to work with the other ethnic communities on the hilltop.  His expectations for the Filipino community and himself are "to glorify God as we tend the future flock."

Major Successes So Far

During the college beach weekend at the Oregon Coast, the Filipino seminarians were responsible for cooking dinner one evening.  With his Filipino brothers' cooperation and concerns in mind, Neil took the position as the head chef and gave out orders.  He also had his fair share of cooking dinner, but as he cooked, many of his fellow seminarians were astonished at his abilities and were cheering him on.  As Neil said, "I couldn't have done it without the teamwork of the Filipino community."

Another event that took place was the celebration of Our Lady of Penafrancia.  The Filipino community of Mount Angel Seminary went to Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Beaverton to celebrate this feast.  It was the first event outside of the seminary for the Filipino community.

Neil coordinated transportation and also the proper attire for Mass.  Seminarians were well received by the parishioners of Holy Trinity.  As Neil explained their hospitality, "It is an honor for them to have those who are studying to become priests as guests."

A recent event held by the Filipino community of Mount Angel Seminary was the celebration of Saint Lorenzo and his companions.  Saint Lorenzo is the first saint and martyr of the Philippines.  His memorial was celebrated in Saint Joseph Chapel on September 28.  The main celebrant was Father Cary Reniva, the parochial vicar of Saint Luke Parish.

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