Thursday, October 23, 2014

Huong Dinh Joins the MAS Journalism Team

by Carl Sisolak

Huong Dinh, an international student from Vietnam studying for the Diocese of Oakland, said during our interview that he wanted to learn to speak English better by being a journalist. Dinh said that English was his second language and it was good practice to learn his language skills.  Dinh said that he is also seeking to improve his writing skills.

Although this is his first year as a journalism student and third year as a college student at Mount Angel Seminary, Dinh already has some good ideas as to which writing tools would make for a successful journalist. Dinh said that with a story you should try to make sure you have all the facts so you can get the full picture of what is going on that relates to your story.  Dinh said that some of the skills of a good journalist include how to get information by making your interviewee comfortable with being asked questions and by asking the right questions.

Dinh asked a number of questions about the reporter, showing a few of the skills that a good journalist would like to have in his journalism toolbox.

In addition, Dinh also said there are several good ways to find a great lead for news stories and mentioned photography.  He suggests that you write about things you like to write about. He also mentioned that it is good to check with the formation directors and your sources to see if it is okay to interview them before you do so.  Photography is one of Dinh's hobbies that will also benefit his journalism work.

Dinh said he would like to work at writing more stories about our cultural events such as those put on by our Hispanic, Filipino, and Samoan communities.  One of those events for the Hispanic community in December is a celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Dinh plays for several athletic teams for Mount Angel, most notably volleyball and soccer.  Dinh said he will also be looking to pursue some stories about the players and games played.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Greg Snyder Joins MAS Journalism

by Huong Dinh

Greg Snyder hopes that journalism will be the place where he can get better ideas on different topics and learn different ways to write an article. Greg Snyder is in his senior year of college and comes from the Archdiocese of Seattle.

Greg Snyder

He compares different journalistic styles to the kinds of clothes that a person would wear to different events. Moreover, Snyder states that he is not good at writing in general, even though he knows writing is one of the best ways to communicate with people effectively.  He wants people to better understand what he writes, so he desires to improve his writing skills.

Another reason that he decided to take journalism is because the class will help him to do his capstone paper. A capstone is a research paper that the college-four students are required to write encompassing their four years of studies.

Snyder said this is the first time he has taken this course, and he has never attempted a journalistic approach to any story or event before. He said “good writing is as color to experience,” and it can make people have fun when they read.  He explained more that good writing could be seen like a human being with many emotions, colors and feelings, with different textures and tones. On the other hand, he explained, “bad writing is not enjoyable and not fun,” and it is like a robot which is either on or off, moving or not, and conveying much less of an experience.

Snyder explained his weakness in writing is not about getting information to write but knowing how to organize that information in paragraph or essay form that makes its content smooth and flow logically for the reader. He knows what works when he reads it, but he finds it hard to orchestrate that order himself.  He says he has no appreciable skill in writing.  He wants to practice and master every necessary skill to become a better writer, but if he cannot become a great writer, he will at least settle for just being better than when he started.

Snyder said if he has opportunity, he would like to write about individual seminarians’ vocation stories and share them with other people, especially young people who might consider the vocation of the priesthood. He said through these vocation stories, people would know the wonderful works of God in the lives of human beings. He explained that through better writing in the areas that he enjoys most, he could make a difference in encouraging youth to follow God in this way.

Furthermore, he likes the idea of writing about sports here on the hilltop, the history of monastery and its architecture, and the library and how they manage and protect the valuable and very old manuscripts in the library vault. Greg is hopeful about the skills he will learn and the opportunities that will come about to practice those skills.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Phillip Shifflet Adds His Writing and Photography to MAS Journalism

by Greg Snyder

New Journalism student Phillip Shifflet brings a unique flavor to MAS Journalism.  Shifflet promises to bring added flair to the hilltop with his colorful writing and photography skills.

Shifflet, now in his final year of philosophy studies, shared his goals for this semester's creative endeavor.  He is taking a directed study course that is more like the second semester journalism practicum that is done individually when the student has mastered the basics of journalistic writing.  He will be responsible for creating projects that he wants to work on.  He said, "My hope is to do some photojournalism projects" that highlight the visual over the writing.

Phillip Shifflet

Even though Shifflet has not taken any introductory class, his writing background serves as an adequate foundation.  He hopes to sharpen his photography skills.  He said, "My idea was to create a way to continue taking photographs and using them for a productive purpose.  I may not be using the camera on a daily basis, but it will certainly give me an opportunity to fulfill my desire to complete some journalistic projects as well as enjoy my camera purchase to productive ends.  Hopefully it will encourage me to work on my composition skill and become a better photographer."

There are many opportunities, both formal and informal, for him to hone that skill.  Phillip is most interested in the events taking place in the Abbey Church.  He mentioned that he will not be taking part in the monastic schola, the choir group that assists the monastic community, so he can have the opportunity to photograph many of those church events that deserve to be made known.  He said jokingly, "Since currently in my spiritual life I cannot bi-locate, I decided it would probably be a good idea to focus on taking pictures."

He also mentioned that over the semester he would be writing press releases that can be used by the development office or perhaps released for use in the Portland archdiocesan Catholic Sentinel.  He said, "The next press release I will be covering will be the diaconate ordination on October 11 . . . so I will have my notepad, my press badge, my camera as well as a tripod; it's going to be very official."

Phillip's experience with journalism and photography is a work in progress.  He explained that he worked for his high school newspaper.  He also said he took a photography class as senior: "[I] borrowed a film SLR camera from my uncle.  Our assignment was to take two rolls of pictures of various events, develop and turn them in.  Of those two rolls of film, all but two pictures were either so under or overexposed that I could only turn in two pictures out of the combined rolls."

Shifflet's photography is available on Flickr.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Garrett McGowan Joins MAS Journalism with the Hopes to Grow as a Writer

by Randy Hoang

Editor's Note: This is the first several interviews that will introduce our readers to this year's journalism students.

Garrett McGowan, a second year seminarian from the Diocese of Oakland, is currently taking journalism because he wants to more clearly articulate his thoughts and sharpen the dull edges of his writing skills.

Coming from two years of working for Harley-Davidson Motor Company (2006-2008) as a mechanic and later four years (2008-2012) with the Naval Armed Forces, the seminary is the first academic setting he has experienced after high school. McGowan does not describe himself as the academic type, but he said that journalism will be a good challenge for him to grow both in creativity with different styles of writing and in the discipline of meeting deadlines.

Another factor that was appealing for McGowan was the involvement of photography. He said he is excited to “jump in and explore photography.”

Garrett McGowan

In order to start, it would be a good idea that the journalist be able to relate and talk to people first, and that is definitely a trait that he has. McGowan said he finds himself picking up conversations with almost everyone who will allow the time. He would like to bring to the journalistic table this asset of listening to people's perspectives and stories. He especially wants to utilize the opportunity of being in journalism to get to know on a deeper level his acquaintances and what they do on and off the hilltop, as well as get a glimpse into the lives of those with whom he has yet to spark a conversation. 

McGowan said that on his occasional trips to the library, he has found himself gravitating toward autobiographies. Some of the men he has been reading about include Catholic motivational speaker Matthew Kelly, Catholic theologian Scott Hahn, and Sonny Barger, a founding member of the Oakland, California, U.S. chapter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. These are all men he respects and would like to emulate in his style of writing.

Along with experience and passion about and for classic cars, especially1940s and 50s muscle cars, McGowan would like to know more about Father Theodore Lange’s role as State Chaplain for the Knights of Columbus of Oregon, especially his role in restoring a Studebaker Champion, a project which would benefit a nonprofit cause.

Two other people he wishes to cover in this semester for journalism are Byzantine-rite Hungarian seminarian Marton Maygar and Br. Andre Love’s restoration of the chapel located on the premise of the monastic cemetery.   

The passion McGowan has is exuded through his openness to venture and most notably his openness to challenge himself, to travel from the streets of Oakland into the depths of the those involved with the seminary community at Mount Angel which he calls home now.

Friday, October 10, 2014

MAS Guardians Take a Loss from RCC

by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB
photos by Michael Kelly and Sister Hilda Kleiman

Last Saturday afternoon, the MAS Guardians faced Rouge Community College in a soccer match resulting in a loss for the Guardians, 3-5.

The Guardians held off RCC until right before halftime when RCC scored their first goal.  RCC scored again shortly after the start of the second half.  RCC achieved their third goal when the ball bounced off the top of the goal and into the Guardians' net.

Felipe Villalobos of the Diocese of Orange runs to beat RCC to the ball in the first half of the game.  Photo by Sister Hilda Kleiman.

Goalkeeper and team captain Stephen Cieslak of the Archdiocese of Portland prevents a goal by RCC in the first half.
Photo by Sister Hilda Kleiman.

Tony Lopez of the Diocese of Yakima races against a RCC player in the second half.  Photo by Michael Kelley.

Fiacre Nduwayo of the Archdiocese of Portland beats his opponent to the ball in the second half.  Photo by Michael Kelly.

The first goal for the Guardians was scored by Joseph Nguyen, and the second goal was scored by Andres Guerra. Both men are from the Diocese of Orange.  Guerra is also serving as the coach for the Guardians.

Immediately before the start of the game, both teams observed a moment of silence in honor of Valentine Miller. Miller, his son Steve, and his grandsons helped with the improvements to the soccer field over the summer.  Steve owns Willamette Turf.  Tony Morris, who works for Mount Angel Abbey, also helped with the drainage.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

MAS Seminarians Celebrate the Memorial of the Korean Martyrs

by Phillip J. Shifflet

Saturday, September 20, was the memorial of Saint Andrew Kim Tae-gon, Priest, and Paul Chong Ha-sang and Companions, Martyrs.

The Korean community at Mount Angel Seminary gathered for Mass in the St. Anselm Chapel at 11 a.m. in commemoration of the Korean martyrs.  Later that day, they cooked a traditional Korean meal in celebration.

The Korean seminarians at Mount Angel Seminary gather outside of the chapel after Mass.  They are (from left to right) Cheeyoon Chun of of the Diocese of Orange, Tyler Johnson of the Archdiocese of Seattle, Brian Kim of the Diocese of Orange, and Val Park of the Archdiocese of Seattle.

Abbot Peter Eberle, OSB, was the celebrant for the 11 a.m. Mass in St. Anselm Chapel.  His homily included a brief history of the Korean martyrs.

Val Park, who was born in South Korea, proclaims the first reading in Korean.

Before dinner, the seminarians enjoyed a Korean green tea.

Dinner included marinated barbecued beef and barbecued pork belly.

The meal also consisted of a fried rice that was made with kimchi,
seaweed, and fried egg.

Brian Kim, Paul Grandi, Randy Hoang, Cheeyoon Chun, Tyler Johnson, Val Park, and Phillip Shifflet (not pictured) took part in the celebratory dinner
in honor of the Korean Martyrs.

Friday, October 3, 2014

MAS Guardians Play Pre-Season Scrimmage

by Phillip J. Shifflet

The Mount Angel Guardians soccer team gathered on their newly-landscaped soccer field this past Sunday, September 21, for a pre-season scrimmage against a group of soccer players from Silverton, Oregon, that Dr. Andrew Cummings assembled.  Cummings described his team, formerly called the Silverton All-Stars, as "a motley crew of dads and lads."

The Guardians lost, with a final score of 6-2.

The Mount Angel Guardians soccer team gathers together for a prayer before the game.

Andres Guerra of the Diocese of Orange (#15) serves as the coach for this year's soccer team.

Juan Maldonado of the Diocese of Fresno (#4) joins the team after returning from his pastoral year.

Stephen Cieslak of the Archdiocese of Portland (#00) begins his second year as the goalie for the team.

Joseph Nguyen of the Diocese of Orange (#7) joins the team after returning from his pastoral year.

Members of this year's MAS Guardians soccer team: (top, from left to right): Juan Maldonado of Fresno (#4), Conor Baer of Seattle (#5), Tony Lopez of Yakima (#18), Isaac Allwin of Tucson (#3), John Mosier of Boise (39), Stephen Kenyon of Portland (#17), Peter Murphy of Boise (#21), (bottom, left to right): Cesar Solorio of Fresno (#12), Felipe Villalobos of Orange (#10), John Hesla of Portland (#2), Stephen Cieslak of Portland (#00), and Joseph Nguyen of Orange (#7).

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Development of the New Gym Floor and Improved Soccer Field

In our previous post, Dr. Andrew Cummings spoke about the new gym floor in the Damian Center and the improvements to the seminary's soccer field.

Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB, watched the progress on both of these projects and took these photos to share with all of our readers who were away from the seminary over the summer.

The material for the new gym floor was placed over the old floor.  The wood came in large stacks that the workers laid out piece by piece:

After all the pieces were installed, the floor was sanded:

The shiny new floor has clear lines for various sports, including the black lines for basketball and red lines for volleyball:

The work on soccer field including plowing the field, removing rocks, and installing pipe:

In September, the Mount Angel Guardians were able to start holding practices on the improved field:

Watch the MAS Journalism blog for more on MAS sports throughout the 2014-2015 school year.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Faculty and Staff Share Changes at the Seminary During First Fall Press Conference

by Frank Villanueva
photos by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

On Sept. 15 the journalism students held the first of three press conferences scheduled for the fall semester.  These press conferences feature various guests, faculty, and staff members who speak to the class about hilltop and community events.

This press conference hosted four speakers.  Br. Lorenzo Conocido, OSB, spoke on the improvements to the Abbey website.  Fr. Theodore Lange spoke about his work with the Knight of Columbus.  Dr. Andrew Cummings spoke on the newly renovated gym floor and the improved soccer field, and Dr. Katy Leamy spoke about her new theology elective on stewardship and simplicity.

Br. Lorenzo led the group and spoke about the new Content Management System (CMS), Gear Box, and the upgrade to the Abbey website.  “This CMS has enhanced the navigation of the website, making it more user friendly,” Conocido said.

Br. Lorenzo speaking about the Abbey website.
Fr. Lange sharing materials from the Knights of Columbus
during the press conference.

Fr. Lange spoke about the new Knights of Columbus initiative to build up the domestic church by having families build small sanctuaries in their homes and having specific prayer intentions said during family prayer time.

“Safety was our number one priority,” Dr. Cummings said as he spoke about the newly installed gym floor and restoration of the soccer field.  Among the additions to the renovation and restoration were new soccer posts on the field and a new scoreboard in the gym.  “We want our guests to feel our sense of pride when playing on the field or in the gym,” Dr. Cummings added.

Dr. Andrew Cummings discussing the gym floor and soccer field.
Dr. Leamy wrapping up the press conference with her new theology elective.

Dr. Leamy gave students an insight to the vision of her new theology elective on stewardship and simplicity.  Using the term “from farm to table” Dr. Leamy explained how this environmental ethics approach includes a field trip to a local farm in the area where they can see first hand what it means to go from “farm to table.”

Friday, September 26, 2014

Mount Angel Seminary Holds First Philosophical Symposium

by Phillip J. Shifflet

St. Benedict, Ore. — On Thursday, September 4, Mount Angel Seminary celebrated the inauguration of its new, fully-accredited Master of Arts in Philosophy program with a philosophical symposium, at which Professor William Desmond was the keynote speaker.

Desmond is a world-renowned Catholic philosopher who was born in Ireland and who now teaches in the United States and Belgium. He earned a doctoral degree from Pennsylvania State University in 1978. He writes about a variety of philosophical topics and his works include Being and the Between, Ethics and the Between, and God and the Between.

Professor Desmond during the afternoon session of the symposium.

After the community Mass in the Abbey Church, the faculty, staff, students, and guests of MAS gathered in the seminary’s gymnasium, the Damian Center, for the beginning of the philosophical symposium. Symposiums are a standard part of the formation program at Mount Angel Seminary, and typically they focus on theological or human formation-related issues. This year’s symposium addressing philosophical topics was the very first of its kind in the history of the seminary.

Desmond’s morning session was entitled, “Witness and Being Truthful.” Both theology and philosophy students were in attendance. In the first session, he reflected on the importance of being truthful, in light of Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Desmond’s afternoon session, geared more toward the seminarians studying philosophy, was held in the Mount Angel Abbey Library auditorium and was entitled, “Soul Music and Soul-Less Selving.” In the second session, he pondered why we have soul-music and not self-music while reflecting on the nature of the human soul.

MAS is one of only a few seminaries in the United States to offer a Master of Arts in Philosophy degree to its pre-theology students. Before a seminarian begins his theological studies, he must first have a philosophical foundation on which to build. Philosophy has been described as the handmaiden of theology. If a man enters seminary before he earns a bachelor’s degree, he could work toward a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. On the other hand, a seminarian would be placed in the pre-theology program if he already has a bachelor’s degree, but it is not in philosophy. The pre-theology program consists of two years of philosophical studies.

Professor Desmond with the MAS philosophy faculty (left to right): Dr. Owen Cummings,  Mr. Mark Woolman, Prof. Desmond, and Dr. Andrew Cummings

Pastores Dabo Vobis, Pope St. John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation on the formation of priests, discusses the importance of philosophical study in the seminary: “A proper philosophical training is vital, not only because of the links between the great philosophical questions and the mysteries of salvation which are studied in theology under the guidance of the higher light of faith, but also vis-a-vis an extremely widespread cultural situation which emphasizes subjectivism as a criterion and measure of truth.”

The document then offers a way to challenge our culture’s claim that absolute truth does not exit: “Only a sound philosophy can help candidates for the priesthood to develop a reflective awareness of the fundamental relationship that exists between the human spirit and truth, that truth which is revealed to us fully in Jesus Christ.”

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.

This year, MAS celebrates its 125th anniversary. Since its inception, it has formed thousands of priests with sound philosophical and theological studies for service to the people of God in nearly 100 dioceses and religious communities across the country and around the world.