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Br. La Vang Nguyen, O.S.B., professes Solemn Vows

On Tuesday, September 13, the monks of Mount Angel Abbey gathered in the Abbey church for a Pontifical Mass of Solemn Profession. A number of visiting priests, seminarians, family, friends and other guests joined the monks to witness Br. La Vang Nguyen, OSB, profess solemn vows during the centuries-old ceremony.

The monastic schola led the congregation in chanting the entrance antiphon from Psalm 122: “I was glad when they said to me; let us go up to the house of the Lord.” The text set a joyful tone for the solemn celebration. Br. La Vang served as lector, reading the Scriptures which highlighted the profundity of his lifelong consecration to God as a monk. During the homily, Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B., turned to Br. La Vang directly and reminded him that “solemn monastic vows is a bountiful reaping, and there is much promise in this for the one who does it.”

As he did three years prior for his profession of simple vows, Br. La Vang read his profession document out loud to those gathered and signed it on the altar, making permanent his vows of obedience, conversion of life, and stability at Mount Angel Abbey. After receiving the cuculla, the pleated choir robe worn only by solemnly professed monks, Br. La Vang exchanged the kiss of peace with all of the permanent monks of Mount Angel as the monastic schola chanted from Psalm 84: “How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, God of hosts.” During the entire Eucharistic prayer, he prostrated himself on the sanctuary floor, covered with a black pall in an act of “mystical burial,” dying to the old man and rising in Christ.

Mount Angel Abbey is a Benedictine community founded in 1882 from the Abbey of Engelberg in Switzerland. Situated on a hilltop overlooking Oregon’s Willamette Valley, the monks of Mount Angel weave together a place of prayer, hospitality, education, and reflection deeply rooted in the Rule of St. Benedict.

Categories: Monastery, Uncategorized

Novices at Mount Angel Abbey make Simple Profession

On the evening of September 8, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the monks of Mount Angel Abbey gathered in Mount Angel Abbey’s church to celebrate the Mass of Simple Profession for two novices, Brody Stewart and Fr. Jack Shrum. The novices professed vows of obedience, stability, and conversion of life for a period of three years.

At the beginning of the Mass, the novices processed in with the altar servers, concelebrating priests, and Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, OSB, principal celebrant. Novices at Mount Angel Abbey make Simple ProfessionThe congregation filled the church and joined the monks in song and prayer, interceding for the men about to profess monastic vows.

During the homily, Abbot Jeremy addressed Br. Brody and Fr. Jack, saying that “what you do shows us with clarity and as a witness
of what we are all meant to be in Christ Jesus.”

After the homily, the two novices knelt before the Abbot and made their first monastic vows, signing their profession documents on
the altar, and displaying them to all gathered as witnesses of their promise. The newly professed monks also announced their new monastic names, signifying putting on the “new man” in Christ. Brody Stewart is now Br. Ambrose, OSB, while Fr. Jack Shrum is now Fr. Michael, OSB. After the conclusion of Mass, everyone gathered for a reception and to congratulate the new junior monks.

Categories: Monastery, Seminary, Uncategorized

Mass of the Holy Spirit opens year at Mount Angel Seminary

Seminarians and students, faculty, staff, and other guests gathered with the monastic community in the Abbey church on August 22 to celebrate the opening of the new academic year at Mount Angel Seminary with the Mass of the Holy Spirit.

Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, OSB, chancellor of Mount Angel Seminary, served as the principal celebrant for the Mass, which included seminary priest faculty, monks and other visiting priests as concelebrants. Reflecting on Jesus’ gift of the Holy Spirit given to the Church through his passion, death and resurrection, Abbot Jeremy preached that “when [Jesus] puts his Body and Blood into our bodies and blood, he puts Spirit into us so that we may go and announce the Gospel by our lives.”

Later that same morning, the seminary and monastic communities gathered in the Abbey church to listen to Dr. Joseph T. Papa, associate professor of philosophy at Mount Angel Seminary, deliver the inaugural address titled, “Christian Humanism: An Oxymoron?” Drawing on the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, Dr. Papa emphasized that “everything human, the whole range and scope of human activity, falls under the concern [and] the intense interest of the Son of God.” He affirmed that “the priest is called to appreciate, and in some way, to enter into this engagement. A robust, humanistic development will allow him to do so.”

After the Mass and the inaugural address, attendees gathered outside to talk, laugh, and share their excitement to begin the new academic year. The seminarians cheered as Abbot Jeremy joined them for a group photo in front of the Abbey church.

Mount Angel Seminary, established in 1889 by the pioneer monks of Mount Angel Abbey, is the oldest and largest seminary in the western United States. It is the only seminary in the West that offers full college, pre-theology, and graduate theology programs, and one of only a few in the nation that offers degrees at all levels, baccalaureate through doctorate. Students experience exceptional academic instruction in a deeply spiritual, prayerful, and formative environment.

Categories: Seminary, Uncategorized

Luigi DeSantis – Cultivating a Spiritual Home

In the mid-twentieth century, Luigi DeSantis came to live at and care for the gardens and orchards of Mount Angel Abbey, where he became known as a man of faith and piety. Little did he know that his work of caring for the land and environment at Mount Angel would be continued decades later by his great-grandson Dean and the now family-owned company, DeSantis Landscapes.

Born in 1881, a year before Mount Angel Abbey’s founding, Luigi grew up in Montefortino,
Italy, a rural town nestled in the hills and mountains of the Province of Fermo. Along with his brothers Tony and Anibale, Luigi immigrated to the United States in 1905, passing through Ellis Island. Hearing about work on the railroads near Portland, Luigi and Tony traveled by train to the West Coast and married the two daughters of an Italian woman who ran a boarding house in Portland. Luigi and his wife, Margherita, started a family in Portland but later moved to rural Silverton, where they developed a commercially successful strawberry
farm. After the death of Margherita in 1947, Luigi briefly lived with some of his adult children before receiving the permission of Abbot Thomas Meier, OSB, to take up residence at Mount Angel Abbey.

Fr. Vincent Trujillo, OSB, recalls that Luigi’s room was next to the biology and chemistry labs in what is now the Abbey museum. He remembers Luigi as a “very saintly man” who joined the monks for prayer and spent hours at the Abbey’s grotto in prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary. According to Abbot Peter Eberle, OSB, Luigi was great friends with Br. Fidelis Schoenenberger, OSB, who designed the grotto and completed it in 1922. Abbot Peter fondly remembers the piety of Luigi, who liked to sprinkle holy water wherever he went, so much so that, recalls Abbot Peter, “the first pew [in the church] was really water stained.”

The descendants of Luigi DeSantis say they feel humbled to take up the mantle of their great-grandfather in caring for the landscape of the Hilltop. Dean DeSantis adds that, “our team is looking forward to taking an active role in keeping the Abbey’s extensive green space an optimal setting for prayer and meditation, as well as furthering the role well-tended gardens play in monastic life.”

– Ethan Alano
Mount Angel Letter, Summer 2022

Categories: Monastery, Uncategorized

Fr. Stuart Long: Lifelong fighter for Christ

Though he was only 50 at the time of his death, Fr. Stuart Long led a big, adventurous life. As a high school student athlete in Montana, he excelled at wrestling and football. He continued with football at Carroll College in Helena, where he discovered his passion for boxing, winning the state Golden Gloves heavyweight title in 1985.

An injury ended Stu’s heavyweight professional boxing dreams, and after a succession of short career starts, a motorcycle accident caused him to spend months in hospital care. In that time of recovery, he realized his vocational call to the priesthood and entered the seminary for the Diocese of Helena. He studied at Mount Angel Seminary from 2004 to 2007 and was ordained in 2007.

Father Pius X Harding, O.S.B., Fr. Stu’s spiritual director at Mount Angel, remembers that Stu had a “casual, upbeat way about him: very interested in the people around him. He was most generous; as a matter of fact, you had to refrain from admiring things in his presence, or he would buy them for you.”

While Stu was a seminarian, he was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease that mimics Lou Gehrig’s disease symptoms, and for which there is no cure.
“He took [the illness] on like the fighter he was trained to be,” recalls Fr. Pius. “And he went on to live the vocation of love. I know several who embraced the Catholic faith due to his kind example and zealous catechetical ministry.”

Stu’s formation director in his final year at Mount Angel, Abbot Peter Eberle, O.S.B., remembers the progression of his illness. “Finally, it became clear that his condition was serious and incurable. That’s when Stu really shone. He took it all in stride, cheerfully accepting what the Lord had in store for him and still willing to minister to the very best of his ability. He was such an example to all of us.”

Despite his illness, Father Stu was an active priest, confessor, and friend to many. In the years since his death, Fr. Stu has been on the mind and heart of actor and devout Catholic Mark Wahlberg. So much so that Wahlberg is near completion of a major motion picture about the conversion and priestly ministry of Fr. Stu. The movie, titled “Stu,” to be released by Sony to theaters on April 15, 2022, stars Wahlberg as Fr. Stuart Long and Mel Gibson as his father.

– Christy Newland, for Mount Angel Letter

Categories: Monastery, Seminary, Uncategorized

Ministries Mass: A Response to God’s Call

Ministries Mass: A Response to God’s CallAt a Mass celebrated in the church at Mount Angel Abbey on February 23, 2022, six seminarians were instituted as lectors and six as acolytes. Together, the men represented eight dioceses and one religious community.

Archbishop John C. Wester of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe was the principal celebrant, joined by Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B., and Archbishop Vittorio Francesco Viola, O.F.M., Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, as the principal concelebrants. Over twenty priests from Mount Angel and other dioceses and religious communities concelebrated the Mass. They were joined in worship by the monastic and seminary community, friends, and employees of Mount Angel, with others following the livestream online as well.

The gospel reading for the liturgy was Luke 24:13-35, the account of the resurrected Jesus walking with his disciples on the road to Emmaus. In his homily, Archbishop Wester remarked how fitting it was for this gospel to be chosen, since “it underscores word and sacrament,” which the lector and acolyte are called to serve, respectively. While opening the Scriptures to them and breaking the bread, Jesus gazed on his disciples with love. “Deep within his eyes, [Jesus] imprints grace,” shared Archbishop Wester, inviting the seminarians to receive Christ’s personal love for them in their vocational call.

Instituted into the ministry of lector were: Alberto Carrillo Pacheco, Diocese of Salt Lake City; Shawn Raymond Daniel, Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; José Luis Gómez Díaz, Diocese of Salt Lake City; John Paul Langsfeld, Archdiocese of Santa Fe; Jose Francisco Orozco Cardenas, Diocese of Fresno; and Jaime Zuazo, Diocese of Salt Lake City.

Instituted into the ministry of acolyte were: Edward Burke, Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau; Brother Francis Lai, C.S.J.B., Congregation of St. John the Baptist; Edgar Yair Lozano Cuevas, Diocese of Sacramento; Maximiliano Muñoz, Archdiocese of Seattle; Martin de Jesus Ortega Ascencio, Diocese of Fresno; and Kyler John Voegele, Diocese of Reno.

Mount Angel Seminary, established in 1889 by the pioneer monks of Mount Angel Abbey, is the oldest and largest seminary in the western United States. It is the only seminary in the West that offers full college, pre-theology, and graduate theology programs, and one of only a few in the nation that offers degrees at all levels, baccalaureate through doctorate. Students experience exceptional academic instruction in a deeply spiritual, prayerful, and formative environment.

– Ethan Alano

Categories: Seminary, Uncategorized

Br. Mark Parker, O.S.B., obituary

For many years, Br. Mark Parker, O.S.B., was the first monk to greet visitors to the Hilltop bookstore and was the bookstore manager from 1996 to 1999. But the assignment that may have put him in touch with the most friends and correspondents of Mount Angel was his work with the Oremus prayer program.

Br Mark Parker, OSB

1948 – 2022

The Oremus program receives requests from thousands of people each year for prayers and Masses to be said for their intentions. Br. Mark made sure that each request was recorded correctly, responded to, and posted for the monks to remember in their daily prayers. It was a work that seems a far cry from the life of John Parker growing up in Fairbanks, Alaska, and going on to study graphic design at the University of Washington. These were his “unchurched” years, and he after college he found himself working as a reservation sales agent for a large airline for about ten years.

In 1984, he joined Mount Angel Abbey and received the name of Mark at his first profession in 1987. Br. Mark was known among his brother monks for his generosity and care for detail. Among his other assignments, for some 25 years he cared for the priests and religious guests who stayed inside the monastery during their visits. He embraced the Benedictine sense of welcoming all who came as Christ.

In his later years, Br. Mark often experienced severe pain in his legs and feet. Despite that, he continued serving his brothers generously in the community and through his devoted work with the Oremus program.

May he rest forever in the peace of Christ.

Categories: Monastery, Uncategorized

The Ministries Mass: Elevating Seminarians Closer to the Priesthood

Mount Angel Abbey Seminary

Mount Angel Seminary

On March 10, 2021, at Mount Angel Abbey, 20 seminarians from Mount Angel Seminary moved a spiritual step closer in their journey to ordained priesthood.

The Most Reverend Liam Cary, Bishop of the Diocese of Baker, was the principal celebrant, instituting 14 men in the ministry of lector, and six in the ministry of acolyte. The seminarians represent 13 dioceses and two religious congregations.

Bishop Cary, reflecting on the story of Ezra (Nehemiah 8:1f.), reminded the seminarians that the Ministries Mass, like the scriptural account, focuses on the rediscovery of the Word of God. For the lector, he said, “The Word of God is entrusted to you personally – personally – in a significant way. The Word of God pierces to the heart. We have it in our hands every day, and we can lose sight of the miracle of this Word.”

“The Lord is already preparing my soul to receive the ineffable grace of priestly ordination. I take this ministry as an incredible act of God’s Love and Mercy,” said seminarian Benjamin Cowan, newly instituted as lector.

For the acolyte, Bishop Cary said, “After the Word is proclaimed, what is needed is silence to let the Word sink in, so that what we say is then manifest in what we do. Then comes the acolyte into play. The hands of the acolyte prepare the altar for sacrifice. The Lord is asking you – will you lend me your hands? You acolytes will receive not a book, but the paten with the bread for the Eucharist – the bread of sacrifice.”

Seminarian James Ladd said of his institution as acolyte, “[It] draws me closer to Christ, his Church, his people, and allows for a deeper spiritual connection to the mysteries of our faith.”

Instituted into the ministry of lector were: Edward Burke, Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau; Benjamin Clayton Cowan, Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; Luke Foley Daniel, Archdiocese of Anchorage-Juneau; John Robert Dyson, Diocese of Boise; Br. Michael Ferman, O.S.B., St. Martin’s Abbey; Br. Francis Lai, C.S.J.B., Congregation of St. John the Baptist; William Michael Lane, Diocese of Yakima; Matthew Leung, Diocese of Orange; Edgar Yair Lozano Cuevas, Diocese of Sacramento; Thomas Kevin Malone, Diocese of Boise; Maximiliano Muñoz, Archdiocese of Seattle; Martín de Jesus Ortega Ascencio, Diocese of Fresno; Kyler John Voegele, Diocese of Reno; and Bryan Walman, Diocese of Baker. All are in their first year of theology and will be called upon to be ministers of the Word of God and proclaim it during the Liturgy of the Eucharist in the coming months.

Instituted into the ministry of acolyte were: Marc Andrew Gandolfo, Diocese of San Diego; Marc Robert-James Jenkins, Archdiocese of Seattle; James Patrick Webb Ladd, Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; Anthony Scott Shumway, Diocese of Salt Lake City; Joseph Vu, Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; and Michael Williams, Diocese of Las Vegas. All are in their second year of theology and will be called upon to be ministers of the Eucharist and serve the altar during the Liturgy of the Eucharist in the coming months.

Mount Angel Seminary, established in 1889 by the pioneer monks of Mount Angel Abbey, is the oldest and largest seminary in the western United States. It is the only seminary in the West that offers full college, pre-theology, and graduate theology programs, and one of only a few in the nation that offers degrees at all levels, baccalaureate through doctorate. Students experience exceptional academic instruction in a deeply spiritual, prayerful, and formative environment.

Categories: Seminary, Uncategorized

Mass of Candidacy Is a Sign of Hope

It was with great joy that Mount Angel Seminary celebrated the Mass of Candidacy for 11 seminarians in the Abbey church on the morning of October 22, 2020.

The rite and admission to candidacy is a prerequisite for ordination. After each man is called by name, the ritual proceeds with a series of questions, such as, “In response to the Lord’s call are you resolved to complete your preparation so that in due time you will be ready to be ordained for the ministry of the Church?” Candidacy looks ahead to ordination, but its focus is on the man’s resolve to devote himself to the necessary preparation. It is “an opportunity,” notes Mr. Brody Stewart, studying for the Archdiocese of Seattle, “for both me and the institutional Church to pause and more seriously discern my vocation.” Candidacy is not the end of the journey, but “an acknowledgment that I still have work to do before I can adequately serve the people of God.”

Archbishop Alexander K. Sample was the principal celebrant of the Mass, at which were also present Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B., chancellor, several prelates from dioceses with men studying at Mount Angel Seminary, and faculty and staff of the seminary community.

Archbishop Sample’s homily was a direct address to the 11 candidates. “I believe we are living in another apostolic age,” said the Archbishop. “Jesus needs apostles who are willing to pay even the ultimate price.” Greater still than any trial, the Archbishop reminded the candidates, is the message of the Gospel: “We must never lose hope, because we are the disciples of Jesus. The victory is already won.”

The Archbishop’s words did not fail to inspire. “He spoke directly to us, like a father to his sons,” said Mr. Adrian Sisneros, studying for the Diocese of Santa Fe. “He encouraged us as a father to persevere in suffering for Christ and for the People of God, because God is ushering in a new Pentecost.

Representing dioceses from across the western United States, the men accepted as candidates for ordination to priesthood were Sergio Chávez, Diocese of Salt Lake City; Arturo Cisneros, Diocese of Fresno; Tristan Dillon, Diocese of Salt Lake City; Agustín Henderson, Archdiocese of Santa Fe; Chad Hill, Archdiocese of Seattle; Franklin Iwuagwu, Archdiocese of Santa Fe; Juan Carlos Reynoso, Diocese of Fresno; Dalton Rogers, Diocese of Fresno; Darrell James Segura, Jr., Archdiocese of Santa Fe; Adrian Sisneros, Archdiocese of Santa Fe; and Brody Stewart, Archdiocese of Seattle.

Candidacy is the final step before ordination to the transitional diaconate. Join us in praying for these and all our seminarians.

– Br. Israel Sanchez, O.S.B.

Categories: Seminary, Uncategorized

Fr. Augustine DeNoble, OSB, obituary

Born: October 25, 1925
Professed: September 8, 1950
Ordained: May 19, 1955
Died: November 9, 2019

Fr. Augustine DeNoble, O.S.B., a monk of Mount Angel Abbey, passed peacefully to the Lord on November 9, 2019. At the time of his death, Fr. Augustine, 94, was the eldest member of the monastic community.

Fr. Augustine was born in Wisconsin and grew up in Tillamook, Oregon. After college studies at Mount Angel Seminary, he entered the Abbey and made profession as a monk in 1950. His ordination to the priesthood followed in 1955. He earned a Master of Library Science degree from the University of Washington and served for many years as assistant librarian at the Abbey. Fr. Augustine also set up the libraries of the Abbey’s monastic foundations in Idaho and Mexico.

As a gifted archivist and researcher, Fr. Augustine became particularly knowledgeable in the early history of Mount Angel Abbey, and he saw to the compilation and binding of much related historical material. The monastic community is also indebted to Fr. Augustine for his years of work to develop the Abbey’s English version of the Liturgy of the Hours, which remains in daily use by the monks of Mount Angel.

As a priest, Fr. Augustine loved the ministry of sacramental reconciliation, and many knew him as a wise and compassionate confessor. Many Abbey visitors (and residents) delighted in the beautiful flowers he lovingly cultivated beside the Stations of the Cross that wind along Abbey Drive.

May he rest forever in the peace of Christ whom he served so long and so lovingly.

Categories: Monastery, Uncategorized

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