Kristen Hannum/Catholic Sentinel
Seminarian Peter Laughlin thanks attendees from his home parish, St. Francis in Sherwood, including retired Jesuit Fr. Tom McCarthy, pastor of the Sherwood parish for 19 years.

Kristen Hannum/Catholic Sentinel

Seminarian Peter Laughlin thanks attendees from his home parish, St. Francis in Sherwood, including retired Jesuit Fr. Tom McCarthy, pastor of the Sherwood parish for 19 years.

Attendees at this year’s Seminary Tea sipped tea and nibbled on cucumber sandwiches (with the crust trimmed off, of course) with archbishops, bishops, priests and, most importantly, the seminarians who are benefited by the fundraiser. 

“These guys are the future,” Archbishop Alexander Sample told the crowd at the Portland Golf Club May 3 as he thanked them for their support. “They’re your future shepherds.”

The tea, which has as its goal to raise enough funds for at least one Mount Angel seminarian’s tuition, launched a website earlier this year (seminarytea.org). Carol Baier, chairwoman of the Seminary Tea Committee, thinks the website might have had something to do with the increased attendance — she thinks a good 550 people attended. Many of them were there for the first time.

 “It was a very successful event,” says Baier, who is the mother of a former seminarian, Father Scott Baier, now parochial vicar of St. Luke Parish in Woodburn. 

The increased attendance is a good omen for fulfilling the fundraising goal, because tuition at Mount Angel went up this year. 

Retired Jesuit Father Tom McCarthy, former pastor of St. Francis Parish in Sherwood, enjoyed strawberries, cookies and punch with a table of parishioners from Sherwood. The group was supporting seminarian Peter Laughlin, who grew up in the parish. 

“I’ve known him since he was 4 or 5 years old,” said Father McCarthy approvingly of the young priest-in-training.

Laughlin’s mother, Carole Laughlin, was one of 10 new members of the Seminary Tea Committee. 

Committee members have a primary duty of making sure the Seminary Tea is successful, partly by inviting people to come to the event. Evelyn Couser, chairwoman of the African-American Catholic Community of Oregon and a Madeleine parishioner, joined the group last year — but she had been encouraging people to come even before becoming a member.

“I’ve been telling people about it for years, because it’s such a worthwhile fundraiser,” she says. 

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