Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mount Angel Seminary Benefits from Benefactors at Seattle Luncheon

by Carl Sisolak

On Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, seven Seattle seminarians, Michael Sztajno, Chad Hill, Greg Snyder, Matthew Lontz, Carl Sisolak, Ahn Tran and Carlos Orozco, travelled to Seattle, Wash. for Mass at St. James Cathedral and for a luncheon across the street at the Isaac Orr Center to benefit Mount Angel Seminary. President-Rector Monsignor Joseph Betschart, Father Terry Tompkins and Father Stephen Clovis also attended.

Attendees were warmly welcomed by Jeff Yandle, President of the board of the Abbey Foundation of Oregon and the event chairperson and Father David Mulholland, Vicar for Clergy for the Archdiocese of Seattle and a Mount Angel Seminary alumnus, who offered some opening comments and a prayer before everyone proceeded to dig into a delicious meal.

During lunch Monsignor Betschart delivered the keynote address to the attending benefactors.  He related to those present what it means to be a spiritual father, how much being a spiritual father is needed in our present times and how he realized the important impact we have in the lives of those we serve. He also spoke about how Mount Angel is one of a handful of seminaries that offers studies from College through Theology. He also mentioned our new Masters of Philosophy program.

Jodi Kilcup, the Director of Development at Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary , encouraged benefactors to support the Mount Angel seminarians by saying “It’s not about me! It’s about the Mount Angel community.”

Stephen Zimmer, a board member of the Abbey Foundation of Oregon, gave four reasons for being there at the luncheon. They were: to spread the word about Mount Angel, to invite people to come visit Mount Angel, to continue to support the Archdiocese of Seattle by helping to provide for priests, and to provide direct support for Mount Angel so it can continue its ministry. Jeff Yandle also spoke a few words about the important work being done at Mount Angel and the value of having a seminary so close by.

Father Bryan Dolejsi, the vocations director for the Archdiocese of Seattle, spoke about the four pillars of formation at Mount Angel Seminary, which are academic, human, spiritual and pastoral. He said he is impressed with the work done at Mount Angel for Seattle seminarians, noting that Seattle is right behind Portland in having the second highest number of seminarians attending Mount Angel.

Father Martin Grassel, OSB, the procurator for Mount Angel Abbey, closed the luncheon with his thanks and a prayer offered on behalf of Abbot Gregory Duerr and the Benedictine monks.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Take to the Field and Court with Joe Gisondi

A book review by Frank Villanueva

In his book titled Field Guide to Covering Sports, Joe Gisondi crafts a well-laid out, step-by-step guide to covering sports. Gisondi’s personal experience with journalism and his growth into it is the driving force behind his book.  He began writing at the age of 15 and has worked for more than 20 years as a sports copy editor.  He currently serves as president of the Illinois College Press Association.

Gisondi gives the journalist great tips and guides on how to properly cover a sports story.  This very easy to read, spiral-bound book is small enough to fit in any briefcase, backpack, or over the shoulder handbag.  This makes it easy to access any of Gisondi’s tips when it comes to those unexpected sports stories that the journalist would like to cover.

There are three main sections to his guide.  The first is titled “Getting Started.”  The second is titled “Covering a Beat,” and the third is titled “Exploring Further.”  The book also includes a forward by Will Leitch, a preface by the author, notes, and an index.  I found the index to be particularly helpful if you are trying to search the book for information about a specific item.  For example if you were looking to find out information about volleyball, you would look under volleyball in the index and it will direct you to all the pages where the word volleyball appears.


In the first section Gisondi gives the reader four examples of how to begin covering sports.  There are six subtopics that are included: from fan to sports reporter, writing game stories, getting the most out of an interview, high school sports, developing and writing features, and blogging.  This section was especially helpful to me in understanding why, as a journalist, you should not cheer in the press box while covering a story.

In the second section, Gisondi gives the aspiring journalist important information on rules of a particular game and how to keep score.  As a person who has played and coached volleyball, I like how Gisondi laid out each section of the covered sport.  He is very thorough with explaining how a sport is played, how to keep score and how to use that information to write a good sports story.  The sports listed in his book are: auto racing, baseball, basketball, bowling, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, rowing, rugby, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, tennis, track & field, triathlons, volleyball, and wrestling.

In the third section, Gisondi gives insight into five areas: working with sports information directors, covering fantasy sports, avoiding cliches, ethics, and broadcasting games on radio.  I particularly liked the section on ethics.  He describes what it means to have ethics and the importance of separating oneself from being a fan and being a writer.  He said, “Sports writers can’t act like fans.”

This step-by-step guide to covering sports is highly recommended to the new journalist or the aspiring one who may have writer’s block when it comes to covering sports.  I would highly recommend this to all Mount Angel Seminary (MAS) journalism students and to anyone who might be interested in knowing more about any of the sports listed in this article.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

MAS Students and Faculty Share Seminary Developments at Press Conference

story by Frank Villanueva
photos by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

On Nov. 3 the journalism students held their final press conference of the semester.  This press conference hosted both seminarians and faculty members.  Fr. Terry Tompkins, formation director and vice-rector of the college, and Stephen Kenyon, a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Portland, spoke about the Pro-life movement. John Hesla, also a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Portland, spoke about the group Voces Fidei, and Dr. Elizabeth Farley spoke about her class on Mary in the Liturgy.

Fr. Tompkins started the conference by telling a story of his first experiences being a priest in the pro-life movement back when he was working in a parish.  His participation in the movement led Planned Parenthood to dub him “enemy number one” in the San Francisco Bay Area.  His passion and love for life has landed him in jail on more than one occasion. “I would gladly do it again if it meant that I could change just one life,” Fr. Tompkins said.

Stephen Kenyon and Fr. Terry Tompkins speaking
about the pro-life movement.

John Hesla has been in the group Voces Fidei for two years and spoke about their recent performance at the annual Portland Benefit Dinner held at the Portland Convention Center.  “Being in an a capella group means that you sing without instruments” Hesla said.  The group, which consists of John Hesla, Frank Villanueva, Stephen Cieslak, Greg Snyder, and Philip Shifflet, performed two numbers at the benefit dinner, "Anima Christi," which is a Latin motet and "How Great Thou Art."  Hesla said, “There is a lot of work that is put into an a capella piece that has more than one voice."

John Hesla explains about Voces Fidel as the other speakers
listen to his presentation.

Dr. Elizabeth Farley explains about her new course.

When speaking about her class, Mary in the Liturgy, Dr. Elizabeth Farley said, “it is a blessing to be here [in the seminary] to teach about Mary.”  The class helps the students to study various aspects of Mary in the Liturgy, but Dr. Farley likes to focus on the components in the lectionary.  In doing so, Dr. Farley’s hope is that her students will develop the skills needed to be prepared when they are in their parishes doing priestly ministry.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Schola Expands the Hilltop's Repertoire

by Gregory Snyder

Franciscan hermit Sister Teresa Gould, the director of the Renaissance Schola at Mount Angel Seminary, has been treating mass attenders to the beauty of Renaissance music for the past 13 years.  In this interview, she describes the joys, the background, and the challenges of leading this group.

Sister Teresa spoke about the Schola’s humble beginnings: "We started about 13 years ago, and at that time the seminary choir was made up of a ragtag group of who had limited experience in music.” Sister Teresa's music background is heavily influenced by the Renaissance musical traditions, so she was excited to bring this old, yet new style to a seminary culture lacking in exposure to it.

In the beginning, about half of the singers were faculty members with only a few seminarians; now the majority is made up of seminarians with faculty, laywomen and a few monks. Sr. Teresa’s original intent was to sing only a couple times per year, but now it has expanded to be a monthly performance schedule here at the Abbey Church.

The group started with about 12 singers, and now it has grown to 27. The number of faculty in the group has diminished, and the number of men with a wide range of experience and talent has also increased.

Sister Teresa’s great love of Renaissance music has opened up to her composers such as Palestrina, Handel, Victoria, Byrd, Gabrielei, Guerrero and Scarlatti along with many others, and she is more than excited to share these musical geniuses with the seminary community. She said, “Renaissance music can and should be used in liturgical settings; it’s not just for community or professional choirs.” It was originally created for liturgy and it should again find its natural home there.

The Renaissance Schola is used throughout the year for Sunday masses once a month, although Sister said she would absolutely love to sing every week and thinks the group is good enough to travel throughout the local area. She notes that it is the limited rehearsal times and conflicting schedules that make it very difficult to sing any more often than they do.

Occasionally, Sr. Teresa gets personal requests from individuals, particularly Father Paschal Cheline, monk of Mount Angel Abbey, who is a fan of the more upbeat Renaissance music. Sister Teresa mentioned, “Even though most people don’t know Latin, they love to just sit and listen to the music, that it is simply a wonderful aid to prayer and contemplation.”

Sister Teresa’s musical background is extensive, both formal and informal.   She explained, “The public schools had terrific music programs and my involvement was intense from the beginning . . . I remember singing three-part harmony in elementary school, moving up to two choir, seven part harmonies in middle school." Piano studies also started young, she said: “I started studying piano when I was seven. My grandfather owned four piano stores and I always got to go to the back and play on them."

She also learned to play the organ with the help of a private tutor, which is very helpful now to the seminarians and monastery community. Having been the choirmaster at Santa Barbara Mission, Calif. and sung in prestigious choirs in both church and community settings, she has had the pleasure of singing nearly all of the major renaissance works.

Some of the challenges of the Schola she said are that “while it is great that there is an excess of men available it is always a challenge recruiting women, as it's very hard for them to fit their schedules in with the seminary schedule, and opportunities for practicing as a group are few.” What Sister Teresa would love most is about four more women to join the group to round out the balance.

The Renaissance Schola looks for people who have at least some singing ability, who can hopefully sight read notes and count, but most of all mesh with the existing group, “Since we only have two rehearsals before we perform each piece, it is really important that people practice on their own in preparation for the rehearsals” explained Sister Teresa.

Frank Villanueva, a seminarian for the Diocese of Honolulu who is in his fourth year with the Schola explained why he loves being part of the group: “I just have a passion for music and a love of harmony and singing a cappella is something I could do for hours.”  He said that while he grew up singing in many different musical groups, his exposure to Renaissance music was very limited, so this yearly opportunity to expand his repertoire is an honor.

Stephen Cieslak a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Portland who is in his first year with the Schola talked about his impression thus far: “I love the music and appreciate the style and the effort it takes to perform pieces as complex as these.”

This year, Sister Teresa is the most excited to sing "Ave Maria" which will be performed on May 3, 2015, in the Abbey Church. All are welcome to attend.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

College 4 Offers Capstone Poster Session

Yesterday afternoon the College 4 students shared their capstone posters with their classmates, faculty, and staff.

The posters illustrate the main questions and points within their capstone projects, their final and major project as college students at Mount Angel Seminary.  The poster session provides the students with the opportunity to receive feedback from the faculty and their peers before finishing their projects.

Dario Rinaldi discusses his capstone with fellow seminarian Isaac Allwin.

Many of the College 4 students will offer a presentation to the seminary community next semester as part of the conclusion of their capstone projects.

Vietnamese Community Enjoys a Moonlit Celebration

by Randy Hoang

Tet Trung Thu, otherwise known as Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, was celebrated by the gathering of the Vietnamese community of Mount Angel Seminary behind Annunciation under the moonlight sky of September 9, 2014.

The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival dates back as far as 15-20,000 years ago in Southeast Asia and is traditionally held on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. This is often within two weeks of the autumnal equinox or when the full moon appears between early September or October in accordance with the Gregorian calendar.

Because of its close connection to children, this celebration is often referred to as the Children's Festival. In ancient times, many Vietnamese believed that children, being innocent and pure, had the closest connection to the natural sacred world. Therefore, it was good to celebrate with children the success of the harvest year. In commemorating this hard work done in the fields, parents, family and friends took this opportunity to be with their loved ones to eat, drink tea and celebrate the year’s harvest under the full harvest moon.

The staples of this celebration include drinking tea, eating the signature moon cake, and watching children play with lanterns. A mooncake, which has its origin in China, is a round sweet pastry with fillings such as red bean paste, durian, egg or even a combination.

In the spirit of this tradition, the Vietnamese community of Mount Angel, which included both the seminary and monastic brothers and priests, gathered to drink tea and eat the moon cake and other pastries. Fr. Liem Nguyen, a monk of the Abbey and a seminary formation director, said “We come to remind each other of the festival back in our country and each other’s company.” Nostalgic, Fr. Liem reminisced on the past and said, “In the village (back in Vietnam) there’s no electricity; the moon was a light for the people to have the opportunity to go out and play at night.”

Anh Tran, president of the Vietnamese community and a first year theologian from the Archdiocese of Seattle, elaborated and expressed that the moon, like the Prophet Elijah’s encounter with God, is “a small a soft presence that is always there, but in order for us to notice it, we have to filter out the artificial.” This can be seen as an artificial light or, more abstractly, worldly distractions.

At the end of the day, although no lanterns were included, it was an opportunity for the Vietnamese community both old and new to gather in fellowship, tell stories and create lasting memories.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

College 2 Seminarians at Work at Shelter

story by Garrett McGowan
photos by Gerard Juan

On Oct. 9, the seminarians from college two took time from their day to assist the workers of St. Joseph Shelter in downtown Mount Angel.  The associate director of pastoral formation, Mrs. Nancy Holt, was the coordinator of the project.

This was part of the seminarians' formation to service.  During their time there, the seminarians worked in the garden the shelter operates.  This garden allows the people staying at the shelter to grow their own food.  The seminarians picked tomatoes and cabbages, along with pulling dead plants from the garden.  After a few hours the garden was almost cleared of all the dead plants and had many buckets full of ripe tomatoes.

Andres Guerra of the Diocese of Orange at work in the shelter garden.

Brother Jorge Haro Moreno of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit hauls away a pile of weeds and grass.

When the work in the garden was complete, the shelter's co-director, Sister Marcella Parrish, SSMO, gave the seminarians and Mrs. Holt a tour of the facilities.  During this time the seminarians had time to learn about the shelter's beginnings and how it operates.  The seminarians also had a chance to meet some of the migrant workers that are staying at the shelter.  Most of the workers are men with experience in agriculture.  On average the shelter gives aid to hundreds of migrant workers a year.

The shelter also serves families.  St. Joseph is a transitional shelter, meaning that the shelter helps families with housing and work until they are able to find a home of their own and secure a job.  St. Joseph Shelter offers classes for children while their parents work, helps with case management, meals, clothing and family assistance.

The Benedictine Sisters of Mount Angel run St. Joseph Shelter.  The sisters founded the shelter in 1988 to aid migrant workers and the homeless.  The shelter receives government funding, but it is limited.

After the tour, the seminarians had a spiritual reflection on how they had served God and the people.  Part of the formation process was to reflect on the work the seminarians did with the four dimensions of formation and the call to the priesthood.

The service that the seminarians did can be seen as the call that Pope Francis has given to all Catholics to serve the poor and oppressed.  During the time of reflection the seminarians focused on how the smallest services can make a difference in the lives of others, even if it does not seem like much.  Through this they were able to see the message of Pope Francis and offer the work up to God.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Silver Jubilee of a Benedictine Monk

by Huong Dinh

On Sunday, Oct. 6th, the Mount Angel community celebrated the 25th anniversary of Father Liem Nguyen’s monastic profession as a Benedictine monk of Mount Angel Abbey. Father Nguyen is not only a monk; he also works closely with the seminary in various ways as a formation director for graduating collegians as well as an advisor for the Vietnamese seminarians.

Because this was Father Liem’s special day, he took the role as the main celebrant of the Eucharist celebration. Co-celebrating with him was a number of priests from Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary. The Abbey Church was filled with Benedictine monks, faculty, staff, seminarians, and Father Liem’s family and friends. They all offered their prayers to thank God with Father Liem.

After Deacon Bernardo Lara finished reading the Gospel, Father Liem preached the homily. His homily was his self-reflection on 25 years of living in God’s love as a priest and within the monastic lifestyle. He said, “God is always with me, and whatever I asked God would answer.”

He was aware that God protected him when he was a child in Vietnam. He shared his journey to come to the United States, during which he believed God saved his life. He left Vietnam with empty hands - without money or food - in a small boat, which also contained many other people. He had to spend several days on the sea and did not have any knowledge about the other side of the shore. 

Finally, he arrived in America safely. He believed that God’s hand had safely guided this boat to a new country. Furthermore, he thankfully believed that after following God for 25 years, he always has the peace of Christ within him.

Following the homily was the renewal profession ceremony. Father Liem professed his renewal vow in front of Abbot Gregory Duerr and the Church. He professed the three vows of Benedictine religious life: obedience, stability and conversion of life. Afterward, he expressed his gratitude to God for the mountain of graces he has received during his 25 years as a monk. He also asked God continue to grant him the peace of Christ and protect him so that he might persevere in his monastic vocation for the rest of his life. The ceremony ended with a peaceful embrace between Abbot Gregory and Father Liem.
 
He took his novice year in 1988, and Father Paul Thomas was the novice master in the same year. In 1989, he professed his first vows to the hand of Abbot Peter Eberle. After that, he began to study philosophy and theology. In 1994, he was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Levada.

He shared that in his experience he underwent many ups and downs in monastic life but never had a single idea of leaving the monastery. He said monastic life could produce moments of stress because of his limited English. To overcome the conflict, he asked God’s help to lead him closer to His Son, Jesus Christ. 

As a seminary formation director, he gives seminarians advice, telling them to take a closer look at themselves because God always loves them. God’s call depends on how they open themselves and are aware of this call in their own hearts. He also mentioned that seminarians should fulfill themselves by searching for what they want. In doing so, they will come to know themselves better. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Press Conference Highlights Mount Angel Seminary Courses and Faculty

story by Frank Villanueva
photos by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

On Oct. 20 the journalism students held their second press conference of the semester.  Seminarian Chad Hill of the Archdiocese of Seattle spoke about the Performance Studies class, Paul Grandi from the Diocese of Tucson spoke about the Literature: Cultural Perspectives class, Fr. Peter Arteaga, MSpS, spoke about his mission trip to Alaska, and Fr. Ralph Recker, OSB, spoke about the upcoming pilgrimage to Israel.

“In our Performance Studies class the main focus of the class is to prepare the students for public speaking” Hill said.  The class includes skits and many other public speaking techniques.  The class will end with a mini-play that will bring together all the techniques learned in class.  Although the class requires no previous experience in acting or in theater, Chad did have some experience in theater that helped make his experience in class fun.

Chad Hill


Paul Grandi spoke about Ms. Kathy Akiyama’s Cultural Perspectives class.  “The main object [for the course is for the students to learn] strategies on how to read and approach a multi-cultural text” Grandi said.   Books read so far are The Piano Lesson, Bless Me Ultima, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and Christ in Concrete.  “These books give us a better understanding of what our future ministry will be in a multicultural parish” Grandi said.

Father Peter Arteaga

Father Ralph Recker

Fr. Peter Arteaga ministered to about 25 youth in Tanana, Alaska.  “The villagers don’t always have the opportunity to celebrate mass because of the shortage of priests in the area,” Arteaga said.  Fr. Peter spoke about doing a funeral for a protestant villager because there were no ministers available.  His most memorable time was teaching vacation bible school.

Fr. Ralph will be going on a pilgrimage to Israel from May 11-26, 2015.  The pilgrimage will include Nazareth, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Calgary, and Galilee.   “This trip is a once in a lifetime opportunity to go where Jesus walked” Recker said.  Those students who are interested in going may have the opportunity to earn class credit.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Photos from Mass of Candidacy and Regents Meeting at Mount Angel Seminary

story and photos by Phillip J. Shifflet

On Thursday, Oct. 23, the Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample, Archbishop of Portland in Oregon, celebrated the Mass of Candidacy, during which thirteen seminarians were admitted as candidates for Holy Orders.  After the Mass, the Regents met for their annual meeting on the state of the seminary.  Later that evening, the seminary hosted their annual Regents Dinner for their bishops, superiors, and vocation directors.

Below are photos from the October 23rd festivities.

John Beccerra Oviedo and Arjie Garcia of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; Joseph Nguyen of the Diocese of Orange; and Cesar Solorio Maldonado of the Diocese of Fresno present themselves for admission to candidacy

Mark Uhlenkott of the Diocese of Boise; and George Watson III and Alex Woelkers of the Diocese of Helena present themselves for admission to candidacy.

Bishops present at the Mass of Candidacy.  In attendance were Most Rev. Alexander K. Sample, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; Most Rev. Liam Cary, Bishop of the Diocese of Baker; Most Rev. Clarence "Larry" Silva, Bishop of the Diocese of Honolulu; Most Rev. Kevin W. Vann, Bishop of the Diocese of Orange; Most Rev. Randolph R. Calvo, Bishop of Reno; Most Rev. Jaime Soto, Bishop of Sacramento; Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City; Most Rev. Gerald F. Kicanas, Bishop of Tucson; Most Rev. Peter L. Smith, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon.

The candidates, bishops, superiors, and vocation directors after Mass.

The attendees of the Regents Meeting at Mount Angel Seminary

During the day, the seminary community was able to venerate first-class relics of St. Damien of Molokai and St. Marianne Cope.  The relics were made available by Bishop Silva of the Diocese of Honolulu.

First-class relic of St. Marianne Cope

First class relic of St. Damien of Molokai