Front row (l-r): Sr. Mary Vernon Gentle, RSM, Nazareth House, Birmingham; Abbot Cletus Meagher, OSB, Deacon Peter Nassetta, Sacred Heart Church; and Deacon Tim Vaughn, St. Elizabeth Anne Seton Church, Gardendale. Second row (l-r): Fr. Joel Martin, OSB, Rev. Patrick Cullen, Nazareth House, Cathedral of St. Paul, Birmingham; Fr. John O’Donnell, OSB, Rev. Walter Cash, St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church, Cullman; and Br. Peter Le, OSB. Back row (l-r): Fr. Linus Klucsarits, OSB; Rev. Johnson Tharayil Varghese, St. Elizabeth Anne Seton Church, Gardendale; St. Henry’s Church, Warrior; Rev. Joe Culotta, Church of St. Mark the Evangelist, Birmingham; Fr. Marcus Voss, OSB; Rev. Raul Posada Valencia; Br. Pachomius Alvarado-Garcia, OSB; and Rev. Paul Campbell, Hanceville First United Methodist Church. Not pictured: Rev. Jerry Lawson, Daystar Church
CULLMAN – Clergy from north Alabama took part in a beautiful Thanksgiving service held at St. Bernard Preparatory School on Wednesday, Nov. 14 in Cullman.
More than 40 clergy were invited from around the country, many from places too distant to travel. Sixteen ministers from the Cullman area, Birmingham and the Tri-Cities took part in the service composed of prayers, psalms, scripture readings and hymns. Students offered thanks and petitions to God as they brought to the church symbols of the various aspects of their lives.
Fr. Joel Martin, president of St. Bernard Prep, said that every student was given the opportunity to request the presence of their pastor or other representative of their church, and he was happy to see so many of these busy men and women take time away from their jobs to be a part of the service.
After several scripture readings were heard in four different languages representing some of the various cultures of students from the school community, those in attendance heard the message given by Rev. Jerry Lawson of Daystar Church in Cullman. Lawson spoke on thankfulness and reminded those gathered that thankfulness was a choice. He encouraged all to be loving and generous while being thankful in all circumstances.
Instrumental music was provided by the St. Bernard concert band under the direction of Ken Simpson; they performed the Irish folk tune “Be Thou My Vision.” The fine voices of the St. Bernard Prep concert choir presented a beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone,” under the direction Michael Kastner. Organist for the service was Jannie Ratliff of Sacred Heart Church in Cullman.
The service was followed by a dinner for all guests, students, faculty and staff. The guest clergymen were served by the students.