Friday, December 16, 2016

Reflecting on Movie Reviews with the UGP

Editor's Note: After completing his final centerpiece for the Unfamiliar Genre Project, Br. Jesus Romo also composed this final reflection in which he shares his overall experience with this major component of the journalism class at Mount Angel Seminary.

A Final Reflection on the Unfamiliar Genre Project

I often had the experience of feeling out of context when members of my religious community were discussing movies because I did not know much about the components of a movie.  There are two aspects that I wanted to learn from this project.  First, I wanted to learn how to identify the key elements of a movie.  Secondly, I wanted to learn how to be able to think critically about movies and give my own opinion.  I will say that throughout this journey, I learned more than simply these two elements.
The first step I took in the project was to look for samples of movie reviews.  I remember going to the library and asking for the Statesman Journal, a local newspaper.  Since they did not have it, my first attempt at researching the topic was not very positive.  The next time that I had the journalism class, I went back to the library with Dr. Kleiman, my journalism professor, hoping to find the newspaper, and it was not there.  We looked at other journals, and we did not find any movie reviews in them. 

Another option for my research was the internet, so I signed up for the New York Times website and I found many movie reviews there.  However, since I wanted to see a greater variety of reviews, I looked for more at the Catholic News Service web page and at, and there I found what I wanted.  Although, the experience did not seem positive at the beginning, I learned later on that everything I did was part of the journey, and every step was important.

I chose to look at movie reviews of films that I had already watched in order to have a better understanding of the review and how it related to the movie.  Once I chose the samples that were of interest, I began to read them.  I had not read any movie reviews before, so it was a new experience for me.  Some of them had vocabulary that was unfamiliar to me, so it took me longer to read and understand them, but I knew, from my experience at the beginning of the project, that it did not matter how much time I was going to spend because everything was part my journey. 

From reading the samples, I learned that there are different rhetorical devices that I could use to write my own movie review, such as questions that help to engage the audience and comparing the movie with another movie of the same genre.  I also learned that I need to be patient and see the value of every step that I take on any future project because everything is part of the learning process.

After my research and reading different samples of movie reviews, the next step was to choose a movie that I wanted to review.  I had a couple in mind. One was the classic story Gone with the Wind, written by Margaret Mitchel, and the other was Peaceful Warrior, a film based on a true story, written by Dan Millman and Kevin Bernhardt.  After thinking for a while about which one to choose, I decided to do my review on Peaceful Warrior because it is a story that I identify with.  I identify with the story because the transformation that Dan Millman, the main character, went through is similar to the process that I am going through in my formation as a Missionary of the Holy Spirit and as a future priest.

The next step in my project was to put into words what I had learned from my research, from reading movie reviews samples, and from watching the movie.  I did not know where to start, but as soon I began to write, I remembered what I learned in journalism class. The questions who, what, why, how, when, and where should be answered in a narration.  These questions served as a guide for my writing, but I found some other difficulties. 

One of the difficulties that I had was thinking critically about the movie.  I believe that because of my personality I find it difficult to judge other people’s work and give my own opinion about them, especially when I have to refer to a negative aspect of their work.  In the first revision of my paper, Dr. Kleiman encouraged me to include more of my own opinion in some parts of my review.  Although it was difficult, I did it, and it helped me to express what I thought about the movie.

Another skill that I was able to practice in the process of writing my review was being open to receive feedback and corrections.  Fr. Alex Rubio, MSpS, a member of my religious community, helped me by making grammatical corrections and he also helped me to choose words that better express the ideas that I wanted to communicate.

Now that I have finished my project, I feel pleased with the work that I did and with everything I have learned throughout this process.  Now I am able to more clearly identify the key elements of a movie; therefore, I can be more critical when I watch a movie and be part of movie conversations.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Reviewing Films with the UGP

Editor's Note: This semester journalism student Brother Jesus Romo choose to focus on movie reviews for his Unfamiliar Genre Project.  The review below is the final centerpiece of his project.

* * *

Reality Vs Fiction: A Movie Review of Peaceful Warrior

Peaceful Warrior
Cast: Scott Mechlowicz as Dan Millman, Nick Nolte as Socrates, Amy Smart as Joy, Tim DeKay as Coach Garrick, Ashton Holmes as Tommy, Paul Wesley as Trevor, B.J. Britt as Kyle

Directed by Victor Salva

Written by Kevin Bernhardt

Based on the book Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

Genres: Drama, Romance, Sport

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 120 minutes

June 22, 2006

If this movie is based on a true story, why does it have many scenes that could never happen in reality?  The movie Peaceful Warrior is based on the book Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman, which is based on a true story. Within the fiction scenes in the film the author wants to show the reality that Dan Millman, played by Scott Mechlowicz, was experiencing throughout his internal transformation in order to inspire his audience.

In the first scene of the movie we find Dan Millman having a nightmare.  In the dream he is doing gymnastics when he falls and his leg breaks off into many pieces.  Socrates, played by Nick Nolte, appears in his dream sweeping up the little pieces of Dan’s leg.  This scene is important because it is a foreshadowing that the author uses to highlight another scene that will come later in the movie.
After the nightmare Dan cannot fall back asleep so he goes to a gas station, and there he meets Socrates who is the gas station attendant.  When Dan exits the gas station’s store, he turns back and sees Socrates on the roof.  Given that there is no way for him to have gotten up there so quickly, Dan is amazed, and he asks Socrates how he got up there.  Why does the author use this supernatural event at this moment of the movie?  Perhaps he wants to represent a striking experience for Dan which makes him come back to Socrates, but, it would have been more inspiring if the author had stuck more to reality.
After the encounter at the gas station with Socrates, Dan begins a process of inner transformation.  He is a prideful person.  Dan believes that he has everything he needs in life: he comes from a wealthy family, he has good grades in college, he is a good gymnast, he has friends, and he can have as many girls as he wants to sleep with him.  Here, Mechlowicz could have done a better job portraying an arrogant character, so his transformation process and his role as a dynamic character would have been more noticeable to the audience.  

 Since he is not able to sleep at night, he goes to visit Socrates again at the gas station.  Here the author shows that Dan is looking for deeper meaning in his life.  Dan thinks that he knows everything, so he tells Socrates to ask him anything he wants; therefore, Socrates asks him if he is happy.  Dan does not feel comfortable and does not know what to answer because this question moved a deep feeling of emptiness inside of him.

The relationship between Socrates and Dan helps us to see that we need the guidance of others in our searching for happiness.  Nolte does a remarkable job performing as Socrates.  He is like a wise father that knows what is better for his son.  Socrates has the wisdom and the experience to know what is better for Dan, but Dan have to discover it for himself, and Socrates is there just to guide him in his journey. 

This film is worth watching especially by youth who feel empty and do not find meaning in what they do.  In this way Peaceful Warrior is similar to the movie Good Will Hunting (1997) written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.  They are both based on a true story, and the main characters think that they can do anything by themselves until they find someone who questions them and accompanies them in the important decisions of their lives.  This movie is also worth watching by youth because it shows that we do not always have the control over our own plans for life.  About halfway through the movie, Dan is driving a motorcycle, and he hits a car at an intersection.  His leg breaks into seventeen pieces, and pieces of glass from the car fall onto the floor, which is reminiscent of the opening scene.  The doctor tells him that he will be able to walk again, but he will not be able to compete in gymnastics again.
There are some scenes in this movie that are confusing because it is hard to tell what is actually happening or what is simply the imagination of a character.  For instance, there is a scene where Dan is following Socrates, and he enters into the gym where his coach and his companions are.  Socrates is already seated on a rafter that supports the roof of the gym; Dan climbs up to where Socrates is, and he begins to hear everyone else’s thoughts.  Socrates wants Dan to be aware of how thoughts can take control over him if he does not focus on the present.  At that moment, Dan falls from the rafter, and all of a sudden, they both appear at the gas station.  I was surprised and confused by this unexpected shift of scenes, so this feelings made me focus my attention on the teaching that Socrates was giving Dan.
The soundtrack is proper for the events that are happening and helps the audience to get more engaged with the movie.  It also helps the audience to figure out that a significant event is about to happen.  For example, the soundtrack that is used when Dan is going to crash on his motorcycle allows the audience to imagine that a tragedy is going to occur.

Peaceful Warrior is worth watching because it shows the value of true friendship and true love.  When Dan is going through this crisis, Joy, played by Amy Smart, Dan’s friend and a college student who studies at the same college that Dan does, gives him unconditional support; along with Socrates, she accompanies him in these difficult moments.

One of the most intense scenes in the movie --and a key moment to Dan’s transformation-- is when he intended to commit suicide. Dan goes to the top of a tower intending to jump from there.  There he encounters another person just like him who is a part of himself that he has to let go.  I supposed that this person represents his own pride.  This is also one of the confusing scenes because we do not know if Dan actually went to the tower or if it was happening internally.  When he let go of this part of himself he suddenly appeared on his bed.  Because this film is a based on a true story, the author could have made a more clear distinction between the things that physically occurred and those that happened internally.

The author leaves the audience with the question of whether Socrates is real or if he only represents Dan’s intuition.  Near the end there is a scene where Socrates and Dan are at a bar and Socrates tells Dan that he was the one who chose him.  Dan asks him if he is saying that he made him up and Socrates just smiles.  By the end of the movie, Dan wants his coach and his companions to meet Socrates, so he goes to look for him at the gas station, and Socrates is no longer there; someone else is working in his place.  I do not know what the author’s purpose for doing this was, but it leaves the audience with uncertainty and curiosity.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

College Students Help with Food Drive

by Anthony Rizo

On October 8, the College One seminarians went to help Silverton Area Community Aid (SACA) sort food for those who are in need in their annual food drive.  The process was simple, with people bringing in bags filled with different kinds of food, including cereal, canned soup, rice and pasta. There were also some personal items like soap and toilet paper.

We sorted the products into categories and placed them at a table labeled for those products  One person was at each table placing the products neatly into a box, and we had one person going around collecting these boxes and bringing them to the packaging table.  There the boxes were taped up and labeled.  Finally, a person with a trolley stacked a couple boxes and took them downstairs to be organized. We did this until noon, and during our time there, we talked with the locals of Silverton and became familiar with the community.

As we were working, all of us noticed that the people were part of different religions; but we all had the same goal to serve those in need. The community was nice overall and asked us about seminary and why we chose this path. After the food drive, we met at a park close by to talk about our experience during our ministry. We all got the same out of it, knowing that helping someone in need is beautiful. Even though we could not see who we were helping out, the thought of someone receiving food just made us happy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Guardians Face Off Against COCC

Photos by Conor Baer

The MAS Guardians soccer team traveled to Bend this weekend to play again Central Oregon Community College.  An game earlier in the season again COCC resulted in a win for the Guardians, but this weekend's game was a defeat.

Isaac Allwin (center) and David Pandero (right) working against COCC.

Alex Nelson with goalie Peter Murphy
Brody Stewart attempting to capture a kick from COCC.

Hernan Wences working in front of the MAS goal.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A Brief Reflection on the Year of Mercy

by Dominic Sternhagen

Editor's Note: One of Mount Angel Seminary's Theology One students, Dominic Sternhagen studying for the Diocese of Salt Lake, offers this reflection on the Year of Mercy.  It will also be published in Utah's Catholic paper, Intermountain Catholic.

What is your favorite image of mercy? The prodigal son? An image of the Good Shepherd? Christ feeding the multitudes, or welcoming children?

All of these are beautiful, and I love them all, but my personal favorite is the cross. The cross, because here we see mercy that holds nothing back, that gives everything, even life. Christ did not do some nice things, he did everything he could for those whom he loved.

Saint Teresa of Kolkata, the saint of this Year of Mercy, said in her acceptance speech on receiving the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize that we have to give until it hurts.

True love, true mercy, is not easy. Love means becoming vulnerable to others, putting oneself at risk. But without love, there is no mercy, only tolerance. In my experience, it is relatively easy to give money, but much harder to give of ourselves, to look the people that are left for dead by the sides of our streets in the eye and love them, as the good Samaritan did.

But this is the mercy that we are called to give this year: to reach out, reach out to those whom we left by the roadside of our lives, estranged family or friends. To mend relationships, give of ourselves to those most in need. Love.

The cross hangs, often forgotten, in the shadows of our churches and our lives. Too often I see only an ornament and forget the magnitude and the love of that sacrifice. I know how far I am from following the example of love without limits that is contained in the image of those simple crossed beams and that broken body, but I am inspired by it. I am inspired to follow it, inspired to give everything I can, or at least to try, like Him, to become mercy.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Mount Angel Seminary Celebrates 127th Commencement Exercises

by Phillip J. Shifflet

“The fields are ripe! O bless the Lord, our God!” echoed through the Abbey Church as Mount Angel Seminary (MAS) celebrated its annual Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement Exercises at the end of its 127th year of forming men for the priesthood of Jesus Christ.

On Friday, May 13th at 4pm, students, faculty, staff, family, and friends of the seminary gathered with the monastic community to celebrate the Baccalaureate Mass in the Abbey Church. The Reverend Stephen Clovis, Vice-President for Administration and Director of Pastoral Formation, served as the principal celebrant and delivered the homily. Myrna Keough and the Seminary Liturgical Choir provided music for the Mass, which included Kevin Allen's polyphonic composition of "Domine Non Sum Dignus."

Fr. Clovis opened his homily with an oft-repeated saying of Pope St. John Paul II: "In the plans of Divine Providence, there are no coincidences." He quoted from the late Roman Pontiff because the Gospel reading used for the Baccalaureate Mass was not specially chosen for the event - rather, it happened to be the reading from the Lectionary for the day. In the reading from St. John's Gospel, Jesus asks Peter three times, "Do you love me?" Fr. Clovis further commented, "It's a Gospel that's incredibly rich, offering us a deep source from which to draw great spiritual insight."

In his homily, Fr. Clovis reflected on the importance of three words from the Gospel reading, "words that elevate the exchange between Jesus and Peter from what might first appear to be an interrogation of sorts, to a level of personal encounter with profound implications." These words were "you," "me," and "my." Seemingly insignificant, but rich with meaning. Fr. Clovis ended his reflection by exhorting both the graduates and congregants: "May all you do, may all you are, may all you proclaim in word and deed be a resounding 'yes' to the one who calls you in love to care for those he calls his own. And in all things, may God be glorified in you."

The Commencement Exercises were held the next day, Saturday, May 14th at 10am.

The Most Reverend J. Peter Sartain, Archbishop of Seattle, delivered the commencement address. He began his address with a question: "Who's wise?” “Wisdom," he went on to say, "is not necessarily the product of a lot of education... Sometimes wisdom is expressed in eloquent words, and other times it's expressed in silence." Given these considerations on wisdom, one might rightly ask: where, then, does true wisdom come from? Archbishop Sartain gives the answer: "True wisdom comes from relationship with Jesus, one that's fed by prayer and humble ongoing conversion." He ended his address on a hortatory note: "Your conversion will demonstrate your wisdom, who is Jesus. Your conversion will make you hunger and thirst for a deeper understanding of what you have learned at Mount Angel... May Jesus be praised and glorified in all we do. And may our serving and striving after him make us wise."

G.P. Palestrina’s composition of “Sicut Cervus” was performed as a musical interlude by Mount Angel Polyphony, an a capella group comprised of seminarians Ethan Alano, Tim Meurer, Raymond Philip Napuli, Phillip Shifflet, and Luke Stager. The Reverend Mister Anthony Ahamefule, a graduate of the seminary Theology program for the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, delivered the annual senior farewell. Msgr. Betschart gave the final remarks, and the Right Reverend Jeremy Driscoll, OSB, the newly-elected Abbot of Mount Angel Abbey, imparted the final blessing upon the graduates and congregants.

Mount Angel Seminary offers undergraduate degrees in Philosophy, with possible double majors in Literature or Religious Studies. At the graduate level, the seminary offers the Master of Divinity degree and Master of Arts degrees in Philosophy and Sacred Theology, as well as the Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology degree offered in affiliation with the Pontifical Athenaeum of Sant’ Anselmo in Rome, Italy. This year, the seminary granted 17 undergraduate degrees and 29 graduate degrees to seminarians, religious and lay students from around the United States and the Pacific Islands. Additionally, three seminarians received certificates of completion for the pre-theology program.

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.  Since its inception 127 years ago, 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.

Mount Angel Seminary – Graduating Class of 2016

Bachelor of Arts:  
Oscar Luis Anaya Cuevas - Fresno
Huong Dinh - Oakland
Ryan Paul Dixon - Fresno
Gerson Alfonso Espinosa Velasco - Portland in Oregon
Emilio Gonzalez - Fresno
Jesús Gonzalez - Reno
Neil Giancarlo Frivaldo Guan - Las Vegas
Randy Hoáng - Portland in Oregon
Br. Timothy Kalange OSB - Mount Angel Abbey
Brian Kim - Orange
Walter Martinez - Fresno
Br. Rudolfo Martinez Guevara MSpS - Missionaries of the Holy Spirit
Peter Joseph Murphy - Boise
Luis Alejandro Núñez Lara - Monterey
Nicholas Lee Paige-Schneider - Baker
Eseese Filipo Tui - Honolulu
James Wallace - Juneau
Pre-Theology Certificate of Completion:  
Joshua Daniel Falce - Boise
Junghoon Park - Seattle
Br. Benjamin Dinh Tran OSB - Mount Angel Abbey

Master of Arts (Philosophy):
Ethan Kevin Alano - Portland in Oregon
Br. John Cannon III OCD - Discalced Carmelites
Cheeyoon Timothy Chun - Orange
Joshua Thomas Keatley - Portland in Oregon
Master of Divinity:
Anthony Chijioke Ahamefule - Portland in Oregon
John Janer Becerra - Portland in Oregon
Alexander A. Estrella - Sacramento
Arjie Dacua Garcia - Portland in Oregon
Edgardo Josué Garcia Valazquez - Sacramento
Br. John Vianney Lê OSB - Mount Angel Abbey
Juan Jesus Maldonado - Fresno
Joseph Huân Nguyen - Orange
Cody Lane Ross - Seattle
Cesar Solorio Maldonado - Fresno
Derek Wayne Twilliger - San Diego
Mark W. Uhlenkott - Boise
Tetzel Ballogan Umingli - Portland in Oregon
Leon J. Vigil - Santa Fe
Cody J. Williams - Helena

Master of Arts (Theology):
Anthony Chijioke Ahamefule - Portland in Oregon
Andres M. Emanuelli Perez - Sacramento
William Bradley Hall
John Kucera - Boise

Friday, May 13, 2016

Joe Paddock: "Prison Ministry Creates an Oasis in Jail"

by Rodrigo Llorente, SSJ

Since September of 2015 students of Mount Angel Seminary started working in the Oregon State Penitentiary. Every Tuesday and Thursday seminarians from Mount Angel Seminary drive to the prison to carry on activities of evangelization and formation inside the prison. Joe Paddock, a seminarian for the Diocese of Helena, was interviewed on his experience and impressions on his time of ministry in the prison.

When Mount Angel students arrive at the prison, they go through multiple check stations, where they are scrutinized due to security reasons. Paddock shared about the place: “It's cold and sterile. It's weird, when you go the bar gate opens and then closes behind you and then you have this guy asking questions: what are you bringing in there?  They have to make questions but you are not used to this. The assumption there almost is that you are doing something wrong until you prove that you are not. I suppose they want to make that stance because they want to make it a safe place.”

After going through several bar gates they arrive to the room where they hold their meetings. Paddock was surprised by the inmates’ reaction to them: “Once I got in the room my impression was immediate acceptance. The guys are just incredible! They are very on fire and they are very hungry. They’ve been praying for us at least for a month before we even got there!”

Paddock highlights the heroic faith of these men: “These guys a lot of times are persecuted because they are faithful. Some of them are amazing. What do they do when they go back to their cell? They read the Catechism. There is one guy that is studying Greek and translating. They have a lot of prayers books.  They are studying the Bible and they hold them as precious gifts that they got from our group. And they are really devout. A lot of the other prisoners look at them and think how these guys think that they are holier than us! It’s tough for them to be faithful. I have a lot of admiration for these men.”

The meetings consist in a communion service followed by a catechetical session. Paddock really values the opportunities for talking one-on-one with prisoners:  “Sometimes a guy has a tough day so we go out in the hall to talk. They need to take something out of their chest because there is a lot of bad stuff going on there. This is clearly an oasis for them. Away from all that! Is a beautiful time where they can relax.”

When asked about what has impacted Joe the most, a word quickly popped up: “Conversion. These guys had hit rock bottom and now they have opened their hearts to Christ.”

This impacted his way of viewing and approaching the prisoners: “These people look like good people that made a mistake and now they are atoning for them. To really get to know these guys on a personal level made me take a really humble approach and seeing them as children of God.”

Paddock testifies with confidence about God’s action in the prison: “It is amazing what Christ is doing in these people’s lives. We receive 10 times more that those guys get from us.”

Reviewer Offers Final Reflection on the Unfamiliar Genre Project

by Chi-Nhan Vo

Editor's Note: MAS Journalism has also published Chi-Nhan's restaurant review.

I chose to work on a food review as an unfamiliar genre primarily because it sounded fun to do, even as a class assignment: combining writing, food, and meticulous analysis into one package is a dream come true for me. Even my sister used to poke fun at me when we’d try new foods, calling me “Gordon Ramsay” as I tried to use important-sounding words to describe a meal, but despite this predisposition to the assignment I’ve never formally done a written review of anything. The UGP sounded like a perfect opportunity for me to try something new.

On starting my research, my enthusiasm only grew. More and more these days, user-driven aggregators like Yelp or Google Reviews are the big players in the game, where people always turn to in deciding on a restaurant. It makes sense, really: professional reviews don’t have the advantage of providing an averaged opinion of a place, and are susceptible to bias or even bribery in extreme cases. Most damning is the fact that they’re unavoidably longer: when someone’s deciding on this place or that, what they need is the down and dirty, as quickly as possible.

This trend in restaurant reviews makes for a great opportunity for me to do a traditional one. Looking at all the different reviews I could find, I found that there was a lot more variety in tone, style, organization and focus than the image of the traditional point-by-point breakdown that I had pictured. These days, an in-depth review has to have something unique about it to draw people in.

My own review ended up being structured fairly basically, not too far from that uninspired point-by-point formula; considering that this is my first time with reviewing, I suppose that’s to be expected, although it doesn’t mean I’m happy about it. At the very least, I hoped to mitigate the tedium with vivid detail in all five senses, as well as with personal detail about the restaurant, emphases which I borrowed from my collected reviews.

Sitting down for an extended, professional interview was probably the highlight of the research process. I didn’t find anything particularly different about researching the writing process of a food review from any other academic problem, but conducting an interview, looking someone face-to-face, is a whole different sort of problem that can’t simply be researched. Thankfully I’d had brief experience asking single questions to people on the hilltop in my work for the journalism blog, but that didn’t stop my nerves during the interview. It wasn’t unpleasant in the end, though, and I think I could do it much more easily if it ever comes up again. The quotes I got ended up being a great help in writing my review as well. I’m sure there will be a next time, so when it comes I want to have more interaction: rather than simply moving from question to question as written, I could have done a better job of drawing out more information in a natural, conversation-like manner from the interviewee’s responses.

There was also an issue of integrity in the writing process. After all, one bad review can wreck a business in extreme cases, and I certainly didn’t want to do that to people that I’d met face-to-face. But on the other hand, I couldn’t cover up any flaws in good journalistic conscience. My solution was to be honest, but phrased gently. Thankfully this wasn’t a huge issue seeing as how I genuinely enjoy the restaurant, but in one particular case regarding the restrooms my word choice was pointed out to be unfairly inaccurate. By simply using honest, concrete descriptions, I was able to balance my interests as well as improve the quality of the writing itself, as I exemplified when I spoke on the bathrooms: rather than simply calling them “filthy,” I described them as being “dim, cramped and scarred with discoloration” to paint a much more accurate picture.

I quite enjoyed writing this restaurant review as part of the Unfamiliar Genre Project. I didn’t experience any major bumps along the way, and by working continually with Sr. Hilda I could continually refine my project into something worthwhile. I was able to practice research skills and descriptive writing, and I also was able to get new experience in conducting an interview and professional courtesy. My bank account doesn’t share my satisfaction, of course, but my very happy taste buds provide some needed balance.

I would recommend this project highly to any seminarian, for the simple fact that it allows ample room to tackle something interesting while still pushing the bounds of comfort. Not only did it provide an opportunity to practice writing skills, it forced me into learning interviewing skills, both of which are highly useful to a student. Moreover, the hands-on nature of the project breaks up the tedium of lecture classes.  It was a great experience for sure.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Journalism Student Explores Restaurant Reviews

by Chi-Nhan Vo

Editor's Note: This semester, journalism student Chi-Nhan Vo chose to do the Unfamiliar Genre Project with a focus on restaurant reviews.  MAS Journalism is pleased to publish his final centerpiece, a review of a favorite local restaurant.

Thai Dish: A Seminary Favorite

Chef and owner Manos Jantarasri serves up traditional Thai favorites in a small but homey space.

It’s a quiet Thursday evening in Mount Angel, as most evenings are: cold and rainy, just begging for a warm meal to bring it together. Thankfully, there’s a perennial favorite next door in Silverton’s Thai Dish, a cozy, unassuming hole in the wall that’s played host to years of hungry seminarians. Some seminarians and I decided to take a closer look at the restaurant that’s so often recommended to hilltop newcomers.

Thai Dish is the work of Mr. Manos Jantarasri and his family, who moved to Oregon and opened his restaurant in 2001. Mr. Jantarasri had worked and studied at various other restaurants in California, where he’d first come in the US, to learn how to conduct a business.

He gives all the credit for his love and skill for cooking, however, to his mother, a journey that he’d begun long before he’d come stateside. “Since I was 8, everything she did, I watched and I did it too,” he says, reflecting back on his childhood in Thailand with a smile. “I was always asking questions. It was hard work, very tiring, but I liked it.”

This homegrown, down-to-earth background seems to be the driving force behind the restaurant’s creative energy, including the décor. Many newer Thai restaurants in Portland are lavishly decorated from floor to ceiling with ornate paintings and bronze and gold statues. Thai Dish, on the other hand, is rather humble in comparison: its modest space is peeling with paint in the corners, and the hallway and restrooms around the back aren’t much more impressive, dim, cramped and scarred with discoloration.

However, its walls and tables are collaged with pictures and clippings of Thai people and places, mixed in with crayon drawings collected from the restaurant’s younger patrons through the years. When these sights come together with the wonderful sounds of relaxed conversation and sizzling plates, it’s clear why such a place has become a town fixture. “[Since I first opened] many people have moved to this town. It’s very safe, good for kids,” says Mr. Jantarasri. “Many of my customers are families.”

The food itself exemplifies the same sense of pleasant intimacy. “A lot of other restaurants, they . . . change to a more American taste,” notes Mr. Jantarasri as he describes the sweeter, saltier palate of American-oriented cooking. “I try and make very traditional Thai style.” The menu isn’t short by any means, filled with all the old Thai standbys of curry, rice, stir-fry, and noodles, and a fair variety of drinks, appetizers and desserts, but it also isn’t needlessly long: there’s more than enough to be able to pick and choose without being overwhelmed. Most dishes also have the option of choosing a degree of spice, anywhere from barely-noticeable to fire-in-the-mouth. There’s also usually a choice of meat, all of which are delicious, although the seafood options are rather pricey.

Service at Thai Dish is very friendly, doing a good job of checking in through the meal without being overbearing. Only one server is usually operating at a time, though, so service can be somewhat slow depending on how full the restaurant is. Orders do come out surprisingly quick, though, just enough to get settled and comfortable before the plates arrive.

A number of visits allowed us to sample through a good portion of the menu. As in other southeast Asian cuisines, a soup is often the first portion of a meal, most famously the spicy and sour Tom Yum. Thai Dish’s version comes out on an impressive flaming burner that keeps it warm and turns eyes as it makes it way to the table. The broth, while not short on sour citrus flavor, is a little less complex than other restaurants’, but goes down easily without sticking heavily in the throat as the usual Tom Yum does.

Curry is usually the first dish that comes to mind with Thai food, and is a great measure of the restaurant’s quality as a whole. The red curry at Thai Dish is nothing short of amazing, boasting a host of vegetables like eggplant, green pepper, and bamboo that manage to retain individual taste and texture amongst the rich, flavorful curry. The smell, too, hints enticingly at the curry’s complex flavors without hanging pungently in the air. If anything, the only problem with it is that it’s a rather small portion relative to the price: even including the rice, a college-aged male could down two helpings without much trouble.

Another centerpiece of the Thai restaurant is sweet, silky-smooth Thai Iced Tea, which Thai Dish does quite well: it’s definitely on the sweeter end of the spectrum, but it’s not overpowering, and the finish is relatively light. The presentation of layers of red and orange under the cover of perfectly-sized ice is quite appealing as well. The smaller size is proportionally expensive, which is a great excuse for upgrading to the almost-too-large size.

Stir-fried dishes are some of the restaurant’s most popular, and for good reason, as with the fried rice which exemplifies traditionally complex, multifaceted Thai flavors like savory, sour, and sweet: every bite has something new, bursting with chaotic flavors that somehow form a cohesive whole. The uneven textures are somewhat jarring, though: large slices of tomato and tiny bits of onion, peas and carrots don’t mesh well together. Both the satisfying pad Thai and crispy rad nah noodles are favorites of ours, which have a more unified taste and texture that is no less delicious. There’s no more satisfying sight to greet hungry eyes than a plate of rad nah, a deep-fried crown of golden perfection and laden with earthen greens and browns. All of these are fair portion sizes for a hungry seminarian, and nothing at Thai Dish disappoints for taste.

“Maybe I am going to retire soon, take a break,” reflects Mr. Jantarasri, rubbing his shoulder as he thinks back on the years of hard work he’s put into establishing Thai Dish. “But my customers keep [coming] back,” he says wryly. With such a homelike taste of Thailand in the middle of Silverton, Oregon, who’s to blame them?

Thai Dish
209 N Water St # A, Silverton, OR 97381
(503) 873-8963

Hours: 11-10 Sat & Sun, 11-9 all other days
Environment: small, but cozy and down-to-earth dining room
Service: quick and competent, although prone to bottlenecks
Taste: great range of traditional Thai flavors
Options: plenty for vegetarians, especially with tofu, although ubiquity of eggs makes it tougher for vegans
Price: mid-range, not especially cheap or too expensive

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

MAS Faculty Presents Her Musical Sabbatical

by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

The afternoon of May 10, Kathy Akiyama, an associate professor at Mount Angel Seminary, offered a Shakespeare lecture recital to the seminary community as part of her 2015-2016 sabbatical.  She performed with Debra Huddleston, a collaborative pianist.

Ms. Akiyama offered four sets of songs from the plays of Shakespeare, and between each set she offered a short talk in which she explained the place of each song in its given play.  36 of Shakespeare's 38 plays include songs, many of which would have been familiar to Shakespeare's contemporaries.

Along with her musical work, Ms. Akiyama's sabbatical has included work on book on themes of love.  She will return to teaching in the fall.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Writing Center Sponsors Successful Write-In

by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

The evening of Sunday, May 8, the staff of the Mount Angel Seminary Writing Center hosted another end-of-the semester Write-In at the Press for the seminary community. 

All students were welcome to bring their final essays and other projects to the Write-In.  Writing assistants Philip Shifflet, Matthew Knight, and Isaac Allwin, and Sister Hilda Kleiman, the faculty coordinator for the Writing Center, were available for consultation and assistance.

Both college and theology students took part in the Write-In.  The assignments they brought included those for Research Writing, various literature classes, philosophy classes, and church history classes.

Write-In events are also planned for the the 2016-2017 school year.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

MAS Celebrates Saint Peter Chanel

by Dean Marshall

Saint Benedict, Ore. – On April 27, 2016, the Mount Angel Seminary community celebrated a votive Mass in honor of Saint Peter Chanel, missionary to Futuna and patron of Oceania. Father Andrew Schwenke, O.S.B., of Mount Angel Abbey was the main celebrant, accompanied by concelebrating priests from the Mount Angel Seminary faculty.

Saint Peter Chanel, known as the “proto martyr of the South Seas,” spent his time as a missionary traveling to the Canary Islands, Wallis, and other islands, before finally settling on Futuna. On his eventual martyrdom as a result of the local king’s jealousy, Fr. Schwenke said, “St. Peter Chanel's blood is the seed of the Church and the witness of God's Word that converted the whole island of Futuna.”

The Mass commemorating St. Peter Chanel also included several traditional symbols of Pacific Island culture, including the use of the traditional Samoan “ifoga,” an act of reconciliation that took place during the penitential rite of the Mass. The Mount Angel Seminary Samoan and Pacific Island community, led by Ace Tui of the Diocese of Honolulu, organized the celebration.

Mount Angel Seminary, in operation since 1889, hosts a diverse community of seminarians studying for dioceses in the Western United States, Canada, the Pacific Islands, and Hungary, in addition to seminarians from various religious communities and several lay students as well.

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Healthy Start for MAS Weight Loss Group

by Garrett McGowan

At Mount Angel Seminary, seminarian Kurt Zelkie from the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon has decided to fight obesity here on the hilltop. Kurt, a former army medic, has started a weight loss group at the seminary called “He Must Increase, But I Must Decrease,” for which he won the seminary’s Saint Michael the Archangel Award this year. The Saint Michael the Archangel Award is given to a member of the seminary community who establishes something new for the benefit of the seminary.

The main focus of this group is to get seminarians to change their lifestyle, to change what they eat, and to also get into an exercise routine. Members write out a plan on how they will lose weight and hand it in to Kurt to help them with their routines. Weekly meetings are held every Friday afternoon. Seminarians step on the scale and record their weight in a logbook as soon as they get in. Kurt does blood pressure tests and blood glucose tests. There is a tape measure available to check waist sizes.

At the meetings, discussions are held on weight loss tips. Kurt shares information on food and diets, and other seminarians are welcome to share information. Kurt said, “If God made it, eat lots of it; if man made it, eat less.” Some of the members have already lost over twenty pounds with the help of the new group.

The seminarians hold each other accountable by sitting together at meals and looking at one another’s plates. If something doesn’t look good the member will be told to rethink his decision. Chad Hill from the Archdiocese of Seattle said, “One of the main focuses of the group is making a lifestyle change, not just going on a diet. This is so that you won’t just lose the weight and then gain it back when you go off the diet."

There are no requirements to join the group; anyone is welcome. This is not just a group for those who need to lose weight; it is also for those who may be thin and yet have diabetes or high cholesterol. If there is a health problem caused by certain foods, this group is dedicated to helping seminarians get on the right track.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Annual Symposium Focuses on Technology

by Dean Marshall

On March 7-8, 2016, Mount Angel Seminary held its annual formation symposium, which seeks to expound on a topic of particular relevance for future priests and those involved in priestly formation. This year’s presenters, Sister Mary Timothy Prokes, FSE, and Fr. William Holtzinger of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, presented on the topic “Social Media and Virtual Reality.” Presented in three sessions over the two days, the symposium consisted of lectures, small-group sessions, and feedback sessions amongst the entire seminary community.

Monday morning’s session, hosted by Sister Mary Timothy, covered the current state of social media and technology in society, as well as its impact on ministry. Asking the question, “How are we changing as persons and how does that [impact] our relationship with the Divine Person…with truth?”, Sr. Timothy noted that social media and related technologies have affected how people relate on the personal level.

Noting authors such as Sherry Turkle, Sister Mary Timothy demonstrated how new forms of communication can result in a split persona, divided between digital and real-life identities. She noted that to combat this and to ensure that social media is used in a positive manner, society needs to use it as a way to enable “better face to face contact” and more meaningful communication, rather than communication that is hampered by a divided identity.

Immediately following this session, small groups were able to discuss their own experiences, covering topics such as recognizing the reality of being a public person, how to use social media as a communications and evangelization tool, and how it can be used for recognizing the profound human need for not just communication, but rather genuine communion.

On Monday afternoon, Fr. William Holtzinger, Pastor of St. Anne’s Parish in Grants Pass, Ore., presented on the topic, “Effective Uses of Media in the Parish Setting.” Fr. Holtzinger noted that “technology will help us continue that journey of communion” referenced during the morning session. He proceeded to highlight several tools that have proved useful in his own work as a parish priest, including technologies geared towards social media outreach, website design, administrative planning and scheduling, and personal productivity.

Recalling the words of Pope Francis, Fr. Holtzinger reminded those gathered that “technology can be both a help and a hindrance.” He demonstrated that in order to be successful, technological tools need to allow ministers to “serve better and reverence persons, increase communication, [and enable] better time management.” According to Fr. Holtzinger, technology is, at its core, a tool to “help ministers journey with and encounter people.”

Concluding the formation symposium on Tuesday morning, Sr. Timothy moved beyond the present state of technology and looked to where it may take society in the future. Recognizing the constantly changing state of technology, she invited the seminary community to ask, “What is happening to us, as a people and as a church, in the way we use these instruments?”

Sr. Timothy examined topics including robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and genetics, drawing on Pope St. John Paul II’s teachings on Theology of the Body to show how to keep the focus on the reality of the human person and the necessity for genuine love. Noting that as future priests, those gathered would have to answer many difficult questions in the future, a greater value needed to be placed on “face to face and eye to eye” communication, thereby allowing an enduring respect for both the physical and spiritual aspects of the human person.

The annual symposium provides an opportunity for those gathered to examine topics that would not normally be addressed at length in the classroom, allowing for discussion of a wide variety of matters pertinent to priestly ministry. Established by the monks of Mount Angel Abbey, the seminary serves both graduate and undergraduate 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.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

College One Seminarians Serve Portland Underprivledged

by Chi-Nhan Vo

On February 11, 2016, the Mount Angel Seminary College I class underwent their second-semester of pastoral immersion at St. Andre Bessette Parish in downtown Portland, Oregon. Through the Red Door Retreat day program that St. Andre Bessette offers, the seminarians served free meals and conversed with guests, in addition to performing other duties, and reflected upon their experiences in group prayer.

The seminarians arrived at St. Andre Bessette at 7:00 in the morning and were welcomed by Ms. Becky O’Neil McBrayer, Director of Community Programs, and a number of other regular volunteers, who quickly set the group about at their tasks.

The majority of seminarians worked to serve food, sharing coffee, a hot meal, and fellowship with all who came through the parish doors. Others worked behind the scenes in the kitchen, in the food pantry, the clothes closet, and in the arts room. “When we finished we were able just to speak to the homeless people,” said Alex Valtierra, Jr., seminarian of the Diocese of Sacramento. “It showed how they are hungry- hungry for communion with other people. To be treated the same.”

After finishing the service at around noon, Fr. John Patrick Riley, C.S.C., Pastor of St. Andre Bessette, led the seminarians in celebrating Mass in the chapel below the dining hall. “What was really interesting and powerful for me was that this wasn't just any normal soup kitchen for the homeless, this was a parish,” said Andre Sicard, seminarian of the Diocese of Salt Lake City. “As you walk in, the tabernacle, the altar, the church is right there . . . next to the place where the mission of the church is happening with the guests. It really made a vivid image of what Pope Francis calls for, ‘a Church for the poor, of the poor.’”

Mass was followed by a short walking tour of the area surrounding St. Andre Bessette. Seminarians were introduced to the MacDonald Center, the Sisters of the Road Cafe, and the Blanchet House, all of which provide similar support services for those in need.

Finally, the group returned to St. Andre Bessette for group reflection. As a whole, the group expressed their pleasure in being able to serve and, through that, to be served, but also disappointment in not being able to do more to aid the poor. However, seminarian Thien Hoang of the Archdiocese of Portland commented, “Sometimes we aspire to do something big and great to help others, but a lot of the times, doing the simple thing, such as helping the poor directly through institutions such as St. Andre Bessette, can make the biggest difference.”

St. Andre Bessette parish has operated out of its current location at SW 5th St. and Burnside St. in Portland since 1971. It was founded in 1919 as the Downtown Chapel by Mr. P.J. Hanley in order to provide relief services to those veterans returning from World War I.

Since then, the Chapel has strived through depressions and wars to, in the words of its mission statement, “welcome all people – rich and poor, housed and homeless, healthy and ill- to share in the love of Christ through [its] Hospitality.” The parish runs many community programs in order to support Portland’s large homeless population, many of whom are unemployed and suffering from mental illness.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Seminary Community Supports Blood Drive

by Garrett McGowan

On Jan. 26th the American Red Cross came to the Damian Center at Mount Angel Seminary for a blood drive. The team stayed from 11:00am to 4:00pm. This was done with the help of the Peace and Social Justice Chairs of the seminary, Luis Fernando Trujillo and Joe Paddock. The Red Cross is the largest supplier of blood for those in need of it.

Mount Angel seminarians helped the Red Cross reach their goal for this donation. The Red Cross was hoping to get thirty-four units of blood. Seminarians and teachers helped them get forty-two units of blood, eight units over the goal.

This time around there were seven new donors. Mr. James Sisley, a member of the seminary faculty, was one of them. He realized that there is a great need for blood and decided to help. He said, “It’s my first time; I’m embarrassed to admit it.” Luis Fernando Trujillo is trying to get more people to donate. There will be another blood drive on April 12th. Everyone is encouraged to come.

The Red Cross was very grateful to those who donated. Luis Fernando described the blood drive as “giving life in a pint of your own blood.” The Peace and Social Justice Chairs are hoping that this will help people remember those that are in need of blood.  For anyone who interested in donating blood, it is recommended they be attentive to the twenty-four hour board in Anselm Hall.

The Red Cross sent a letter to Luis Fernando expressing their gratitude to the seminary. In their letter to the seminary they wrote, “We are so grateful for those people who donated because despite all the advances in modern medicine, without life giving blood many people would not survive.”

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Seminarians Celebrate Life, Peace, and Justice

by Phillip J. Shifflet

On Friday, Jan. 22 the seminarians of Mount Angel Seminary celebrated a day dedicated to the promotion of life, justice, and peace.

A bus filled with forty 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 over the weekend attended a conference on Friday morning given by Sr. Dorothy Jean Beyer, OSB. Sr. Dorothy Jean is a former Prioress at Queen of Angels Monastery, a spiritual director, and the Coordinator of the Pastoral Care Ministry at St. Mary Parish in Mount Angel, Ore.

Her conference was entitled, “The Season of Mercy and the Benedictine Charism,” and she told the seminarians assembled during her opening remarks, “No matter where you are, you are ministering.” Reflecting on the papal bull Misericordiae Vultus, Sr. Dorothy Jean said, “If you’re a person filled with the mercy of God, your face is going to show that love and compassion.”

On Friday afternoon, seminarians volunteered their time to participate in a variety of community service opportunities in the town of Mount Angel.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Seminary Community Honors Santo Nino

by Dean Marshall

Mount Angel, Ore. – On Saturday, January 16, 2016, the Mount Angel Seminary community hosted a celebration in honor of Santo Niño de Cebú, one of the titles of Jesus Christ which sees particular devotion in the Philippines and in Filipino communities worldwide.

The main celebrant of the Mass was Fr. Terrence Tompkins of the Diocese of Oakland and Vice-Rector for the College at Mount Angel Seminary. Deacon Tetzel Umingli, a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, preached the homily. During his homily, Deacon Umingli reminded those gathered that when we search for meaning in life, “we often fail to notice that the one person who will fulfill us is always there.” He reiterated that “we find what we are searching for in Jesus Christ our Lord and God.”

The Mount Angel Seminary Filipino community, led by Gerard Juan from the Diocese of Juneau, organized the celebration, which included a reception consisting of traditional food and music, following the Mass. Mount Angel Seminary boasts a diverse community of seminarians studying for dioceses in the Western United States, Canada, the Pacific Islands, and Hungary, in addition to seminarians from various religious communities and several lay students as well.

Friday, January 22, 2016

A Final Reflection on Art Reviewing

Editor's Note: The final element of the Unfamiliar Genre Project is the student's reflection on the experience of researching and working with the genre they selected.  After writing his article "A Walk in Catholic Mount Angel," Luis Trujillo offered this reflection.

Final Reflection Unfamiliar Genre Project: Art Review

My choice of genre for the Unfamiliar Genre Project was to explore an art review. I think that the overall experience of working on this project has been enjoyable and expanding to my academic skills. What I mean by academic skills is I revisited academic skills learnt throughout my career of studies such annotating works, notetaking, reading the newspaper, working with MLA, interviewing, and working on conciseness. In addition I would add taking pictures and editing them, something I had never really had time to do.

I have learned to be more concise in my writing, as well about as MLA formatting and punctuation. I learnedd to work on good titles, implementing people and verbs.  Along the same lines, I learned how to better use quotations in an effective way.  An example might be to help make a point for me instead of writing it out. I do not think its possible to leave out the elements of good journalist ethics by Kovach and Ronsenstiel and how they apply to our duty as writers and as readers.

I have learned that I went into a couple of different genres.  While working on my project the first one was in the category of art, and the second was in the category of photo review.  This was because my project consisted in the reviewing of artwork and taking pictures that encapsulate the interest of viewers.  From the art reviews I read I learned that descriptive information as well as critique is what makes up most of the review's content. In art reviews I also learned that the artist and the location of the piece are always represented in the review. Art reviews are at times very enthusiastically written, especially if they are displayed at an exposition.  In the photo reviews that I was able to read, I learned that angles, shading, and location of whatever is being photographed are key components. Most of the photo reviews are very short and are mostly pictures with concise informative headings or captions. I believe that the biggest part was actually putting research in practice; it was a temptation to stick to reading just one newspaper as a source.  I ended up reading from the news, subscribing to blogs, reading magazines, and researching on the web.

I finished my project as a hybrid of the two genres, photo and art review. I used techniques I saw in many of the art reviews which gave a tour via review in different locations. Popular reports came from the recent visit of the Pope to the United States, which caused great awe. I was able to read reviews of the places he would be celebrating mass in like the Shrine of the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. and even the furniture he was going to be using.

My overall experience is that I was able to take a big concept and in a creative way include two genres. In my project I went from having a review of all the artwork in all the chapels of Mout Angel to focusing it to the heart of the journalism class, which is focused on the students and staff of Mout Angel Seminary.  I am overall happy with my finished project

I think this project taught me about community life in many ways.  I was able to get an overall understanding of the attitudes and responsibilities of a good writer and how to be responsible with my audience. I think that also plays into the other projects we had in class like writing the news briefs and the profile and even the obituaries. More specific to my Unfamiliar Genre Project, I would say that because my project had me interview and visit different communities it taught me about different levels of living in community as well as some of the spirituality particular to them, not to mention the history of their order and residence.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Walk in Catholic Mount Angel

Editor's Note: Three of the journalism students this fall, Brother William Petry, Brother Jorge Haro, and Luis Trujillo, completed the Unfamiliar Genre Project. This semester, each student focused on a different type of reviewing.  MAS Journalism is pleased to publish their final centerpiece reviews as well as their reflections on the process of working with the Unfamiliar Genre Project.

MAS Journalism has also published the book review and final reflection of Brother William Petry, M.Sp.S., and the restaurant review and final reflection of Brother Jorge Haro, M.Sp.S.

* * *

A Walk in Catholic Mount Angel: An Art Review by Luis Trujillo

Benedictine brothers and sisters, Carmelite friars, Missionaries of the Holy Spirit and diocesan seminarians all have their specific place of worship in Mount Angel. All of these places have beautiful chapels and in them artwork that represents who they are and their charism within the Catholic Church. Walk with me as I visit the chapels, drawing special attention to religious art in their residences.

St. Joseph’s Chapel
St. Benedict is one of the smallest towns in the United States; it is basically a town on a hill in the north end of Mount Angel. St. Benedict is made up of a monastic and a seminary community. In the crypt of the main Abbey church is St. Joseph’s chapel. This chapel was built for the use of the seminarian community and is to this day the place where the Liturgy of the Hours and mass is celebrated every day of the academic school year.

Icon of the Annunciation
To the left of the altar is an icon of the Annunciation written by Brother Claude Lane, O.S.B. Seminarians sing the Regina Caeli and the Salve Regina in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary after Evening Prayer as well as meditate on the encounter between the Archangel Gabriel and Mary which gave us salvation. The icon’s major figures are Mary whose pose is that openness and Gabriel who seems to be rushing to tell her the divine message.

Stations of the Cross
The Stations of the Cross are a mosaic made by Louisa Jenkins in 1955 and rest on the back wall of the chapel. They bring into St. Joseph’s Chapel colors that take life with the light.The mosaic is mostly made up of glass and shimmering stones. More importantly the mosaics portray the passion of the way of Calvary that Jesus endured up to his death. The 2x2 feet mosaics are unusual because they are not a complete depiction of the bodies, but in some cases just a symbol makes the major part of the piece. Such is the case of the fourth station which offers a close up of the face of Jesus and Mary. One other example is the sixth station where the veil of Veronica is the main part of the mosaic, which is when Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.

The Mount Angel seminarians follow the spirituality of the Benedictine monks since their foundation as a school for the Lords’ service in 1887 and are welcoming of all guests. Mass is celebrated daily at 8 a.m. and all are welcome.

Elijah House of Studies

Only one mile from the seminary is the Elijah House of Studies for the Discalced Carmelites. Three brothers study at the seminary and one is a formation director. Founded in 1999, the house has a total of 8 members, and their chapel is the center of their spirituality. A recurring theme is the arches in the structure, which are represented in the cathedra, altar, podium and ceiling, as well as the outside front entrance. The same arches are also in some of their icons, as is the case for the icon of St. Therese.

Icon of St. Therese
This beautiful icon, written by the hand of Brother Claude Lane of Mount Angel Abbey, is mounted in a niche of the back right hand side of the chapel. St. Therese is in a walking pose with one hand about to knock. The icon is written after her favorite passage of God knocking at the doors of our hearts: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20). The icon was written to commemorate the visit of her relics to the Abbey in 2003 and was gifted to the Carmelites.

When you are inside the chapel your eyes are drawn almost automatically to the tabernacle that is in gold leaf shaped as an arch to fit the reoccurring theme of the architecture and furniture. The tabernacle was a gift to the community from a parish in Tucson that they administer. The detail of the tabernacle shows Christ holding a host and a chalice. One angel at each side is prostrate in adoration and wraps their wings around the top, giving it the arch shape. When I asked Fr. John Melka, O.C.D., a formation director for the house, what makes this chapel particularly Carmelite, he said, “The simplicity and focus on the tabernacle.”

The chapel of the Elijah House of Studies

The tabernacle

Detail of the tabernacle

Icon of Elijah                                                                        
One other very attractive icon is that of the prophet Elijah which rests in the opposite niche of the icon of St. Therese. This particular icon is written on a piece of driftwood, so it is in an uncommon shape. Elijah takes up most of the icon’s space, but details such as the fiery chariot he is on are carefully detailed. The icon was written by Fr. Robert Barcellos, O.C.D., in San Jose, and is a piece that sits on a flat surface.

The icon of Elijah

Detail of the icon of Elijah

The Carmelites live a contemplative life; guests are welcome for Sunday mass at 8:00 a.m. and for Evening Prayer on the same day followed by adoration from 5 p.m. onward.

Felix de Jesus Rouguier House of Studies

The next stop is at the Felix de Jesus Rouguier House of Studies, home to the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit at only 0.7 miles from the Carmelite House of Studies. The chapel is named La Capilla de la Soledad and is dedicated to Our Lady of Solitude. Brother Jorge Haro, M.Sp.S, a student of Mount Angel Seminary in his third year of college, explained it was a fitting title because of the order’s particular devotion to Our Lady after the death of Jesus in her solitude. The chapel, built in 1992, is in a rectangular spacious wing of the home; large windows give a glimpse of the garden and the garden plaza.

The Altar Cross
Upon entering your eyes will immediately go to the cross that crowns the front wall. The cross fashioned of wood was designed by Roberto Saldivar, M.Sp.S. It features a whole theology of salvation and the most intimate mystic revelations of the Heart of Jesus as He explained to the foundress of the order, Conchita Cabrera. Its central part is a cross, representing the cross Jesus carried to Calvary for our salvation. A human heart is His heart in flames representing the zeal He has for our salvation. A smaller cross piercing the heart represents the suffering of Christ at the hands of people not striving for salvation and the suffering caused to His heart at the sins of His priests and religious.  At the top is a dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit who is the sanctifier and the guide to those who want to become holy. This piece of work is framed by a circular piece of wood that represents the clouds and God the Father. In conclusion, it is a Trinitarian cross that encompasses the spirituality of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit.

The chapel of the Felix de Jesus Rouguier House of Studies

The Altar Cross

Tabernacle Altar
In their chapel is also a tabernacle to the left side of the main altar. The shrine for the tabernacle has a stained glass door behind it as if Jesus were knocking and the viewer had to open from the inside because there is no handle. The way it lights up makes the colors of the glass pieces stand out and reflect a colorful shine on the cylinder shape of the tabernacle. The tabernacle was a generous gift from Sister Teresa Gould, F.H., a hermit who teaches and shares her musical talents with the seminary and monastic community.

The tabernacle

One other piece that causes awe in viewers is the crucifix on the right wall of the chapel, which is made of banana leaves and coated in resin. The crucifix has been coated with an overlay of paint because it was too bloody, causing emotional reactions in the visitors. The dates of the modifications are unknown, but the viewer can still see the scars on the skin of the Lord, which were at one time probably very much a crimson red.

Detail of the Crucifix

The Missionaries of the Holy Spirit offer a welcoming attitude to all who visit them. They host a community event with affiliates of the spirituality of the community and an open house for all visitors every last Thursday of each month starting at 6 p.m. with the mass.

Queen of Angels Monastery

In Mount Angel there is also Queen of Angels Monastery, which belongs to the Benedictine Sisters. Two are staff members at Mount Angel Seminary, Sister Hilda Kleiman, O.S.B., and Sister Judith Bloxham O.S.B., and Sister Juanita Thurlow, O.S.B., is currently a student. The chapel that serves the community of sisters was dedicated in 1998, and guests are welcome to join them for the liturgies.

The Protecting Veil of the Mother of God
Inside the biggest icon sits on the back wall of the chapel, an icon written through the hand of Mary Katsilometes as a commission in 2009. The icon measures 11’x8’ in which the central figure is Mary (5’) holding a veil, giving the icon its title “The Protecting Veil of the Mother of God.” The triptych shows Mary as the central figure and two angels on the side panels.

The triptych has as its background models of the buildings of the monastery; the one on the left has the monastery with the steeple, as well as a small figure of the Mother of God that represents the one above the front door of the monastery.  The background of the angel on the right has the architecture of the current chapel displaying the reoccurring rose window alight.

The icon of the Protecting Veil of the Mother of God

Detail of the Mother of God

Detail of monastery architecture

Detail of the small Mother of God

Detail of monastery architecture

Throughout the chapel you may notice that a recurring theme is represented in the windows, doors, holy water font, icons, and even in the inner door of the tabernacle. That is a rose window design. This design gives the chapel a sense of common embodiment and a singular seal of style. The architect David Richen said he aimed for a “noble simplicity.”

The tabernacle

The holy water font

Wall Hanging
Before you exit through the main chapel doors the viewer may be caught up looking above at a tapestry inspired by St. Gregory’s description of St. Benedict’s mystical vision: Benedict “saw the entire world in a single ray of light.” (Dialogues of St. Gregory the Great).  Made mainly of silks, the seven white beams and numerous other cuts make up a perfectly round piece set on a blue background that matches the chapel chairs and carpet. The artist Eleanor Van de Water who completed the piece in 2000 expresses that the wall hanging “becomes another window in the sisters worship space.”

Chapel wall hanging

The chapel is suited for all liturgical celebrations and has elements of the previous chapel paying respect to its history. Sister Hilda Kleiman, O.S.B., explained how different elements of the chapel support the arts, for example by supporting Mary Katsilometes and Kathy Sievers who are teachers and iconographers for the Iconographic Arts Institute held at Queen of Angels Monastery. Other examples are the holy water font which is a ceramic made to fit the theme of the rose window.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Final Reflection on Reviewing Restaurants

Editor's Note: The final element of the Unfamiliar Genre Project is the student's reflection on the experience of researching and working with the genre they selected.  After writing his review K Town, Br. Jorge Haro, M.Sp.S., offered this reflection.

A Final Reflection on the Unfamiliar Genre Project

My unfamiliar genre restaurant review project gave me the opportunity to learn about a new culture.  I have never had the opportunity to taste Korean food before. My research led me to learn Korean customs and tradition when sharing meals. I got to appreciate their cultural values and their sense of family union.

As a writer, I was able to learn techniques to do good restaurant reviews. I discovered the different parts of a basic restaurant review and the basic descriptions needed to be done so the public will have a good idea of the restaurant in general.  The restaurant review genre does not have a set of hard established rules, so it gives the writer the opportunity to explore different ways of expressing his judgments.  It was interesting to see how different writers have different sections in their reviews and how their style expresses, in a way, their own personality.

During the whole process of my project, the help of others played an important role. Many times I had to ask for advice. I also learned to make use of tools that are available here at the seminary to help us during our writing process. I got a better understanding of how the library system works. The assistance provided by the different librarians was crucial during the whole course of my project. People who work at the writing center helped me in developing a new style of writing. It was hard to change from an academic type of writing to a style that was less structured but unfamiliar to me.  Keeping a journal where I wrote down my thoughts, things to do list, and things that I have done was a great new tool that I learned.  The journal made my research, advances, and struggles easy to track and follow up.

The scarcity of instructional books on how to write a good restaurant review took me to the Internet to look for good resources. I was accustomed to always finding books in the library, but this was not the case during my research process.  I learned the influence of social media in the food market. People are able to make comments and give feedback that will influence the decision of others at the moment of deciding what restaurant to visit. Restaurants’ reputations can be destroyed if people do not like what they offer.  I learned that as a restaurant reviewer, prudence and charity must be part of my style.

As a Missionary of the Holy Spirit, writer, and journalist, I am obliged to be truthful to reality and to my own experience, but I have to learn ways in which my comments will continue to show my Christian values and religious identity. In our days, this type of charitable writing style is not easy to find in many restaurant reviews. Covered by anonymity, citizens have the power to destroy the work and effort of many people in the restaurant business.  For me, it was a matter of simple discernment before writing down my comments.

At the end, I found myself excited about the unfamiliar genre. The opportunity to know places, the stories shared around the table, and the whole process of becoming a better writer motivated in me the desire for continuing to explore this and other types of genres and writing styles.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Restaurant Review of Korean Town

Editor's Note: Three of the journalism students this fall, Brother William Petry, Brother Jorge Haro, and Luis Trujillo, completed the Unfamiliar Genre Project. This semester, each student focused on a different type of reviewing.  MAS Journalism is pleased to publish their final centerpiece reviews as well as their reflections on the process of working with the Unfamiliar Genre Project.

Thus far, MAS Journalism has also published the book review and final reflection of Brother William Petry, M.Sp.S.

* * * 

A Review of K Town by Brother Jorge Haro, M.Sp.S

K Town | ★★★ | Korean | $$ | 5450 SE 82nd Ave, Portland | (503) 444-7700 | Nov. 30, 2015

Part of my ministry as a Missionary of the Holy Spirit is getting to know the people that I am currently serving, and what a better place to share life stories than at the table.  Finding the right place where a true encounter may be possible is not always easy. Some restaurants these days are noisy and crowded. (I still have fresh in my mind the hour and a half that we had to wait to celebrate one of my brother’s birthdays). Fortunately, there are some restaurants where the basic elements to build up good relationships seem to converge. K Town Korean BBQ in Portland is one of these restaurants.

K Town Korean BBQ was opened to the public a few weeks ago and is close to St. Peter Catholic Church, where I am serving now. People were immediately attracted by the popularity of the Korean barbecue that has grown in the last years, becoming part of the well-established mosaic of cuisines in the United States. K Town followed the style that is part of the Korean barbecue tradition where diners prepare their own meal on a small grill integrated at the center of each table. Korean BBQ is all about community gathering around the table cooking and sharing laughs and stories. Each diner can grill a variety of famous Korean meats, especially two that are famous in Korean BBQ: bulgogi and galbi.

The word bulgogi means “fire meat” in Korean and refers to thin slices of sirloin or other prime cuts of beef that have been previously marinated with a mixture of soy and sesame sauce. Onions, mushrooms, and other vegetables with salt and pepper may be part of this mixture too. The word galbi refers to the small cut marinated beef ribs.

In K Town, for a fixed price, bulgogi, galbi, and other varieties of meats are part of an all-you-can-eat menu. Everything is served fresh, nicely presented, and ready to be cooked. Unlimited side dishes like white rice, lettuce and vegetables are part of this menu too. However, there is an extra charge fee for leftovers, so be sure to ask for only what you need. There is a limit of four dishes per table. For those that are on their first time in a place like this, instructions might be difficult, especially if you don’t read the black board at the entrance, but never hesitate to ask your server questions. K Town staff is always friendly. 

The Korean tradition is to wrap the meat with rice in the lettuce to eat it, and you must allow others to serve your drink and refill it as a way of service and respect. Another Korean BBQ custom is not overcooking the meat, because for them, it is not the best way to eat it; so you have to be attentive while conversing with people.

Another star in Korean food is their soup. Like in many other Asian countries, soup is part of daily Korean gastronomy. K Town cannot be the exception.  I was surprised by the size of their pot of kimchi noodle soup. It was placed on the grill, and we were asked to wait another few minutes so that the soup would finish cooking. Shrimps, beef, tofu, a kind of sausage, and vegetables were perfectly mixed in a savory broth. The combination of these ingredients made a delicious and light flavor soup.  My only disenchantment was the noodles that seemed to be from one of those one-minute instant packages of soup.  One of my companions explained that, sadly for me, these kinds of noodles are normal in Korean restaurants.

K Town’s atmosphere is perfect for youth groups and young families. Modern Korean music fills the atmosphere. The only Korean song that I recognized was the PSY worldwide hit “Gangnam Style” projected in two wall flat TVs; its volume was at the right level. Their Shochu Wall and the modern Portland mural with a fox driving a bicycle surrounded by birds, cars and bridges, highlighting the “weirdness” of Portland, are important elements in the decoration of K Town. Every table has a non-corrosive steal fan, and because the grills are made of the same material, the accent on industrial decoration is even clearer. These elements of urban style, the music, and its industrial decoration make K Town a good place for young people.

K Town offers for drink a variety of sodas and beers. They also serve Korean drinks like Soju Jinro produced in South Korea, or Shochu, a beverage well-known in other Asian countries that originates from Japan. It contains 25% of alcohol by volume, so responsibility is a requirement.  Water is continually served. 

K Town staff is always ready to help. Their active service and friendly attitude helped me to enjoy every moment of our visit. Situated close to another Asian restaurants, K Town has a great challenge to accomplish. I am sure that by continuing offering great food quality and good service, K Town will have a brilliant future. 

K Town Korean BBQ | ★★★
5450 SE 82nd Ave
Portland, OR 97266
 (503) 444-7700 (under construction)

Recommended Dishes: All you can eat menu
Price: $$ (moderate)
Open: Daily from 11:30 AM to 10:00 PM
Reservations: Not available at this moment
Wheelchair Access: Dining room and accessible restroom

What the Stars Mean: Ratings range from zero to four stars. Zero is poor, fair or satisfactory. One star, good. Two stars, very good. Three stars, excellent. Four stars, extraordinary.

More business info:
Delivery: No
Take-out: No
Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
Good For Dinner
Bike Parking: Yes
Good for Kids: Yes
Good for Groups: Yes
Attire: Casual 

Outdoor Seating: No
Wi-Fi: No
Caters: No