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.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mount Angel Seminarians Take to the Road for the Walk for Life 2015

Story and photo by Carl Sisolak

The pilgrimage to the Walk for Life West Coast, which took place on Saturday, Jan. 24, was not only a start on the road to San Francisco for a bus load of Mount Angel Seminarians but a new start to learning what it means to stand up for the dignity of life. The Walk for Life is an annual event that takes place as a way of peaceful demonstration to bring to the attention of all people the issues of abortion and euthanasia.

The pilgrimage lasted three days, beginning with our bus ride down to San Francisco on a Friday morning and ending on our return Sunday evening to Mount Angel. We maintained a daily program of prayer and reflection as we travelled.

The seminarians, along with formation director Fr. Ralph Recker, OSB, were enthusiastic about this opportunity to witness about how they feel about the dignity of life. Seminarian Ivan Mora, a seminarian from the Diocese of Sacramento, said as the journey began on Friday, “It is exciting to be going on this trip.” He also mentioned that he had been to St Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, a suburb of San Francisco, which would be the first destination for our travelers in the evening.

After the seminarians arrived at St Patrick’s in the evening, they all went to Mass at the chapel and had  fellowship and dinner with the St Patrick’s students, faculty and staff who would be our hosts while we stayed in San Francisco. Some went to Eucharistic Adoration later in the evening.

The next day after breakfast at St Patrick’s it was time to head out into the sunshine of a California morning into the city of San Francisco for the Walk for Life festivities. The first gathering of the day was for Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral where we were treated to the words of Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordeleone, the archbishop of San Francisco, who was the main celebrant at the Mass.

Mount Angel seminarians taking part in the Walk for Life West Coast.

Following Mass the bus took us to the rally point at the beginning of the Walk. The joy and lifted spirits of the walkers was plain to see. People all around were singing, praying and enjoying getting to know their fellow marchers and all who were gathered there in United Nations Plaza.  The walk was well-organized and joyful, with different people from all over the country sharing their stories. There was the sound of singing and praying from some of the participants and there was emphatic encouragement from a number of the rally speakers as well.

We began walking from the rally point at about 1:30 in the afternoon down Market St., a living witness to the belief that all life is sacred.  The walkers proceeded down the street singing, praying and declaring “We are Pro-Life."  Many of the walkers were carrying signs with their places of origin on them or that declared them to be of the “Pro-Life Generation” to all those in the city. We would find out later from those from the Walk for Life blog team on their website that the number of walkers in San Francisco this day was at least 50,000.

After completing the walk to Embarcadero Blvd, the Mount Angel seminarians returned to the parked buses by 4:00 p.m. and made their way back to St Patrick’s Seminary for dinner and recreation.

As we headed back on the bus to Mount Angel the next day, a number of seminarians shared their thoughts about the experience. One of the seminarians, Tyler Johnson from the Archdiocese of Seattle,  said that “a lot of people who walked by us during the time we were walking said thank you for being beacons of hope.”  He said, ”A lot of people see us as the future of the Church.”

The struggle to bring the awareness that all life is precious and a gift from God will not go away after we have returned to Mount Angel.  Frank Villanueva, seminarian from Diocese of Honolulu said, "We have to continue to reach out to people  with love.”

Editor's Note: The reporter for this story was also a participant in the Walk for Life

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Guardians Achieve First Win of the Season

News brief by Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB
Photos by Carl Sisolak

Last night the MAS Guardians basketball team beat the Portland Bible College Wildcats 69-59.  The game was the first win for the Guardians this season and their final home game. Last week the Guardians lost to the Wildcats.

Father Brian Dolejsi, the vocations director for the Archdiocese of Seattle, joined the Guardians for their game against the Wildcats.

Father Brian (23) working out strategy with his teammates.

The Wildcats take one of their many 3-point shots.

Stephen Cieslak takes a foul shot.

Six minutes into the first half, the score was tied 7-7, but the Wildcats pulled ahead with a 3-point shot. The Wildcats made many successful 3-point shots throughout the night.  With two minutes left in the first half the Guardians were ahead by one, 27-26, but the Wildcats pulled ahead again for a score of 27-30 at the half time buzzer.

The score was again tied, 35-35, five minutes into the half.  By keeping the Wildcats from attempting their 3-point shots, the Guardians stayed ahead for most of the second half as they reached their ten point lead in the final minute of the game.

Brother John Cannon, OCD, setting up an attempt to score.

Guardians mascot Tyler Johnson
among the Guardians fans in the second half.

Val Park fends off a Wildcat.

Guardians fans were greeted at the door of the Damian Center by the Guardians mascot and copies of the lyrics for the new Guardians fight song.