News

2024 Commencement at Mount Angel Seminary

His Eminence Christophe Cardinal Pierre, Apostolic Nuncio to the US (center, first row), joined Mount Angel Seminary’ 135th graduation ceremonies, May 11, 2024. The presence of His Eminence Christophe Cardinal Pierre at this year’s Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement Exercises elevated the celebrations in a unique way.

At the invitation of Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B., Chancellor of Mount Angel Seminary, Cardinal Pierre agreed to come to celebrate the Pontifical Baccalaureate Mass and give the commencement address. He did so in honor of the Seminary’s 135th anniversary, in recognition of Msgr. Joseph Betschart’s twelve years of service as president-rector which concludes this year, and to congratulate Bishop Kevin Vann of the Diocese of Orange on his graduation from Mount Angel Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry program. In his homily at the Baccalaureate Mass, Cardinal Pierre spoke to the graduates directly: “How do you see yourself living your vocation, a vocation which your studies have intended to serve? Ask the Father to meet your desire with his desire. Ask the Father in Jesus’ name, as a child of God in Christ, to fulfill his plan for your life and to help you serve those to whom your mission calls you.”

After the conferring of degrees, Msgr. Joseph Betschart addressed the Mount Angel Seminary community for the last time as president-rector, encouraging the graduates and expressing gratitude for his service in the Seminary. “Mount Angel is truly a special place to encounter the Lord Jesus, to fall ever more deeply in love with him, his priesthood, his Church, and her people,” shared Msgr. Betschart.

The following seminarians received their Bachelor of Arts degrees from Mount Angel Seminary’s College of Liberal Arts: David Huy Do, Archdiocese of Seattle; Robert T. A. Kelly, Archdiocese of Santa Fe; Seth Mitchell London, Diocese of Orange; Luis Angel Meza, Diocese of Fresno; Tomás Salomon Tanuz, Archdiocese of Santa Fe; Br. John Terron, M.Sp.S., Missionaries of the Holy Spirit; Blake Joseph Thamer, Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; and Ramses Robert Yates, Diocese of Yakima.

Three seminarians received their Certificate in Philosophy: Tyler Matthew Alt, Diocese of Orange; Br. Simeon Chung, O.S.B., Prince of Peace Abbey; and Patrick John Ryan, Archdiocese of Santa Fe.

Two students received their Master of Arts (Philosophy): Juanpablo Macias, Archdiocese of Las Vegas, and Victor Goranov.

The following seminarians received their Master of Divinity degrees from Mount Angel Seminary’s Graduate School of Theology: Magnus Igbokwe, Archdiocese of Las Vegas; Deacon James Patrick Webb Ladd, Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; Deacon Maximiliano Muñoz, Archdiocese of Seattle; Nemesio Santana, Diocese of Fresno; Deacon Anthony Scott Shumway, Diocese of Salt Lake City; Deacon Michael Tyrell Williams, Archdiocese of Las Vegas; and Br. Robert Sempijja, O.C.D., (Dec. 2023), Order of Discalced Carmelites.

Five students received their Doctor of Ministry degrees: Fr. Bryan Edward Dolejsi, Archdiocese of Seattle; Edwin E. Ferrera; Manolito Sabado Jaldon, Jr.; Myrna Jeannette Keough, D.S.M.; and Bishop Kevin Vann, J.C.D., D.D., Diocese of Orange.

Categories: Seminary, Uncategorized

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

Rice Bowl for Lent at Mount Angel Seminary

On Friday, February 16, the Catholic Relief Services and Works of Mercy Committee at Mount Angel Abbey hosted a community soup and pasta supper. The supper gave students, faculty, families, and formators an opportunity to gather in fellowship. We also had the opportunity to hear from two alumni who are also CRS Global Fellows, Fr. Chad Hill ’22 (Seattle) and Fr. Michael Shrum ’08, OSB. Fr. Chad and Fr. Michael shared about their own work and experiences with CRS, which let students hear powerful testimony about the work of CRS on the ground to help our brothers and sisters overseas who are suffering from hunger, homelessness, as orphans, and other forms of material and spiritual suffering and poverty. The Global Fellows especially emphasized how much CRS’s work empowers the communities they work with through agricultural and occupational training and through solutions that will serve a community over the long term, like digging wells and efficient irrigation methods. One of the most powerful moments was when Fr. Michael recounted his conversation with a bishop in Haiti who said, “When you work with CRS, you are working directly with me.” The dinner was a great success with over 60 participants and was the official start to Mount Angel Seminary’s CRS Rice Bowl collection during Lent.

Categories: Seminary

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

Mount Angel Seminary Celebrates Commencement 2023

On the morning of May 6, Mount Angel Seminary graduates, monks, faculty, family and friends gathered in the Abbey church for the celebration of the 2023 Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement Exercises. A full church for each celebration signified an outpouring of support for the graduates and gratitude to God for the successful completion of another academic year.

Bishop Liam Cary of the Diocese of Baker, who also served as the principal celebrant for the Baccalaureate Mass, gave the commencement address. In his remarks, which focused on God’s creation of the universe and human beings, he reflected that “to be human is to know that life is a gift, and the deeper that perception enters into our being, the more human we are.”

During the Senior Farewell address, Deacon Marc Gandolfo of the Diocese of San Diego reflected on the centrality of the Eucharist in his experience of seminary formation. He shared that “in the same way that in the Mass, the gifts are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ, so we have been forever changed by our time spent here at Mount Angel.”

The following seminarians received their Bachelor of Arts degrees from Mount Angel Seminary’s College of Liberal Arts: Marcos Ricardo Alvarado Trasmonte, Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; Alejandro Marquez Mendoza, Diocese of Sacramento; Jorge E. Noricumbo, Diocese of Fresno; Ethen Vincent O’Campo, Diocese of Orange; Edgar Allen Domingo Pobre, Diocese of Honolulu; Joshua Adam Tennyson, Diocese of Boise; Frederick J. Tucker, Archdiocese of Seattle; and Br. Ricardo Velez, M.Sp.S., Missionaries of the Holy Spirit.

Sean-Matthew Roberto Flores, Diocese of Las Vegas, and Adalberto Montes Contreras, Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon, each received their Pre-Theology Certificate of Completion.

The following seminarians received their Master of Arts (Philosophy): Victor Fernando Amador, Diocese of Sacramento; Joseph Ryan Canepa, Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; Robert Joe Martinez, Diocese of Las Vegas; and Jacob Juan Valdez, Diocese of Fresno.

The Seminary’s Graduate School of Theology conferred the Master of Divinity degree upon Deacon Sylvester Musonda Chanda, Archdiocese of Seattle; Deacon Nelson Hall Besouro Cintra, Diocese of Boise; Deacon Arturo Cisneros, Diocese of Fresno; Deacon Caleb Joshua Cunningham, Diocese of Baker; Deacon Marc Andrew Gandolfo, Diocese of San Diego; Deacon Ian Michael Gaston, Diocese of Orange; Br. Charles Borromeo Gonzalez, O.S.B., Mount Angel Abbey; Deacon Anthony Hoangphan, Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; Deacon Efraín Razo, Jr., Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; Deacon Timothy Josef Segert, Diocese of Boise; and Deacon James Joseph Tasy, Diocese of Fresno.

Recipients of the Master of Arts (Theology) included Deacon Nelson Hall Besouro Cintra, Diocese of Boise; Br. Scott P. Dilworth, O.C.S.O., Our Lady of Guadalupe Trappist Abbey; Daniel Edward Licon; and Maximiliano Muñoz, Archdiocese of Seattle.

The following seminarians received their Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology: Deacon Nelson Hall Besouro Cintra, Diocese of Boise; Deacon Caleb Joshua Cunningham, Diocese of Baker; Deacon Ian Michael Gaston, Diocese of Orange; Deacon Timothy Josef Segert, Diocese of Boise; and Deacon James Joseph Tasy, Diocese of Fresno.

Bishop Kolio Tumanuvao Etuale, bishop of the Diocese of Samoa-Pago Pago, received his Doctor of Ministry degree.

– Ethan Alano

Categories: Seminary

Commencement at Mount Angel Seminary


Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement 2023

Please join us Saturday, May 6

Mount Angel Seminary

Baccalaureate Mass  |  8 am
Commencement Exercises  |  10 am

Both events will be livestreamed here.


Commencement at Mount Angel Seminary 2019

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: Seminary

Benedictine Brewery adds barrel-aged beer to repertoire

Benedictine Brewery with Fr. Martin Grassel, OSBIn preparation for the Saint Benedict Festival on July 8, 2023, Fr. Martin Grassel, OSB, general manager at the Benedictine Brewery, has been hard at work cultivating the craft of barrel-aged beer. As the name suggests, barrel-aging is the process by which a beer is stored in a wooden barrel for a time, absorbing the flavors of the wood and the previous contents of the barrel. At the festival, the brewery will debut four beers that have been aging in bourbon barrels: Dark Night, St. Rafael, St. Gabriel, and Black Habit.

Fr. Martin saw barrel-aging as a way of presenting a variety of new beer flavors at the festival without creating new beer recipes, a time-consuming process amid an already busy production schedule. As he learned the craft through reading books and experimenting, Fr. Martin was surprised that “it’s taken a lot more time than I expected,” considering that “it adds a whole new dimension to your production.” Unlike traditional brewing, the science behind the barrel-aging process is not as developed, so it requires more curiosity and artistry.

For those who see variety as the spice of life, the barrel-aged beer is an exciting development that guarantees a diversity of flavor. Because of the nature of the barrel-aging process, “you’ll never maybe have the same thing twice. You can maybe have more consistency with bourbon aging, but there will be variation from year to year with that,” explains Fr. Martin. Some customers have their favorite beers and standard orders, while others prefer trying new things all the time. The barrel-aged beer will be a welcome addition for those with an adventurous palate.

While the initial impetus for barrel-aged beer was the Saint Benedict Festival, Fr. Martin shares that he “would love to have barrel-aging on a regular basis here [at the brewery].” For him, it’s a way of continuously improving the quality of the beer with elegance and finesse. “God gave us the gifts to serve him; let’s use those gifts the best we can, in his service, to glorify him,” reflects Fr. Martin.

– Ethan Alano

Categories: Monastery

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