Welcome to the Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon Office of Vocation’s blog! This blog is intended to do three things: 1) Be brief; 2) Share wonderful news and events regarding vocations in and around the Archdiocese of Portland; and 3) Showcase the experiences of our devoted seminarians as they move toward priestly ordination. Many of the posts will consist of me just simply sharing what is going on in the daily life of an Archdiocesan Vocation Director. It is such a blessing to walk with these young men as they seek to do God’s will!
I am pleased to welcome five new seminarians studying for the Archdiocese of Portland in this 2015-2016 academic year. They are (from left to right) Peter Laughlin from St. Francis Parish in Sherwood, Luke Stager from St. Cecilia’s Parish in Beaverton, Omar Herrera from St. Joseph’s Parish in Salem, Thien Hoang from Our Lady of Lavang Parish in Portland, and Chi-Nhan Vo from St. Juan Diego Parish in Portland. These men are a great addition to Mount Angel Seminary! Please pray for them as they continue to settle into their new home and rhythm of life.
On August 24th the 2015-2016 academic year began at Mount Angel Seminary with a Mass of the Holy Spirit celebrated by Bishop Liam Cary of the Diocese of Baker, followed by a thought provoking Inaugural Address presented by Abbot Peter Eberle, O.S.B. In his homily, Bishop Cary reflected on the great gift given to the priest as he calls down the Holy Spirit in his ministry. He focused on he word “epiclesis” which is Greek for “invocation” or “calling down from on high”. Epiclesis describes that moment in the Mass when the priest “calls down from on high” the Holy Spirit from the Father to make present the Body and Blood of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Bishop Cary encouraged the seminarians to “prepare to live a life of epiclesis” as they prepare for the priesthood. A priest calls down the Holy Spirit in so many ways in his ministry, not for his own glory, but for the salvation of his soul and he souls of all the faithful.
In his Inaugural Address, Abbot Peter reflected on the priesthood through the lives of three priests portrayed in three different novels: Fr. Hugh Kennedy in “The Edge of Sadness” by Edwin O’Connor, Fr. Frank Healy in “North of Hope” by Jon Hassler, and Fr. Joe Hackett in “Wheat That Springeth Green” by J.F. Powers. All three of these novels portray the difficult road of holiness we all strive to walk down. The priestly characters in these novels reveal our weak humanity in the struggle against evil. Abbot Peter reminded us all that our own priesthood normally falls between the ideal of holiness and the weakness of humanity, but is always supported by the grace of God.
As we kick of the new academic year we marvel in the gift of epiclesis in the life of a priest and the power of God’s grace to keep us on the road of holiness. May all our seminarians grow in holiness everyday and remain in God’s grace at every moment.
Please pray for vocations!
Fr. Jeff Eirvin
Director of Vocations
Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon