Friday, February 28, 2014

Final Photos of MAS Basketball and Their Fans

photos by Ivan Garcia

Ivan Garcia, a college seminarian studying for the Diocese of Tucson, served as the photographer for the Rose City Classic in which the Guardians took part on Monday and Tuesday.  He submits these final photos of the season:

Some of the faithful fans of the MAS Guardians: Frank Villanueva,
Miguel Corral, Andy Mendoza, and Ivan Garcia

The 2014 MAS Guardians Basketball Team

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mount Angel Seminary Guardians Reach Championship Match of Rose City Classic

Sports Reporting and Commentary by Cindy May

The night of Monday, February 24, was the semifinal basketball game of the Rose City Classic between our own Mount Angel Seminary Guardians and the Campus All-Stars from Multnomah.  It was a tough game that was played well.

At halftime, the Guardians were leading 51-36.  The Campus All-Stars were a street-style, scrappy team, and the Guardians met them on while maintaining their strong competitive composure and pulled out a final victorious score of 88-80.

The championship match of the Rose City Classic was the night of Tuesday, February 25, between our Mount Angel Seminary Guardians and the Multnomah University Lions on Multnomah's home court.  The two teams have met and played during the regular season and were familiar with each other and their playing styles.

At halftime the Guardians were ahead 52-51.  The second half was a close scoring game and nobly fought by the Mount Angel Guardians.  The final score was 96 Guardians, 105 Multnomah.

Coach Alex Woelkers said, "This is the highest score for Mount Angel Seminary for this season."  The team had a good season, building the team and school spirit and playing well. "We had fun this season, even with the losses" commented Woelkers.

It is the character of each man on the team that forms the nature and integrity of the team and defines the team, not the final scores of the game.  The Mount Angel Seminary Guardians are good ambassadors and represent Mount Angel Seminary well.  With the completion of each game, regardless of the outcome, they extend a friendly handshake to their opponents and invite them to form a circle and join in a final prayer.

A number of faithful seminarians were present to support their brother seminarians with their school spirit, becoming an extension of teamwork and the seminary community.

The team is appreciative of the support and encouragement the seminary community has given them this season, and they look forward to the next basketball season.  Thank you Guardians for a great season, and God bless Mount Angel Seminary!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Guardians Celebrate the End of the Season

Photos by Ivan Garcia

Last week, the MAS Guardians basketball team played their final game of the season, and with these photos we see more of the joy they brought to the court.  Go Guardians!

Brother Matthias Lambrecht offers a smile to fellow
Guardian Romple Emwalu during the pre-game warmup.

Michael Nguyen (54) and Daniel Miller (7) work hard to score
against their opponents.

The Guardians and the opposing team gather with President-Rector Monsignor Joseph Betschart for a closing prayer after the game.

As they were showered with confetti, the Guardians came together
to thank their fans and for a final photo.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sacred Art: Tomasz Misztal Answers God's Call

by Luis Trujillo

On January 31st The Press hosted an international artist with amazing talent and a particular love and devotion to the sacred. Tomasz Misztal is an artist who is praised for his versatility and his transmission of his faith to his works. A Roman Catholic born in Poland under the communist regime, he put himself through the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk, Poland, and obtained a Ph.D. Misztal shared his insights on the process of his creations as well as the importance of the pastor in the process of design in his own parish. 

Upon sharing his insights of the process of making each piece of artwork which primarily consists of sculptures, he made it clear that “work is prayer. Every time I go to my studio I go to myself.” Misztal explained that when working on a piece he needed silence, tying the process to his previous knowledge and importance of the Rule of St. Benedict.

According to Misztal, the studio he works in is not only the physical shop; it is also the interior of the soul. He explained how he needed a clean physical studio to create something beautiful. So, too, must his interior studio be clean. He said the sacraments are essential nourishment.

Misztal has four major steps when he is about to do a piece that are based on lectio divina. He draws a harmonious relationship with spiritual practice. First there is lectio; just like reading scriptures he must first research his topic. Meditation is the pondering of the material he researched. The meditation leads him to oratio or prayer. The last part of the prayer is contemplation, silent prayer which “pushes me [him] to the tools.”
The priest, he claimed, has a big responsibility with his parishioners to have art in his parish that will be transporting of the spirit. He used the metaphor of a beautifully dressed woman with a beautiful gown and her hair done, but the crowning piece is a stunning jewel.

So, too, in a church the people may have an extraordinary structure but it needs that jewel, the beautiful piece of art to make it complete. Misztal recommended religious leaders find zeal in the artists involved in parish art and exclaimed his dislike of generic art from a catalog. Misztal urged pastors to choose art that is unique. 

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Guardians Bolstered by Fans Despite a Loss

by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

The MAS Guardians Basketball team played their final game of season at home last night against Portland Bible College, and even with a loss of 61-87, the fans filled gym with cheers and celebration.

Portland Bible College pummeled the Guardians with numerous 3-point shots, and MAS player Michael Nguyen returned to the game after a minor injury in the second half.

Abbot Peter Eberle, MAS Guardians fan and Vice-Rector of the Graduate School said, "Being here with everyone is great fun, and hope springs eternal!"

"Even when they're down, they keep going," said Cindy May, Guardians fan and Executive Secretary for the Graduate School.  They "are a good bunch of guys" she said.

At the half-time break, coach and player Alex Woelkers thanked all of the "crazy" fans for their support this season.

Prior to the game, the fans decorated the Damian Center with blue and white streamers and balloons, and they came armed with signs, a Vatican flag, and an oversized stuffed basketball that they tossed between the fans on the floor and those in the balcony.

Throughout the game, the team's logistical and spiritual efforts were supported by many members of the seminary community. These included team chaplain Father Theodore Lange, timekeeper Frank Villanueva, DJ Felipe Villalobos, the members of the social committee who provided drinks and snacks, and President-Rector Monsignor Joseph Betschart who led both teams and all the fans in a closing prayer.

Red, white, and blue confetti poured down on the Guardians after the closing prayer, and team photos and more music brought the night and the season to a close.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Seminarians Share Shelf Talkers

Shelf Talkers by Daniel Miller

Editor's Note: This semester, the journalism students wrote two shelf talkers for the Abbey Bookstore as their first assignment for the semester, and the shelf talkers will be published on our journalism blog as well.  Visit the Abbey Bookstore to purchase any of the items featured in these posts.

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Fr. Gregory Boyle, SJ

Treading in the crime-ridden Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, Fr. Greg Boyle created Homeboy Industries, the most successful gang intervention program in the country.  Fr. Boyle tells parables in Tattoos to show gang members, the world, and us that the best way to stop a bullet is a job.

Our One Great Act of Fidelity: Waiting for Christ in the Eucharist by Ronald Rolheiser

A belief in the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist distinguishes Catholics in the religious spectrum.  Here Fr. Rolheiser explores a Eucharistic understanding that is incarnational, reconciling, mysterious, and satisfying.  For those in multi-denominational families like my own, his emphasis on the unifying power of the Eucharist offers hope.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Thirty Seminarians Take a Step Closer to the Priesthood in Annual Ministries Mass

Editor's note: Below is a version of a press release written by Dean Marshall for the recent Ministries Mass.

Saint Benedict, Ore. - As various monks and priests moved forward in procession at the beginning of the annual Ministries Mass for Mount Angel Seminary on January 29, 30 seminarians waited in joyous anticipation within the vestibule of the Mount Angel Abbey Church. 

Preparing to be instituted in the ministries of Acolyte and Lector, they were taking their next steps towards ordination as priests. Presided over by the Most Reverend Jaime Soto, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of Sacramento, those instituted as Lectors during the Mass were exhorted in the words of the Rite to “be faithful in handing on the word of God, so it may grow strong in the hearts of his people,” as they were entrusted with the Scriptures to proclaim them in the Liturgy and to teach them to the faithful. The Acolytes in turn were encouraged in a similar Rite to “make your life worthy of your service at the table of the Lord and of his Church,” as they were appointed to assist the priest and deacon during Mass and to serve as special ministers of Holy Communion.

From the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, Brent Crowe was instituted as a Lector and Zani Pacanza was instituted as an Acolyte.
From the Diocese of Boise, Nathan Dail and Joseph Lustig were instituted as Lectors while John Kucera was instituted as an Acolyte.

From the Archdiocese of Seattle, Edward Duncan and Keefe Piper were instituted as Lectors, while Christopher Hoiland, Nicholas Pak, and Cody Ross were instituted as Acolytes.

From the St. John’s Society, Nicolás Facile and Juan Pablo Segura were instituted as Lectors.

From the Order of Discalced Carmelites, Br. Matthias Lambrecht, O.C.D. and Br. Daniel White, O.C.D. were instituted as Lectors.
From the Diocese of Baker, Víctor Manuel Mena Martínez was instituted as a Lector.

From the Diocese of Helena, Joseph Paddock was instituted as a Lector, while Cody Williams and Alex Woelkers were instituted as Acolytes.

From the Diocese of Samoa-Pago Pago, Kasiano Sivia was instituted as a Lector.
From the Diocese of Sacramento, Dean Marshall and Edgardo Garcia Velázquez were instituted as Lectors, while Edgardo Garcia Velázquez and Andrés Emmanuelli Peréz were instituted as Acolytes.

From the Diocese of Las Vegas, Felipe Jiménez was instituted as a Lector.

From the Diocese of Orange, Phuong Nguyễn was instituted as an Acolyte.
From the Diocese of Oakland, Oscar Rojas Martínez was instituted as an Acolyte.
From the Diocese of San Diego, Stephen Saroki, Derek Twilliger, and William Zondler II were instituted as Acolytes.
From the Diocese of Fresno, Gonzalo Siller Ramírez was instituted as an Acolyte.
From the Diocese of Reno, Joseph Walsh was instituted as an Acolyte.

Bishop Soto conferred these Ministries on behalf of the Dioceses and Religious Orders for which these men are in formation at Mount Angel Seminary. He said to the men, “You are being invited into a parable that perhaps you do not understand,” likening the Ministries to the parables found in the Gospel. He went on to say, “Jesus is bringing you close, near and dear, so he can explain to you the mysteries of the Kingdom.” Finally, he encouraged all the men to live these Ministries in their very lives: “Proclaim the word. Place yourself at the service of the altar of Christ. Let your life tell the gospel story of Jesus in Word and Service. Let both be done with joy.”

The newly instituted Lectors and Acolytes were from 13 Dioceses located around the United States including American Samoa, as well as two different Religious Orders.

A reception was held for the new Lectors and Acolytes, visitors, faculty, and staff in Aquinas Hall following the Mass.

Established in 1889, this year Mount Angel Seminary celebrates its 125th anniversary. It is the oldest and largest Catholic seminary in the West and is currently forming and educating 154 seminarians for priestly service in 27 dioceses and six religious communities across the United States and beyond.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Guardians Battle But Lose to Concordia

Photos by Jose Morales
News Brief by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

On Friday, February 14th, the MAS Guardians basketball team fought hard against Concordia until the final seconds of the game but ultimately lost 59 to 58.

At the end of the second half, the score stood at 28 for Concordia and 23 for Mount Angel Seminary.  With 4 1/2 minutes left in the second half the score was tied 47-47, and with 3 minutes left the score was tied again at 50-50 after a three-point shot from MAS player Keefe Piper.

Even with 7 seconds left, the score was tied at 58-58.  After some technical difficulties with the time clock were resolved by the referees and the team captains, Concordia made their final score to win the game.

The Concordia and MAS players warmed up on both ends of the court prior to the game, with Concordia in blue and the MAS Guardians in white:

The teams gathered to discuss strategy and then joined in the opening prayer offered by Bishop Gerald K. Kicanas who was visiting from the Diocese of Tucson:

Concordia and MAS prepared for and then leaped for the ball at the opening of the game:

Daniel Miller (55) and Keefe Piper (45) attempted to thwart Concordia throughout the first half of the game:

Coach Alex Wolkers, to the left of Stephen Cieslak (33) advised the team during a first half timeout:

Timekeeper Frank Villanueva and scorekeeper Joseph Lustig also took a pause in their duties during the timeout:

Alex Woelkers accepting a pass from a teammate:

The Guardians on the bench continually cheered for good defense from their teammates on the court:

Stephen Cieslak, Keefe Piper, and Brother John Paul Le kept up the pressure on Concordia:

The two referees took a break during halftime:

After a tough game, Concordia and the MAS Guardians gathered together at center court for a closing prayer:

The Guardians final home game will be next Friday, February 21st.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Hilltop Shares More Snow Photos

Enjoy more photos of the recent snowfall at Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary, including this one of the seminarians from the Diocese of Honolulu with their snowman!

Photo by Jose Morales

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

MAS Seminarians Join the WC Walk for Life

News Brief by Jonathan Eubanks

In the heart of the crowd one could hear the pounding of a djembe drum accompanied by the playing of guitars and the voices of hundreds of protesters singing hymns of joy. These could be heard throughout the entire mile-long stretch of people.

The weekend of January 25th a group of forty-six seminarians accompanied by formation director and professor Father Theodore Lange took part in the West Coast Walk for Life.  The ten-hour bus ride down to St. Patrick’s Seminary consisted of a new program aimed at making the trip more of a pilgrimage than a weekend trip to sunny San Francisco. The pilgrimage consisted of community prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours, the praying of the rosary and guided reflection about the injustice of abortion, silent prayer and meditation, and several pro-life films. This new program was formulated and implemented by theologians Joseph Paddock, Stephen Saroki, and Joseph Walsh. The pilgrimage was coordinated by the college peace and social justice chair Michael Nguyen.

MAS Seminarians Felipe Villalobos (holding the sign) and
Stephen Cieslak at the West Coast Walk for Life
photo by Carlos Orozco

This year was slightly different than last year in the fact that both Mount Angel Seminary and Saint Patrick’s Seminary were part of leading the charge of the 60,000 estimated people that showed up to support the abolition of abortion.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Abbot Gregory Institutes Monk as Reader

Mount Angel Abbey, OR – On February 10, 2014, the feast day of St. Scholastica, Abbot Gregory Duerr, OSB instituted Br. John Paul Le, OSB, to the ministry of lector. This installation is the first official step of Br. John Paul to the priestly order.

During the rite of institution, the Abbot instructed Br. John Paul on the responsibilities of a reader: "Bring the message of salvation to those who have not yet received it.  Thus with your help men and women will come to know God our Father and his Son Jesus Christ, who he sent, and so be able to reach eternal life."

Fr. Odo Recker, OSB, presided at the Mass with the monastic and seminary priests as concelebrants. Seminary students were present in the Abbey Church for the Mass of Installation.

Abbot Gregory intalls Br. John Paul as a lector, assisted by Br. Andre Love.

Br. John Paul and Abbot Gregory

Br. John Paul is the Abbey’s assistant sacristan and a Theology III student at Mount Angel Seminary. He made his monastic solemn profession in September 2013 and is scheduled to be installed to the ministry of acolyte on March 21st of this year, the feast of the Passing of St. Benedict.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Seminarians Enjoy a Beautiful Snowfall

This morning the hilltop and the surrounding area received a snowfall, covering the grounds, buildings and the students and faculty going to their classes.

Felipe Villalobos and Andres Gurerra, both college students studying for the Diocese of Orange, spent time outside in the snow, an experience they never have at home.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Joani Steffen Retires, Remembers, is Embraced

Story and Photos by Daniel Miller

After ten years, 121 tubes of lipstick, hundreds of meals, and untold hugs, Joani Steffen retired from Bon Appetit’s food service at Mount Angel Seminary on Thursday, January 30. As an overseer for the dining room, Steffen gained the friendship of seminarians, staff, faculty, monks, and members of the hilltop community.

“With Joani, she’s so much more than an employee,” seminarian Andres Emmanuelli of the Diocese of Sacramento said. He added, “She makes her ordinary work an extraordinary thing, the way she’s living it—with her whole attitude of loving care and the small things she does for each seminarian.”

Joani Steffen offers a hug to seminarian Romple Emwalu.

The seminarians prepared a scrapbook and several photos filled with messages and good wishes from the hilltop community.

Many that entered the Aquinas Dining Room when Steffen worked found the greeting to be as welcoming as the fare.  Steffen became known for her hugs that helped fill the void of motherly affection for many seminarians.  Abbot Peter Eberle, O.S.B., said Steffen's hugs would be the thing most missed by the seminarians upon her retirement.

“Her sheer goodness is such a delight to bump into at meals every day,” Eberle said.

For seminarians with particular dietary needs, Steffen vigilantly watched over the supply of foods they could eat and made sure they were fed well, Emmanuelli said. Steffen kept track of the many people in the dining room by studying the photo directory each autumn and matching names to faces. Steffen’s co-worker and friend Annette Dettwyler said that through her collection of current and previous directories and her notes in a small notebook, Steffen tracked where past seminarians had relocated through graduation to new institutions, ordination to the priesthood in particular dioceses, or discernment to other vocations. Steffen came to know much of the hilltop community personally. Seminarians often confided in her and felt uplifted by her demeanor, hugs, and advice.

"There is nothing she doesn't do for [seminarians] that she doesn't do for her own kids," Dettwyler said.

With Steffen at the helm, many noticed a distinctive sparkle about the dining area. She constantly picked up crumbs or stray bits of food to make the presentation of meals pristine. Steffen was sure to have the fruit bowls overflowing, with no intermixing of fruits from bowl to bowl but always a variety of colors to appeal visually to diners, Dettwyler said. A bowl of lemons, though functionally not useful, enhanced the display and showcased Steffen’s care for appearance and cleanliness.

Steffen also kept a professional personal appearance. Dettwyler said she went through a tube of lipstick about every month, which would amount to 121 containers over her tenure.

“I have lipstick I have been using for years!” Dettwyler said.

It was Dettwyler that advocated for Steffen to be hired 10 years ago after the two worked together at a special seminary event. Then in need of medical insurance that came with the job, Steffen joined the staff. She and her husband Bill were grateful for the medical insurance in the years following her hiring. In 2007, Steffen was diagnosed with cancer and underwent chemotherapy, and in 2009, Bill needed quintuple bypass surgery for heart trouble. When she was being treated, Steffen took a leave of absence for many months, but she still visited the hilltop and kept her friendly disposition.

“Guys would pat her on her little bald head,” Dettwyler said. “She said she would take cancer any day over depression.”

Though she will not be spending 32 hours a week at work on the hilltop, Steffen will visit. Her connections are too deep to relinquish.

Since Steffen spent much of her childhood in Mount Angel, she has built relationships with many families, community members, and even a couple monks over some 50 years. Eberle has siblings that are Steffen’s age, and he will often ask how their mutual acquaintances from town are faring. Fr. Paschal Cheline, O.S.B., met Steffen when she attended Kennedy High School and he taught there starting in 1964, and they have maintained a friendship since.

“She has been an excellent witness to what the Lord asks from all of us: joyful service!” Cheline said.

As retirement neared, Steffen wondered how she would replace her work routine. Her commute from the Silver Falls area provided time for a rosary and prayer, and as she reached the bottom of the hill, she would intercede for members of the seminary and abbey communities by name. Her trips between the dining room and kitchen helped her walk 3-5 miles per shift. But it was the relationships Steffen said she would miss most.

Still, her retirement to-do list is full: Deep cleaning the house, sewing, beading, scrapbooking, helping Bill with their tree farm, spending time with her twelve grandchildren and four children, all of whom live within an hour.

The fried Twinkies and cupcakes offered by Bon Appetit
during Steffen's retirement celebration.

Steffen ceased full-time employment with a lunchtime celebration on her final day featuring house-made cupcakes, fried Twinkies, punch, and affection from the community she embraced in her decade of service.

“I had to work, but loving my job is an extra benefit,” Steffen said.