Eleven seminarians admitted as candidates for Holy Orders
The church of Mount Angel Abbey reverberated with the sounds of the full seminary choir and pipe organ as 11 seminarians were admitted to Candidacy for Holy Orders on the morning of October 26, 2017.
The men, all in the third year of theology at Mount Angel Seminary, processed into the Abbey church for the Mass followed by about 40 bishops, religious superiors and vocation directors who were present to concelebrate the Mass and participate in the annual Episcopal Council meeting that followed. Admitted to candidacy were Benjamin Bray of the Archdiocese of Seattle; Viane Ilimaleota of the Diocese of Samoa-Pago Pago; Stephen Kenyon and Kurt Ziehlke of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon; Nathan Lopez and Timothy Meurer of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe; Dean Marshall and Steven Wood of the Diocese of Sacramento; John Mosier of the Diocese of Boise; and Raymond Philip Napuli and Michael O'Connor of the Diocese of San Diego.
The principal celebrant was the Most Rev. Alexander K. Sample of the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon. Other concelebrants included the Rt. Rev. Jeremy Driscoll, O.S.B., Abbot of Mount Angel Abbey and Chancellor of the Seminary; Rev. Msgr. Joseph Betschart, President-Rector of Mount Angel Seminary; and members of the seminary faculty.
The Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders is “a day of great joy,” said Archbishop Sample in his homily. The rite marks the point in each man’s vocational discernment when he publically declares his commitment to enter final preparation for service to the people of God as an ordained minister in the Church. The Church, through the bishop, accepts the candidate and publicly affirms the candidate’s acceptance to continue on the path toward ordination.
The next step for these men will be ordination to the transitional diaconate, typically held in their respective dioceses in the spring. The ordination to priesthood would then normally follow, again in their respective dioceses, upon the successful completion of the fourth year of theology at the seminary.
Mount Angel Seminary is the oldest and largest seminary in the western United States, 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.