Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Saturday, April 30, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Pacifica Senior Living - Calaroga Terrace

Home : News : Local
11/24/2013 9:47:00 AM
Benedictine monastic tradition informs hilltop seminary
Mount Angel Abbey photo
A monk walks past the Abbey Church.
Mount Angel Abbey photo
A monk walks past the Abbey Church.

SAINT BENEDICT — A 1,500-year-old spiritual tradition creates a unique priestly formation process at Mount Angel Seminary, say faculty and students. The seminary was established by monks at Mount Angel Abbey, and their Benedictine monastic values infuse the school with a distinctive culture.

“As seminarians, we’re living side by side with the monastic community,” said Mike Ritter, a fourth-year seminarian from the Diocese of Sacramento. “We share this place with them, and get to know them and their stories.”

Ritter completed his undergraduate degree in philosophy from Mount Angel Seminary and then attended St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, Calif. When his bishop asked him to return to Mount Angel for his final year of priestly formation, it felt like coming home. “There’s an immersion in the spirit here that I haven’t seen elsewhere,” he said. “The monks set the tone for spirituality on the Hilltop.”

“Because of the influence of the monastery, Mount Angel Seminary is centered more deeply in prayer, stability and hospitality,” said Father Ralph Recker, a Mount Angel monk who directs Student Services and serves as a formation director at the seminary.

The Benedictines also have an appreciation for beauty, Father Ralph said. That may be why the monks originally established their abbey on a serene, wooded hilltop in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains and why the current abbot spends his precious free time photographing Hilltop art and scenery.
“Monks approach the liturgy with such love and care,” Ritter said. “In part, because of them, seminarians are deeply immersed in the Benedictine emphasis on prayer.”

The monks pray six times daily, beginning at 5:20 a.m., and while the students generally pray together as a seminary community, they join the monks for Mass and Vespers on Sundays as well as Mass on Tuesdays.

“For monks, prayer is the top priority,” said Abbot Peter Eberle, who served as abbot at Mount Angel Abbey from 1988-97. “That is the foundation of our day, and everything else flows from that.”

The former abbot, who now teaches at the seminary and serves as vice-rector for the theologate, believes the rhythm of the monks’ communal prayers has a tangible effect on seminarians. “We teach students to make their prayer life central, and then to work everything else around that activity,” he said.

“But seminarians who come here already have an openness to prayer,” said Abbot Peter, who made his monastic profession at age 20. “This environment only enhances that characteristic. They come to this milieu, where the entire Hilltop has that mindset, and it speaks to their heart.”

Other core Benedictine values also get transmitted, Father Ralph said. “One of our most important values is hospitality, greeting guests as Christ. I hope we infuse that welcoming spirit in our seminarians.”

That value translates into a closer community. “There is a kinship here that is unlike other places, perhaps because it’s infused with a sense of Benedictine hospitality,” Ritter said.

“There is a shared sentiment that life itself is valued,” said Abbot Peter. “I would think that any college campus has a sense of community, but here, the seminary has a built-in monastic community, one that goes back for decades. This shapes the school. We’ve been told that our seminary has a sense of community not found in other places.”

The monastic community has flourished at Mount Angel Abbey since 1882, when the abbey was founded. Since then, well more than 200 monks have taken a vow of stability.

“That means,” Abbot Peter said, “that they will always be here. Alumni of Mount Angel can come back and see the same faces year after year. That virtue of stability is transferred to the priests who are formed here, and gives them their own feeling of stability.”

“We come, and we go, but the monks continue to stay here,” Ritter said. “The monastery gives us an example of spiritual continuity.”

What Ritter likes most of all is the music. Mount Angel, he said, is steeped in music, and that makes it unique from seminaries not associated with monasteries. When he left for another seminary, he found himself walking around singing songs from Vespers.

“The monks sing a chapter of our lives to us,” Ritter said. “Their songs, day in and day out, settle into you. When I came back and heard those songs, it was moving.”

Now he wakes in the morning to chimes from the bell tower, and he can hear the faint sound of monks singing. “It’s a haunting sound,” he said. “When I leave, what I will miss most of all will be the monastic chants.”

The prayers, liturgy, chants and rhythms of life are a gift from the Benedictines, Ritter said.

Currently, 15 monks work at the seminary.

Article Comment Submissions
Submit your comments, please. 
Comments are reviewed before being posted to the site. Comments must use respectful language and address the story. Comments are not posted immediately to the site. The site editor may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours. Comments may also be considered to appear as letters in our print edition, unless the writer specifices no.
Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved