Sunday, September 15, 2013

Four Stories Emerge from Inaugural Press Conference

Story by Daniel Miller
Photos by Sister Hilda Kleiman, O.S.B.

What do the Library Administrator, Aikido instructor, Director of Admissions, and Interim Vice Rector of Mount Angel Seminary have in common? The four took part in the first press conference for the journalism students on Friday, September 13, and each shared about stories that impact the seminary and greater community.

From left to right: Father Ralph Recker, Father Terry Tompkins, Jim Sisley, and Victoria Ertelt

First, Library Administrator Victoria Ertelt described the new eBook program which will be accessible in 2-3 weeks. The eBooks will increase the library's holdings by 30,000 titles. Particularly for those seeking relevant, newly published research and those studying the liberal arts and social sciences, the new eBooks collection will be a valuable resource available anywhere with an internet connection, Ertelt said.

Dressed in a "gi" meant for the sport, Mr. Jim Sisley spoke about the Aikido class he teaches at the seminary. Aikido is a Japanese martial art focused on peaceful resolution to conflict. "We do not learn how to punch. We do not learn how to kick," Sisley said. "We learn how to deal with those attacks coming at us." Aikido is an elective students are expected to attend two of the four times it is offered per week.

Fr. Ralph Recker, O.S.B., opened with humor. "A little over a year ago, I was approached about a trip to Turkey," Recker said. "I thought, November, Turkey…it's got to have to do with Thanksgiving dinner, right?" Rather, Recker will journey to the country of Turkey to lead 31 pilgrims to Biblical landmarks such as Antioch, Cappadocia, and Ephesus. Why Turkey? "Because (the apostle) Paul chose to go to Turkey," Recker said. The pilgrimage lasts from November 4-17.

Fr. Terry Tompkins spoke last, revisiting his recent appointment as interim Vice Rector of the College. Tompkins said he was asked to assume the role as a result of Fr. Paschal Cheline's (O.S.B.) reassignment to other duties, included by but limited to serving as Junior Master of Mount Angel Abbey.  Whereas Fr. Paschal used to additionally serve as Director of Spiritual Formation, that position is now filled in an interim capacity by Fr. Paul Thomas, O.S.B.  Tompkins explained that he has more administrative responsibilities in this role but is also glad to continue teaching and serving as a Human Formation Director for the Theology II seminarians. "In some ways, it’s a Pauline focus," Fr. Tompkins said. "I have to try to be all things to all people."

Journalism students Daniel Miller, Nicolas Facile,
Romple Emwalu, and Jose Morales during the press conference

As these stories develop, the Mount Angel Seminary Journalism class will keep watch and post updates as needed on this blog. Two more press conferences are planned for our journalism students to share the good news of happenings on the hilltop in the coming months.

Editor's Note: As of 2:45 p.m. on September 17, 2013, the portion of this story pertaining to Father Terry Tompkins has been revised.

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