This Year's Annual Retreat

by Emmanuelle del Castillo

From the afternoon of Monday, January 9, 2012, until two o’clock on the following Friday afternoon, Mount Angel seminarians attended their annual silent retreat. This year’s retreat master was Archbishop Niederauer from the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

Most of the conferences were held by Archbishop Niederauer and were topics related to the formation of a seminarian into a priest. One point  the archbishop made and that David Soares, seminarian of the Diocese of Honolulu, found very interesting is that “Jesus said no during his ministry at certain times; [he] only said yes if it’s the will of God.” Another point that Clyde Rex Jesalva of the Archdiocese of Portland found interesting is that “the priest has needs."

During this period, seminarians are expected to be silent throughout the week except during prayers and mass. The silence includes even non-verbal communications like social networks and emails. During the times between prayer, mass, and conferences, seminarians are encouraged to concentrate on their spiritual formation. The seminarians that were quoted earlier did some reading about the spiritual life and lectio divina.

All evenings of the retreat started with the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. After the exposition on Monday, all seminarians participated in a scriptural rosary . On the evening of Tuesday, the college seminarians have the chance to speak with Archbishop Niederauer about the spiritual life and the life of a diocesan priest. On Wednesday evening, the theology seminarians had a turn to speak with the archbishop while the college seminarians had a conference with Father Paschal Cheline, a spiritual director and professor at Mount Angel Seminary. On Thursday evening, all the seminarians participated in a penance service. Friday was the final morning of the retreat.