Journalism students recognized two multi-year projects reaching completion this summer during a press conference on Friday at noon. Among four guests, Bookstore Manager Ms. Beth Wells spoke about the consolidation of the gift shop from the Guest House into the Press Building, and Dr. Elizabeth Farley shared her journey to defending her doctoral thesis in May, completing studies in Mariology through the University of Dayton.
Two others also spoke. Fr. Theodore Lange described his recent pilgrimage to Rome for the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the upcoming basketball season was addressed by Alex Woelkers, the basketball coach-player and seminarian for the Diocese of Helena.
The expanded Bookstore now sells coffee and snacks, gifts, sacramentals, souvenirs, textbooks, and many school supplies at the west end of the Press Building. The gift shop's move in July was the culmination of a five-year discussion with the monastic community about how best to perform the evangelistic and catechetical work of the bookstore, Wells said. She said the new space more than doubles square footage for gifts and memorabilia, consolidates staffing to one location, expands services the Bookstore offers, and allows for more efficient work. Additionally, Wells noticed increased interaction between seminarians and visitors. Though many people enter initially flustered by the move from the old location, in about 15 minutes of perusing, Wells said many customers have said to her, "This is wonderful."
|Ms. Beth Wells|
|Dr. Elizabeth Farley|
The training Dr. Farley received in her field allows her to teach a class on Mariology, offer retreats with a Marian focus, and lecture about the topic. She said she wants to share with seminarians a two-fold understanding of Mary: First, that she is the Mother of the Christ the seminarians are studying to become, and second, that she was the formator of Jesus from infancy to the cross. After 10 years of pursuing a second Masters degree and her doctorate, Farley called this a "terminal degree," meaning it would be her last. She said her husband Jerry told her in jest that she is forbidden to study anymore. "It's been a wonderful pilgrimage for me, and I'm happy to pass it on," Farley said.
Freshly back from Rome, Fr. Lange represented the seminary in concelebrating a Mass with Pope Francis and distributing communion as part of the Consecration events. Pope Francis presented catechesis on Mary, the untier of knots, on Saturday, Oct. 12. That day the Shrine of Fatima was processed through the streets of Rome, Fr. Lange said, reaching the point where Blessed John Paul II had been shot in an assassination attempt on May 13, 1981. The former pope placed the bullet that impacted him that day in the crown of the Shrine of Fatima. On Sunday, Mass culminated the weekend's events, and the Consecration to the Immaculate Heart was a simple, prayerful rite, Fr. Lange said.
|Fr. Theodore Lange|
Woelkers spoke last, expressing excitement as basketball begins with the first game on Saturday, Nov. 2. The player-coach said the addition of new players and return of the players from last year's 4-6 squad, which he said was among the school's most competitive in recent memory, have raised expectations for the season. Mount Angel's athletic programs have experienced a revival in recent seasons, Woelkers said, while continuing to emphasize fraternity, evangelization, and formation as future priests. "I try to remember that coaching someone is a real privilege because it's not just about helping them in sports or getting the most out of them but being a part of their life," Woelkers said.
The press conference was the third and final event of its kind for students in the journalism class who use the experience to craft questions, generate material for stories, and hone interview skills. To learn more about the journalism class, please see the syllabus for the course.