Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington

From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

Regional Report

the Inland Register

(From the September 17, 2015 edition of the Inland Register)

Archdiocese of Portland

ST. BENEDICT – The 44th annual Abbey Bach Festival was a barnburner. With temperatures at the picnic hovering in the 90s, guests sought out shady spots under the cedar trees at hilltop Mount Angel Abbey. The monks cooled the church each night so that it was comfortable by concert time and the air-conditioned Damian Center performance hall was a welcome respite from the long Oregon hot spell.

Wednesday and Thursday featured Gail Archer in the Abbey church. She presented two programs on the 37-stop Martin Ott organ. In addition to Bach’s “Toccata et Fuga in C Major,” Archer introduced the audience to the beauties of women composers Johanna Senfter, Libby Larson and Jeanne Demessieux. She also taught a master choir class for the monastic schola, a small singing group that aids in prayer.

On Friday night, the all-women Oregon group In Mulieribus sang 11th-century pieces from Hildegard von Bingen and Alberic of Reims, the 15th century work of John Dunstable and a 16th century composition by John Tavener.

Antoine Bareil and Sébastien Lépine kicked off the Damian Center concerts with Bach’s “Two-part Invention,” bringing the audience to its feet.

Honoring the heart of the festival and its dedication to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, David Jalbert performed the challenging “Goldberg Variations.” To help the audience understand the piece better, he discussed the musical development. He explained that the “Variations” were written at the end of Bach’s life and in them he introduced themes and musical compositions that hint at the music that would be developed centuries later.

Friday night featured the Boulder Brass, who delighted the audience.

PORTLAND – About 70 members of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Portland came to Lloyd Center shopping mall the afternoon of Aug. 8 not to find deals but to be plain dealers.

Before mall security shut down the project, the Catholic crew made the rounds, letting shoppers know that God loves them.

It was straightforward but gentle evangelization, with parishioners handing out buttons that say “You Are Loved.” Father John Amsberry was in place to hear confessions at a table in the bustling food court.

“We are blessed by the best and God loves us and we want to share that with our brothers and sisters,” says Father Amsberry. “I feel like a lot of times in the church we just stay around the campfire and warm our hands. But that’s not the reason we go to church. The reason we go to church is to go out and take the church to the world.”

In blue T-shirts with the slogan “Blessed by the Best,” parishioners walked corridors and stood at the top of escalators. Some shoppers took fliers with an invitation to Mass.

About 20 minutes after parishioners began meeting shoppers, security guards told them to stop, citing a lack of official permission.

Before that, the large group sang several verses of the song “Let It Shine” and set out from the food court. Many parishioners held signs reading “Free Prayers” and “Free Hugs.”

“The people of Portland have good hearts,” said Lorenzo Nicholson, who helped organize the day. “But they need to get in communion with God.”

Nicholson, wearing a six-inch long crucifix around his neck, thinks Catholics tend to be reserved.

“It’s time for us, and for me, to be more bold with our faith,” he said. “A lot of people say my faith is personal. But how personal is your faith if you can’t share it?”

Many parishioners came with life experience that showed them the power of God in their lives. They wanted to share what they found.

Katie Kahr told people that joining the parish helped her overcome depression.

“I belong to somewhere, a community,” Kahr said.

In years past, a Dominican friar has wandered the mall, open to conversations with shoppers. Father Tony Wall organized a Catholic kiosk and one year held Masses in an empty storefront.

– Catholic Sentinel (Oregon Catholic Press)

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