Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Two Literature Capstones

On Wednesday, March 20, two college-four students, Stephen Tilley and Ryan Francisco, presented capstone projects that focused on literature.  Both students have taken advantage of the opportunity to double major in literature at Mount Angel Seminary.

In the morning Stephen Tilley presented his project, which he entitled "Characters on the Verge of Eternity: How Flannery O'Connor Uses Irony to Express the Ineffable."  He drew on the literary criticism of Wayne Booth and the short stories of O'Connor to develop his project.

Stephen Tilley prior to his presentation and wearing a peacock tie; peacocks are a motif commonly associated with Flannery O'Connor.

Dr. Seymour House served as the director for Stephen's project, Dr. Creighton Lindsay served as his reader, and Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB, served as the English standards reader.

Ryan Francisco also drew on the criticism of Wayne Booth for his project, which he entitled "My Friend, Eliot: A Wayne Booth Perspective of T.S. Eliot's 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.'"

Ryan Francisco

Dr. Creighton Lindsay served as the director for Ryan's project, philosophy professor Mark Woolman served as his reader, and Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB, served as the English standards reader.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Capstones Continue

On Tuesday, March 19, the next two college-four students offered their capstone presentations to the seminary community.  In the morning Patrick Klekas presented in the library auditorium, and in the afternoon Felipe Jimenez presented in St. Joseph Chapel.

Patrick entitled his capstone "The Elusive Truth: Sola Scriptura and Kierkegaard's Contribution to Protestant Relativism."  He used the doctrine of sola scriptura and the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard to explore the reasons behind the large number of Christian denominations today.

Patrick Klekas
Dr. Andrew Cummings directed Patrick's project, Fr. Richard Keolker served as his reader, and Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB, served as the English Standards reader.  Patrick also offered his thanks to Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB.

Felipe entitled his capstone "A Road to Heaven: St. John Vianney and the Sacrament of Reconciliation."  He drew the title for his work from the words that St. John Vianney offered to a young shepherd who gave him directions to the village of Ars: "My young friend, you have shown me the way to Ars; I shall show you the way to heaven."  Felipe also provided each person who attended his presentation with of prayer card of St. John Vianney.

Felipe Jimenez with a portrait of St. John Vianney
Fr. Thien Dang, OSB, served as the director of Felipe's project, Dr. Ursula Tabor served as his reader, and Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB, served as the English Standards reader.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Pastoral Formation at Mount Angel Seminary

The ABCs of Pastoral Formation
Story by Daniel Miller

To know one's ABCs is to know the basics.  The alphabet in this article is used to present the basics of Mount Angel Seminary's program for pastoral formation, which is one of the four pillars of the preparation the seminarians undergo.  The other pillars are Academic, Human, and Spiritual.  The information in these ABCs comes from the Pastoral Formation Blue Book and interviews with Fr. Paul Peri, Director of Pastoral Formation, and Ms. Linda Showman, Associate Director of Pastoral Formation.

A is for Administration, a task Fr. Peri says takes about 80 percent of a parish priest's time in a large parish and includes budgeting, personnel decisions, facility maintenance, and liturgy planning, among many responsibilities.

B is for Blue Book, the locus of materials on the philosophy, programs, and procedures involved in pastoral formation.  Each seminarian receives a Blue Book.

C is for Catholic Parish Administration: A Handbook, the pocket-sized, big-picture manual outlining pastoral duties by Fr. Peri.  Contained in its pages is a synthesis of pastoral formation to help seminarians learn how to function successfully as administrators.

Father Paul Peri
photo courtesy of the Mount Angel Abbey Communications Office

Ms. Linda Showman
photo courtesy of the Mount Angel Abbey Communications Office

D is for Diaconate, the transitional year when pastoral formation ups the intensity with pastoral internships in parishes, confession and Mass practice, courses in counseling and spiritual direction, and comprehensive exams.

E is for Ethics, the principles that guide a seminarian's behavior while being honed in pastoral formation.  "The seminary and the site do not form the seminarian.  The seminary and the site provide the opportunity," the Blue Book says.  "The seminarian, through his own application, effort, and openness, is formed and transformed through the work of the Spirit."

F is for Field Education, the primary shape pastoral formation takes for seminarians in College and Pre-Theology, though Theology students continue field education in addition to pastoral coursework.  Field education places seminarians in once-a-week assignments throughout the community serving as religious education assistants in parishes, volunteers in food banks, mentors for troubled youth, or sources of encouragement at assisted living centers, along with numerous other possibilities.  (To learn more about field education, read this story).

G is for Grades, something the seminarian receives as an indicator of learning but which is only a taste of future evaluation.  "Success is what kind of pastor he turns out to be in the years ahead," Fr. Peri said.  "I can give you a grade, but the real grade comes after ordination.  People vote with their feet."

H is for Homiletics: "Pastoral formation needs to emphasize the proclamation of God's Word, which is indeed the first task of the priest," the Program of Priestly Formation by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops says.  But beware, aspiring seminarians: Fr. Peri wryly admits he is infamous for falling asleep if a homily in preaching class doesn't keep his attention.

I is for Immersion, a one-day experience for seminarians in College One to be introduced to pastoral formation through ministry serving the community in Portland, reflecting on their encounter, and building fraternity.  College One seminarians do not have weekly field education assignments.

J is for Justice, a pivotal concept for seminarians working in pastoral placements that bring up issues of inequity.  "[Seminarians] also need to become aware of the social contexts and structures that can breed injustice as well as ways of promoting more just contexts and structures," the Program of Priestly Formation says.

K is for Knowledge of the Faith, the foundation for teaching with authority on behalf of the Catholic Church.  Pastoral settings provide the venue for practicing the fruits of academic formation.

L is for Least of These, the people that are often the focus of field education assignments by seminarians and are named in Matthew's Gospel: the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, ill, and imprisoned.

M is for Mass Practice, which occurs in presiding class the final semester of pastoral formation and entails the simulation of a full Mass without a congregation, wine in the chalice, or transubstantiation of the elements.

N is for Needs, which each aspect of pastoral formation prepares seminarians to meet.  Seminarians practice meeting the needs of the people through sacraments, preaching, service, administration, counseling, and the many functions of the priest.

O is for Overlap, which the Blue Book says will arise frequently among the four pillars of priestly formation.  The Mount Angel Seminary Rule of Life says, "All four pillars of formation are interwoven and go forward concurrently.  Still, in a certain sense, pastoral formation is the culmination of the entire formation process."

P is for Pastores Dabo Vobis, the apostolic exhortation by Blessed Pope John Paul II outlining the four pillars of priestly formation: Academic, Human, Pastoral, and Spiritual.  "All priests are called to become aware of how especially urgent it is for them to receive formation at the present time," he wrote.  "The new evangelization needs new evangelizers, and these are the priests who are serious about living their priesthood as a specific path toward holiness."

Q is for Qualities, the unquantifiable results of pastoral formation that are born in an individual through the rigorous skill-building demands of the program.

R is for Relationships, which Fr. Peri says are the core of being a pastor, including relationships to one's bishop, the people of the parish, parish staff, and other faith communities.  "It's about being able to lead," Fr. Peri said.  "To teach, to lead, to preach.  All of that comes down to how you relate to your people."

S is for Supervisors, who oversee seminarians in their field education.  "The key to the success of [pastoral formation] is to have supervisors who will ease students into whatever particular assignment they have and direct them and mentor them," Ms. Showman said.  "For the seminarian that involves simply observing, and then modeling what you've observed and then bringing your own self to the project."

T is for Thursday, on which no afternoon classes are scheduled to allow many seminarians to attend their off-campus field education.  Sack lunches and dinners are prepared, the seminary fleet of vehicles put to use, and seminarians venture as far as Portland to serve.

U is for Universal Sacrament of Salvation, as Blessed Pope John Paul II defined the Church in Pastores Dabo Vobis.  Seminarians need practice serving the Church so that they can lift it up "as a living sign and instrument of the salvation wrought by Christ through the word, the sacraments, and the service of charity," he wrote.

V is for Vocation, upon which pastoral formation forces seminarians to reflect as they practice many of the skills and responsibilities that will be required of them if they are ordained as priests.

W is for Witness of Faith, the role undertaken by each seminarian in the experiences that compose the whole of pastoral formation.  Whether in parishes, prisons, schools, or assisted living centers, seminarians are called to "enter into communion with the charity of Christ the good shepherd" Pastores Dabo Vobis says.

X is for Experiences, the cumulative impact of which forms seminarians to act in the person of Christ.  "The object is to give seminarians as many varied kinds of experience as we can," Ms. Showman said.  "And to try to address zones in the person that may be less well-equipped or areas where someone might be downright fearful."

Y is for You, a reminder that transformation can only take place when the individual seminarian seeks inward growth through personal reflection and challenging one's skills to expand.  "You are formed to be a pastor, a priest after the heart of Jesus," Fr. Peri said.  "You have to be man; you have to be mature.  If you don't transform it, you transmit it."

Z is for Zeal for Charity, a call in Pastores Dabo Vobis toward which seminarians must aim.  "This program is able to build on the zeal that the seminarians already have and on their willingness to try new things," Ms. Showman said.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

MAS Guardians vs Joint Pain All-Stars of Salem

A Close Match for the Mount Angel Guardians

Story by Sister Hilda Kleiman
Photography by Jose Morales and Sister Hilda Kleiman

In their most competitive match yet this season, the Mount Angel Guardians volleyball team played against the Joint Pain All-Stars of Salem.  While the Guardians lost to the All-Stars, each game was close, with a score for the final game of 22 to 25.

A small but enthusiastic crowd who joined the Guardians in the Damian Center were kept abreast of the fast-paced action by announcer Alex Woelkers.  Several seminarians cheered and waved a Vatican flag from the balcony.

In one of the first rallies of the first game, Fredy Preciado saved the serve even if the Guardians lost the point:

A few rallies later in the first game, the entire team showed excellent hustle:

In the second game Michael Nguyen and Frank Villaneuva worked to keep the ball in play so Stephen Cieslak could attempt to score:

In the third and final game, the Guardians started to close the gap in game's final score with one of the longest rallies of the night:

The Guardians gather for a final team cheer at the end of the match.

The Guardians congratulate the All-Stars at the net.

Watch the MAS Journalism Blog for more about the Mount Angel Guardians men's volleyball team.  If you subscribe to the blog and are unable to view the video or photographs, click on the title of the post to go directly to the blog.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Guardians Volleyball Rematch

Tonight the Mount Angel Guardians volleyball team was victorious in a three-game match against the Salem Men's Volleyball Team.  The match offered longer rallies than some of the previous matches of the Guardians.

The Guardians greet their opponents at the net before the game begins.

The first two highlights feature these longer rallies:

Game #1

Game #2

From the third game we have a point for the Guardians with a serve by Houng Dinh and a score by team captain Frank Villanueva:

Stay in touch for more highlights of the Guardians!  If you subscribe to the blog by email and are unable to view the videos, click on the title of the post to go directly to the blog.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Fr. Jeremy's Report on the Beginning of the Petrine Ministry of the Bishop of Rome

March 19, 2013

Dear Abbot Gregory and Confreres, Msgr. Betschart and Colleagues, Seminarians and Students,

Yesterday it poured rain and the wind blew hard.  The storm cleared and cleaned the skies, and this morning was fresh and beautiful.  It is the Solemnity of St. Joseph and the "Beginning of the Petrine Ministry of the Bishop of Rome," Pope Francis.  The crowds moved toward St. Peter's early in the morning.  I left Sant' Anselmo at 7 o'clock for the Mass that was to begin at 9:30.  

I arranged to be on Cardinal Levada's terrace again.  It was not easy to get to his door because security was so tight.  In fact, it was rumored that there would be so many people and the security was so strict that in the end, I think, many fewer than expected actually showed up.  Probably many Romans who might have otherwise come stayed home, while those who came from elsewhere would certainly have come anyway.  In any case, by the time Mass began, the piazza was full.

I was at the Cardinal's house by 8:15 and had a cup of coffee with him just before he himself left to go to the Mass.  I went into his chapel to pray Vigils and Lauds and as a result missed seeing the Pope drive around the piazza greeting many people.  I'm sorry for that but had a good time of prayer in his chapel, which is dedicated to St. Joseph.

I followed the Mass both from the terrace and from a television just inside.  For example, I would be outside for the prayers and songs but came inside to follow the homily more easily.  There was a joyful spirit all round.  As I said, it is the feast of St. Joseph, patron of the Universal Church; and the Pope used what he called this "happy coincidence" to speak of what it means to begin his Petrine ministry on this day.  Following the example of St. Joseph, he urged us all to be "guardians" of Jesus.  This nicely developed into the Petrine ministry as a guardian but also he suggested that all of us as guardians - guardians of all the good things God has given us: the creation, the young and the old, the weak and the poor.  (But you all can read his very words easily enough.  No point in my attempting to summarize them here.)

The new Pope has certainly won people over with his simplicity and warmth.  He spoke in the homily of not being afraid to show tenderness in our relationships with each other, and that has shown through in all that he has done so far as Pope.

Cardinal Levada kindly invited me to stay for lunch.  As I waited for him to return from St. Peter's, I watched the television as it showed the Holy Father after Mass receiving the representatives of different nations.  He seems to do that very well.  He is completely at home with himself and emanates great warmth and tenderness.  The Cardinal was able to share with me his experience of being a part of the conclave, even if he carefully avoided coming anywhere close to violating the oath of secrecy.  But it was just very nice to be with someone who recently emerged from that great event and to hear him speaking of his own sense of a great movement of the Holy Spirit.

(Last Thursday, the day after the election, I had the good fortune to be at dinner with Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor and several others.  I know him well from many years on Vox Clara together.  Although he was over age to be in the conclave itself, he participated in all the meetings of the cardinals beforehand.  It was interesting that he told me he was not surprised at the election.  In other words, Cardinal Bergoglio's name was moving among them even if it wasn't moving around in the press.)

For my part, I enjoy probably as much as everyone else the lovely warmth of this new Pope; and I was charmed by him homily today.  Even so, I can't help but think back on how I felt after the homily of Pope Benedict XVI as he began his petrine ministry; and I am struck by how different my feelings were then.  The depth and eloquence of Pope Benedict's first homily were striking, even if, I don't think, they were out of reach of the most ordinary listener.  Pope Francis today was so different in style.  I couldn't help but think that, much as I appreciate this, I will very much miss that profound, impressive style of Pope Benedict.  

Maybe these are the sort of conflicted feelings that might inevitably arise from this very new situation in which Catholics find themselves: a pope who has resigned, living in prayerful solitude, and another of different style taking his place.  One must adjust to a difference, and there's something wonderful to marvel at in seeing how God gives us such different men, each a pope for a different chapter in the Church's life.  One thing is clear: the Church is strong and alive, gifted with many different types; and God continues to bless her with strong and vigorous shepherds.

I had all of you in my thoughts and prayers today as I celebrated this Mass with Pope Francis.

Pace e bene,

Father Jeremy

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Catholic Response to Loneliness

On Friday, March 15, Martin Moreno presented his capstone project to the seminary community.  He entitled his capstone "The Age of Loneliness and Anxiety: A Catholic Response."

Martin Moreno

Martin provided a brief handout with his thesis and quotations that illustrated the major points of his capstone:

Thesis: God, in Sacred Scriptures, and in particular in Jesus Christ in St. John's Gospel, offers the human person an answer and addresses the human phenomenon of loneliness.

No longer do I call you servants . . . but I have called you friends.
- John 15:15

It is the law of friendship that friends should live together . . . Christ has not left us without his bodily presence in this our pilgrimage, but he joins us to himself in this sacrament in the reality of his body and blood.
- St. Thomas Aquinas

Many grapes hang on the bunch, but the liquid which runs out of them mingles together in unity.
- St. Augustine

He [knew] that in a short time almost everyone [would] abandon him, and nonetheless he calls them "friends."
- Christoph Cardinal Schonborn

Martin with some of his college-four classmates prior to his presentation.

Dr. Owen Cummings served as the director for Martin's project, Fr. Paschal Cheline, OSB, served as his first reader, and Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB, served as the English standards reader.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Tet Celebration

Last month photographer Ivan Garcia capture some colorful images from the seminary's celebration of Tet:

The celebrant for the Tet Mass was Fr. Liem Nguyen, OSB, a monk of Mount Angel Abbey and a formation director for Mount Angel Seminary.  The deacon was a member of the local Vietnamese community.
The celebration in the Damian Center after the Mass was filled with music, food, and very colorful attire, as you can see on Randy Hoang.

This new year is the Year of the Snake.

The envelopes on the tree were given at the celebration to those who participated in the event.

The celebration continued with many performances from the Vietnamese community,  the seminary community, and guests.  At the end of the celebration, the Vietnamese community wished everyone a Happy New Year and a deep thank you for their attendance.

Mass for Benedict XVI

After his resignation and prior to the recent conclave, the seminary community celebrated Mass for Benedict XVI.  Our photographer, Ivan Garcia, captured a few scenes from the celebration.

A Mass for Thanksgiving for Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was celebrated in the Abbey Church.  He resigned as Supreme Pontiff on February 28, 2013, which indicated "sede vacante," a time of the empty seat of Peter.

A portion of the procession at the beginning of Mass.  People from the monastic community and other members of the hilltop attended the Mass.  The Mass was celebrated by Abbot Gregory Duerr, OSB, abbot of Mount Angel Seminary and chancellor of Mount Angel Abbey.

Abbot Gregory processing in with the assisting deacons of the Mass, Deacon John Marshall and Deacon Basil Lawrence, OSB

Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Second MAS Volleyball Victory!

Tonight the MAS Guardians Volleyball team defeated a local team, It's All Relative.  The game, which contain many shorter plays rather than longer rallies, was attended by seminarians, seminary staff and faculty, and off-hill guests.

Enjoy the highlights!

In the first game, we have a point scored by middle blocker Stephen Cieslak:

In the second game, middle hitter Kasiano Sivia brought one rally to decisive close:

In the third and winning game, Daniel Miller scored the winning point for the Guardians:

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Father Jeremy on the Day of the Election of Pope Francis

Father Jeremy Driscoll, a faculty member of Mount Angel Seminary and a monk of Mount Angel Abbey, shares his experience from the day of the election of Pope Francis.  Father Jeremy also wrote to the monastic and seminary communities after the resignation of Benedict XVI and prior to the conclave.

March 14, 2013

Dear Abbot Gregory and Conferes, Msgr. Betschart and Colleagues, Seminarians and Students,

So last evening about 7 o'clock the white smoke poured forth.  Msgr. Keven Irwin and I arrived at Cardinal Levada's house at about 5:30, and Msgr. Steve Lopes, the Cardinal's secretary, let us in.  Archbishop DiNoia was there as well.  We waited in the rain until about 6:00, knowing that the first ballot of the afternoon would be finished by that time and if there were an election, the smoke would come out.  There many people in the square waiting, most with umbrellas up.  It occurred to me that this might be some sort of world record of the most umbrellas ever opened at one time in the same place.

A maxi screen gave us a good view of the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, which from where we stood was not easily seen by the naked eye.  For a long time a single sea gull sat atop the chimney, and I thought this might be another world record in the making: most seen sea gull in the world.  I suppose the news people were glad to have something to talk about during the long wait.  One of our group quipped that it was perhaps the Holy Spirit looking for a way into the conclave . . . or that he had just finished.

Surmising (correctly, as it turns out) that there had been no election, we went inside to the living room and had a snack and a lively conversation.  Meanwhile two other priests from CDF showed up, and the conversation got even more interesting.  In the other part of the house, ten young nuns from the Alma Mercy Sisters were celebrating the birthday of one of their group and also waiting for the smoke.  A little before 7 o'clock Msgr. Irwin had to leave for an interview on CNN but he said he would be back by 7:30.  Their booth was just across the street from where we were.

He was gone only about five minutes when all the nuns started screaming and running down the hall.  The smoke was white.  I started screaming too, just to make it more fun, and so we all started running down the hall and out onto the porch, making lots of noise and then once out along the railing, hugging each other and hearing the enormous roar of the crowd and the joyful ringing of the bells.  We joined the shouting and waving.  A great and joyful energy.

The rain had pretty much stopped.  There was on and off a bit of drizzle.  I knew we still had about an hour to wait, but it was a wonderful view of the piazza and we could see crowds just pouring into it.  From the other end of the terrace one can see the whole length of the Via della Conciliazione, and I would go to that end from time to time to watch hundreds and hundreds of people running down the street to fill in the piazza.  Horns were honking and bells were ringing.  Groups of people were running with national flags and shouting.  What fun.  (It was already dark, so unfortunately I wasn't able to get any good pictures.  But I couldn't have had a more privileged view of things).

More people were showing up on the Cardinal's porch.  Msgr. Lopes had been very generous in letting people in, and now Msgr. Irwin was back.  Most of the others who came were other priests who work in the various curial offices, but a small pack of Dominicans also arrived with Fr. Robert Christian.  The evening before, at dinner with Archbishop Fisichella, he had told me that a cardinal had told him that this would be a long conclave.  Most everyone thought the same.

So, most of the people on the porch, who understand these things better than I, thought that an election on the fifth ballot could only mean that it would be Cardinal Scola.  Finally, after about an hour, Cardinal Tauran came out onto the balcony to tell the waiting crowds who it would be.  I remember eight years ago the cardinal who made the announcement stretched it out with really great drama. 

Cardianal Tauran was just the opposite.  He said his lines quickly and to some extent incomprehensibly.  With his French accent saying those several Spanish names no one seemed to know what he had said.  Then he turned around and walked away.  One thing was certain: he hadn't said "Scola."  Literally, we "experts" in ecclesial affairs were all standing there saying, "Who?!" "Who?!"  The crowd knew it was supposed to cheer, but it two was at first quite silent.  But it wasn't long before folks figured out who it was.  I was completely surprised, as was everyone with me.  So much for all the talk that precedes an election.

Finally the new Pope, Francis I, came out onto the balcony, and the crowd appropriately went wild.  At first, oddly, he just stood there - none of that lifting up of the arms like you expect the pope to do.  Even looking at the maxi screen I couldn't tell what sort of expression he had.  Eventually he spoke and said simply, "Buona sera."

The rest you probably all know and have seen for yourselves.  You will know as much as I do, or as little as I do, about our new Pope and what his selection means.  I suppose our brothers from the St. John Society will be a great help in helping us to learn something about him.  In any case, of course, it's something huge and fresh to have a pope from South America, to have a Jesuit, to be called Francis, etc.

Afterwards, five of us went to dinner together.  Msgr. Lopes had wisely reserved a table in a nearby restaurant, and among the thousands of people everywhere, we were some of the lucky few able to sit down and eat and digest and celebrate together the last amazing hours.  In any case - well, my goodness.  It certainly was interesting and will be.

Pace a bene from Rome,

Father Jeremy

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

We Have a Pope!

Shortly after 11 a.m. this morning, the community of Mount Angel Seminary joined Catholics around the world who gathered to hear the announcement of the election of the new pope of the Catholic Church, Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina, now Pope Francis.

When the Abbey church bells rang, students, faculty, and employees left their tasks and headed for the live video feed set up in the Damian Center.  When the pope appeared on the balcony the crowd broke into applause and cheers.

Video by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

Tamara Swanson-Orr, a staff member at Mount Angel Seminary, also spoke for a moment with Teodosio Brea, a seminarian from Argentina and member of the Saint John Society, as he departed the Damian Center.

Watch the Mount Angel Seminary journalism blog for more responses to the election of Pope Francis.  If you subscribe to our blog and were unable to view the videos, click on the title of the post to go directly to the blog.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

MAS Celebrates Mardi Gras

Community Day on Mardi Gras
Story by Raul Barriga; Photos by Br. Lorenzo Conocido

On Tuesday, February 12, Mount Angel Seminary celebrated Mardi Gras with a community day.  Seminarians, faculty and staff, as well as guests came to see what would take place in the activities.  This year included a car float contest, a relay course, a tug-a-war, crate stacking, dodge ball, and a trivia bowl.

Every year, seminarians organize this event with various activities.  The different academic levels at the seminary were divided into the following teams: college one and two, college three and four, pre-theology one and two, theology one and two, and theology three and four.  The point of the activities is not only to share in community and have fun, but also to win for the day so as to receive additional proceeds from the seminary to spend on the class outing that takes place at the end of the academic year for each class level.  The team with the most points at the end of the day wins!

In the morning was a car float contest next to the Damian Center.  The competition was for first, second, and third place.  This year, the judges for the float contest were President-Rector Monsignor Joseph Betschart, Deacon Bert Mello of the Diocese of Fresno, and Brother Robert Maekawa, OSB, of Mount Angel Abbey.  The total number of floats this year was four.

The first-place entry was from a mixed group of faculty, staff, and guests.  The people in this float included Sr. Hilda Kleiman, OSB, and Sr. Judith Bloxham, OSB, both from Queen of Angels Monastery, Fr. Terry Tompkins, Dr. Katy Leamy, Br. Gregory Benavidez, OSB, Cindy May and her daughter Carlene Fair, Nikki Martin, Dr. Shawn Keough, Myrna Keough, Susan Gibby, Marina Keys, Tamara Swanson-Orr, and Graciela Cortes.  This group called their float "The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful."  Each of the group members was dressed in cowboy gear.  They even included a real pony that walked in front of their vehicle, which was a lawn mower that hauled a small wagon.

They walked to a soundtrack called "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," which came from a Clint Eastwood movie with the same name.  They even had a cardboard cutout of Clint Eastwood, which was riding in the small wagon.

Some faculty and staff members from the winning entry: Father Liem Nguyen, Father Rory Pitstick, Sister Hilda Kleiman, Susan Gibby, and Nikki Martin, the main organizer of the entry by the seminary faculty and staff.

The second place winners named their float "They Have No More Wine."  The group included Sister Gertude Feick, OSB, of Queen of Angels Monastery, Dr. Shawn Keough, Myrna Keough, and about a dozen seminarians.  They did a skit of Jesus turning the water into wine (John 2:3-9).  Sister Gertrude took the role of Mary, and Br. Nicholaus Wilson took the role of Jesus.

Some of the seminarians from the entry entitled "They Have No Wine": Brother Nicholaus Wilson, Alexander Estrella, and Edgar Sanchez

Richard Lefaivre of the Archdiocese of Portland was one of the seminarians present at the event.  He said, "I think that the floats stepped it up this time with a real animal.  They even had someone with a pooper scooper following."

Following lunch at noon, people gathered in the Damian center for a competition that included a relay course, a tug-of-war, crate stacking, and dodge ball.  In crate stacking, someone wears a rock climbing harness around their waist and is hooked onto a rope to the ceiling so as to hold the person's weight when he or she falls from the stack of milk crates after stacking as many as possible.  The team with the most stacked crates won.

Peter Julia from the Archdiocese of Portland organized this activity.  He said, "Crate stacking in not something that most people are familiar with.  Even in the rock climbing world where I previously worked most people have never heard of it.  That's the reason I thought it would be fun."

Each team wore a color to represent them: white, red, blue, black, or green.  The end of the activities in the Damian Center left college one and two in the lead with first place, followed by college three and four with second place. 

James Murphy is assisted by Brother Matthias Lambrecht and Michael Sztajno during the crate stacking while Peter Julia attends to the safety harness.
Joseph Norton III adjusts his grip as he starts rising above the head of his assistant.

In the evening was the final competition of a trivia bowl.  Sister Gertrude Feick hosted the activity.  Antonio Lopez of the Diocese of Yakima said that "Sister Gertrude asked questions ranging from Church history, Scripture, the saints, and theology.  In general they were ecclesiastical questions."  The final result of the trivia bowl left college one and two in first place for the day.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Note from Fr. Jeremy Prior to the Conclave

Father Jeremy Driscoll, a monk of Mount Angel Abbey and a member of the theology faculty of Mount Angel Seminary, continues to send updates from Rome as we continue to approach the election of the new pope:

March 10, 2013

Dear Abbot Gregory and Confreres, Msgr. Betschart and Colleagues, Seminarians and Students,

I just wanted to drop a short note before the conclave for the election of the new pope begins this Tuesday.  I haven't anything special to report.  I learn most of what I know like any among you who are following it, reading papers and the various websites.  I think that, living in Rome in a place like Sant' Anselmo, one perhaps hears more about it than would be the case elsewhere.  It is the main thing that everyone talks about virtually all the time.  And the news comes in here in real time, so maybe I hear things a few hours earlier than you might at home.  It is striking to see how much it is covered on the regular evening news and in the daily newspapers.  There are many takes on the whole thing.

Cardinal Levada has been so good as usual in including me as he can.  He had me to dinner last Sunday, just the two of us.  That was the day before all the cardinals began their meetings.  We spoke at length of how Pope Benedict's resignation affected us and how we should be thinking of his successor.  He asked my thoughts on many things and generously said that it was all part of what the cardinals needed to be thinking about.  He always tells me of his love for Mount Angel and his gratitude toward us.  We enter the conclave in some small way through his high regard for us.

Today, Sunday, many of the cardinals went to their titular churches throughout the city to celebrate Sunday Mass and in this way to get the Romans to be praying earnestly for their new bishop.  Cardinal Levada invited me to concelebrate with him at his titular church, Santa Maria in Navicella.  I did that.  It was a beautiful Mass on a quiet Sunday morning.

As the cardinals go into the conclave, there is no solid indication of who likely they will select as pope.  Naturally people guess, and the guesses seem plausible, every one; and there are many.  Proof that no one really knows.  Another guessing game is when the white smoke will come puffing forth.  Some say as early as Wednesday afternoon.  Others, not until Thursday morning.  Then others say, "No, much longer."  As I say, no one really knows.  Archbishop Fisichella invited me to dinner this Tuesday.  Like most of us, he doesn't expect an election on this first day.

Life goes on as normal this week, but an ancient Roman custom will have the upper hand.  As soon as the white smoke rises, everyone is permitted to drop what he or she is doing and run toward St. Peter's Square to see the new pope as he comes out for the first time onto the balcony to greet us and to give his blessing.  In this way, lectures are suddenly cut short, meetings ended, buses stop in their tracks if they are not headed in the right direction, etc.  I myself look forward to getting there as quickly as I can.  Cardinal Levada will, of course, be in the conclave, but he has given some of us permission to be on the balcony at the time for an excellent overview of the whole.  His secretary is scheduled to be on hand to let us in.  I will try to be there . . . and then write home to tell about it.  (It is supposed to rain all this coming week.)

We pray for the Church!

Peace to you all in Christ,

Father Jeremy

Friday, March 8, 2013

MAS Volleyball Victory!

Tonight the Mount Angel Seminary volleyball team played a winning match against Deportivo Salem.  Find below a highlight from each game of the night, and watch the MAS journalism blog for more about the volleyball team, the first ever for Mount Angel Seminary.

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Game #1

Game #2

Game #3

Game #4

Game #5

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Beginning the 2013 Capstones

Yesterday Clayton Baumgartner, one of the fourth-year college seminarians of Mount Angel Seminary, presented his senior capstone project.  Clayton, a seminarian for the Diocese of Sacramento, entitled his project "A Storyteller's Friend: How J.F.Powers Offers Friendship through a Proxy Ethos."

Clayton Baumgartner

According to Clayton, he drew from two of his seminary courses as he developed his capstone, Religion and Literature and Theoretical Issues in Literary Studies.  He applied some of the work of Wayne Booth to the work of J.F. Powers.  Clayton used Booth's notion of the companionship offered by the authorial presence from Booth's book The Company We Keep.

Dr. Creighton Lindsay served as the director for Clayton's project, and Dr. Seymour House served as the second reader.  Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB, served as the English standards reader.  Clayton also acknowledged the guidance of Abbot Peter Eberle and Father Richard Koelker.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Inaugural MAS Volleyball Game

This evening Mount Angel Seminary hosted the first game of its own men's volleyball team.  The Mount Angel Guardians played the Salem Men's Volleyball team, and despite ending up with a loss, the Guardians provided the Salem team as well as the spectators with some intense competition.

The game was attended by numerous members of the seminary student body and faculty, as well as guests from the Salem area.

According to the program provided by the team for the spectators, the mission of the Mount Angel Guardians Men's Volleyball Team is to "deepen our seminarian brotherhood, through the sport of volleyball, while building up the body of Christ."

Huong Dinh, Steven Cieslak, and Frank Villenueva prepare for a shot from their opponents.

Alex DePaulis, Steven Cieslak, and Huong Dinh work together at the net.

The Guardians return to the court after a timeout.

The following seminarians are members of the volleyball team: Frank Villanueva (captain and coach), Michael Nguyen, Kasiano Sivia, Stephen Cieslak, Huong Dinh, Fredy Preciado, Alex DePaulis, Quoc Vo, Chase Shepard, and Carl Sisolak.

Alex Woelkers served as the announcer, Jacob Flock served as the scorekeeper, and Rob Sullivan served as the main referee.

Enjoy more of tonight's action below!