MacDonald Center

12 Feb
February 12, 2013

As you can see from our home page we’ve spent the last few weeks sharing our abundance with those in need.

Currently we are talking to the MacDonald Center about how best to engage our students, faculty, staff, and alumni with their programs.  The MacDonald Center is a drop in center located in downtown Portland. Its mission is to help the invisible people who live in the apartments in Old Town create community and to honor each individual persona and his/her life story.  The center also provides spiritual services for people – including memorial services when someone in the community dies.

One of the opportunities for volunteers is to visit neighbors in their homes.  Visitors go out in pairs and they only visit people who are connected to the MacDonald Center and who wish to be visited by a volunteer.  The first few times a pair goes out they are shadowed by a staff member.  When volunteers return to the center they have an opportunity to share their experience and to consider how they have been transformed by their time of visiting.


For more information about the center see:


We’ve been busy these past weeks

11 Feb
February 11, 2013

Many thanks need to go out to our university community.

Since mid-January we have collected dozens of gloves which were donated to a local shelter to assist those who without homes. We ran a successful blood drive. We collected bags of delicates for women rescued from human trafficking. With the help of the Sisters of the Holy Names we were able to donate $100 in cash, $150 in gift cards, and two car loads of nice clothing and bath items for rescue agencies to give to women in need.

We being Lent this Wednesday. We will be hosting a Mass at 12:00 in Wiegand on Ash Wednesday (Wednesday, February 13th).

What is Lent? Traditionally Lent has been a time for Christians to reflect deeply on how well they are living the promises they made at Baptism. As children most of us were taught to “give something up” during Lent as a way to enter into the suffering of Christ. As adults most of us try to change a behavior. Sometimes the behavior is an attitude, or an automatic reaction; sometimes the behavior is to be more mindful of another person, or to learn more about a specific issue of justice.

However you decide to spend this season I wish you well, and I pray that this season will help you deepen your relationship with our loving God.


Mississippi pictures and information

21 Nov
November 21, 2012

We are very excited to announce our first Marylhurst University Mission trip!  We will be taking a small group of students, staff, faculty, alumns, and friends of the university to Jonestown, Mississippi.  The trip will be during Spring Break, March 23-30. (We are thinking we’ll leave on Saturday and return the following Saturday — but we may shift to Sunday if air fair is significantly cheaper.)  The estimated cost of the trip is $1,300 which includes air fair, motel, ground transportation, and simple meals.  Students may take this trip as a 3 credit course, which will require additional work once we return from the trip. Read more →

Mass of the Holy Spirit

16 Oct
October 16, 2012

Last week we celebrated our annual Mass of the Holy Spirit.  About 100 members of our community were present for the celebration.  We were blessed with the presence of our University Choir as they sang two exceptional pieces — they are amazing!

I gave the homily so I thought I’d share a bit of it with you here:

In October of 1859, 153 years ago this past Sunday, twelve young women arrived in Portland.  These women ages 18-33 were Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.  They were ordinary French Canadian women, women of their time. They arrived in Portland after six weeks at sea.  Once here they had to contend with poverty, disease, anti-Catholic prejudice, a new language and a foreign culture. They did not have a guidebook to tell them how to organize and structure their new foundation.  Instead they rolled up their sleeves and just two weeks after their arrival in Portland they opened St. Mary’s Academy, the institution out of which our university would grow, and its home until the fall of 1930 when the college was moved to this campus.  On that first day of school six students walked through the door:  three Catholic, two Jewish, and one Anglican.  The diversity of that first group of students highlights the value the sisters placed on all children, not just those who were Catholic.  By the end of that first academic year the school grew to 112 students.  Just three years later, in 1862, the twelve sisters were running schools in Portland, Salem, Oregon City, the Dalles, and St. Paul. Twelve women, five schools, great distances, and no Twitter…. How did they do it? Read more →

University Ministry Events

03 Oct
October 3, 2012

Happy October!

During the first week of classes University Ministry hosted two events.

On Monday, September 24th we celebrated Mass with Archbishop John Vlazny.  The Archbishop was on campus for his annual visit and to attend the first meeting of the Trustees for the 2012-2013 academic year.  Members of our community:  students, staff, faculty, and trustees gathered together to pray and to thank the Archbishop for his on-going support of Catholic education and of our university.

On Tuesday, the 25th we were honored to celebrate Yom Kippur with our very own Rabbi Rob.  Rob is a graduate of our Master of Divinity program and he is an adjunct faculty member in our School of Business.  Rob led a group of 25 through the rituals of Yom Kippur and he took time to explain the meaning and history of each ritual.  For many of us the experience was a powerful reminder that we are human, we fail, and we need to ask one another and God for forgiveness.

The coming days we will focus on social justice:  climate change and human trafficking.  Read more →

Welcome Back!

24 Sep
September 24, 2012

I hope that this new academic year is filled with good things for all of our students, faculty, and staff.  Learning is exciting and exhausting. Some days everything connects, makes sense, and we see all sorts of possibilities for applying our knowledge to the real world. Other days, well… not so much!

As with many things in life learning is not a straight line. Instead, learning is a spiral. As we learn new ideas those ideas touch upon previous knowledge and in that moment of touching new possibilities are created.  Learning also challenges us to let go of what we think we know; we may feel frustrated as we realize how much we have to learn.

We learn best in relationship — whether you are in an on-campus class, or sitting in your living room, you need to develop relationships with your teachers, classmates, the scholars you study — those relationship will help you understand yourself better. So take the time to talk to your classmates, feel free to disagree with the authors of your textbooks, ask your instructors questions — be engaged!

Blessings on your journey!


Happy Summer

15 Jun
June 15, 2012

Summer is always filled with expectations — maybe we remember the long summer vacations of childhood and hope that we’ll feel that sense of freedom this summer.  Maybe we recall the camping trips, vacations, and long evenings of past summers and hope that this summer will be a time for making good memories.

Whatever our expectations for summer, it is good to remember that summer is a time of fullness, of warmth, and it does call us to a more relaxed and playful pace.

No matter how you fill your days:  work, study, care of family, travel, time with friends… I hope that each of you find in this season a sense of renewal, rest, and relaxation.  Let us also not forget our neighbors who might be in need:  the elderly neighbor who might need a new fan for the hot days of summer; the young mother who needs a bit of time to herself during the long summer vacation; the homeless who may need us to share our abundance via a local service agency.

Blessings to each of you and no matter how busy you may be… don’t forget to take time to be and to rejoice in the beauty of summer! 


More Thoughts on Human Trafficking

01 May
May 1, 2012

May 11, 2012

A diverse group of about 25 — students, faculty, and staff joined together on Tuesday, May 8th to learn more about Trafficking. 
We learned about local Human Trafficking from the perspective of two members of the local task force on Trafficking — a police officer and an FBI agent.What we heard sparked an energetic discussion about how we can impact change by taking steps to change laws so that the criminals (pimps and Johns) in the metro area can be held to greater accountability for their crimes.

We also hold in mind the countless children, women, and men who are trafficked across our planet.  Some are sold into the sex trade, others are used for dangerous or difficult labor working long hours in horrific conditions, still others are used as domestic servants. 
At Marylhurst we are united with the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in their public stance to end human trafficking. 

Our next gathering on Trafficking will be held on Tuesday, June 12th from 12:00 – 1:00. 

Those of you in the Portland area might also be interested in a panel on Trafficking which will be held at West Linn Lutheran Church (right down the road from the university)  20390 Willamette Dr. (hwy 43) on Wednesday, May 16th at 7:00 pm.

President Obama’s Easter Message

09 Apr
April 9, 2012

(Easter) is an opportunity for us to reflect on the triumph of the resurrection, and to give thanks for the all-important gift of grace. And for me, and I’m sure for some of you, it’s also a chance to remember the tremendous sacrifice that led up to that day, and all that Christ endured — not just as a Son of God, but as a human being.

For like us, Jesus knew doubt. Like us, Jesus knew fear. In the garden of Gethsemane, with attackers closing in around him, Jesus told His disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” He fell to his knees, pleading with His Father, saying, “If it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.” And yet, in the end, He confronted His fear with words of humble surrender, saying, “If it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

So it is only because Jesus conquered His own anguish, conquered His fear, that we’re able to celebrate the resurrection. It’s only because he endured unimaginable pain that wracked His body and bore the sins of the world that he burdened — that burdened His soul that we are able to proclaim, “He is Risen!”

So the struggle to fathom that unfathomable sacrifice makes Easter all the more meaningful to all of us. It helps us to provide an eternal perspective to whatever temporal challenges we face. It puts in perspective our small problems relative to the big problems He was dealing with. And it gives us courage and it gives us hope.

We all have experiences that shake our faith. There are times where we have questions for God’s plan relative to us — but that’s precisely when we should remember Christ’s own doubts and eventually his own triumph. Jesus told as much in the book of John, when he said, “In this would you will have trouble.

“But take heart!” “I have overcome the world.” We are here today to celebrate that glorious overcoming, the sacrifice of a risen savior who died so that we might live. And I hope that our time together this morning will strengthen us individually, as believers, and as a nation.


20 Feb
February 20, 2012

This Wednesday Christians begin the season of Lent. The word “Lent” actually means springtime. Growing up I always thought that had to do with the season — since Lent comes in the spring, but then I realized that is only true for half of the world. For the other half of the world Lent comes in fall. So, what might this season of spring time really be about?

I offer, if I may, the idea that Lent is springtime because it is the time for us to care with attention to our spiritual roots. It is the time for us to make sure that we are giving our spiritual life the attention it deserves. Just as the spring plants won’t grow if they don’t get a good balance of sun, warmth, and moisture — so too our spiritual lives won’t continue to grow if they do not get a burst of life in the spring time.

Lent is a time to rededicate ourselves to practices of spiritual discipline — a word we don’t like in American society, but it is through disciplines that we grow. Committing to a spiritual practice for the season of Lent means that we don’t have to decide each day whether or not we will do that discipline — we’ve already decided. Practicing a discipline helps us to not spin our wheels.

So, blessings on you as you practice a spiritual discipline for Lent whether it be: spiritual reading, daily prayer, daily Mass, the Rosary, sitting in silence, taking walks each day, getting enough sleep, fasting, adding random acts of kindness… Blessings!