Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Thirteen Men Admitted to Candidacy at MAS

story and photos by Phillip J. Shifflet

On Thursday, October 23, in the Abbey Church at Mount Angel Seminary, the Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample, Archbishop of Portland in Oregon, celebrated the Mass of Candidacy, during which thirteen seminarians were admitted as candidates for Holy Orders. Eight other bishops, fifteen Vocation Directors, the Abbot of Mount Angel Abbey, and the superior of the House of Studies for the Carmelites were also in attendance.

Admitted as candidates were John Becerra Oviedo and Arjie Garcia of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; Alexander Estrella of the Diocese of Sacramento; Juan Maldonado and Cesar Solorio Maldonado of the Diocese of Fresno; Joseph Nguyen of the Diocese of Orange; Cody Ross of the Archdiocese of Seattle; Derek Twilliger of the Diocese of San Diego; Mark Uhlenkott of the Diocese of Boise; Leon Vigil of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe; and George Watson III, Cody Williams, and Alex Woelkers of the Diocese of Helena.

The candidates, bishops, superiors, and vocation directors
after the Mass of Candidacy.

Archbishop Sample preached on the texts from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians, that “Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith,” and from the Gospel of St. Matthew, “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing.” During the Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders, the thirteen men would present themselves in a formal way as candidates for Holy Orders, the Archbishop said, and the Church would have the opportunity to see their intent and to accept that on behalf of the whole People of God.

The Archbishop hoped that St. Paul’s prayer from Ephesians would become the prayer of the people for the men admitted to candidacy, but the Archbishop reminded us that being filled with the love of Christ takes work and that we have to cooperate with and make ourselves available to God, who gives us everything we need. “You need to be on fire in order to set the world on fire. May what God has already begun to do in you be brought to its fulfillment,” the Archbishop concluded.

This summer, the thirteen candidates will, God willing, be ordained to the diaconate. Next year they will return to Mount Angel Seminary for their final year of theological studies before their ordination to the priesthood in the summer of 2016.

Mount Angel Seminary, established by pioneer monks, began forming men for the priesthood in 1889.  MAS is the oldest and largest seminary in the Western United States, and the only seminary in the West that offers both a college and a graduate school of theology.

This year, MAS celebrates its 125th anniversary. Since its inception, it has formed thousands of priests with sound philosophical and theological studies for service to the people of God in nearly 100 dioceses and religious communities across the country and around the world.

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