Friday, April 17, 2015

All Relative Defeats MAS Guardians

News Brief by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

This evening the MAS Guardians volleyball team lost a four-game match to a local team, All Relative.  In the spirit of good sportsmanship, the Guardians and their opponents added a fifth game at the end of the night.

The Guardians included several guest players for the match, including Fr. Theo Lange, a formation director for Mount Angel Seminary.  In the first game, Fr. Theo achieved several good serves and an excellent dig that resulted in a score for the Guardians.  All Relative won the first game, 24-26.

The second game included longer rallies, with the score tied at 22-22, 23-23, and 24-24 before the Guardians pulled ahead to win 26-24.

All Relative took the third game 23-25 and took the match after the fourth game with a win of 27-29.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mount Angel Seminary Holds Symposium on Lectio Divina

Story and photo by Philip J. Shifflet

St. Benedict, Ore. — On Tuesday, March 17, Mount Angel Seminary held its annual formation symposium. This year, Fr. Michael Casey, OCSO, was the keynote speaker. Fr. Casey is a renowned writer on monastic spirituality. He is a Cistercian monk of Tarrawarra Abbey in Victoria, Australia. His books include Seventy-Four Tools for Good Living: Reflections on the Fourth Chapter of Benedict's Rule, Toward God: The Ancient Wisdom of Western Prayer, and Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina.

From left to right: Rt. Rev. Peter Eberle, OSB, director of Human Formation at MAS; Rev. Michael Casey, OCSO; and Sister Judith Bloxham, associate director of Human Formation at MAS.

Fr. Casey’s symposium was on the practice of lectio divina, and it spanned across three conferences: two morning conferences and an afternoon conference. In the morning conferences, he gave a brief history of lectio divina, which is a slow, meditative reading of Sacred Scripture or other spiritual writings. Fr. Casey spoke of the importance of regularity in one’s sacred reading, the time allocation given to sacred reading in ancient monasteries, and the different types of books that were read by medieval monks. In the afternoon conference, he reflected on what he called the book of experience – the notion that “the full meaning of the Bible is yielded only through a relationship with God.”

Pastores Dabo Vobis, Pope St. John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation on the formation of priests, discusses the importance of the Word of God in the life of a priest: “the priest himself ought first of all to develop a great personal familiarity with the word of God. Knowledge of its linguistic or exegetical aspects, though certainly necessary, is not enough. He needs to approach the word with a docile and prayerful heart so that it may deeply penetrate his thoughts and feelings.”
After the community Mass in the Abbey Church, the faculty, staff, students, and guests of MAS gathered in the Damian Center for the beginning of the formation symposium. The two latter conferences were followed by a period for questions. Symposia are a standard part of the formation program at MAS and typically focus on theological or human formation-related issues. Earlier this school year, to celebrate the inauguration of its Master of Arts in Philosophy program, MAS held a philosophical symposium with Prof. William Desmond, in addition to its annual theological symposium, this year with Rev. Msgr. Kevin Irwin.

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.  Since its inception 126 years ago, MAS has educated and formed thousands of priests for service to the people of God in nearly 100 dioceses and religious communities across the country and around the world.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

MAS Guardians Volleyball Takes a Loss

by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

In its first match of the season, the MAS Guardians volleyball team faced Los Pumas, a local team from Salem, Oregon.

The Guardians lost to Los Pumas in 3 games, 18-25, 6-25, and 20-25.  In the spirit of good sportsmanship, the Guardians and Los Pumas played an additional game to round out the evening.

The volleyball team and their fans were supported by a 3-man pep band consisting of a trumpet, saxophone, and keyboard.

Friday, March 20, 2015

MAS Seminarian Remembers Father Paschal Cheline with a Poem

This week Phillip Shifflet, a college seminarian studying for the Diocese of Orange, wrote a poem in memory of Father Paschal Cheline, OSB.  Father Paschal, a monk of Mount Angel Abbey and a member of the faculty of Mount Angel Seminary, died Friday, March 13, 2015.

MAS alumnus Dean Marshall also wrote a reflection honoring Father Paschal.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

MAS Alumnus Writes Reflection Honoring Father Paschal Cheline

As many friends and students join the monastic community of Mount Angel Abbey to mourn the passing and to celebrate the life of Father Paschal Cheline, OSB, MAS alumnus Dean Marshall has written a reflection, "On the Passing of a Friend and Mentor", honoring Father Paschal.

Marshall shares the gifts of literature and faith that Father Paschal offered him.  May he intercede for us and rest in peace!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Lay Student Expands His Life Experience with Study at Mount Angel

Story and photo by Carl Sisolak

35-year-old Brian Morin, a lay student at Mount Angel Seminary, said “I feel very connected to the seminarians here and feel very welcomed by the peaceful community” of Mount Angel.  “It is like Cheers where everybody knows your name.”

Brian Morin in one of the classrooms of Annunciation.

Officer and Teacher

For Morin a love for knowledge and learning is par for the course. Morin grew up in the New England town of Vernon, CT. After high school at East Catholic in Manchester, Morin signed up for ROTC training. He attended The College of Holy Cross in Worchester, MA, and received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 2002. He was commissioned into the Navy as an officer, and for 10 ½ years served around the country and around the world on active duty.

Morin worked for a time at the University of Maine teaching Naval Sciences.  He met his future wife, Shavonne, in the school’s Newman Center.  Shavonne was a student in the University of Maine’s master of forestry program. In February 2013, Morin transitioned to the US Naval Reserves at the rank of Lieutenant Commander. In the summer of 2010, Morin and Shavonne moved to Everett, WA, and then to Albany, OR, in 2014.

On realizing that he was nearing the end of the requirements needed for his master's in library and information science, Morin said, “I always wanted to get a master's in theology.” He said, “I hope to be a theological librarian at the university level or in a seminary library or even a position in a historical archives."  While studying at Mount Angel, Morin has been given the opportunity to work as an intern in the Mount Angel Abbey Library.

Mount Angel Lay Student

Morin said, “I stumbled across Mount Angel’s website" and learned about the graduate school.  Morin said he also learned about Mount Angel from seeing the seminarian vocation poster for the Archdiocese of Portland at his church, St Mary’s in Albany.

Morin said he brings to his church ministry what he learns at Mount Angel. He was asked by his pastor to lead a discussion group on Fr. Robert Barron’s video series Catholicism. He also leads another group that discusses the works of G.K. Chesterton. He said he chose G.K. Chesterton for his works that balance faith and reason.  He said, “I would like to use what I learn at Mount Angel to teach RCIA at my parish as well.”

This is the second semester of his first year here. He then will have two more years of study to complete his master's degree. He said, “I haven’t yet decided on a thesis topic yet, but it could be in the areas of either Celtic or Benedictine spirituality.”  Morin said his favorite classes include church history and patristic studies.

Hopefully in reading about Brian Morin, the rest of the Mount Angel community will now get to know Morin’s name.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

College I Seminarians Volunteer at St. André Bessette

Story by Matthew Knight

PORTLAND, Ore.— On Thursday, Feb. 19, a group of Mount Angel first-year college seminarians attended a retreat at St. André Bessette Parish to raise awareness of homelessness in downtown Portland.

Run by the Congregation of Holy Cross, the core of St. André Bessette’s outreach ministry is a program called “morning hospitality,” which is offered six days a week and open to all in the community. Community members experiencing homelessness, poverty, mental illness, substance addiction, and other serious issues are welcomed by the parish for two hours of food, coffee, and fellowship. The parish also offers an art ministry, allowing guests to express themselves by drawing or painting in a safe environment.

Seminarians assisted with serving breakfast and coffee, as well as socializing with the guests. Some helped direct the free clothes closet or worked in the art room. Morning hospitality began and ended with prayer and a round-table reflection, including the Gospel reading of the day.

“It’s amazing how many homeless people are very similar to the people one would meet in his or her day to day life,” said Isaac Allwin of the Diocese of Tucson.

“I really enjoyed being with the poor and homeless,” Conor Baer, Archdiocese of Seattle, agreed. “I sat with a man named Brad, who is a musician. He had a really cool story and I think we both felt we had gained a friend.”

Mass was celebrated at the parish by Fr. John Patrick Riley, C.S.C. Afterwards, the seminarians were given the opportunity to visit two other partner organizations working in the downtown metro area. Bud Clark Commons, the “front door” of Portland’s Transition Project, acts as a day center, providing showers, clothing, laundry, mail and message services, a computer lab, hair salon, and housing assistance.

Macdonald Center aims to break social isolation by reaching out to the “invisible poor,” those who may live in single-occupancy units rather than on the streets. They provide clean, safe, and affordable alternative housing. In addition to home visitation, they provide opportunities for community socialization, hosting birthday parties and memorial services, as well as offering spiritual care, support groups, and retreats. All three organizations, despite having different immediate goals, are working together to bring hope to the homeless in the heart of Portland.

The retreat was a uniformly positive experience, seminarians said.

“It was an opportunity to experience Jesus in those who are in great need,” reflected Br. William Petry, M.S.p.S. “It was a chance to actually see, touch, hear, smell and speak to Christ in the poor. It was the grace to break through the mere understanding of God’s presence in those in need, to the encounter of God in them.”

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Seminarians Instituted as Lectors and Acolytes at Mount Angel Seminary

Story by Phillip J. Shifflet; photos by Joseph Nguyen

On Monday, February 9, in the Abbey Church at Mount Angel Seminary, the Most Reverend Armando X. Ochoa, Bishop of Fresno, celebrated the Ministries Mass, during which thirteen seminarians were instituted as lectors and eleven seminarians were instituted as acolytes.

Bishop Ochoa with the new lectors and acolytes.

Instituted as lectors were David Jones of the Diocese of Baker; Mitchell Hornsby of the Diocese of Boise; Gerson Espinosa Velasco, Stephen Kenyon, Fiacre Nduwayo, and Kurt Ziehlke of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; Steven Wood of the Diocese of Sacramento; Santiago Feu and Rodrigo Llorente of the Saint John Society; and Benjamin Bray, Carl Sisolak, Michael Sztajno, and Anh Tran of the Archdiocese of Seattle.

Instituted as acolytes were Victor Mena Martínez of the Diocese of Baker; Nathan Dail and Joseph Lustig of the Diocese of Boise; Joseph Paddock of the Diocese of Helena; Felipe Jiménez of the Diocese of Las Vegas; Br. Matthias Lambrecht, OCD, of the Discalced Carmelite Province of St. Joseph; Brent Crowe of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; Lucio Zuñiga Rocha of the Diocese of Reno; Nicolás Facile and Juan Pablo Segura of the Saint John Society; and Nathan McWeeney of the Diocese of San Diego.

The lay ministries of lector and acolyte are typically conferred upon those men pursuing holy orders. At MAS, a seminarian is instituted a lector during his first year of theological studies and an acolyte during his second year of theological studies. Bishop Ochoa thanked the seminarians for their generosity in offering themselves in service to the Lord, and said, “This symbol and very important ritual marks a moment of passage for you as you move forward in your discernment and preparation in Christian ministry.”

In his homily, Bishop Ochoa encouraged those being instituted to deepen their relationship with Jesus, the Divine Word present in the tabernacle. To the lectors, he said: “When you speak the words of Sacred Scriptures, you must know that you are echoing the very Word of God. That Word that brings all things into existence. The word you proclaim has power.” To the acolytes he said: “The Church calls you to be ordinary ministers of the Eucharistic presence of Christ. You are also called to teach true devotion to our Eucharistic Lord. You are called to handle that which is most sacred to us. You are called to bring the healing presence of Jesus to those who need him.”

Mount Angel Seminary, established by the monks of Mount Angel Abbey, began forming men for the priesthood in 1889.  MAS 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, MAS has educated and formed thousands of priests for service to the people of God in nearly 100 dioceses and religious communities across the country and around the world.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Capstone Project Explores the Nature of Friendship

News Brief by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

On Wednesday, Feb. 18, Phillip Shifflet, a college seminarian studying for the Diocese of Orange, presented his capstone project to faculty, staff, and students of Mount Angel Seminary.

Dr Andrew Cummings, Shifflet's director, introduced Shifflet at the beginning of his presentation.  Dr. Seymour House served as his reader, and Dr. Mark Van Ness served as his English Standards reader.  At the beginning of his talk, Shifflet thanked his committee, as well as several past and current writing assistants from the MAS Writing Center who helped him with his work.

Shifflet's capstone is entitled " 'I Have Called You Friends': The Nature of Friendship and Social Media's Role in Its Cultivation."

Phillip Shifflet

In his presentation, Shifflet discussed the the three main sections of his capstone: the nature of friendship, cultivating friendships, and the question of social media.

The thesis of his project is: "Friendships cultivated through the abuse of social media seek to fulfill an innate desire to be known, accepted, and loved; but true fulfillment of these longings can only be found in what St. Aelred of Rievalux calls spiritual friendship, the cultivation of which would exclude a presence on social media platforms."

Shifflet's capstone project will be available at the end of the semester through the Mount Angel Abbey Library.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Pep Band Writes MAS Fight Song

This winter, the new Mount Angel Seminary pep band composed an MAS Guardians fight song.  Thus far the fight song has been featured at several Guardians basketball games.

Ethan Alano wrote the melody of the fight song, and Peter Murphy did the arrangement.  Alano, with assistance from George Watson, wrote the lyrics as well.