Mount Angel Seminary photo
Seminarians walk across Mount Angel's hilltop campus.
Mount Angel Seminary photo
Seminarians walk across Mount Angel's hilltop campus.
As one of the largest seminaries in the United States, Mount Angel is meeting a critical need for priests. This fall the seminary welcomed 154 seminarians from 27 dioceses and six religious communities.  

The majority came from across the Western United States, including Alaska and the Pacific Islands, but one seminarian traveled from as far away as Hungary. They came from diverse backgrounds. One incoming seminarian played professional soccer, one is licensed in canon law, and another is finishing a master’s degree in counseling. Nationally, the average age of prospective candidates for ordination is 35. At Mount Angel, the youngest seminarian just turned 18, and the oldest is 57.

“Just as he did with the apostles in the Gospels, so today the Lord continues to call men by name to carry God’s Word, and his love, into our communities and parishes,” said Monsignor Joseph Betschart, president-rector of the seminary.

“During their years on the Hilltop, our seminarians embark on a rich intellectual journey,” the monsignor said. “At the same time, they embark on a journey of personal and spiritual growth, working to build the kingdom of God on earth and seeking nothing less than to embody the life of Christ in themselves.”

Priestly formation at the seminary focuses on personal, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral growth, and also follows the admonition of Pope Francis; seminarians carry their ministry into the community. Each week they visit parishes, homeless shelters, assisted living centers, prisons and food banks, serving those who are impoverished, sick, elderly or alone. They also serve those who are simply spiritually hungry, with a goal of building the kingdom of God on earth.
    
This coming year, the seminary will celebrate its 125th anniversary. The school, located in Saint Benedict, Ore., is no longer just a regional seminary. Mount Angel has formed priests who serve more than 11 million Catholics in 90 dioceses and religious communities around the world, helping serve the universal Church of the 21st century.