May 06, 2009
To all my friends, family, and benefactors:
I hope this letter finds all of you well.
I cannot believe that my third year of priestly formation at Mount Angel Seminary is coming to a rapid close. There are only a few days left in this academic year and I would like to take a moment to update you on all the events this past year at the seminary.
This is the third year that I am studying philosophy specifically exploring modern and contemporary thought. Philosophy is not an easy subject to grasp. Most of the time philosophers leave me in utter confusion. Yet, amidst this, I persevere one day at a time with my seminarian brothers in writing papers, class presentations, and ongoing class discussions. Along with intellectual formation, I have also grown in pastoral formation with my weekly visits to the elderly at Marian Estates in Sublimity, Oregon. I have shared many stories with them over lunch, desserts, community activities, and visits to their rooms. I have even been blessed to be with a few of them in their dying moments. I give thanks to our God for allowing me to grow through these experiences.
Some of the greatest highlights of the year have been with the people of the Archdiocese of Portland. In the fall, I composed my first musical work, Dambana, for the dedication of the first Filipino shrine in the archdiocese. In the spring, I composed ?Let Us Gather at your Altar? as the gathering song for the liturgy celebrating Santo Nino which was presided by the Archbishop of Portland. Along with my ministry of music, I have completed my two year term as chair to the Cultural Commission and active member of the Pastoral Council. My last big project with the council was organizing and hosting the annual talent show for the seminary. I look back and find myself in gratitude to God for allowing me to serve the community in these many capacities.
As the year draws to a close, I look towards the summer. I will return to the Bay Area on May 16. Shortly after, I will make my first visit to Salt Lake City in Utah to witness my friend?s diaconate ordination. In late May I will facilitate the annual retreat for the 8th graders of Saint Stephen Parish School. I also hope to attend a few graduations and catch up with old friends. The most exciting part of my summer will be my time in Plano, Texas. I have been offered a job as interim music director for Prince of Peace Catholic Church for six weeks (June 13 - August2). It will be a very new experience for me and I hope to meet a lot of new people and gain new insights. It is my hope that I will find August to be a quiet time with family and friends. I will make my way back to the seminary later that month and embark on my fourth year with the monks and seminarians to Mount Angel!
Words cannot express my gratitude to you for your ongoing support and prayers as I journey day by day with God. Know that I hold you in my thoughts at the celebration of the Eucharist.
Manolito "J.R." Jaldon
Archdiocese of San Francisco
PO Box 511
Saint Benedict, OR 97373