Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Appreciation Dinner Honors Supporters of Mount Angel Seminary

story by Dean Marshall; photos by Ace Tui

Saint Benedict, Ore. – On Tuesday, April 19, 2016, Mount Angel Seminary celebrated its annual Appreciation Dinner, held to give thanks to various members of the seminary community, particularly those involved in the Pastoral and Spiritual Formation of the seminarians.

After praying Vespers in the Abbey Church and a brief social, community members and guests gathered in the dining room of Aquinas Hall to begin the evening’s festivities, led by Deacon Leon Vigil from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe acting as Master of Ceremonies.

After Prior Vincent Trujillo, O.S.B. of Mount Angel Abbey led an opening prayer and grace before dinner, everyone gathered was treated to musical interludes, including the vocal quartet Mount Angel Folk singing “How Deep the Father’s Love,” consisting of seminarians Chi-Nhan Vo of the Archdiocese of Portland, Phillip Shifflet and Brian Kim of the Diocese of Orange, and Andriel Ruperto of the Diocese of Fresno. The Mount Angel String Quartet also performed, and it consisted of seminarians Cheeyoon Chun from the Diocese of Orange, Raymond Philip Napuli of the Diocese of San Diego, Luke Stager of the Archdiocese of Portland, and Father Rory Pitstick from the Mount Angel Seminary faculty. They played the first movement from Motzart’s “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.”

The members of Mount Angel Folk during their performance

The chairs for the dinner were John Mosier of the Diocese of Boise and Randy Hoang of the Archdiocese of Portland.

After dinner, several groups of people were recognized for their contribution to the seminary community, including spiritual directors, deacon supervisors and pastoral ministry site supervisors who work with seminarians off-site at placements such as food banks, R.C.I.A. programs, prisons, and homes for the elderly, to name a few.

Of special note during the evening was the recognition of Mrs. Nancy Holt, the Associate Director of Pastoral Formation, who received this year’s Saint Bonaventure award, presented by Msgr. Joseph Betschart, President-Rector of Mount Angel Seminary. The Saint Bonaventure Award is given each year for an outstanding contribution from a faculty member. Mrs. Holt would later say, “It is an honor and joy to be involved in this work. Receiving the St. Bonaventure Award affirms the past years of service and encourages me for the future. The paraphrased statement of Dag Hammarskjold, 'For all that has been -- Thanks; for all that will be -- Yes!,' characterizes my response on receiving this award.”

Mrs. Nancy Holt and Msgr. Joseph Betschart

Mount Angel Seminary is the oldest and largest seminary in the western United States, currently celebrating its 127th year of forming men for the Catholic priesthood. Founded 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.

The seminary is supported by a wide variety of individuals, clergy, religious, and lay people, who generously donate their time, talent, and treasure in order to further the seminary’s mission of, as the Most Rev. William H. Gross, C.Ss.R. of Oregon City said in 1889, “send[ing] forth angels in flesh and blood to promote, as not even angels in heaven can do, the glory of God on earth."

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