After a long and busy summer seminary is now in full swing for both our Mt Angel and St. Patrick’s men. We are pleased to have a number of new seminarians for studying for the diocese and will soon have their profile up on Consider Priesthood so you can get to know them!
Monday started with the Mass of the Holy Spirit celebrated by the Most Rev. Liam Carey, Bishop of the Diocese of Baker. Following that was the inaugural address given by Abbot Peter Eberle, Vice Rector of the Theologate. He looked at the fictional stories of three priests and compared them to the model priest proposed by Pope St. John Paul II in his encyclical on the formation of priests “Pastores dabo vobis” to highlight the importance of formation both in the seminary and after.
In the afternoon we had a BBQ hosted by the monks of Mt Angel which was preceded by Vespers. This years menu had a Hawaiian theme. There are 47 new seminarians at Mt Angel this year which brings enrollment to about 150. It’s an impressive sound both in the chapel and the dining room! The evening was very pleasant as we enjoyed the warm and sunny Oregon weather and each others company. It was also a rare free Monday evening. Every Monday is typically dedicated to a conference related to one of the four areas of formation in the seminary.
Tuesday was the start of classes, which for us deacons was a challenging one whole class! Returning for this last year is definitely an interesting experience. There is the excitement of being ordained and the joys of ordained ministry but there is a sense that this is the dusk of a beautiful stage of life. We all look forward to the priesthood eagerly but like all transitions leaving the old, familiar behind has a twinge of sadness. While most of our fellow seminarians are busy studying philosophy and theology those of us in the fourth year of theology focus on more practical things in pastoral ministry. Next semester we will start learning how to celebrate the Mass and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Do keep us in your prayers!
Turning our attention back to the Diocese there was a change in the diocese of Sacramento. Fr Francisco Hernandez Gomez who served as our vocations director was asked to resume parish ministry by the Bishop. Fr Jovito Rata took the helm of the Vocations Office in his place. God bless them both in their service!
I hope to post pictures of the opening events, the summer and our new men very soon. Thank you for your readership. God Bless!
So its been a really long time, I mean a really long time since we’ve posted. And well that’s terrible on our part, especially my part. A lot has happened here at Mt Angel so I hope to share some of the highlights for you. While I’ve tried to collect photos for posting it doesn’t always seem to work. So please bear with this text heavy post. In case I hadn’t mentioned it before, we have two new seminarians at Mt Angel Seminary. David Panduro who is in College II and Ivan Mora who is in pre-theology. Pretty soon I will have their bios up. We are glad to have them with us.
Steven Wood, who is in first theology received the ministry of Lector from Bishop Armando Ochoa this semester. As an instituted lector he is commissioned to proclaim the readings in liturgy and also to help teach the faith. While this is not a step to the priesthood in the strict sense it is a milestone. In a sense it marks our entry liturgical ministry as the Church entrusts us with that service. The lector is also expected to study and pray with the Scriptures deeply and regularly.
I am pleased to announce that I was recommended to transitional diaconate by Mt Angel Seminary at the end of my annual evaluation as was Rev. Mr. Jose Victor Gutierrez. He along with Rev Mr. Michael Ritter will be ordained to the priesthood on June 6. On that same day, indeed in the same liturgy, my classmate Mr Raj Derivera and I will be ordained, God willing, to the transitional diaconate. So, please, keep us and all those who will be ordained to either order this summer in your prayers. It is an exciting time!
One class we have is called Advanced Preaching/Presiding I. In this class we learn how to celebrate Matrimony and Baptism and Funerals. We also learn how to give Benediction and serve as the deacon in Mass. I have to confess in the Mass practice I was slightly off in my words. Another part of preparation for ordination is a five day retreat. This is to prepare us for the spiritual reality of ordination.
On a less cheery note I should mention the passing of an important monk of Mt Angel Abbey who worked in the seminary, Fr Paschal Cheline. He was dear to countless people and this was testified to by the large crowd present for his funeral. A number of alumni came and observed “even after death he’s still building community”. He had a plan for life: Jesus Christ, the Church, Liturgy, and novels. While it is impossible to take the totality of his influence, this article is a good summation. Pray for his happy repose.
Just recently Francis Cardinal George was called home to the Lord as well. He is remembered by many for a host of things. I personally will always remember this famous quote, “I will die in bed, my successor will die in prison, and his successor will die as a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the Church has done so often in human history.” I think it indicates not the bleak reality we face but, rather, the depth and intensity of Christian hope and Charity. Do pray for his happy repose as well.
This semester is in its final weeks and soon we will be on Summer break which always holds the promise of a summer apostolate. Stay tuned for more details!
This link will take you to a good blogpost with a fantastic video about seminary life. Consider it! Consider Priesthood!
Formation for the priesthood is serious business, but even people engaged in serious business need some time to relax. Mount Angel has a monthly “Free Weekend” to make sure that we seminarians take the time to recreate ourselves. Every weekend has free time, but on Free Weekends seminarians can return home, go camping, or spend a couple of nights away from the Hilltop.
This last Free Weekend (February 20-22), four of us Sacramento guys—Ivan, Ivan, David, and myself—took the opportunity to visit Portland (Preston, a seminarian from the Diocese of Honolulu, also joined us). The biggest city in Oregon is just an hour away from Mount Angel, but there’s a huge difference between the bustling city and our peaceful Hilltop.
After Saturday morning Mass, we set out for Portland. Our first stop was The Grotto, a Marian shrine with an incredible view. We spent time walking the Grotto’s replica of the Chartres Cathedral labyrinth and enjoyed an incredible view from a cliff-top chapel.
After the tranquility of the Grotto, we jumped into the activity of the downtown. We lunched at a burger joint, browsed the largest bookstore in the world, and finished off with a visit to the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
We didn’t spend the whole weekend away from our studies, but it was a well-needed break in the middle of mid-term exams. Even better, it was a chance to bond as friends and diocesan brothers. Thanks be to God for free time!!!
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