News

Commencement 2019 at Mount Angel Seminary

The students of Mount Angel Seminary’s graduating class of 2019 celebrated their Baccalaureate Mass on the afternoon of May 10 and Commencement Exercises the following morning. Most Reverend Kevin W. Vann, Bishop of Orange, gave the Commencement Address, speaking to more than 300 family and friends assembled in the Abbey church.

In his address, Bishop Vann expressed his appreciation for the natural beauty of the landscape that surrounds Mount Angel Seminary. The beauty of this part of the country, close to the Cascade mountain range, he noted, helps to “form and define the landscape of the souls” who live and study at Mount Angel. In the same way, he said, “Your calling, your ministry, your vocation, strengthened by the degrees you will receive today … will truly form and define the culture and the lives around you.”

Commencement 2019 at Mount Angel Seminary 1Bishop Vann reminded the graduates that we don’t always see clearly or understand the purpose of the present moment in the broader picture of life. But, from his own experience, he has found that in the providence of God, what life presents today is the best preparation for tomorrow. Most importantly, the people we find ourselves with today form the community that will carry us through to whatever the next step is.

In presenting the Senior Farewell, Reverend Mister Dean Marshall, from the Diocese of Sacramento, echoed the importance of community as we are each called into unknown territory. “There are a lot of unknowns ahead of us,” he said, “and we leave now a place of comfort, a place where we know what to expect. But, the times ahead are wrought with excitement and grace.”

There were 44 in the 2019 graduating class of Mount Angel Seminary, with a total of 55 degrees and certificates awarded, including 13 Bachelor of Arts; two Pre-Theology certificates; two Master of Arts (Philosophy); 12 Master of Divinity; 13 Master of Arts (Theology); seven Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology, and six Doctor of Ministry.

This Commencement marked the first cohort to graduate in the seminary’s new Doctor of Ministry program. Following the core curriculum of the seminary, the Doctor of Ministry concentrates on Scripture, Liturgical/Systematic Theology, and Pastoral Theology. The program provides an opportunity to deepen and enrich the work of those engaged in pastoral ministry through the pursuit of a professional doctorate.

Mount Angel Seminary offers fully accredited degree programs at all levels, including a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy; Master of Arts (Philosophy); Master of Arts (Theology); Master of Divinity; Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology, offered in affiliation with the Pontifical Athenaeum of Sant’ Anselmo in Rome; and Doctor of Ministry. The Master of Arts (Theology) and Doctor of Ministry programs are open to non-seminarians and lay students.

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 a four-year college and graduate school of theology, and one of only a few in the nation that offer degrees at all levels, baccalaureate through doctorate. Since its foundation, Mount Angel Seminary has educated and formed thousands of priests and many religious and lay women and men for service to the people of God in nearly 100 dioceses and religious communities across the country and around the world.

Categories: Monastery, Seminary

Ministries Mass: A step toward ordination

At a Mass celebrated March 8, two dozen seminarians from Mount Angel Seminary took a step forward in their journey to ordained priesthood.

The Most Rev. Joseph J. Tyson, Bishop of Yakima, was the principal celebrant and instituted nine men in the ministry of lector and 16 in the ministry of acolyte. The seminarians are currently studying theology at Mount Angel and represent seven dioceses and one religious community.

As instituted lectors, the seminarians are called to serve the Church as “bearers of God’s word,” proclaiming the word in the Liturgy and preparing people for the sacraments. Accordingly, they are to be especially attentive themselves to the Scriptures and meditate on it constantly so as to better witness to others our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Instituted in the ministry of lector on Friday were: Anthony Hoangphan and Efrain Razo, Jr., from the Archdiocese of Portland; Sylvester Musonda Chanda and Andrew Charles Hollands, from the Archdiocese of Seattle; Michael Thomas Evert, from the Diocese of San Diego; Ian Michael Gaston and Hun Chae (Mark) Jung, from the Diocese of Orange; Oscar Saúl Medina Zermeño and James Joseph Tasy, from the Diocese of Fresno.

As instituted acolytes, the seminarians are entrusted with the responsibility of assisting priests and deacons in carrying out their ministry, especially as ministers of Holy Communion at the Liturgy and to the sick. Accordingly, they “should strive to live more fully by the Lord’s Sacrifice and to be molded more perfectly in its likeness.”

Instituted in the ministry of acolyte were: Peter Atwood Laughlin and Luke Aaron Stager, from the Archdiocese of Portland; Sergio Armando Chávez Cabral and Tristan Peter Alec Dillon, from the Diocese of Salt Lake City; Arturo Cisneros, Oscar Saúl Medina Zermeño, Juan Carlos Reynoso Lozano, and Dalton Scott Rogers, from the Diocese of Fresno; Agustin Rajan Henderson, Darrell James Segura, Jr., and Adrian Julian Sisneros, from the Archdiocese of Santa Fe; Chad Kirwan Hill, Alexander Thomas Nelson, and Brody Robert Stewart, from the Archdiocese of Seattle; Michael John Hoolihan from the Diocese of Orange; and Br. Joseph Mary Tran, O.C.D.

Since 1889, Mount Angel Seminary has educated and formed thousands of priests to serve more than 11 million Catholics in nearly 100 dioceses and religious communities around the world. As the oldest seminary in the western United States, Mount Angel is the only seminary in the West that offers a College of Liberal Arts, a Graduate School of Theology, and a Doctor of Ministry Program.

Categories: Monastery, Seminary

One in the Heart of Christ: Celebrating Vocation to Priesthood

Ten years ago, a small group of about 40 friends gathered in Eugene for a dinner and fundraiser to help support Mount Angel Seminary. Though their numbers were small, they lit a bright fire of enthusiasm and dedication and the dinner has continued to grow. On March 4, the gathering included close to 400 people in the Hotel Eugene, celebrating and pledging support for the seminarians at Mount Angel.

The tone was set for an evening of unity in the Heart of Christ as the seminarians processed into the full ballroom. As Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B., later described it, the room was “full of people in good moods. And God is the reason – God revealed in the heart of Christ, that huge burning furnace of love for the whole of humanity.”

Throughout the evening, the seminarians sang in full choir and in small groups, with classic pieces such as, “For the Beauty of the Earth,” and Durufle’s “Ubi Caritas.” The program also included a panel discussion with seminarians reflecting on their journey to priesthood. Deacon Dean Marshall, studying for the Diocese of Sacramento, spoke of the impact of his pastoral experiences while in seminary. “Truly, I quickly realized that I receive so much more from the people to whom I am sent to minister than I could ever hope to bring to them.”

Monsignor Joseph Betschart, president-rector of the seminary, spoke of his admiration and respect for the men who have chosen to follow the call to priesthood in an age when their vocation may be openly questioned and discounted by society at large. These men, like the rest of the priests in the room, said Msgr. Betschart, “aren’t perfect. But we strive for the perfection that Christ calls us to. And we couldn’t live this life and continue this journey without your help.”

Presenting the keynote address as chancellor of the seminary, Abbot Jeremy told those gathered: “I tell the seminarians that I admire them for their courage to remain in the seminary at this time with their desire to serve God’s people still strong in them. They tell me that they stay precisely because they love the Church and want to offer their lives to strengthen the Church in troubled times. These are courageous and generous men. They are in love with Christ and with people. They deserve our prayers and our support.”

Since 1889, Mount Angel Seminary has sent thousands of priests to serve more than 11 million Catholics in nearly 100 dioceses and religious communities around the world. As the oldest seminary in the western United States, Mount Angel is the only seminary in the West that offers a College of Liberal Arts, a Graduate School of Theology, and a Doctor of Ministry Program.

Categories: Monastery, Seminary

What to read for Lent

Awesome Glory, by Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, OSBResurrection means going deep.

Just in time for Lenten reading and in preparation for the Easter Triduum, Liturgical Press has published Abbot Jeremy Driscoll’s new book, Awesome Glory: Resurrection in Scripture, Liturgy, and Theology.

With the clarity of an experienced teacher, Abbot 
Jeremy offers readers a deep dive into the mystery of 
the resurrection of Jesus. Starting from the conviction that the liturgy is meant to offer an immediate and effective contact with the resurrection, this profound and beautifully accessible book draws out the liturgical riches of the period from the Paschal Triduum through Pentecost. Abbot Jeremy focuses particularly on the Scripture texts of Mass, but also on important rituals like the washing of feet, and the Lucernarium (Service of Light).

Awesome Glory is a beautiful, reflective read for anyone who wants to better understand, teach, and live the startlingly good news of Christ’s Resurrection.

For more information about Awesome Glory, email the Abbey’s bookstore or call 503.845.3345.

Awesome Glory is also available on Kindle from major online booksellers.


What else do monks read in Lent?

Br. Charles Gonalez
“The Noonday Devil: Acedia, the Unnamed Evil of Our Times”
by Dom Jean-Charles Nault

Br. Israel Sanchez
“The Imitation of Christ”
by Thomas a Kempis

“Earthen Vessels: The Practice of Prayer According to the Patristic Tradition”
by Gabriel Bunge

“The Heart of the World”
by Hans Urs von Balthasar

Prior Vincent Trujillo
“Story of a Soul”
by St. Therese

Fr. John Paul Le
“Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody”
by Allen R. Hunt

Fr. Aelred Yockey
The Passion Narratives, from the Gospels

“The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ”
by Anne Catherine Emerich

“Mystical City of God”
by Mary of Agreda (17c)

Categories: Monastery, Seminary

Seeking God in the Wilderness

Mount Angel seminarians have always been attracted to hiking and other outdoor pursuits. So it was natural for current seminarians, inspired by the life and spirituality of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, to form a fellowship group devoted to seeking God in the wilderness.

The group has organized a number of weekend outings, including one camping trip last fall. On the trip, priests who accompanied the seminarians celebrated the Eucharist at the campsite. “Two Masses were celebrated on beautiful Merrill Lake up by Mount St. Helens,” said seminarian Adrian Sisneros, second year theology student for the Archdiocese of Santa Fe and group co-founder.

Sisneros grew up as an avid hiker and outdoorsman in the mountainous desert of New Mexico. He enjoys seeking out places of beauty in the Northwest and encountering God on mountaintops, rivers, lakes, and beaches. Each Frassati Group trip, he notes, has a strong spiritual component, and helps bond the seminarians.

“Our aim is holiness and fraternity. It’s about the opportunity for us to venture out together, as brothers sharing in this journey to the priesthood, allowing the fruits of formation to naturally grow in us.”

The group members also recognize that these experiences are great preparation for their future ministries in parishes and other settings. They work together to carefully plan the trips and utilize each person’s skills and abilities.

“A lot of it is about [building] character, learning how to be inter-dependent and work well with each other, balancing time and being responsible, and praying for each other,” Sisneros said. “Those are great things that we are learning together as a group. We’re mentoring each other.”

Sisneros said even the challenges they’ve encountered on trips are welcome opportunities for growth.

“The wilderness is beautiful but it can also be rugged. Sometimes you have to dig deep. You might have to help someone else who is feeling a little uneasy. It breaks down barriers between us … it provides a great opportunity for letting your guard down and entering into authentic fraternity.”

The group is grateful for the inspiration of Frassati and Pope St. John Paul II, who beatified Frassati and was an outdoorsman himself as a young priest. As
Frassati once wrote, “The higher we go, the better we shall hear the voice of Christ.”

– Steve Ritchie

Categories: Monastery, Seminary

Forever in the Peace of Christ

Forever in the Peace of Christ 1FATHER BENEDICT SUING, O.S.B., a monk of Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon, U.S.A., passed peacefully to the Lord on the 7th day of December 2018, in the 93rd year of his life, the 70th year of his monastic profession, and the 65th year since his ordination to the priesthood.

The funeral Mass for Fr. Benedict will be at 10 am Friday, December 14, in the Mount Angel Abbey church, with burial to follow in the Abbey cemetery.

Fr. Benedict was born in Salem, Oregon, in 1926, and in his early 20s he entered Mount Angel Abbey, making his profession of vows in September of 1949. After his theological studies at Mount Angel Seminary, he was ordained to the priesthood at the Abbey in 1954 by Archbishop Edward D. Howard of Portland. The following decade involved Fr. Benedict in the work of teaching English in the Abbey’s prep school, and in the mid-1960s he also taught for two years at a high school in Anchorage.

Significantly, Fr. Benedict spent many of his years as priest and monk outside the monastery, carrying out the various pastoral assignments in which he generously served the Church. The first of these assignments came in 1968 when he was appointed assistant pastor at St. Mary’s in Mt. Angel, after which he served as principal of a Catholic high school in the coastal town of Tillamook, Oregon, for several years before returning to the town of Mt. Angel as pastor of St. Mary’s from 1975 to 1985. There followed a several-year pastorship in Moab, Utah, and then a final decade in parish ministry as pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Portland, from 1990 to 1998. But Fr. Benedict’s pastoral spirit remained alive, and he served for some further years as chaplain of a small religious community in the east before retiring into the prayerful quiet of his final years. May he rest forever in the peace of Christ.

Thank you for your prayers for him.

Categories: Monastery

Mount Angel monks celebrate vocations

What’s in a name?

When a novice – along with the monastic community – discerns readiness for his first profession, he takes a significant step by accepting a new name in the presence of all his brothers. In this way, he puts on “the new man” as he makes the three Benedictine vows to a way of life marked by: obedience, stability, and conversion of life in the community. At Mount Angel, as a novice prepares for his first profession, he selects three possible names for the Abbot to consider. After praying and talking it over, the Abbot selects his new name.

“Choosing a new name at first profession of vows is a radical thing to do,” said Abbot Jeremy. “All our names are important to us and bring blessings upon us. A former teacher of mine one time said, ‘What is a name? It’s a little song that we sing whenever we see that person.'”

 


Br. Charles Borromeo

Choosing a new name was not an easy task. I felt deeply inspired to take the name of a saint whom I both admired and with whom I have similar interests and desires. After much thinking and praying, the name Charles Borromeo came to me. I see in the life of St. Charles a beautiful example of a young man with a heart that deeply loved the Catholic Church. He was of the belief that true renewal begins from within. I could see and hear him asking the question, “Where do I need conversion in my own life in order to see the change that I desire?” It is in this spirit of my holy patron that I wish to live my life here in the monastery.

 


Br. Jesse

The new name signifies a new life that we take up as we vow stability, obedience, and conversion of life. Conversion of life sticks out, as it is a life totally dedicated to God. The name Jesse was particularly significant to me because it is what my family has always called me. My birth name is Victor Jesus. In some places in Mexico, a nickname for Jesus is Jesse. The monastery is supposed to be a family. Now all of my family calls me by the same name. The Old Testament patriarch Jesse is himself the patriarch of the family line of David. He is the forefather from which come our Lady, St. Joseph, and our Lord himself.

 

 


Br. Thomas the Apostle

I proposed the name “Thomas” to Abbot Jeremy in spiritual kinship with the infamous apostle. Like Thomas, I typically come to faith later than others, gathering evidence, mulling it over, making careful inferences. Others may roll their eyes, but I think that Thomas’ objection was reasonable and relatable for our fractured world, in which the very existence of objective truth is sometimes waved away. I am glad to belong to a thinking Church. But as with Thomas, God has gone out of his way to bring me to faith. Whenever the Lord grants me a gratuitous sign of his providence, I feel he is my special friend. I know that God will always give me what I need in order to believe. I pray St. Thomas will help move my stubborn will to respond and sing his praise wisely: “My Lord

 


Br. Ignatius of Antioch

When I was thinking about my name for profession, I remembered having liked the name “Ignatius of Antioch,” from the Litany of Saints. I began to read about him and learned that he was one of the earliest martyrs and also an early teacher in the church. One day a group of priests from the Diocese of Baker was at the Abbey for a retreat. One of them stopped and asked my name. I told him, “Br. Miguel.” He asked if that was my profession name. When I told him I was still a novice and needed yet to decide on a new name, he said, “I think you should be called Ignatius.”

I was really surprised! He explained that one of his favorite teachers here in the seminary was a monk named Fr. Ignatius Vroeger (d. 1991). That encounter really impressed me. It turns out that Fr. Ignatius’ baptismal name was the same as mine: Rudolph! I asked some of the older monks about Fr. Ignatius and they remembered him well as a kind and joyful monk. So I have two patrons: Ignatius of Antioch, and our own Fr. Ignatius, of Mount Angel Abbey.


 

Categories: Monastery

Seven accepted as candidates for Holy Orders

Seven accepted as candidates for Holy OrdersSeven theology students of Mount Angel Seminary presented themselves and were accepted as candidates for Holy Orders in the church of Mount Angel Abbey on Thursday, October 25.

The Liturgy with the Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders took the form of a concelebrated High Mass, with the Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample of the Archdiocese of Portland as the principal celebrant. Archbishop Sample was joined by a host of bishops and religious superiors as concelebrants, including the Right Reverend Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B., Abbot of Mount Angel Abbey and Chancellor of the Seminary, and Reverend Monsignor Joseph Betschart, President-Rector of Mount Angel Seminary.

The seminarians admitted to candidacy were Joseph Bernard Baltz, Archdiocese of Santa Fe; Josué David Jiménez, Diocese of San Diego; Ryan Patrick Mahar, Diocese of Sacramento; Michael John Rizzo, Diocese of Orange; Phillip Jeffrey Shifflet, Diocese of Orange; Dominic Joseph Sternhagen, Diocese of Salt Lake City; and Thomas Viet Tran, Archdiocese of Seattle. The Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders signals a commitment by each man to enter the final phase of preparation for service to the Catholic Church as an ordained minister in the Church.

In his poignant homily directed to the seven accepted candidates, Archbishop Sample told the men they were an answer to the prayers of the Church.

“Jesus in the Gospel today gives us a command to pray that the Lord will send many laborers into his harvest, a harvest that is abundant and rich and waiting to be gathered in. This is one of the few occasions in the Gospel where Jesus gives us something very particular to be prayed for.

“You are part – and a major part – of the Lord’s answer to the peoples’ prayers. You have heard the call of the harvest-master and you have responded.”

Archbishop Sample continued. “Yes, this is a difficult time, but don’t be discouraged . . . You will be part of the solution for rebuilding, purifying, and renewing God’s Holy Church. That is your call.”

The seven men will, in the near future, be ordained to the transitional diaconate, which is typically held in their respective home dioceses. Their ordination to the priesthood will come after the completion of their fourth year of theology at Mount Angel Seminary.

Mount Angel Seminary is the oldest and largest seminary in the western United States. It was established in 1889 at Mount Angel Abbey to form men for the priesthood. The Seminary serves both graduate and undergraduate seminarians from dioceses around the western United States, the Pacific Islands, and beyond, as well as students belonging to various religious communities and the lay faithful.

– Steve Ritchie

Categories: Seminary

Legacy gifts come in many forms

Legacy gifts come in many formsIn our monastic community of Mount Angel, we are blessed with so many friends and benefactors. Through their constant spiritual and financial support, we are able to live as we do, stopping to pray in the Abbey church five times a day, taking time to welcome and visit all who come to enjoy the peace of our hilltop home, and devoting ourselves to preparing the next generation of priests at Mount Angel Seminary. Twice a year we publish a simple newsletter, Legacy,in which we remember those who have left (or plan to leave) a legacy gift to the Abbey and Seminary. In the fall newsletter, we highlight two of these people—one is still quite active and doing wonderful work with the elderly. The other was the mother of one of our monks, Fr. William Hammelman. We invite you to read their stories, and offer with us a prayer of gratitude for all who have helped us along the way.

Categories: Monastery

May He Rest in Eternal Peace

Forever in the Peace of ChristBROTHER FRANCIS WEIGAND, O.S.B., a monk of Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon, U.S.A., passed peacefully to the Lord on the 24th day of October, 2018, some days after suffering a stroke that marked the end of his earthly life. He was 86 years of age, and 38 years professed as a monk. Brother Francis was born in 1932 in the city of Aberdeen, Washington, where he was baptized with the name of Harold. His family later moved to the town of Tekoa in southeast Washington, and here he completed his primary and secondary education before the family’s further move to Spokane, Washington. Harold was one of four boys in the Weigand family, and one of the boys, William, was to become the Bishop of Salt Lake City, Utah, and later the Bishop of Sacramento, California. From 1950 to 1955 Harold attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, and in the following two decades his work included over ten years as a construction inspector for the city of Spokane. Here he also married and raised a family of three children. In the late 1970’s the further discernment of his service of the Lord led him to Mount Angel Abbey where, in September of 1980, at the age of 48, he made his profession as a monk into the hands of Abbot Bonaventure Zerr, O.S.B., who gave him the name of Francis. Brother Francis always remained a strong witness of his Catholic faith, and not least among his personal gifts were his dry wit and wry smile! He served the monastic community in many ways over the years—in the development office, in the library, on the grounds, and in the delivery of the mail. In more recent years Brother Francis served as a driver, providing transport for elderly and infirm monks’ medical appointments, for the delivery and pickup of people to and from the Portland airport, and for whatever other needs that might arise. Even in his final years he remained a driver of sorts, his vehicle being the little walker that he kept parked outside his door! May he rest forever in the peace of Christ.

Funeral Homily preached by Abbot Jeremy

Eulogy delivered by the Most Rev. William K. Weigand, Bishop Emeritus of Sacramento

Categories: Monastery

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