By Jon Reddy

Of the Sentinel

For the 65th year, organizers of the Portland Archdiocesan Seminary Tea are gearing up to offer support for area seminarians.

Members met last week at Waverly Country Club to discuss details of this year's tea, which will host Archbishop John Vlazny, Abbot Joseph Wood of Mount Angel Abbey, Auxiliary Bishop Kenneth Steiner and Father Timothy Mockaitis, director of vocations for the Archdiocese of Portland, along with many priests and seminarians of the archdiocese.

The tea is set from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, May 10, at the Hay House, a private Portland residence. The first tea in 1936 involved 22 committee members. This year there are more than 100 active members and just under 70 sustaining members.

This year, the tea will return to its roots. Portland philanthropist and frequent Seminary Tea benefactor Ernest Swigert, has offered the use of his private home, Hay House, to host the tea.

In the past, the teas were held in members' homes or in the home of the archbishop. For the past several years they were held in parish halls.

'Mr. Swigert's home will offer a beautiful setting for a good cause' said Elizabeth Bunce, chairperson of this year's committee.

During the last few years, the teas have featured displays such as collections of rosary beads, crèches and Madonnas. This year, the Swigert home will offer the art, décor and atmosphere.

'We're trying to reach out to the larger community to support such a worthy cause,' said Bunce. 'Vocations need our support.'

Although the event has become more spiritual in focus, there is still time to meet old and new friends, clergy and laity alike.

And when it comes to the soul of this event, organizers have indeed remained on target. Last year the tea raised more than $20,000 for seminary education, and members hope to raise even more funds, to coincide with rising costs in education.

All Catholics in the Archdiocese of Portland are invited to attend. Tickets for the tea are $10 this year. For more information, call Elizabeth Bunce at (503) 284-6374.