Freshly-planted flowers outside the home of Dr. Brian and Tina Shaffer will welcome 300-400 guests on Wednesday, May 14 as the couple hosts the 73rd Annual Seminary Tea, a prime fundraiser for seminarians preparing to serve as priests for the Archdiocese of Portland.
Seventy-three years ago the tradition started when 22 friends one May morning sipped tea, ate sandwiches and raised $350 for a seminarians. This year, the Seminary Tea committee hopes to reach $40,000 in funds for seminarians at Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary.
Some men on track for the Portland archdiocese study at other seminaries around the country and the world.
Held at private homes in the Portland metro area, the tea happens with hours of volunteer prep work spent making invitations, marketing and making food and other duties. What results for those who attend and donate to the cause is an afternoon with Archbishop John Vlazny, seminarians, tea committee members and other priests and archdiocesan officials.
Tina Shaffer and her husband Brian belong to Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Lake Oswego and are excited to host the event at the nearby Dunthorpe neighborhood home they purchased 10 years ago and remodeled. Since then, the Shaffers have hosted school and parish charity gatherings in the 70-year-old home.
They have never hosted anything as large as the Seminary Tea. It will occupy the living room, dining room and family room, all downstairs, and the outdoor patio if the weather permits.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Tina, noting the abundance of help she’s had from the tea committee in preparation for the gala.
Parking won’t be a problem. Guests will be asked to park in the residence hall parking lot at Lewis and Clark College and a free shuttle will transport them to the Shaffer home about a half mile away. Disabled parking will be provided.
The tea runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and an RSVP is required. Tickets cost $20 each. Tea Committee members last week held their annual lunch meeting and heard speeches from Father Andrew Thomas, parochial vicar at Our Lady of the Lake Parish, Father Kelly Vandehey, vocations director for the Portland archdiocese and Deacon Theodore Lange. Each affirmed the importance of quality education at Mount Angel Seminary and the need for more financial assistance there for seminarians as enrollment continues to rise. Now, 40 men are studying to become Portland archdiocesan priests, said Father Vandehey. Around half of those hail from Colombia, Mexico, Vietnam, The Phillipines, Nigeria and Kenya.
A handful of Portland priests also come out of programs at out-of-state and foreign seminaries and colleges, including Sacred Heart School of Theology in Milwaukee, Wisc., Bishop White Seminary in Spokane, Wash., and North American College in Rome.