Saturday, December 10, 2011

Theology on the Hill: Father Jeremy Driscoll

Last night was the latest gathering at Mount Angel Seminary for Theology on the Hill.  Father Jeremy Driscoll, a monk of Mount Angel Abbey and a professor of systematic theology at the seminary, gave a talk entitled "The Universal Significance of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead."

In his opening remarks, Fr. Jeremy emphasized that the Christian faith stands or falls on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  His presence among people today is totally dependent on this event.

Father Jeremy at work at Mount Angel Seminary.
When Jesus was raised from the dead, Fr. Jeremy explained, he entered into a new form of life, taking human existence into divine glory.  This leap has universal consequences; it opens a new future for all men and women.

During the rest of his talk, Fr. Jeremy built on a close reading of chapter 15 of Saint Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians.  Faith comes through hearing, he said, for the Corinthians then and for all those gathered in the Store at the Press that evening.

His talk and the discussion that followed ended with an emphasis on the place of witness in the Christian life.  Because Christians believe Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, they can give themselves away in love through all of their actions each day.  "If I do not witness," said Fr. Jeremy, "then I do not know the reality of the Resurrection."

According to Br. Jonah Wright, the coordinator of Theology on the Hill, the series will continue in January with a talk by Dr. Seymour House on religion and poetry.  The series continues to be held in the Store at the Press at Mount Angel Seminary, and all are welcome!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pondering the Annunciation

This semester in Writing in the Humanities, a college-one writing course, the students wrote an essay on the mosaic of the Annunciation inside the building named Annunciation at Mount Angel Seminary.  This assignment was done in the context of learning to write about an image.  Below is Peter Lawongkerd's work for this assignment.

The Theme of Hope: The Mosaic of the Annunciation at Mount Angel Seminary
by Peter Lawongkerd 

The mosaic of the Annunciation is located in the Annunciation building at Mount Angel Seminary.  When I sit in front of the mosaic of the Annunciation and look at the icon carefully, I realize the icon is very beautiful.  I believe that the people who see the icon will fall in love with it.  What comes to mind whenever I see the mosaic of the Annunciation is the theme of hope.  It is the hope of Mary, who is the subject of the icon, and the hope of the people who see the icon.

The Annunciation mosaic viewed from the top of the stairs in the Annunciation building.
The Annunciation mosaic from within the lobby of the Annunciation building.
The Archangel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary
The first element I notice immediately is the background.  The icon has gold for the whole background.  It is very bright and powerful.  Gold has a very important role in the mosaic of the Annunciation.  It makes the image look more valuable and fancy.  The significance of gold is the pure reflection of light, and it is the symbol of divine light.  The background gradually leads my attention to the foreground.  Mary and the Archangel Gabriel are the subjects in the foreground.  The dove is above both of them.  The white dove represents the Holy Spirit.  Mary is working on a spindle, and she also has a conversation with the Archangel Gabriel.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Integrity and Integration for a Journalist

Below is the second reflection paper on The Elements of Journalism by Bryce Lungren.  The students were asked to apply the elements to their experience as a journalist this semester.  Bryce Lungren:

The second half of The Elements of Journalism (TEJ) by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosestiel has been just as intellectually refreshing as the first.  The ten essential elements that the authors illustrate are like a code of ethics for the field of journalism.  As they say, "Ethics are woven into every element of journalism" (Kovach 232).  This moral dimension of journalism is something I thought the media had forgotten about.  Thanks to The Elements of Journalism, I have discovered that the integrity of a journalist requires an integration of their whole person.

There is always that fine line of implementing one's own writing style without letting it dominate the article.  As was pointed out early in TEJ, journalism is about conveying the facts.  Just listing the facts, though, would largely be an ineffective way of communicating the news.  A journalist has to make their article palatable to some degree.  The eighth principle element listed in TEJ is that "journalists must make the significant interesting and relevant" (Kovach 187).  This element gives clarity to the balance between author and subject.

It is hard to put your heart into an article without letting a little bit of your personality show through.  The basic guideline TEJ introduces is to make "the significant interesting and the interesting significant" (Kovach 196).  To do this takes some creativity by the reporter.  I can think of some topics here on the hilltop that, at first glance, a reader might not find appealing enough to read.  However, if an article is written in a manner that is engaging and relevant to the audience, it might prompt an otherwise uninterested person to read it and learn something from it.  I find this balanced approach between a reporter's writing style and the information itself to be a virtue that brings out the natural gifts unique to each journalist.

Exercising Personal Conscience

Our journalism students have completed their second reflection papers on our text, The Elements of Journalism.  Below is an excerpt from Michael Khong's paper; he chose to reflect on the role of conscience in journalism:

St. Ignatius, the founder of the Society of Jesus, advises that we should examine our conscience twice a day: at noon and before going to bed.  I thought that the notion of an examination of conscience was strictly a matter of religion, but when I read chapter 10 of The Elements of Journalism, I was totally surprised that the authors mention journalists have a responsibility of conscience . . . 

Exercising personal conscience helps journalists be held accountable for their work.  In doing so, they are able to receive both positive and negative feedback from the public.  If journalists will examine their conscience, they will be able to offer a public apology to the readers when they make a mistake and accept it as a lesson to correct what has been done in error by them.  This also allows journalists to provide a forum for public criticism and compromise and brings journalists and the readers closer together (166).

The Life Chain Rally

This fall, Bryce Lungren, one of our journalism students, took part in and covered the seminary's participation in the Life Chain Rally in Salem.

Seminarians Stand Up for Life
by Bryce Lungren

On October 2, 2011, about two dozen seminarians and monks from Mount Angel Abbey lined the busy Lancaster Drive in Salem to join in the 21st Annual Life Chain Rally.  Tedd Joling, the Life Chain coordinator, said that the seminarians joined the nearly 600 other pro-life citizens who sacrificed their Sunday afternoon to promote the dignity of the human person.

Mount Angel seminarians, faculty, and monks on Lancaster Drive
With rosaries in one hand and pro-life signs in the other, seminarians stood in solidarity with their unborn brothers and sisters who have no voice of their own.  According to this reporter, who also partook in the Life Chain Rally, the seminarians experienced an overall positive response from the passing citizens who would often toot their horn or give them a thumbs up.  Occasionally, though, they received a different hand gesture, one of opposition.

As travelers along Lancaster Drive were busy going about their normal routines, these seminarians took time out of their demanding schedules, which include communal prayer, classes, and overall little free time, to testify against the somber reality of abortion.

Seminarian A.J. Vander Vos made the choice to break from homework and stand for life because he said "If seminarians and priests don't give witness, who will?"

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pastoral Assignments in Canby

Michael Khong recently accompanied the seminarians who are serving at the Canby Food Bank to their work, and he shares this story with us.

Seminarians Help Feed the Hungry People in Canby
by Michael Khong

In September, St. Patrick Catholic Church in Canby welcomed five new seminarians as volunteer workers for the food bank.  They are Peter Lawongkerd, Emmanuelle del Castillo, Jamie Cuevas, Fernando Capetillo, and Brother Marius Kim.

At the beginning of the new academic year, each seminarian is assigned by Ms. Linda Showman, the associate director of pastoral formation, to different ministries that are part of pastoral formation.  Pastoral formation, one of the four pillars of the Program of Priestly Formation, is designed to allow seminarians to work with lay people.

Fernando Capetillo checks in clients at the St. Patrick's Food Bank
Every Wednesday, these seminarians gather in the parking lot and leave Mount Angel Seminary at 4 p.m. for pastoral ministry.  After they arrive at the food bank at 4:45 p.m., they report to Mary Ann Schram, their supervisor, and begin to help people who are in need. 

Their duties include welcoming the clients and helping them select the food that they want.  According to Bill Piller, the head of the food bank, the food bank at St. Patrick has been serving the poor for more than thirty years.  It is also a place for seminarians to have the opportunity to work with the laity and to have an experience working with people who are in need.

Bill and Dolores Piller
Working at the food bank is a new experience for all five seminarians.  Peter Lawongkerd, a seminarian from the Diocese of Oakland, said that when he received his pastoral formation assignment, he had no clue what the food bank was all about.  He said, "I was nervous and had no idea about this assignment."

After a couple of weeks, we began to fall in love with this ministry and recognized that it has been a blessing for him.  He also said, "I can help people who don't have a place to stay and food to eat.  Whey they come here every Wednesday to get groceries, I can see their happy faces."  Most importantly, he learned that he is blessed, and he is grateful for everything God has given to him.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Father Jeremy on Oregon Public Broadcasting

Yesterday the new translation of the Roman Missal was the topic on "Think Out Loud,"  a morning call-in radio program on Oregon Public Broadcasting.  

Father Jeremy Driscoll, a professor of systematic theology at Mount Angel Seminary and a monk of Mount Angel Abbey, was one of the guests on the program.  Father Steve Newton, the pastor of the Downtown Chapel in Portland, was the second guest.

Click here to listen to the complete program.  Comments on this blog about the program are welcome!

This Friday evening Father Jeremy will also be the featured speaker for the seminary's Theology on the Hill.  Theology on the Hill is held in the Store at the Press and begins at 6 p.m.  Food is provided and all are welcome!

Friday, December 2, 2011

More Mass of Candidacy Photos

Brian Sattler, a second-year theology student studying for the Diocese of Spokane, has submitted some of his photographs from the Mass of Candidacy in October.  See our previous post for a list of the candidates.

Thank you, Brian!

The candidates approach the archbishop.

The archbishop and the candidates after the Mass.

The archbishop, priests, and deacons celebrating the Mass of Candidacy.