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.

Missionaries of the Holy Spirit Host an Hour of Prayer for Vocations

by Brother Jesus Romo, MSpS

"The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest" (Mt. 9, 37-38).  Following Jesus’ command, The Missionaries of the Holy Spirit (MSpS) Felix Rougier House of Studies community in Mount Angel, Ore. prepared a holy hour to pray for vocations on the 23rd of September.  We had a very positive response from the people who were invited, and the event had a positive impact on them.

People praying for vocations in the plaza of the House of Studies

Since the MSpS are involved in the life of Mount Angel Seminary, one priest as a formator and teacher, three priests as spiritual directors, and four as students, we extended the invitation to the holy hour to the seminary community.  About twenty seminarians actively participated in this event even though the weather was not the best.

From 8:00 to 9:00 p.m.,roughly two hundred people from the Portland area and seminarians from Mount Angel Seminary were gathered to pray for vocations to religious life and to the priesthood.  The prayer was done in a Taize style; therefore, candles, icons and Taize songs were part of our prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.  Since the prayer was held outdoors, we lit many candles on the floor and around the icons, which helped to create an ambience of stillness and peace.

Prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament and the icons of Venerables Fr. Felix De Jesus Rougier and Conception Cabrera De Armida, the founders of the MSpS

Andre Sicard, a College II seminarian from the Diocese of Salt Lake, played the piano for the holy hour.  He said that the setup was outstanding and important for the event since “the setting itself really helped a lot of people to enter into the prayer.”
Andre mentioned that since part of our charism as MSpS is to support and pray for priests and seminarians “that [the event] was a good outreach of your charism for the whole community.”
Another goal for the holy hour, besides to pray for vocations, was to help the lay people be aware that promoting vocations is their task as well.  Rev. Alex Rubio, MSpS, a member of our religious community and spiritual director at Mount Angel Seminary, was in charge of organizing the event.  He said that “for our congregation, the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, and for the entire church, vocations are very important.”
Fr. Rubio also said: “It was very inspiring for me to see people truly entering into ambience of prayer [and] people were asking us, at the end of the event, when is the next one?”  We are planning to have the holy hour for vocations once a year.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Preparing Himself to Serve: A Hilltop Profile of Br. Joseph Mary Tran, OCD

by Br. Jesus Romo, MSpS

Br. Joseph Mary Tran belongs to the Discalced Carmelite Friars, and he is currently studying in Pre-Theology II at Mount Angel Seminary.  Three main things move him to give the best of himself in the academic formation: work for the salvation of souls, being able to help others, and trying to do the will of God.

Seminary Formation

Br. Joseph Mary really likes to study at Mount Angel Seminary because of the ambience of peace and prayer.  For him this aspect is really important, as he mentioned that “this place helps you not only to study but also to pray and through prayer get the strength to do your studies.”

Brother Joseph Mary Tran

Br. Joseph Mary said that communication will be very important for his future priestly ministry; therefore, during his academic formation he has been taking some courses to help him communicate in a better way.  For example, he took grammar classes last year to improve his writing skills, and he is currently taking Fundamentals of Speech to help him deliver clear messages to the people he will minister to in the future.

His interest in becoming a better public speaker is noticeable to Ms. Kathy Akiyama, his Fundamentals of Speech professor. Ms. Akiyama mentioned that he is not required to take this course; however, “it is impressive how motivated he is to improve his public speaking,” she said.

A good speaker is the one who knows who his audience is and what they need to hear. Ms. Akiyama said that Br. Joseph Mary is already a good public speaker because he is not individualistic but he thinks about who his audience is.    

She considers Br. Joseph Mary a hard worker and responsible student since “as a result of his motivation he does everything on time and he is always in the classroom early.”

It is not difficult for Br. Joseph Mary to interact with people, and he is a community-oriented person. This aspect of his personality will be beneficial in his formation and for his ministry as a future priest.

He also knows how to deal with different personalities because he has experience working in customer service.  Br. Joseph Mary worked as a systems engineer for five years in a company called Dimension Data.  There he had the opportunity to answer phone calls and also present computer programs to customers.

Due to his experience as a systems engineer he has the ability to operate different computer programs, and he is very good at using technology.  Br. Joseph Mary recognizes this ability as a gift from God which he uses to help other seminarians, showing them how to use different computer programs and fixing technical problems.

He is an open-minded person who desires to work with different cultures and in different languages.  He took two semesters of Spanish classes last year, and he desires to continue learning the language in order to be able to celebrate Mass, hear confessions and give spiritual direction in Spanish.

Some Challenges

Br. Joseph Mary has been a student in Mount Angel Seminary since the fall of 2015.  Because he had a bachelor degree he began his academic studies in Pre-Theology, and he is still taking three philosophy courses.

He recognizes that philosophy is a challenge for him since he prefers not to get into arguments. Because of this he has to put in extra effort in order to develop philosophical skills.

Br. Joseph Mary finds his writing difficult because it takes him a lot of time.  “I find it difficult to put my ideas out on paper,” he mentioned.

To help his formation, the seminary assigned Br. Joseph Mary a ministry at St. Mary’s Parish in Mount Angel where he is going to be working with a high school youth group once a week.  The youth group works with a program called Alpha which allows the youth to share their opinions about the Catholic faith in small groups.

He will be facilitating the opportunity for the youth to participate, and he might have to lead one of the small groups.  This is Br. Joseph Mary’s first time serving in a youth group; therefore, he feels challenged but at the same time excited and grateful for this opportunity to learn from young people.

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.