Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Dr. Kleiman Model's Natural Lifestyle - Part One

by Dominic Sternhagen

Dr. Kleiman’s bag is filled with surprises. But no, that’s not because its magic; rather her bag is an integral part of her effort to live a more intentional and natural lifestyle, which has been in large part inspired by the work of Katy Bowman.

This bag is just a small part of what has, for Dr. Kleiman, become a way of life, and its contents illustrate some of the core values that Dr. Kleiman tries to model. In the bag are a steel lunchbox, a steel mug, three mesh bags and a cloth napkin.

The bag itself is made of durable quilted cotton, but more significantly, it was purchased at Live Local Marketplace in Silverton. “Live Local carries only locally made products, mostly from within about 20 miles of Silverton” Dr. Kleiman told me. This is an example of one of her fundamental principles: shop local.

Dr, Kleiman's Bag

The bag also illustrates another principle: move more. Its use helps avoid outsourcing movement. In the link above, Katy Bowman explains how many modern health problems can be traced back to the lack of movement enabled by our convenience culture. When we outsource movement, we pay to use machines such as cars or pay for preprocessed goods to avoid expending energy on moving, without perhaps considering the consequences this has on us and on our world. Dr. Kleiman transports all her groceries from store to house exclusively with this bag!

Dr. Kleiman's Coffee Cup
 
Dr. Kleiman's Lunchbox

Dr. Kleiman's Produce Bags

The third principle is: avoid plastic. Plastic can be harmful and polluting. In an effort to minimize its use, Dr. Kleiman uses a steel reusable cup and a Cal Tiffin stainless steel lunch box, and, to avoid wasting paper, cloth napkins made by her mother. It does not get much more local than that. The mesh bags are a part of this same effort, as they easily replace any need to use plastic produce bags. Ever!

Dr. Kleiman's Cloth Napkin

Oh, and if you take your reusable cup to The Press, you get a discount on your drink!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Brian Morin Serves Mount Angel Seminary as Full-Time Librarian

Brian Morin is not your average Mount Angel Seminary student and alumnus. After graduating last year with a Master’s degree in theology, Brian is now enrolled as a lay theology student in the Doctor of Ministry program. Brian, however, is not only a student on the hilltop. He is also a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy reserves, a full-time librarian at Mount Angel Abbey Library, and a husband and father.


Brian in the stacks of Mount Angel Abbey Library

Mount Angel Seminary was certainly not originally in Brian’s sights. In 2014, after finishing ten and a half years on active duty in the Navy, he was transitioning to the reserves. Thanks to the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 Brian was eligible, given his years of service, to receive funding for education. He was looking for a degree that was academic but also flexible, and library science seemed a great fit.  He found an online degree in library science offered by Drexel University in Philadelphia and finished it in a year and a half with a dual concentration in digital libraries and archives.

Brian was, however, looking for something more. “I had always wanted to get a degree in theology,” he said, “to pursue God more and more.”

Brian in the archives of Mount Angel Abbey Library

 He had more than fifty percent of his GI bill funds remaining and began to consider theology programs but did not find any good fits. One day, while he was searching, his wife pointed out to him a Portland seminarian poster as they were leaving their parish church, St. Mary's Catholic Church in Albany. He saw Mount Angel Abbey written on it and was intrigued. Until then he had not even known there was a monastery or seminary in the diocese, but after some research, he found that lay students could enroll, and he did so.

From the beginning, Brian felt right at home in the hilltop community. “It’s been wonderful, a real honor,” Brian said, describing his experience of studying in a seminary. “Having that opportunity to study shoulder to shoulder with future priests, as well as the connection to the Benedictine community here, this is something that cannot be replicated anywhere else.”

This sense of connection and communion has been at the core Brian’s experience of the seminary and hilltop community. “Abbot Jeremy’s class Introduction to Theology was a centering experience,” Brian explained. “It all centers on the Eucharist. The idea of communion ecclesiology brings together this entire hilltop.”

Brian sees this sense of communion extending beyond the seminary and monastery communities. He explained that the library is not only a “repository of encyclopedic knowledge, but it is an icon to bring and mold us into the image of God. Here at the library I view us as engaging in that enterprise.”

With his background in library science, Brian became not only a full-time student but also an intern at the Mount Angel Abbey Library, working in the archives. In 2015, he began to work as a student employee in cataloguing, and in January of 2016 was hired as a part-time member of the library staff. Just this past summer he joined the library team full time as a theological librarian working especially in reference and archives.

 “One of the big joys working in this library,” Brian said, “is that the librarians and staff here all feel like a family, and that’s rare to find in the workplace.”

Melinda Holderness, who is in charge of circulation and works alongside Brian in the library, is very excited to have him on the team. “He’s just a real asset to the library,” she said, “because his theology studies are fresh, and he is very organized and fast, as well as being very personable.”

Although Brian considers his work in the library to be more than a job, he also serves his local parish in various capacities. Brian helps with RCIA, and he formed and leads a group dedicated to adult faith formation called the Adult Catechesis Seminar. This seminar is focused on formation for all the parish catechists, but is also open to anyone who wants to deepen in their faith. He also helps with adult confirmation classes. He had found that his Master’s degree in theology from Mount Angel Seminary has already been a great help in this ministry, and he hopes that his work for the Doctor of Ministry program will enable him to be of even greater service.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Off-Hill Supervisors Honored at Appreciation Dinner

by Phillip J. Shifflet

On Tuesday, April 25th, Mount Angel Seminary hosted its annual Appreciation Dinner. This dinner is meant to honor and express our thanksgiving toward the pastoral ministry supervisors, the pastoral intern supervisors, and the seminarians’ spiritual directors.

Each year, seminarians are assigned a field education placement, and once a week they go off-hill for various ministries. Food banks, RCIA programs, parish youth groups, prisons, and homes for the elderly are among the many opportunities that seminarians have to serve the wider community.
MAS Polyphony, an a capella group consisting of second-year theologians from five different dioceses, performed a rendition of Ubi Caritas, featuring Myrna Keough, the seminary’s Coordinator of Music and Liturgy. Viane Ilimaleota, a seminarian from the Diocese of Samoa-Pago Pago, also sang two songs accompanied by a guitar.

This year’s dinner was coordinated by seminarians John Mosier (Diocese of Boise) and Ethan Alano (Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon). Mosier prepared a short video presentation highlighting some of the school year’s major events and photographs of seminarians doing ministry.

Established in 1889, Mount Angel Seminary is the largest seminary in the western United States, forming men for the Catholic priesthood. Founded by the monks of Mount Angel Abbey, the seminary serves both graduate and undergraduate seminarians from the western United States, Canada, the Pacific Islands, and as far away as Hungary, as well as seminarians from various religious communities and many lay students.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Seminarians and Faculty Honored at Annunciation Dinner

Story by Phillip J. Shifflet

On Tuesday, March 21st, students, faculty, staff, and guests of Mount Angel Seminary gathered in the Aquinas Dining Hall to celebrate the annual Annunciation Dinner. At the dinner, guests shared fellowship and honored particular members of the community for their contributions and achievements. 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 graduate student Deacon Nathan McWeeney (Theology 4) of the Diocese of San Diego, and undergraduate student Dustin Busse (College 4) of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon. 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.

Deacon Chad Green (Theology 4) from the Archdiocese of Seattle 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 John DePalma (Pre-Theology 1) of the Archdiocese of Seattle, in recognition of that philosophy student 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.



The Saint Thomas Aquinas Award for outstanding academic achievement from a theology student was presented to Deacon Joseph Walsh (Theology 4) of the Diocese of Reno. This award is given in recognition of that student whose love of learning, excellent academic record, 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 Andrés Emmanuelli Peréz (Theology 4) of the Diocese of Sacramento 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 the ability to possess a comfortable presence at the ambo.

The Saint Bonaventure Award for outstanding contribution from a faculty member was presented to Dr. Shawn Keough, associate professor of theology and Church history at the seminary. The award is based on the ability to teach effectively and generosity with time and talent which have inspired students and won the praise of colleagues. This is the second time that Dr. Keough has won this award since joining the faculty; he also received this award in 2013.

Deacon Zani Pacanza (Theology 4) of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon received the Bishop Connolly Prize for his essay entitled “The Two Facets of Christ through the Eyes of John.” Given in honor of the Most Reverend Thomas Connolly (d. 2015), former bishop of the Diocese of Baker, this prize is awarded to a seminarian whose submitted project best represents the theme of the theological symposium. Most recently, the topic of the theological symposium was “Issues in Christology,” and was given by noted theologian Rev. Thomas Weinandy, OFMCap.

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 128 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.

Monday, May 1, 2017

CRS Offers Short Talk on Water

by Hilda Kleiman

On Tuesday, April 18, the seminary community received a lunch-hour talk by Mr. Paul Hicks, the Senior Technical Advisor for Water Resources at Catholic Relief Services.  He has worked for Catholic Relief Services for 18 years and was able to come to Mount Angel Seminary on his way to a specialty coffee conference in Seattle.

Mr. Hicks titled his talk "Integral Ecology: The Confessions of a Catholic Development Worker."  In his talk he spoke on how he has been inspired by Pope Francis and his encyclical Laudato Si and shared three lessons he has learned as a development worker.

Lesson #1 - He and agencies such as CRS cannot solve other peoples problems for them.  Hicks described CRS as a relationship agency that may assist communities with developing the relationships within their own communities that will enable them to address their own problems.

Lesson #2 - He has learned to embrace conflict, to understand that the way toward a better situation is often by working through conflict rather than avoiding it.

Lesson #3 - Development work is inherently political and includes advocacy, particular concerning the common good and natural resources.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Irish Community Celebrates with MAS

by Garrett McGowan

On March 12th, the Irish community of Mount Angel Seminary held their Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. This is the second party the Irish community has held, and this year the Irish community has now become one of the official cultural communities of the seminary. Everyone is welcome to join the Irish community, regardless of heritage.

Many people joined in for a night of Irish music, dancing, and poetry, along with corned beef with cabbage and Irish beer. Irish soda bread with Irish butter was part of the meal, with some desserts. One seminarian made a traditional drink similar to Bailey’s with egg in it.

The celebration was held at the bookstore located on Mount Angel Abbey’s hilltop called The Press. The seminary’s Vice Rector for the College, Fr. Terry Tompkins, and Fr. William Dillard, the Director of Spiritual Formation, told Irish stories and jokes. Deacon Bill Zondler sang songs with the Irish band, which was organized by Deacon Nathan McWeeney and Michael O’Connor. The Irish tricolor was proudly displayed in the center of the room were the acts were being held.

One of the focuses of the Irish community is to give people a look at Celtic spirituality and to bring all the different communities on the hilltop together. With many Catholics in America being of Irish decent and many seminarians of Irish decent at Mount Angel Seminary, they wanted to share their heritage with everyone. The Irish have elected new officers for next year and are looking forward to a third party for next year’s Saint Patrick’s Day.

Dr. Cummings Takes a Sabbatical

by Garrett McGowan

This year Dr. Andrew Cummings, the associate dean of the college and a professor of philosophy at Mount Angel Seminary, has been on his sabbatical to work on his new book.

He is taking a six-month sabbatical from teaching to complete his new work. A sabbatical is a paid period of leave for a college professor, taken approximately every seven years, for them to focus on a field of work, study, or travel related to their field of expertise.

The content of the book will follow a debate between two famous philosophers, Georg Hegel and Friedrich Schleiermacher. The conversation that took place between the two men was how to know what the essence of Christianity is. Dr. Cummings said, “Their problems are our problems today.” Dr. Cummings has been doing research on this subject for some time. He said that you must study other peoples’ works to find your own voice and to know what experts are saying. Extra motivation for this was for Dr. Cummings to keep himself on top of philosophy.

Each philosopher takes a different stand. Hegel is on the side of concepts, coming at faith from a logical standpoint. Schleiermacher believes that faith comes from feelings, that there must be something deep down in the soul. Dr. Cummings sees this argument as a question that still troubles many people today.  He doesn’t have a title yet. However, he is considering using a quote from Hegel, “Is a dog a Christian?” that is coming from the concept that dogs act off emotions.

The type of philosophy that this would fall under is two kinds: philosophy of religion and metaphysics. Dr. Cummings says that there is a touch of theology in there as well. Another reason that Dr. Cummings chose this subject to work on is because both of these men are Lutherans, and in time Dr. Cummings thinks it would be interesting to research the Catholic Church’s response to their viewpoints.

Dr. Cummings also is hoping that seminarians will read his book in order to get them interested in these questions. Dr. Cummings asked, “How can you know something without pursuing it yourself?” He said he hopes that this book will be published. In order for that to happen he will need a minimum of 200 pages before moving on to the next step.

The writing process for Dr. Cummings is not one that is set in stone, meaning that he does not have a specific goal for what he will do when he gets up in the morning. He does, however, believe that you have to set your mind on getting something done, even if it’s a page or a sentence. Dr. Cummings said, “You have to move forward.” He refuses to leave his desk until something has been done. He says “Push yourself, force yourself.”

Friday, January 13, 2017

Seminary Community Honors Vietnamese Martyrs

by Phillip J. Shifflet

On Friday, November 18, in St. Joseph Chapel at Mount Angel Seminary (MAS), the Rev. Joseph Nguyen, OSB, a monk of Mount Angel Abbey, celebrated a Mass in honor of the Vietnamese Martyrs, St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions. The seminary community was joined by many others from the Vietnamese community in the Salem and Portland areas.

After the altar was incensed at the beginning of Mass, Fr. Joseph and the newly-ordained deacon, Br. John Vianney Le, OSB, offered incense before an icon of the 117 Vietnamese martyrs, who were canonized in 1988 by Pope St. John Paul II. The act of offering of incense is a sign of respect and reverence in the Vietnamese culture.

Commenting on the Gospel passage proclaimed at Mass (Matthew 10:17-22), Fr. Joseph noted that with these words, “Jesus announced the persecutions that his disciples would have to undergo. He spoke to his apostles and to his disciples of all times. He spoke very frankly, telling them what they may expect if they choose to follow him. Jesus did not present to his followers any false promise, but in the fullness of truth that always accompanies his words, he prepares his disciples for the words: Brother will hand over brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise up against parents, and have them put to death.”

“What Jesus announced in the Gospel reading today,” Fr. Joseph continued, “happened in the apostolic times and has been repeated in different ages of history in various locations. That is also what happened in the time of the religious persecution of the Vietnamese Christians. Since 1533, . . .  throughout three centuries, with some periods of tranquility, the Church in Vietnam has undergone persecution . . . Over 130,000 Vietnamese Catholics were martyred.”

“You and I may not be called to shed our blood because of our faith in Jesus Christ,” he concluded, “but we are all called to be witnesses of the Gospel message. Each day we are challenged to be faithful to the vocations which God has given us. Each day we are called to live with Christian integrity, to speak the truth with love, and to be sacraments of God’s presence and love to one another and to the whole world.”

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 128 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.

Day of Recollection Focuses on Four Last Things

by Phillip J. Shifflet

On Wednesday, November 2, 2016, Mount Angel Seminary (MAS) hosted its bi-annual day of recollection for all diocesan seminarians. Seminarians attended the morning Mass in the Abbey Church, so that the hilltop community could celebrate All Souls Day in common.

Two conferences were given by Fr. Thomas Reeves, OCD, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Fr. Thomas, an alumnus of Mount Angel Seminary, serves as a spiritual director for the seminary and the rector of the House of Studies for the California-Arizona province of the Order of Discalced Carmelites in Mount Angel, Oregon.

Fr. Thomas began his conferences with a quotation from Cardinal John Henry Newman’s sermon, “The Second Spring,” noting that the Church invites us during the month of November to pray for the souls of the dead, but also to never despair of God’s mercy. Responding to this invitation, his conferences focused on the traditional four last things: death, judgement, hell, and heaven.

In the morning, he reflected on death and judgement. “The reason that we have hope when facing death,” he said, “is because Jesus Christ has given new meaning to death . . . And now the souls that walk through the door of death with Jesus will have the light of life.”

“In the presence of Christ,” Fr. Thomas said of judgment after death, “the truth of each man’s relationship with God will be laid bare. The Last Judgment will reveal, even to its furthest consequences, the good each person has done or failed to do during his earthly life. And everyone will see the grace of God’s design and his plan for humanity.”

In the afternoon, he reflected on hell and heaven. “In the Book of Genesis the Lord asked Adam after he had sinned, ‘Where are you?’ And that’s a question we’ve tried to answer today . . . Where am I personally in my relationship with Jesus Christ? We began this morning by reflecting on death and judgement that we shall all pass through; and this afternoon we’re concluding with the two possible ends, either life with or without God; and we go now to the rest of the evening considering where we are.”

The day was spent in silence to encourage personal prayer and devotion. Fr. Thomas was available throughout the day for individual spiritual direction.