Monday, April 30, 2012

Transitions in the Multicultural Church

Below is a reflection written by another student in the fourth-year college course entitled Ministry in a Multicultural Church.  The course is taught by Ms. Kathy Akiyama.

Transitions: Finding Self and Christ in New Situations
by Dean Marshall

Most people have experienced at one point or another a transition shock, or more specifically, culture shock.  The transition to a new home, a new job, or a new way of life may elicit feelings of fear and inadequacy, driving a person to psychologically retreat from the outside world.  Many people do not even realize that this phenomenon occurs and go throughout their lives being unaware of the intricacies of adjusting to new cultures and situations.

Dean Marshall

In her article "Transition Shock: Putting Culture Shock in Perspective," Jan Bennett shows that culture shock, like other types of transition difficulty, consists of the "emotional and psychological reaction . . . brought about by sudden immersion in a new and different" environment and situation (216).  To avoid the situation of culture shock in the Catholic Church of the United States, both for other individuals and ourselves, we must learn to adapt and learn from other cultures.  In order to avoid culture shock, individuals must not only be willing to adapt and learn from other people, but also recognize the God-given talents and gifts that all groups, including themselves, bring to the faith.

There are several symptoms of culture shock, which are similar to the symptoms of other types of transition shock.  As the "virtual infinity of variables" that surrounds a new situation a person finds oneself in begins to manifest, they coalesce into an "individual impact" (217) that may have negative consequences.  There are a wide variety of factors that affect how a person reacts to a particular situation, and each personal experience in new cultures and environments is different.  Symptoms may manifest as "feelings of helplessness and withdraw, irritability [or] fear of being cheated, robbed, or injuried . . . [often leading] to communication problems," resulting in "psychic withdraw" (217).  Just as a person in a new cultural situation is a unique human being, so are the various reactions that each individual has as he or she adjusts to their new circumstances.  Sometimes these reactions are negative.  The challenge, then, becomes how to counteract these negative reactions so that the individual may grow and thrive in the new environment, rather than retreat into an imagined comfort zone.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Talent Show 2012

Tonight the seminary community enjoyed a range of musical entertainment during the annual seminary talent show including . . .

. . . classical guitar . . .

. . . songs about longing for home . . .

. . . a brilliant saxophone . . .

. . . and songs from stage musicals.

The tech crew and friends enjoyed the show from the balcony . . .

and other seminarians served food to the community.

Before the show began Father Richard Keolker and Martin Moreno . . .

enjoyed dinner with Patrick Arguelles and Alfred Guerrero. . .

while Nikki Martin and Anh Vu visited with talent show judge Bert Mello . . .

and talent show organizer Ruben Arocan finished his final preparations.

Friday, April 27, 2012

US History Field Trip

Go West, Young Man 
By Bryce Lungren with photos by Dean Marshall

On Friday, March 23, 2012, Dr. Stewart King's US History class embarked on a weekend field excursion to Bend, Oregon.  Fifteen MAS college-four students teamed up with Dr. King on this annual trip to explore the culture of early American Indians as well as the first settlers of the western frontier.

Dr. King and some of his history students

Some of the beautiful view on the drive to Eastern Oregon

Dr. King said that part of his objective in this expedition was to talk about America's native history before the European presence.  He added that another aspect of the trip was to get an appreciation of the western frontier experience in relation to President Truman's life.  The class at this time was studying about the life and times of Harry S. Truman.

Clyd Rex Jesleva in The Museum at Warm Springs

On Saturday morning the group traveled north of Bend to the Warm Springs Indian Reservation to visit The Museum at Warm Springs.  This museum depicts through artifacts and replicas the Indian culture from prehistoric times to the emergence of western European settlers.

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Voice on the Multicultural Church

All fourth-year college and pre-theology students at Mount Angel Seminary take a course entitled "Ministry in a Multicultural Church."  The course is taught by Ms. Kathy Akiyama and features a number of guest speakers from outside of the seminary.  One of the students in this year's course, Felipe Jimenez, a seminarian for the Diocese of Las Vegas, has submitted this reflection on a recent guest speaker.

If You Walk Blameless, Your Very Presence Will Move People - by Felipe Jimenez

Brother Robert Rodriguez from the Franciscan order started his lecture on March 19th saying, "We are in a time where people are looking deep."  I am in agreement with him.  It is a time when people are looking for real people.  In other words the people of God are expecting, as he said, "ten times bolder from a priest."  It is very important to understand the signs of our times.  We live in the middle of secularism where people are taking God away from their lives, in schools, at work, in the family.  This is a challenge for the priests in our time.  It is not only important to be a priest but to become a holy priest, a priest who can completely give himself to the people of God.  Persons in the Church are in need of God.  There is a misery but instead of being a physical misery, it is a spiritual poverty.  People need God in every sphere of their lives.  The priest ought to be there to solve the conflicts of daily parish life.  The priest needs to be aware of three things as Brother Robert said: to pay attention, to have a curious mind, and to ask questions.

Felipe Jimenez

To pay attention is to be aware of what is happening in his surroundings.  He needs to see what are the needs of his parishioners.  If he pays careful attention he will find out the ways of how to feed his people, the people of God, with the right spiritual food.  The priest needs to observe and work with the different groups in his parish, to advise the people who work in the different ministries.  Also he needs to be ready to receive those who are coming for their first time.  The priest needs to be available to almost every group in the parish because on him relies the good and healthy function of the parish in which he is in charge.  To have a curious mind is to always be attentive to what is happening.  He needs to have special attention with the people who cooperate with him in the life of the church, as well as be sensitive with the spiritual needs of his parishioners.  The priest must activate the greatest virtue of his vocation, love the people.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Visiting a Maronite Rite Parish

Emmanuelle del Castillo, one of our journalism practicum students this semester, has submitted this short story on a recent event of the MAS Ecumenical Committee.

The Maronite Rite
by Emmanuelle del Castillo

On March 18, 2012, a group of seminarians from Mount Angel Seminary attended an almost crowded Mass in the Maronite rite at Saint Sharbel's Church in Portland.  The priest that celebrated the Mass was Abouna (Arabic for "Our Father") Jonathan Decker.  Not to be confused with the Marianists, which is a religious group, as some seminarians did at first, the Maronite rite is one of seven rites that are currently present in the Catholic Church.

This trip was planned by the Ecumenical Committee of Mount Angel Seminary.  Ecumenism is involvement with Christians either in communion with Rome or not.  Seminarians interested in the Maronite Mass  were to sign-up about a month in advance.  A total of seven seminarians from Mount Angel Seminary had attended the Mass, but only three were not familiar with the Maronite rite.

Though obviously an unfamiliar Mass setting for some, it was a fruitful event for the seminarians.  This Maronite Mass is said in three different languages; most of the hymns were in Lebanese and certain parts of the Mass were said in English and Aramaic (Syriac).

Another difference of the liturgy of the Maronite rite Mass is the sign of peace.  In the Roman rite, the sign of peace is given to one another by the form of shaking hands or even going for a hug, while in the Maronite rite, the sign of peace begins at the altar with the Abouna passing the sign of peace on to the altar servers who then pass it on to the congregation.

Romple Emwalu of the Diocese of Honolulu said in an interview that he was lost most of the time and wished to be more focused on the Mass.  Romple also felt that he had lost the tendency to talk during the Mass as it is more participatory than the Latin rite.

The Maronite Church originates in the Fertile Crescent in the East which is known today as the countries of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel.  The spiritual founder of the Maronite Church is Saint Maron (also known as Maroun or Maro).  Saint Sharbel is a Maronite monk from Lebanon.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

April Theology on the Hill

An End-of-the-Year Political Theology on the Hill
photos by William Hall and Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

Yesterday evening the final session of Theology on the Hill for the school year featured the topic of political theology and involved a panel of speakers from the seminary community.  A discussion between Dr. Jeffery Nicholas, an associate professor of philosophy, and Br. Jonah Wright, OSB, a monk of Mount Angel Abbey, was moderated by Bert Mello, a seminarian for the Diocese of Fresno.

Brother Jonah and Dr. Nicholas enjoyed refreshments and speaking with the guests from off the hill before beginning their discussion.

While the discussion touched on some specific political and moral issues, it primarily focused on deeper issues of unity, the meaning of suffering, and holding the tension people encounter as they live with deep and fundamental disagreements in their families and communities.

Dr. Jeffery Nicholas addresses questions from the seminarians and off-hill guests.
Bert Mello joined in the laughter during the discussion.
Brother Jonah reflecting on some of the discussion's more serious points.

For the discussion Brother Jonah drew on his experience as a theologian and professor of theology.  Dr. Nicholas works further with the points he made on his blog and in his new book, Reason, Tradition, and the Good.

Theology on the Hill will continue next school year in the Store at the Press.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Listen to Fr. Pitstick's Conference

Please follow this link to hear the conference on patience given by Fr. Rory Pitstick, the professor from Mount Angel Seminary who was featured in the previous post.  Thank you, Fr. Pitstick, for sharing your conference with our readers!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Final Conference on the Virtues

Patience is a Virtue
story and photo by Bryce Lungren

March 12, 2012, completed this year's Monday evening conferences on development of virtues.  Fr. Rory Pitstick, a MAS formation director and professor from the Diocese of Spokane, spoke to seminarians about the discipline of patience.  His long-awaited talk, which took place in St. Joseph's Chapel and lasted about 45 minutes, discussed why patience is a virtue and how it can be practically applied in daily life.

Fr. Rory Pitstick in front of one of the icons in St. Joseph's Chapel.

To begin his talk, Fr. Pitstick gave different definitions of patience, which ranged from long suffering to forbearance.  Collegian Emmanuel Sanchez from the Diocese of Orange liked Fr. Pitstick's explanations of patience.  In an email interview, Sanchez said, "they all seemed to have a similar message of bearing pain, misfortune, and irritation without complaint."

Fr. Pitstick also spoke of the patience of God.  Citing examples from the Old Testament as well as the New, he described patience as being an attribute of God.  For this reason, Fr. Pitstick said that patience is part of God's holiness "and so should be part of our holiness."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Casino Night

Jonathan Cheever, a second-year college student studying for the Diocese of Seattle, submitted these photos of the college's recent casino night.  The seminarians in black served as the dealers for their fellow seminarians, and everyone enjoyed drinks and snacks while they played.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Register for MAS Journalism for Fall 2012

CO 401G - Journalism 2012

Join us this fall and . . . 

Spread the word about the good news of Mount Angel Seminary students, faculty, and staff

Gain writing and photography skills you can use in your current and future ministries

Learn about journalism ethics

Publish your work! - on this blog - on the seminary website - in the Catholic Sentinel - and other possibilities . . .

This year's MAS journalism students

The time and date for the course are TBA; the class will meet during the first week of the semester in the fall and find days and times that work for everyone.  Questions?  Contact Sister Hilda at 845-3576 or