by Dean Marshall
Mount Angel, Ore. - In a spirit of brotherhood and friendly competition, Mount Angel Seminary celebrated its annual Community Day on September 7, 2015. The yearly event, which usually occurs on or near Labor Day, sees the student body participate in various games in a contest between teams in both physical and mental activities.
When the activities got underway, Monsignor Joseph Betschart, President-Rector of Mount Angel Seminary, led the community with an opening prayer. The five competing teams, comprised of combined seminary classes, then demonstrated their rousing cheers, ranging from a Maori-inspired haka chant demonstrated by the Theology II/College III team to a beach-themed song and dance performed by the Theology III/College II team.
Throughout the afternoon, the teams participated in both indoor and outdoor events. Starting with a fast-paced game of dodge ball in the Damian Center gym, the seminarians then moved to the soccer field, continuing the games with a lively tug-of-war contest. The outdoor activities were rounded out with a multi-round game of Ultimate Frisbee, which saw everyone enjoying the Oregon sunshine while taking turns in the energizing and fraternity-building competition. Following Vespers, the seminarians enjoyed dinner together while taking part in a Family Feud-style question and answer game, with queries such as, “What are the 5 most likely saints’ names for a parish?” and “What are five phrases you would hear your philosophy professor say?” In the end, the Theology I/College IV team outperformed the other groups and won the day.
Many of the seminarians see Community Day as a time to bond with their brothers while taking a break from classes. Deacon Derek Twilliger (Diocese of San Diego) said that Community Day gives everyone time to “step away from our studies and obligations and come together as brothers to build community through friendly competition.” Dustin Busse (Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon), one of the organizers, said that events such as Community Day “foster friendships that last” for the seminarians, who are “in this journey together” as they prepare for the priesthood.
In addition to Mr. Busse mentioned above, this year’s Community Day was also organized by seminarian Val Park (Archdiocese of Seattle). They were assisted by seminarians Stephen Kenyon (Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon), Benjamin Bray (Archdiocese of Seattle), Isidore Slade (Diocese of Samoa-Pago Pago), and David Panduro (Diocese of Sacramento).
Mount Angel Seminary is the largest seminary in the western United States. In its 127th year of operation, its roots trail back to 1889 when it was established by the recently-immigrated Swiss monks of Mount Angel Abbey at the behest of Archbishop William Gross, CSsR, of the Archdiocese of Oregon City, what would become the Archdiocese of Portland. Mount Angel Seminary serves both graduate and undergraduate students, and consists of seminarians from the United States, Canada, the Pacific Islands, and as far away as Hungary, as well as seminarians from various religious communities and many lay students.