The celebration of Oktoberfest that took place from September 17th to the 19th brought hundreds of visitors to Mount Angel Abbey. Father Terry Tompkins, a formation director and the vice rector for the seminary college, said, “[The town of] Mount Angel hosted around 500,000 visitors over the four days of Oktoberfest.” Whether you were a guest on the hilltop that walked up the hill or were dropped off by the bus that made its way up to the hilltop every 15 minutes, you would have noticed a tent just outside the guesthouse with welcoming smiles.
The tent was set up by the college students in order to guide guests, answer questions and even hand out holy cards of some of icons that were written by Br. Claude Lane. The event was organized by C.A.M. (College Activity Members) whose president is Randy Hoang, a seminarian of the Archdiocese of Portland in College IV.
Hoang was in charge of finding volunteers to host the guests and even make cookies for them. The Bon Appetit staff that caters our meals helped the seminarians by providing canteens with water and coffee for the thirsty guests.
In hosting this booth the seminarians of Mount Angel Seminary had the blessing to share in some of the spirituality of the Benedictine order. The Rule of Saint Benedict in chapter 53 asks that all guests be welcomed as Christ. This was very clear to all the seminarians hosting the guests. The rule continues by stating, “Christ, who indeed is received in their persons.”
|Plaque inside the foyer of the Abbey Library|
Hoang explained that for the seminarians it was a blessing to share the gifts God has for them in the seminary. He explained, “It was an opportunity to share the background of the seminary and . . . some of their [sic] vocation story.”
The seminarians were busy inviting people to the Liturgy of the Hours and inviting the guests to the Abbey, library and Abbey church. Hosting an event for returning guests and new guests gave the seminarians an opportunity for the formation of their vocations, especially putting pastoral attributes into practice, like being gracious hosts, being attentive, and offering to pray for the guests as well as asking for their prayers. Fr. Terry supports that idea by stating multiple times, “I am exceedingly proud of the seminarians here on the hilltop.”
|Fr. Terry Tompkins in front of the Abbey Church|
“The history of and the sanctity of the place are really palpable,” said Fr. Terry. He indicated that many guests showed an interest in returning and making it part of their future plans.
Editor's Note: As of 9 a.m. on Oct. 30, 2015, the first quotation from Fr. Terry Tompkins and the caption for the plague featuring the quotation from the Rule have been corrected.