2 Benedictine monks ordained to priesthood at St. Bernard Abbey

Left to right are Abbot Cletus Meagher; Most Rev. Steven Raica, Bishop of Birmingham; Fr. Paschal (Gabriel) Pautler; Most Rev. Elias R. Lorenzo, O.S.B., D.D., V.G., Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark; Father Pachomius (Gustavo) Alvarado-Garcia; Most Rev. Robert Baker, D.D., retired Bishop of Birmingham; Abbot Marcus Voss; and Abbot Isaac Camacho, O.S.B. from St. Leo Abbey. (St. Bernard)

CULLMAN, Ala. – St. Bernard Abbey announces the ordination of two of its monks, Father Paschal (Gabriel) Paulter, O.S.B. and Father Pachomius (Gustavo) Alvarado-Garcia, O.S.B., to the priesthood on Saturday, June 10, at the Abbey Church in Cullman by the Most Rev. Elias R. Lorenzo, O.S.B., D.D., V.G., Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Newark.

The ordination liturgy was also attended by the Most Rev. Steven Raica, D.D., J.C.D, Bishop of Birmingham and the Most Rev. Robert Baker, D.D., retired Bishop of Birmingham. Among the guests were Abbot Isaac Camacho, O.S.B. from St. Leo Abbey and monks from Assumption Abbey (Richardton, North Dakota), St. Anselm Abbey (Manchester, New Hampshire), Mary Help of Christians Abbey (Belmont, North Carolina), St. Meinrad Archabbey (St. Meinrad, Indiana) and many relatives and friends, including the Benedictine Sisters from Sacred Heart Monastery, also in Cullman.

The ordination ceremony was a solemn and joyful celebration of the sacrament of holy orders. The church was adorned with sacred decorations and filled with incense and music that enhanced the liturgy. The music was a rich blend of Gregorian chant, English plainchant, sacred polyphony, modern polyphonic composition and hymnody, reflecting the diversity and unity of the Church. Singing and listening are two important aspects of Benedictine prayer, as the monks praise God with their voices and listen to His word with their ears.

Abbot Marcus Voss, O.S.B., the abbot of St. Bernard Abbey, expressed his gratitude and joy for the ordination of Fr. Paschal and Fr. Pachomius. “We are blessed to have two new priests in our community who will serve God and His people with love and joy. We pray that they may be faithful and fruitful ministers of the gospel who are guided by the Holy Spirit and follow the example of St. Benedict, our patron,” he said.

Fr. Paschal was born in Birmingham and was educated by the Nashville Dominican Sisters at St. Rose Academy in Birmingham, before attending St. Bernard Preparatory School, an apostolate of St. Bernard Abbey. Fr. Paschal entered the monastery after high school and has been studying for the priesthood since he made his first profession of vows as a Benedictine monk in 2015. He earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Belmont Abbey College in Charlotte, North Carolina, before entering St. Meinrad Seminary to earn an M.A. of Divinity.

Fr. Pachomius was born in Perico, Cuba, where his mother still lives. Active in catechetical activities as a teenager in his hometown parish, he later pursued religious studies at Instituto María Reina in Havana, Cuba. As a young man, he moved to Colombia and entered Monasterio Benedictino de Tibati in Bogota, Colombia. It was there that he had his first contact with St. Bernard Abbey, through Father Joel Martin, O.S.B., who was visiting the Colombian monastery on business at that time. When Fr. Pachomius later made his way to the United States, he contacted Father Martin and entered St. Bernard Abbey. Fr. Pachomius has been studying at St. Meinrad Seminary to earn his M.A. of Divinity.