Seminary News and Events

2018 candidates for holy orders with bishops

Seven accepted as candidates for Holy Orders

October 25, 2018

Seven 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