Mount Angel Seminary – Ministries Mass 2024

Five seminarians from Mount Angel received the ministry of lector and nine seminarians received the ministry of acolyte on March 22, in the church of Mount Angel Abbey. Bishop Jeffrey M. Fleming, of the Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, installed the lectors and acolytes. Bishop Fleming is a graduate of Mount Angel Seminary, having received his master’s degree in theology in 1992. During the homily, Bishop Fleming encouraged the seminarians to hear how the Lord is calling them through these ministries of lector and acolyte. “God is calling you by name. God has chosen you. Will you allow God to call you to new ministry, to new life?” asked Bishop Fleming.

The seminarians receiving the ministry of lector were:

  • Marcos Ricardo Alvarado Trasmonte and Adalberto Montes-Contreras, Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon
  • Victor Fernando Amador, Diocese of Sacramento
  • Alan Hoetker, Diocese of Orange
  • Br. Matthew Sislow, O.S.B., Mount Angel Abbey

The ministry of lector is conferred upon those who proclaim the readings from Scripture at Mass and other liturgical celebrations. A lector also may recite psalms between the readings and present the intentions for the general intercessions.

The seminarians receiving the ministry of acolyte were:

  • David Pham Hoang, Diocese of Orange
  • Rico Daniel Landavazo, Archdiocese of Santa Fe
  • Nathanial Wayne Loe, Diocese of Spokane
  • Patrick Gitau Mbuiyu, Richard John Ordos II, and Sylvester Vijay Rozario, Archdiocese of Seattle
  • Br. Damien-Joseph Rappuhn, O.S.B., St. Martin’s Abbey
  • Andy Julian Sanchez, Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon
  • Elliot Yaryk Sifuentes, Diocese of Fresno

An acolyte assists a deacon or priest, primarily in the celebration of Mass. He attends to the needs of the altar and may distribute Holy Communion as an extraordinary minister. The acolyte can assist the priest or deacon with purifying the sacred vessels after the distribution of Holy Communion. He also may be entrusted with exposing and reposing the Blessed Sacrament for Eucharistic adoration, but does not give the Benediction, which is reserved for a priest or deacon.

Categories: Seminary, Uncategorized

Abbot Jeremy travels to Rome

Abbot Jeremy traveled to Rome in early February to participate in a plenary assembly of the Dicastery for Divine Worship. Those in attendance included cardinals, archbishops, and bishops from around the world. One of 3 main speakers at the plenaria, Abbot Jeremy spoke about the curriculum at Mount Angel Seminary, which is centered on Communion Ecclesiology and emphasizes the liturgical formation of seminarians.

During their meeting, Pope Francis addressed the Dicastery for Divine Worship and greeted each participant individually.

Benedictines present at the plenaria assembly of Dicastery of Divine Worship in 2024.

The picture (left) shows the strong Benedictine influence at the plenaria. Left to right: Abbot Olivier-Marie Sarr, OSB, abbot of Keur Moussa (Senegal) and a former student of Abbot Jeremy’s at Sant’Anselmo; Archbishop Aurelio Garcia Macias, under-secretary of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and professor at Sant’Anselmo; Abbot Jeremy; Cardinal Arthur Roche, prefect of the Dicastery for Divine Worship; Archbishop Vittorio Viola, OFM, secretary of the Dicastery for Divine Worship and professor at Sant’Anselmo; Fr. Bernhard Eckerstorfer, OSB, rector of Sant’Anselmo; and Fr. Pierangelo Muroni, professor at Sant’Anselmo.

Fr Israel Sanchez, OSB; Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, OSB; Fr. Ephrem Martinez, OSB at Sant'Anselmo, Rome, 2024.

While in Rome, Abbot Jeremy stayed at Sant’Anselmo, where he taught a semester each year for nearly two decades and spent time with Fr. Israel Sanchez, OSB, and Fr. Ephrem Martinez, OSB, two monks of Mount Angel who currently live at Sant’Anselmo while pursuing advanced degrees in theology. Fr. Israel is studying patristics at the Pontifical Institute Augustinianum, while Fr. Ephrem is studying spiritual theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

Abbot Jeremy also received honors from his alma mater, the Benedictine College of Sant’Anselmo, where Fr. Bernard A. Eckerstorfer, OSB (rector), granted him the honor and title of “Professor Emeritus” of the Faculty of Theology at Sant’Anselmo. On behalf of the Athenaeum’s academic community, Fr. Bernard also bestowed on Abbot Jeremy the “Diploma of Merit,” an honor given to those who have left a profound mark on the culture, research, and life of Sant’Anselmo and the life of the Church and the Benedictine Confederation.

Abbot Jeremy responded, “I carry Sant’Anselmo in my heart. Returning here, I still find that peace that we breathe and that every student can breathe. It was a grace to study and then teach in a place like Sant’Anselmo.”

Upon his return to Mount Angel, Abbot Jeremy talked about his experience at the plenaria and shared some of his reflections on the Eucharistic liturgy in spiritual life of all the faithful on Mater Dei Radio’s morning program.

Categories: Monastery, Seminary, Uncategorized

Pope Francis meets with Benedictine oblates

The 5th World Congress of Benedictine oblates was held in Rome in September, and three of our oblates were privileged to attend the Congress with 150 other oblates from around the world. One of the highlights of the event was the private audience with Pope Francis, in which he gave the oblates an address and shook the hands of each individual oblate.

Oblate Mary Gallagher meets Pope Francis.

In his address, Pope Francis spoke of three aspects of an “expanded heart” (prologue 49, in RB 1980 it is translated as “hearts overflowing”). The three aspects are the search for God, enthusiasm for the gospel, and hospitality. In their search for God, Benedictine oblates seek God in every aspect of their lives. They seek him in their lectio divina, nature, daily challenges, work, and the people they encounter. God is present everywhere, and if we seek him, we will find him. The second aspect of an expanded heart is the enthusiasm for the gospel. This joy of the oblates radiates into the whole world. Quoting Lumen Gentium, the Pope says that the laity are called, “to seek the Kingdom of God by engaging in the temporal affairs” ( 31 ). They do this by simply adopting and being faithful to the simple Benedictine motto of ora at labora, pray and work. This prayer and work in the life of the oblate is like the daily expansion and contraction of the heart that gives life to the rest of the body, the Church. The third aspect of an expanded heart is the practice of hospitality. Here, Pope Francis quotes chapter 53 from the Holy Rule, “all guests who present themselves are to be received as Christ.” We do this by sharing with our guests what we consider most important, namely, prayer and a meal together. We do this by providing a welcoming and inviting environment in our homes and workplace. In this way, we open the door to receive Christ in the stranger.

Oblates Mary and Tim Gallagher and Fr. John Forman were the oblates representing Mount Angel Abbey at the Oblate World Congress in Rome in September.

Categories: Monastery, Uncategorized

Loving the priesthood: Fr. Michael Niemczak

When Archbishop John Wester of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe asked Fr. Michael Niemczak if he would serve on Mount Angel Seminary’s priestly formation faculty, he responded with a firm “yes.”

Faculty 15“I just love the priesthood,” shares Fr. Niemczak. “To be in a place that tries to teach future priests what the priesthood is all about, that was exciting for me.” Fr. Niemczak arrived at Mount Angel Seminary in July 2023 and currently serves as the coordinator of the propaedeutic stage of seminary formation. That means he works with the men new to seminary life, whether they are right out of high school or have already completed college and had a career.

Fr. Niemczak describes the essence of the propaedeutic stage as “discovering with [the seminarians]: what kind of man are you going to be, and is that man a priest?” From the perspective of the universal call to holiness, Fr. Niemczak likes to share with the seminarians that “the goal is not that they have an ‘Fr.’ in front of their name; it’s that they have an ‘St.’ in front of their name.” 

That perspective took on a deeply personal meaning for Fr. Niemczak when he traveled recently to Poland to concelebrate the beatification Mass for the Ulma family. Born in the U.S. to Polish immigrants, Niemczak is a relative of the Ulma family, who were cousins of his great-grandfather. During World War II, the entire family – mother, father, 6 children and a 7th in the womb – was martyred in 1944 by Nazi soldiers for providing safe harbor to two Jewish families. The Ulma family, Fr. Niemczak has reflected, were not the only ones to harbor Jewish families during the war, but he is grateful that they have been the ones chosen to be the face of the heroism of many.

Fr. Niemczak brought over 1,000 prayer intentions with him from people worldwide, which he had gathered ahead of the beatification. During his time in Poland, he paused to read, remember, and pray for each intention.

– Ethan Alano

Learn more about the Ulma family and Fr. Niemczak’s pilgrimage.

Categories: Seminary, Uncategorized

Eulogy for Br. Gregory Benavidez, OSB | 1980-2023

Brother Gregory Benavidez was a really good man and a really good monk.

In life, he was first of all a good son and brother, nephew, uncle and friend. He was born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1980, the youngest of nine children. He was duly baptized with the name Joshua, or in Spanish, Josué – meaning in Hebrew, “God is deliverance,” a name he was very proud of. Josué was formed by his family relationships, the Mexican American culture and language, the places he grew up in – Texas, North Carolina, Mexico, and Oregon – and the education, life and work experiences that he had over the years. For a time, not unusual these days, his family tried other faith traditions. Eventually his family moved to Salem in 1993. By this time his parents were divorced. Josué found the difficulties of growing up in a broken home with a struggling single mother, along with other challenges he had encountered along the way, a real trial. It was why he often said to those close to him later on, that he understood well the tough circumstances many people go through in life, because he had experienced it first-hand.

His best friend, Brandt, described him as a nerdy kind of fellow, not unlike himself. They became close friends in high school and remained so to this day. They enjoyed Marvel and DC comic books, Batman and Star Wars. Brandt got Br. Gregory his first really good light saber, which he brought out for special occasions when he went into Obi-Wan Kenobi mode. They enjoyed going to Comic Con conventions, being outdoors, swimming in the summer, and just hanging out together.

Josué graduated from high school in 1999. He found his first jobs working in local restaurants. But it was while working in construction with his brother that he found the work he liked best. He enjoyed being outdoors. He was good working with his hands, using small equipment, driving trucks, and the usual banter among workers. Many of the jobs he liked and did best were ones where he could work hard, but still had time with his own thoughts and music in his earphones.

It was around the year 2000 that Josué’s elderly mother, Rose, became frail. Initially, Josué devoted his time to her care, but eventually it became a near full-time job. Rose made the decision to go into assisted living at the facility where she had worked in meal preparation. As a result of a tragic accident and complications, she died in 2002. Her death – and the circumstances around it – were a huge personal blow to Josué.

Rose, however had given him a gift: She shared with her son the deep faith and devotion to God that kept her going and made life possible. She told him over and over again that only God could love him more than she did. With some of those memories to guide him, Josué went back to work, but by 2006 he had begun to move in the direction of the Catholic faith of his Baptism. Because he had not been a practicing Catholic for many years, it was recommended that he join the program for people joining the church, often called RCIA – the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Josué found journeying with other people, learning about the Catholic faith, attending and participating in the liturgy and devotions of the parish, studying the lives of the saints, and preparing for the Easter sacraments a profound and personally moving experience. All of this was a really positive, uplifting, and life-changing time for him. He “re-activated his membership,” as we sometimes call it. He found that God did indeed love him very deeply and personally.

At the Easter Vigil that year, Josué made a Profession of Faith and received the sacraments of Reconciliation, Confirmation, and Eucharist. He got involved with individuals in the wider parish, going to Mass often, and helping out wherever he could.

With the encouragement of folks at St. Joseph Parish in Salem, Josué began in 2008 to come to Mount Angel Abbey for discernment retreats, offered to young men who were thinking about monastic life. In 2009 he entered Mount Angel Abbey to begin his monastic life and journey and made his profession in 2010. During the novitiate years, a novice is thinking about the name he will receive at his first profession of vows. Josué, recognizing his Mexican heritage, was considering the name St. Miguel Pro, who was a Jesuit priest martyred in Mexico in 1927.

But something else intervened. According to a monastic tradition, the first novice to make first profession of vows under a new abbot often receives the abbot’s name. Br. Gregory was the first in his group to make profession under Abbot Gregory, hence they share the name. Br. Gregory said of this later that he was “deeply honored to be named after this great saint, Saint Gregory the Great, who has done so much for our beautiful Church and for the monastic tradition.” He said he was also grateful to share the same name as Abbot Gregory, who helped him in so many ways as novice master during his formation and in personal meetings.

Listen is one of the first and most important words in the Rule of St. Benedict. Seeking God is the criterion St. Benedict uses for someone entering the monastery. It is seeking God and listening to the voice of God calling us on a daily basis, in the context of a community of brothers, the Rule, and the Abbot, that is at the heart of our lives. Our lives of prayer and work support this calling. Br. Gregory enjoyed life in community and with his brothers, being faithful to his assignments and chores, but always in a quiet and unobtrusive way.

In his monastic life, Br. Gregory was seeking God in the community of brothers, in common prayer, in our common life, and especially in the two works with which he was primarily occupied: sacristan and the guesthouse. He loved the whole aspect of preparing the vessels for the altar and setting out the vestments and books for Mass. He assisted guest priests and monks to help them celebrate Mass with us. He often worked hard and quietly, almost out of sight. We heard recently stories from guests about how Br. Gregory would give them impromptu tours around the Hilltop. In the church, he would explain the relics of saints to visitors and then patiently answer questions.

Br. Gregory took to heart St. Benedict’s instruction that, “all guests who arrive shall be received as Christ.” He did all of the following small but essential duties in the guesthouse each week for almost the last 10 years: vacuuming and setting up and tearing down the two large conference rooms, often sometimes several times a week, filling, loading and unloading laundry bins containing all the bedding and towels for 40 rooms, going to and from the laundry, sometimes twice a week, putting garbage and recycling bins out each Wednesday, assisting housekeepers with vacuuming hallways and the dining room, and in a pinch, helping them prepare rooms between one group and the next. He also could be counted on to set up and tear down tables and chairs for banquets and socials. In the Visitation Garden, Br. Gregory would water and weed flower beds and clean and maintain the water feature. He maintained the terraces and the roof-top terrace herb garden, and made pots of coffee and provided ice water for guests – on most mornings before 6 am as well as during the day. And those are just the works I can readily remember! Br. Gregory did them faithfully and thoroughly.

When I was not available as Guest Master or we were very busy with groups, Br. Gregory was attentive to individual guests, especially if he sensed that someone was dealing with something painful. He often sat with guests at meals, talking with them. What I found was really quite beautiful is that, even though Br. Gregory had many difficulties and challenges in his own years growing up, he seemed to want to make sure others didn’t suffer what he did. It was one of the aspects of his ministry in the guesthouse that was always done with great simplicity, kindness, and gentleness. Nothing flashy, just genuine care and concern, offering what he could to help.

Br. Gregory was a shy person by nature and temperament. He found large groups tough to navigate, but in the last month of his life, when he was appointed Assistant Guest Master, he would lead the prayer at lunch and help with checking guests in. He was also learning the computer for reservations and room assignments. It wasn’t always easy for Br. Gregory to form deep relationships or friendships, but once formed, Br. Gregory was a fiercely loyal friend to be treasured.

Br. Gregory was especially close to the guesthouse staff and volunteers, particularly those with whom he worked each day. The kitchen staff came to love him and made sure he had corn tortillas in the fridge. Br. Gregory would often make tacos as an alternative to whatever was served.

Br. Gregory remembered birthdays and special occasions of his family and friends. He sometimes sent rap-like video greetings to his family. When he wrote notes to monastic superiors, either asking for a permission to do something or go somewhere, there was always a kind sentence or two of appreciation, and the word thanks.

As I come to the end of these reflections on Brother Gregory’s life, I am struck by special characteristics or virtues that were consistent and remain as inspiration and lessons for us. In particular, I recall his strong, deep love of God that came from his mother and was furthered by his own personal commitment to his faith and his monastic life. He had a clear sense of duty and felt the need to come through for others in his prayer and in his work. I recall his love and loyalty in friendships and in personal dealings with community members, family, friends and co-workers, his kindness in reaching out to others, and his great sense of humor and light-heartedness as demonstrated in his nerdy collection of comic books and his love of Batman, light sabers, and weird and scary movies. Abbot Gregory put it best in writing about Brother Gregory in the printed obituary: “Brother Gregory was a big man with a very tender heart.”

We will all miss you very much, Brother Gregory. You have our love and promise to pray for you often because of how you touched our lives. And now we commend you to the loving mercy of God, that you may enjoy eternal life with all your confreres, family members, and friends who have gone before you.

Fr. Philip Waibel, OSB

Categories: Monastery, Uncategorized

Chamber choir performs sacred music

On March 19, 2023, a full audience packed the Abbey church to listen to the inaugural concert of the Mount Angel Chamber Choir, directed by Myrna Keough, Associate Professor of Music at Mount Angel Seminary. Composed of monks, seminarians, and friends of Mount Angel, the chamber choir performed a repertoire of sacred music. The concert also included a piece by the Mount Angel Seminary Choir and some instrumental performances by monks and seminarians.

Mount Angel Chamber Choir

The chamber choir began, in part, as an answer to a deep hunger for live choral music after an absence of it for nearly two years due to the pandemic. During that time, a number of monks and seminarians asked Keough if she would consider starting a polyphony choir once group singing became possible again. With the help and support of the Mount Angel Institute, the chamber choir began rehearsals in the fall of 2022. While it was a breath of fresh air to be singing together, there was a steeper learning curve in rehearsals than initially expected. “I underestimated how much that the pandemic, almost two years of not singing, would affect all of us,” shares Keough.

The large turnout for the concert illustrated to Keough that “this really met a need or filled a niche, which is wonderful; there really isn’t another choir like this in this area.” The concert lasted nearly an hour, and the audience was invited to hold their applause until the conclusion of the final piece. The nature of the compositions and the silence between pieces, not to mention the venue of the Abbey church itself, created an atmosphere of reverence and awe. “My prayer coming into [the concert] was that people’s hearts really would experience some of the beauty of heaven and find comfort wherever they happened to be in that moment,” remarks Keough.

Keough specifically chose compositions that could be employed in the liturgy and enhance the beauty of it. “The kind of music that is easily learned and easily played and often played is not satisfactory when it comes up against the kinds of things that we’re all dealing with in our lives of faith,” she reflects. Having liturgical music that requires practice, patience, and excellence helps serve the need people have for a more profound experience of God.

– Ethan Alano

Categories: Monastery, Seminary, Uncategorized

Vocational outreach includes liturgy with 17,000 young adults

New Year’s Day 2023 was the start of an exciting adventure for Br. Anselm Flores, OSB, and me (at left in photo). Usually, we would arise early and join our brother monks for lauds, the first hour of prayer on Sunday. That morning, however, Br. Jesse Ochoa, OSB, drove us to the Portland airport to catch a flight to St. Louis, Missouri. Our monastery on a hilltop in rural Oregon is our usual place of ministry, but for the first week of January, we were asked to attend and host a booth at the annual SEEK College Conference, sponsored by FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students).

At the conference, we met with college students, hoping to inspire them in their faith as well as introduce them to our Benedictine monastic life at Mount Angel Abbey. We brought icons, books, and merchandise from our Benedictine Brewery – such as hats, T-shirts and coasters – to share with them. We even hosted a ring toss with Benedictine Beer bottles, making our booth a favorite stop among the students.

Among the many highlights of the conference, one of the best was connecting with a number of young men interested in monastic life. The presence and joy of the universal Church, so palpable in the young adults present, was truly inspiring for Br. Anselm and me. We returned to Mount Angel renewed in our vocation and grateful for the opportunity to nurture the seeds of a monastic vocation in at least a few conference participants.

Thank you for your support of Mount Angel Abbey, which makes vocational outreach like this possible. We go to introduce people to our Benedictine way of life, yet we also receive much from those we meet. A special grace was participating in beautiful liturgies with over 17,000 people. Please pray with us for vocations to our monastic community so that in all things, God may be glorified.

Br. Charles Gonzalez, OSB

Categories: Monastery, Uncategorized

Mount Angel Seminarians hear God in silence

Seminary Appeal 28Every year at the beginning of January, the seminarians at Mount Angel Seminary participate in a week-long silent retreat before the spring semester begins. Although the seminarians at Mount Angel regularly practice meditative prayer and some times of silence every day, the retreat is a privileged opportunity to rest with the Lord and deepen their relationship with him.

For the 2023 retreat, Mount Angel Seminary welcomed Fr. Greg Cleveland, OMV, as the retreat director to introduce the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Fr. Cleveland, a Chicago native, joined the Oblates of the Virgin Mary in 1987 and received ordination to the priesthood in 1995. He currently serves as the executive director for the Lanteri Center for Ignatian Spirituality in Denver.

Each day of the retreat, the seminarians gathered in St. Joseph Chapel for the Liturgy of the Hours, Mass, spiritual conferences given by Fr. Cleveland, and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The theme of the retreat was “Wellsprings of Grace: The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.” Fr. Cleveland encouraged the seminarians to engage their prayerful imagination and enter into Gospel scenes for their personal hours of meditation. By choosing to abstain from the use of cell phones, social media, Internet, and other electronic media during the retreat, the seminarians could focus their attention more readily on the Lord speaking to them in their hearts. Fr. Cleveland also taught them the Rules for the Discernment of Spirits of St. Ignatius, helping them to accept God’s consolations and to reject temptations in the name of Christ.

For Deacon Nelson Cintra of the Diocese of Boise, who is in his final semester at Mount Angel, the retreat was an opportunity to deepen his practice of Ignatian spirituality, which he has been attracted to and appreciated for some years. One challenge for Deacon Nelson during the retreat was an inability to sleep at night due to recovery from a knee surgery. He noticed discouraging thoughts surfacing frequently in that trial of restlessness. However, thanks to reviewing these spiritual tools from St. Ignatius, Deacon Nelson found “renewed attentiveness and strength to recognize and reject those temptations at their onset, choosing instead to live in the love and mercy of God.”

Patrick Mbuiyu of the Archdiocese of Seattle did not know much about Ignatian spirituality prior to the retreat, but he found the conferences helpful for learning to employ this practical spirituality in his life. He found that he can more fully “appreciate God as unchanging and ever with me aside from how I am feeling physically, mentally, or spiritually.” Being an international student with most of his family from Kenya, Patrick initially found the silence challenging, noticing his desire to check in on his family and respond to their messages. “Silence has invited me to grow in trust, seeking not to rely on my strength and wisdom in ensuring things are okay, and choosing to rely on God’s faithfulness and merciful love,” says Patrick.

Please keep our seminarians in your prayers as they continue to draw near to the Lord throughout the semester.

Categories: Seminary, Uncategorized

Br. Charles Gonzalez, OSB, ordained a deacon

On Saturday, December 10, 2022, the monks of Mount Angel Abbey welcomed Archbishop Alexander K. Sample to the Abbey church to ordain Br. Charles Borromeo Gonzalez, OSB, to the diaconate during the celebration of Mass. Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, OSB, and Abbot Austin Cadiz, OSB, current abbot of Our Lady of Montserrat Abbey in Manila, Philippines, served as the principal concelebrants. Family and friends of Br. Charles and other guests filled the Abbey church while others followed the liturgy on livestream.

After the proclamation of the gospel, Abbot Jeremy presented Br. Charles to Archbishop Sample as a candidate for ordination. The congregation applauded to voice their support for his ordination as a deacon. During the homily, Archbishop Sample preached on the sacred duty of the deacon to proclaim the Word of God and to evangelize. Turning to Br. Charles, the archbishop prayed that “the Lord touch your lips today to place his words there so that you may boldly proclaim Jesus Christ to the world.”

Following the homily, Br. Charles stood in front of Archbishop Sample and made the promises of a deacon, after which he prostrated himself on the floor while the monastic schola chanted the litany of the saints. His classmate, Deacon Sylvester Chanda of the Archdiocese of Seattle, then assisted Br. Charles as he put on the stole and dalmatic, the vestments proper to the deacon. After receiving the book of the gospels, Br. Charles exchanged the sign of peace with Archbishop Sample, Abbots Jeremy and Austin, and the other deacons assisting with the liturgy. From there, Br. Charles exercised his sacred duties as a deacon during the rest of the Mass.

The monastic community gives thanks to God for the gift of Br. Charles’s diaconate ordination and asks for prayers for him as he begins this new ministry of service.

–Ethan Alano

Categories: Monastery, Seminary, Uncategorized

Seminarians received as candidates to Holy Orders

On October 26, 2022, four Mount Angel seminarians were received as candidates for Holy Orders during Mass in the Abbey church. The monastic community welcomed Archbishop Alexander K. Sample of Portland, Oregon, as the principal celebrant for the Mass. Other bishops concelebrated the Mass together with Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, OSB, seminary chancellor, Msgr. Joseph Betschart, president-rector, vocation directors, visiting priests, and priests from the seminary and monastery.

During the homily, Archbishop Sample encouraged the four candidates to continue their final preparation before ordination to the transitional diaconate and later priesthood. “We rejoice with you today, that the Lord has called you to labor in his harvest out of the compassion of Jesus for the crowds, and that God, like Jeremiah, has been forming you from all eternity for this vocation,” he said. After the homily, Archbishop Sample, on behalf of his brother bishops, received the seminarians’ declaration of intent to complete their preparation for Holy Orders and “to give faithful service to Christ the Lord and his Body, the Church.”

Those received as candidates included Anthony Shumway, Diocese of Salt Lake City; Maximiliano Muñoz, Archdiocese of Seattle; James Ladd, Archdiocese of Portland; Michael Williams, Diocese of Las Vegas. The rite of candidacy “makes all these years of praying to follow the will of God in my life come to a point where I can say, yes, I truly want to give my life to the Church if she will have me,” shares Shumway. For Muñoz, the liturgical rite “takes up the ministries we have been exercising in past years, synthesizes them, and puts them in relationship to our dioceses, to the Churches we hope one day to serve with our whole lives.”

Please pray for these new candidates and all the seminarians studying at Mount Angel Seminary. “May God who has begun the good work in [them] bring it to fulfillment.”

– Ethan Alano

Categories: Seminary, Uncategorized

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