Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Seminarians Instituted as Lectors and Acolytes at Mount Angel Seminary

Story by Phillip J. Shifflet; photos by Joseph Nguyen

On Monday, February 9, in the Abbey Church at Mount Angel Seminary, the Most Reverend Armando X. Ochoa, Bishop of Fresno, celebrated the Ministries Mass, during which thirteen seminarians were instituted as lectors and eleven seminarians were instituted as acolytes.

Bishop Ochoa with the new lectors and acolytes.

Instituted as lectors were David Jones of the Diocese of Baker; Mitchell Hornsby of the Diocese of Boise; Gerson Espinosa Velasco, Stephen Kenyon, Fiacre Nduwayo, and Kurt Ziehlke of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; Steven Wood of the Diocese of Sacramento; Santiago Feu and Rodrigo Llorente of the Saint John Society; and Benjamin Bray, Carl Sisolak, Michael Sztajno, and Anh Tran of the Archdiocese of Seattle.

Instituted as acolytes were Victor Mena Martínez of the Diocese of Baker; Nathan Dail and Joseph Lustig of the Diocese of Boise; Joseph Paddock of the Diocese of Helena; Felipe Jiménez of the Diocese of Las Vegas; Br. Matthias Lambrecht, OCD, of the Discalced Carmelite Province of St. Joseph; Brent Crowe of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; Lucio Zuñiga Rocha of the Diocese of Reno; Nicolás Facile and Juan Pablo Segura of the Saint John Society; and Nathan McWeeney of the Diocese of San Diego.

The lay ministries of lector and acolyte are typically conferred upon those men pursuing holy orders. At MAS, a seminarian is instituted a lector during his first year of theological studies and an acolyte during his second year of theological studies. Bishop Ochoa thanked the seminarians for their generosity in offering themselves in service to the Lord, and said, “This symbol and very important ritual marks a moment of passage for you as you move forward in your discernment and preparation in Christian ministry.”

In his homily, Bishop Ochoa encouraged those being instituted to deepen their relationship with Jesus, the Divine Word present in the tabernacle. To the lectors, he said: “When you speak the words of Sacred Scriptures, you must know that you are echoing the very Word of God. That Word that brings all things into existence. The word you proclaim has power.” To the acolytes he said: “The Church calls you to be ordinary ministers of the Eucharistic presence of Christ. You are also called to teach true devotion to our Eucharistic Lord. You are called to handle that which is most sacred to us. You are called to bring the healing presence of Jesus to those who need him.”

Mount Angel Seminary, established by the monks of Mount Angel Abbey, began forming men for the priesthood in 1889.  MAS is now 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.

Since its inception, MAS has educated and formed thousands of priests for service to the people of God in nearly 100 dioceses and religious communities across the country and around the world.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Capstone Project Explores the Nature of Friendship

News Brief by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

On Wednesday, Feb. 18, Phillip Shifflet, a college seminarian studying for the Diocese of Orange, presented his capstone project to faculty, staff, and students of Mount Angel Seminary.

Dr Andrew Cummings, Shifflet's director, introduced Shifflet at the beginning of his presentation.  Dr. Seymour House served as his reader, and Dr. Mark Van Ness served as his English Standards reader.  At the beginning of his talk, Shifflet thanked his committee, as well as several past and current writing assistants from the MAS Writing Center who helped him with his work.

Shifflet's capstone is entitled " 'I Have Called You Friends': The Nature of Friendship and Social Media's Role in Its Cultivation."

Phillip Shifflet

In his presentation, Shifflet discussed the the three main sections of his capstone: the nature of friendship, cultivating friendships, and the question of social media.

The thesis of his project is: "Friendships cultivated through the abuse of social media seek to fulfill an innate desire to be known, accepted, and loved; but true fulfillment of these longings can only be found in what St. Aelred of Rievalux calls spiritual friendship, the cultivation of which would exclude a presence on social media platforms."

Shifflet's capstone project will be available at the end of the semester through the Mount Angel Abbey Library.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Pep Band Writes MAS Fight Song

This winter, the new Mount Angel Seminary pep band composed an MAS Guardians fight song.  Thus far the fight song has been featured at several Guardians basketball games.

Ethan Alano wrote the melody of the fight song, and Peter Murphy did the arrangement.  Alano, with assistance from George Watson, wrote the lyrics as well.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mount Angel Seminarians Take to the Road for the Walk for Life 2015

Story and photo by Carl Sisolak

The pilgrimage to the Walk for Life West Coast, which took place on Saturday, Jan. 24, was not only a start on the road to San Francisco for a bus load of Mount Angel Seminarians but a new start to learning what it means to stand up for the dignity of life. The Walk for Life is an annual event that takes place as a way of peaceful demonstration to bring to the attention of all people the issues of abortion and euthanasia.

The pilgrimage lasted three days, beginning with our bus ride down to San Francisco on a Friday morning and ending on our return Sunday evening to Mount Angel. We maintained a daily program of prayer and reflection as we travelled.

The seminarians, along with formation director Fr. Ralph Recker, OSB, were enthusiastic about this opportunity to witness about how they feel about the dignity of life. Seminarian Ivan Mora, a seminarian from the Diocese of Sacramento, said as the journey began on Friday, “It is exciting to be going on this trip.” He also mentioned that he had been to St Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, a suburb of San Francisco, which would be the first destination for our travelers in the evening.

After the seminarians arrived at St Patrick’s in the evening, they all went to Mass at the chapel and had  fellowship and dinner with the St Patrick’s students, faculty and staff who would be our hosts while we stayed in San Francisco. Some went to Eucharistic Adoration later in the evening.

The next day after breakfast at St Patrick’s it was time to head out into the sunshine of a California morning into the city of San Francisco for the Walk for Life festivities. The first gathering of the day was for Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral where we were treated to the words of Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordeleone, the archbishop of San Francisco, who was the main celebrant at the Mass.

Mount Angel seminarians taking part in the Walk for Life West Coast.

Following Mass the bus took us to the rally point at the beginning of the Walk. The joy and lifted spirits of the walkers was plain to see. People all around were singing, praying and enjoying getting to know their fellow marchers and all who were gathered there in United Nations Plaza.  The walk was well-organized and joyful, with different people from all over the country sharing their stories. There was the sound of singing and praying from some of the participants and there was emphatic encouragement from a number of the rally speakers as well.

We began walking from the rally point at about 1:30 in the afternoon down Market St., a living witness to the belief that all life is sacred.  The walkers proceeded down the street singing, praying and declaring “We are Pro-Life."  Many of the walkers were carrying signs with their places of origin on them or that declared them to be of the “Pro-Life Generation” to all those in the city. We would find out later from those from the Walk for Life blog team on their website that the number of walkers in San Francisco this day was at least 50,000.

After completing the walk to Embarcadero Blvd, the Mount Angel seminarians returned to the parked buses by 4:00 p.m. and made their way back to St Patrick’s Seminary for dinner and recreation.

As we headed back on the bus to Mount Angel the next day, a number of seminarians shared their thoughts about the experience. One of the seminarians, Tyler Johnson from the Archdiocese of Seattle,  said that “a lot of people who walked by us during the time we were walking said thank you for being beacons of hope.”  He said, ”A lot of people see us as the future of the Church.”

The struggle to bring the awareness that all life is precious and a gift from God will not go away after we have returned to Mount Angel.  Frank Villanueva, seminarian from Diocese of Honolulu said, "We have to continue to reach out to people  with love.”

Editor's Note: The reporter for this story was also a participant in the Walk for Life

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Guardians Achieve First Win of the Season

News brief by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB
Photos by Carl Sisolak

Last night the MAS Guardians basketball team beat the Portland Bible College Wildcats 69-59.  The game was the first win for the Guardians this season and their final home game. Last week the Guardians lost to the Wildcats.

Father Brian Dolejsi, the vocations director for the Archdiocese of Seattle, joined the Guardians for their game against the Wildcats.

Father Brian (23) working out strategy with his teammates.

The Wildcats take one of their many 3-point shots.

Stephen Cieslak takes a foul shot.

Six minutes into the first half, the score was tied 7-7, but the Wildcats pulled ahead with a 3-point shot. The Wildcats made many successful 3-point shots throughout the night.  With two minutes left in the first half the Guardians were ahead by one, 27-26, but the Wildcats pulled ahead again for a score of 27-30 at the half time buzzer.

The score was again tied, 35-35, five minutes into the half.  By keeping the Wildcats from attempting their 3-point shots, the Guardians stayed ahead for most of the second half as they reached their ten point lead in the final minute of the game.

Brother John Cannon, OCD, setting up an attempt to score.

Guardians mascot Tyler Johnson
among the Guardians fans in the second half.

Val Park fends off a Wildcat.

Guardians fans were greeted at the door of the Damian Center by the Guardians mascot and copies of the lyrics for the new Guardians fight song.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Capstone Presentation Defends the Genre of Fantasy

News brief by Phillip J. Shifflet

On Wednesday, Feb. 11, students, faculty, and staff of Mount Angel Seminary gathered in the Library Auditorium for Paul Grandi’s Capstone presentation.

Paul Grandi beginning his Capstone presentation.
Credit: Phillip J. Shifflet

Dr. Creighton Lindsay, who was Grandi’s director, said in his introduction that if there were a Guinness Book of World Records at MAS, Paul Grandi would certainly receive the award for the earliest Capstone presentation.

Grandi’s Capstone project is entitled: “The Tales that Really Matter: J.R.R. Tolkien and the Legitimacy and Importance of the Genre of Fantasy.”

In his presentation, Grandi offered a captivating explanation of Tolkien’s essay “On Fairy Stories,” in which Tolkien argues that fantasy has three main functions: it can provide escape, it can help the reader recover transcendental truths, and it can provide consolation and ultimately instill the virtue of hope in the reader.

The thesis of his project is: “J.R.R. Tolkien’s theoretical framework, laid out in his essay ‘On Fairy Stories’ and applied in his epic The Lord of the Rings, shows how fantasy, through its characteristic and creative dissimilarity to the primary world, is a genre uniquely and especially suited to lead its readers to a recovery of joy and thus has the potential to spread a message of hope.”

Grandi’s Capstone project will be available at the end of the semester through the Mount Angel Abbey Library.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Guardians Take a Loss from PBC

News brief by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB
Photos by Cesar Solorio

The evening of Friday, Feb. 6, 2015, the MAS Guardians basketball team faced the Portland Bible College Wildcats and lost 64-79.

The first score of the game was by Guardian John Helsa just seconds after the tip off.  The Guardians maintained a lead for a few minutes of the first half and then chased behind the Wildcats for the rest of the game.  The score was 31-40 at the half.

Guardian Andres Guerra races against a Wildcat opponent.

Stephen Cieslak goes for a layup.

Val Park on the defense.

Tony Lopez on the offense and preparing for a pass.

Six minutes into the second half the Guardians brought the score to a tie of 47-47 with two points by Stephen Cieslak. The Guardians fans came to their feet when seconds later Ryan Dixon grabbed a rebound from the Wildcats and made a long pass down the court to Cieslak for another two points.

With a 3-point shot in the second half from Val Park, the Guardians came within 5 points of the Wildcats before the gap widened to the final of 64-79.

The Guardians were again supported by the new MAS Guardians pep band, whose members include Cody Williams, Conor Baer, and Gerard Juan on the horns, Emilo Gonzalez on the drums, and Peter Murphy on the keyboard.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Seminarians Mark Life, Justice & Peace Day

Story and photos by Phillip J. Shifflet

On Friday, Jan. 23, the seminarians of Mount Angel celebrated a day dedicated to the promotion of life, justice, and peace in a variety of ways.

A bus filled with fifty seminarians left early Friday morning on a pilgrimage to San Francisco to take part in the west coast’s annual Walk for Life. Those seminarians who remained on the hilltop spent the day working on several service projects in Salem, Oregon. In the morning, one group of seminarians worked at Bazillion Books to organize and sort books that will be given as gifts for area children as part of a free lunch distribution program over their spring break. Another group helped to sort food at the Marion-Polk Food Share. Seminarians worked at a variety of community gardens in and around the Salem area later that same day.

Photographs from the service project at the Marion-Polk Food Share:

The seminarians form an assembly line, bagging and boxing soy filler.  Pictured is John Hesla of the Archdiocese of Portland (left) and Brian Frice of the Diocese of San Diego (right).

Alex Estrella of the Diocese of Sacramento
scoops soy filler into a plastic bag.

Tristan Dillon of the Diocese of Salt Lake ties the bag.

Labels are attached to the bag.

This is the finished product.

Derek Twilliger of the Diocese of San Diego
assembles boxes, into which completed bags are placed.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Despite Losses, MAS Guardians Bring Seminary Community Together

News brief by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB
Photography by Carl Sisolak and Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

On Friday, Jan. 30 and Saturday, Jan. 31, 2015, the MAS Guardians basketball team faced teams from Multnomah University and Concordia University.  While the Guardians lost to Multnomah 47-77 and Concordia 51-89, the games were opportunities for the seminary community to show its spirit.

Friday's game featured the debut of the MAS Guardians pep band.  The members of the band include Ethan Alano, Conor Baer, Emilio Gonzalez, Peter Murphy, and Cody Williams.  At halftime, Alano and Murphy started teaching a new MAS Guardians fight song to the MAS fans.  The song will officially debut at a future basketball game.

Seminarians also served as the scorekeepers, announcer, and DJ for the basketball games.

Br. John Cannon, OCD, takes a shot during the game against Multnomah.  Credit: Carl Sisolak

Cody Williams (left) and Conor Baer (center) play their horns
in the balcony with other members of the pep band.   Credit: Carl Sisolak

Scorekeeper Dustin Busse seating behind the banner for MAS Journalism.  Credit: Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

The MAS Guardians after the game against Multnomah.
Credit: Carl Sisolak

Friday's game began with only one referee, so Father Theodore Lange, a member of the formation faculty, stepped in to help officiate until the second referee arrived.

In the second half of the game against Concordia on Saturday, the Guardians make a quick scramble for the ball, result in a score by Stephen Cieslak:

Credit: Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

The Guardians played in new uniforms and on a new gym floor that was installed last summer.  The gym also has a new scoreboard protected with a net from flying balls.

Watch MAS Journalism for more Guardians basketball this season.