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, April 5, 2016

Seminarians Honored at Annunciation Dinner

Story by Phillip J. Shifflet; photos by Ace Tui

On Tuesday, March 15th, students, faculty, staff, and guests of Mount Angel Seminary gathered in the Aquinas Dining Hall to celebrate its annual Annunciation Dinner, to share fellowship and to honor particular members of the community for their contributions and achievement. The awards and their winners are listed below.

The Saint Benedict Award for outstanding progress in both graduate and undergraduate Human Formation, was presented to Deacon Leon Vigil (Theology 4) of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, a graduate student in the theologate, and undergraduates Ryan Dixon and Ace Tui (College 4) of the Dioceses of Fresno and Honolulu, respectively. The award is given to those seminarians who best exemplify the highest formational ideals of the seminary, who model the Benedictine charism, who live the values of the Kingdom and actively proclaim the Good News, who love the Church, and who manifest servant-leadership in the seminary community.

Newly-elected Abbot Jeremy Driscoll addresses the seminary community
for the first time since his election.

Kurt Ziehlke (Theology 2) from the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, was presented the Saint Michael the Archangel Award for his special contributions to the seminary and its programs. This award is given to a student who has contributed significantly to the life of the seminary by establishing something new and beneficial or, through exceptional fidelity, commitment, creativity, and good will, has furthered something already established.

The St. Anselm Award, was presented to Randy Hoang (College 4) of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, in recognition of the undergraduate seminarian whose love of learning, excellent academic record, appreciation of philosophy and the liberal arts, rigorous self-discipline, active classroom participation, and outstanding leadership ability have gained him the respect of the faculty and the admiration of his peers.

Division chairs Deacon Leon Vigil and Randy Hoang
after receiving their awards

 The Saint Thomas Aquinas Award for outstanding academic achievement from a graduate student was presented jointly to Deacons Mark Uhlenkott and Cody Williams (Theology 4) of the Dioceses of Boise and Helena, respectively. This award is given in recognition of those students whose love of learning, excellent academic records, outstanding ability to articulate Catholic theology, rigorous scholarly research, active classroom participation, generosity with time and talent and strong leadership ability have won the respect of the faculty and the admiration of students.

Deacon Anthony Ahamefule (Theology 4) of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon received the Saint Paul Award for outstanding progress in developing preaching skills. The award is based on the ability to proclaim the Word of God, call to conversion those who hear the Word and a demonstrated comfortable presence at the ambo.

And new this year is the Bishop Connolly Prize, which is given in honor of the Most Reverend Thomas J. Connolly, past Bishop of Baker, and in recognition of that seminarian whose submitted project best represents the theme of the seminary's annual Theology Symposium.  This year the prize was won by Santiago Henderson of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, for his essay entitled "The Greatest Stories Contain the Paschal Mystery."

Mount Angel Seminary began forming men for the priesthood in 1889 and 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 127 years ago, MAS has educated and formed thousands of priests, and many qualified religious and lay men and women as well, for service to the people of God in nearly 100 dioceses and religious communities across the country and around the world.