Sunday, September 14, 2014

New MAS Journalism Students Start Their Work

This semester, six new students start working for MAS Journalism.  During the fall semester they will work on their writing and photography skills and learn about journalism ethics.

This semester's journalism students (left to right): Randy Hoang, Carl Sisolak, Greg Snyder, Garrett McGowan, Huong Dinh, and Jerome Jay.

Their first assignments include a press conference with several members of the seminary community and an initial interview of one of their journalism classmates.  These interviews will further introduce the readers of MAS Journalism to their new reporters.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Auxilliary Bishop Smith Invokes the Holy Spirit at the Opening Mass for Mount Angel Seminary

by Brother Lorenzo Concocido, OSB

Mount Angel Seminary opened the school year with a Mass of the Holy Spirit on August 25, 2014, in the Abbey Church. Bishop Peter Smith, the auxilliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, was the main presider of the Mass.

During his homily, Bishop Smith, who is also a seminary alumnus and adjunct professor, expressed his excitement and gratitude to be invited to offer the Mass of the Holy Spirit at the opening of the 126th school year of the seminary.

“Your life in Mount Angel Seminary is what you make of it,” the bishop said.
The importance of invoking the Holy Spirit was the main core of his homily. He pointed out four main reasons why one should invoke the Holy Spirit: 1) to enter a relationship with God through prayer, 2) to discern one’s vocation and God’s will, 3) for personal formation, and 4) to learn the virtue of humility.

“Embracing these is a path to being a good shepherd,” he added. He told the seminarians that preparation is the key. He said that the life of a priest in the parish is stressful and temptations attack the priest in his weak points of his life.

“Take the opportunity to get the support you need to deal with these issues now,” was the bishop’s advice to the seminarians. He also added, “Make good use of these opportunities that are available to you here.”

Bishop Smith incenses the altar during the Mass of the Holy Spirit in the Abbey Church on Monday.   Photo credit: Ace Tui

The conclusion of the Mass of the Holy Spirit

He concluded his homily by asking the Holy Spirit to guide the community for the coming school year.  At the end of the Mass, Bishop Smith expressed his gratitude to Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary for being invited as the main presider and for doing his first Pontifical Mass at the Abbey.

The Mass of the Holy Spirit is held on the first day of the school year at Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary where seminarians, faculty, staff and the monastic community invoke the guidance of the Holy Spirit for the entire school year.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

New Reporting Resources

Two new resources developed by our journalism students are now available on the Reporting Resources page of the MAS Journalism blog.

Brother Lorenzo Conocido, OSB, contributed an annotated bibliography on digital photography, and Frank Villanueva contributed an annotated bibliography for those covering the sport of volleyball.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sharing Beautiful Summer Skies

photos by Carl Sisolak

The students who returned to Mount Angel Seminary earlier this month for the Intensive Spirituality Program were given these lovely skies during their retreat.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Style Guide Now Available

Editor's Note: Because technical difficulties earlier this week prevented this entire post from going to our email subscribers, I am reposting it today.

The Mount Angel Seminary Journalism Style Guide is now available, both on the MAS Journalism blog and in hard copy.  Hard copies are available in the office of Sister Hilda Kleiman.  Beginning this fall semester, the style guide will be incorporated into the work of the Mount Angel Seminary journalism program.

The Style Guide is the project of Daniel Miller, one of the journalism practicum students last spring semester.  It is based on The Associated Press Style Book and Reporting on Religion 2: A Style Book on Journalism's Best Beat.  It also includes information specific to Mount Angel Seminary personnel, buildings, and activities.

For updates, suggestions, and corrections to the style guide, please contact Sister Hilda at

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Updated Journalism Syllabus Now Available

The syllabus for this fall's journalism course is now posted on the MAS Journalism blog.  This year's journalism students and those who would like to add the course may get a preview of assignments and activities we will pursue this fall as we spread the good news about Mount Angel Seminary.

Contact Sister Hilda at with any questions or story ideas for the coming year.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Mount Angel Seminary Sends Workers into the Lord's Vineyard at its 125th Commencement Exercises

St. Benedict, Ore. – Earlier this month, Mount Angel Seminary celebrated its 125th Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement Exercises, continuing its mission given by Archbishop William Gross in 1889 to “send forth angels in flesh and blood to promote, as not even angels in heaven can do, the glory of God on earth."

On May 9th in a spirit of joy and thanksgiving, Mount Angel Seminary welcomed faculty, family members, and friends of the community to the annual Baccalaureate Mass. Monsignor Joseph Betschart, President-Rector of Mount Angel Seminary, served as the main celebrant and Abbot Peter Eberle, OSB, the Vice-Rector of the Theologate and Director of Human Formation, delivered the homily. The Mount Angel Seminary choir, directed by Mrs. Myrna Keough, led the congregation in worship, including a moving rendition of Palestrina’s “Sicut Cervus.”

Abbot Peter, reflecting on the meaning of the word “commencement,” reminded the graduates that just as St. Paul experienced a new beginning on the road to Damascus, their commencement indicated that “something completely new was about to begin, [and] in some sense it also indicated something had come to an end. Life would never again be the same.”
Honored guest William Cardinal Levada, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, offered closing remarks and congratulations in anticipation of the commencement ceremony.
The Commencement Exercises began the next day, Saturday May 10, at 10 a.m. Cardinal Levada, who served as Chair of the Seminary’s Board of Regents while he was the Archbishop of Portland in Oregon from 1986 to 1995, delivered the commencement address. The Cardinal reminded the graduates to “never presume the knowledge of the faith in those for whom you are responsible; rather you should always seek ways to propose it with fresh insight.”
Cardinal Levada told the graduates that their primary responsibility was in forming those whom they will serve in the faith so that all of God’s people would be ready to “share [the faith] with others confidently.” In closing, Cardinal Levada gave thanks for the “pioneering missionary spirit of the Benedictine founders of Mount Angel” who have helped to form thousands of priests in the seminary’s 125-year history.
The Reverend Mister Lauro Minimo, a graduate of the seminary Theology program for the Diocese of San Diego, delivered the annual senior farewell, exhorting his peers to “be that bridge to Christ...[to] set the world on fire with God’s love” as he reflected on Pope St. John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis. Echoing Abbot Peter’s homily from the day prior, Deacon Minimo told the gathered graduates, family, and friends of the community, “It is true that we are never the same as when we first came here, but in another respect we leave here as we came…hopeful, excited, still eager, still smiling…and united together in Jesus Christ.”

In his closing remarks, Msgr. Betschart gave thanks for all of those involved with the “education and formation of priests and religious and lay men and women with the mind and heart of Jesus Christ for servant leadership to God’s holy people” over Mount Angel’s long and fruitful history. Finally, he gave thanks for the 184 present seminarians and students “who have heard the Lord calling them by name, and have generously and faithfully given their ‘yes’ to Him” and he offered special congratulations to the graduating class. 

Mount Angel Seminary offers undergraduate degrees in Philosophy, with possible double majors in Literature or Religious Studies, with the goal of preparing men for graduate formation for the priesthood. At the graduate level, the seminary offers Master of Divinity and Master of Arts degrees in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Theology, as well as a Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology offered in concert with the Pontifical Athenaeum of Sant’ Anselmo in Rome, Italy. Next year, Mount Angel Seminary will also begin offering a Master of Arts degree in Philosophy for its pre-theology students. 

This year the seminary granted 13 undergraduate degrees and 27 graduate degrees to seminarians, religious and lay students from around the United States and the Pacific Islands. In addition, in an earlier ceremony nine seminarians received certificates of completion for the pre-theology program.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Voces Fidei Sings for Christ and the Church

by Frank Villaneuva

The group Voces Fidei is a quintet of seminarians that come from different parts of the country and share their love of music through a cappella.  Phillip Shifflet of the Diocese of Orange, Greg Snyder from the Archdiocese of Seattle, John Hesla and Stephen Cieslak of the Archdiocese of Portland and I, Frank Villanueva from the Diocese of Honolulu, make up this diverse group of singing seminarians.  We have joined our gifts and talents together to create one unique sound.  The name of our group reminds us to excel and to always be a voice of faith.

Voce Fidei: Stephen Cieslak, Gregory Snyder, Frank Villanueva,
Phillip Shifflet, and John Hesla. Photo credit: Ivan Garcia

When I asked this group of men to be part of this singing group here on the hilltop, I never could have imagined how far this group would go.  We started singing just for fun until one day our choir director, Mrs. Myrna Keough, heard us and asked us if we would be willing to put an a capella piece together and sing for the annual Seminary Benefit Dinner in Portland, Oregon.  Since then we have been a part of the Portland Benefit Dinner and the Benefit Dinner held annually in Eugene, Oregon.

At celebration of the 125th anniversary of the founding of Mount Angel Seminary, the group was asked to sing during the program.  The group was also asked to sing for various community events such as the annual Ambassadors of the Mount Angel Abbey Retreat House luncheon and the recent ordination of Br. Rito Guzman of the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit.  Voces Fidei also sang for the ordination dinner of Portland’s new Auxiliary Bishop, Peter Smith.

Our love for music and spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ through the ministry of music is a gift that will extend beyond this holy mountain.  Stephen Cieslak said, “Voces Fidei is a group who sings for Christ and his Church. As priests we will be representatives of that Church, though we are now as seminarians too. Singing, glorifying God with voice is prayer in a unique and loving way. This [will] carry over into our ministry in celebrating the sacraments and ministering to the people, drawing them closer to Him who loves us.”

One of the common musical backgrounds that we all share is our musical experiences in various choirs and in our parish ministries.  For instance, Greg Snyder was a part of his parish’s music ministry and sang for various choral groups before entering the seminary.  These experiences all helped to put together this wonderful group of men who love to sing and make music for the Lord.

I started the group in 2012 as a way to continue my love of music, which has been a big part of my life since I was six.  At the age of eight, I became a member of the Honolulu Boy Choir and remained until the age of thirteen.  My love for music continued in my parish life as a cantor for three different parishes in my home town of Pearl City.  In 2004, I became a member of one of Hawaii’s newest and hottest singing sensations, the “Fab 4.”  The group sang melodies from the 50s and 60s, Broadway hits, contemporary Hawaiian music, impersonations such as Don Ho and Elvis Presley, and we featured songs from artists such as Earth, Wind and Fire, and Yvonne Ellemin.

Starting this group wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.  It was tough to find others who are just as passionate and committed to the work needed to prepare such pieces for a cappella singing.  These guys were a pitch perfect match.  “Our voices mesh really well and we get along together too,” Hesla said.  When I asked them what the differences were singing in a quintet group such as ours as compared to a choral group, Shifflet said, “You have to be more attentive to each other as not to single your voice out and sing to make it sound like one voice rather than many voices.”

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Students Learn Irony and Sophistication Through Medieval Literature

by Jonathan Eubanks

This spring semester, like many spring semesters before, Dr. Creighton Lindsay is teaching his Medieval Literature course for the College II class.  The course is known for both its knowledgeable and engaging professor and its rich and extensive material.  This pivotal academic adventure, pivotal for the role it plays in the formation of the students academically, spiritually, and personally, accompanies and guides the students on a journey through the age after the fall of the Roman Empire up until the Renaissance, covering such texts as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Beowulf, Canterbury Tales, and even the great Shakespearean tragedy Othello.

Dr. Lindsay is very knowledgeable about these works of literature and about the history of the people and their cultures. As one student from the class, Emilio Gonzalez, put it, "The professor is awesome.  The way Dr. Lindsay teaches is with a lot of passion, so it's very easy to go to class.  And it is a very good environment [in which] to learn."

Being accompanied by Dr. Lindsay's extensive knowledge of the cultures and histories, the literature, such as Boccaccio's The Decameron, enlightens the reader about a time when the world was in turmoil.  However, it was also a time when the Church was growing and spreading.  Educated monks and priests worked diligently to preserve the faith, as well as their own culture, in a world that could have easily been destroyed by the many other hardships affecting their livelihood.  In his class Dr. Lindsay mentioned the consensus amongst scholars that Beowulf was written by a monk, most likely of Saxon birth, and preserved by a monastic community for centuries in England.

When asked how his class fits our formation as future priests, Dr. Lindsay responded, "Almost all of the texts we read are in the context of Christianity, and it shows, I think, the development of a very sophisticated authorial understanding of Christianity."  He points out that there is a metamorphosis that occurs in what the students read.  In Beowulf and in the poems that they read at the beginning of the semester, there is a "piety that is sophisticated" in the literature, but "the sense of narrative potential hasn't been quite explored at the same level that you get, for example, with Chaucer.  I see it fitting into formation because you can watch in one semester the development of that sophistication.  That sophistication, really, is attached to irony."

According to Dr. Lindsay, irony plays an important role in the lives of the medieval authors.  He focuses a large portion of his energy on educating his students about the importance of irony in their own lives.  He said, "Irony gives us the appreciation, irony gives us a more attuned ear to, not just the language of those people around us, but also to the possibilities of joy in life."

One of the assignments that Dr. Lindsay has his students do in his class is a practice of memorization.  The student is tasked with either reciting the first eighteen lines of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales in contemporary English (or for extra credit in Middle English), or reciting a Shakespearean sonnet.  Dr. Lindsay said, "You get the music of the language in your ear in a more profound way than you do simply reading it off the page."

He also used a sports analogy to convey the point that memorizing something makes the student feel like they have conquered an obstacle, and that this accomplishment is important for building character in the student.

How does Dr. Lindsay see the benefit of his course for future priests?  He said, "I think that we could go on forever about that, but I would have to defer to my good friend Fr. Paschal. That if you can enjoy that irony that we find in Chaucer, that sort of deep understanding of the world that means, I think, that translates into you as a priest."

As priests the students will have to minister to all kinds of people and in many different situations.  Dr. Lindsay, quoting Fr. Paschal, said that it is important for a priest to have "a wide understanding of the world," and as the students read the texts of the class they in turn "become more sophisticated."  This point of contact for not only the course but all of literature seems to be a crucial axiom for the students and further leads them, like Emilio, to get excited about going to class.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Serve, Set, Spike! That’s What Volleyball Is About When It Comes To The MAS Guardians

A Photo Essay by Jose Morales

Ace Tui and Isidore Slade hold up the game ball and are the official scorekeepers for the season.

Ivan Garcia, the Emcee for the game, with Sister Hilda Kleiman, O.S.B.

The Mount Angel Guardians Volleyball Team starting lineup. 

Sr. Hilda Kleiman, O.S.B., saying the opening prayer for
 the Willamette Valley Boys versus Mount Angel volleyball game. 

A player for the Willamette Valley Boys starting off the game
with an overhand serve.

A Willamette Valley Boys player (10) sets the ball up for the hit for his teammate (8).

Huong Dinh from the Guardians, an outside hitter, jumps to spike the ball 
to the Willamette Valley Boys.

Raul Barriga and Daniel Miller on the Guardians' side help Deacon Alexander De Paulis, the middle blocker, to block the shot from a Willamette player.

The Guardians gather to regroup and strategize after the Willamette team calls for a time out.

The Willamette Valley Boys huddle up during the time out.

Dinh, the outside hitter, jumps to spike the ball while two defenders try to block it. 

Dinh gets a good spike on the ball to the other side.

The Vikings from Woodburn gather before the start
of their game against MAS.

Justin Ryan begins the first serve of the game with an underhand serve.

A player from the Vikings (in white), tries to spike the ball to the Guardians side, 
while two defenders tries to block it. 

The Guardians wait in suspense while Stephen Cieslak passes the ball over on the last hit out of the three.

A Viking player serves as a setter for his team while two Guardians
try to block the ball.

Cieslak (7) spikes the ball to the opponents by
going off the floor with two feet.

The Vikings coach jumps up to spike the ball to the Guardians side
while De Paulis tries to block.

Pio Afu tips the ball over to the other side while two players from the Vikings attempt to block it.

Dinh (10) jumps to try another spike at the white team.

The Vikings watch in suspense as their coach spikes the ball trying to score against the Guardians.

Guardians players Dinh (10) and Cieslak (7) jump trying to block a spike from the Vikings.