| By Kristin Sessions | Vocations Office

Seminarians of the diocese

Offering time to the Lord to discern His call.

The Diocese of Birmingham currently has eleven men studying for the priesthood. These men vary in age, background, and personality, but they all have one thing in common: they have decided to offer this time to the Lord, to discern if He is calling them to serve as a priest, specifically in the Diocese of Birmingham.  

Due to the pandemic, the seminarians were again required to return to the diocese a few weeks early to complete the spring semester online. The Vocations Office expresses its gratitude to Msgr. Michael Deering, Father Bryan Jerabek, Father Bryan Lowe, Father John McDonald, Father Tim Pfander, Father Bob Sullivan, Father Wyman Vintson, and Father Justin Ward for hosting seminarians during the spring and summer. Father Rick Chenault, Vicar for Vocations, also hosted a seminarian at his parish.  

This year, the Diocese of Birmingham welcomed three new seminarians to the Priestly Formation Program: Hunter Limbaugh, Francisco Rodriguez-Martin, and Adam Sellers. Hunter is from Rainbow City and is a member of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Anniston. He is a graduate of Jacksonville State University with a B.S. in political science. Adam is from Gallion and graduated from Auburn University this spring with a B.S. in kinesiology. He is a member of St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Demopolis. Francisco is from Birmingham and is a member of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church. He served in the United States Marine Corp where he earned the rank of sergeant. These men will begin studies at the Pontifical College Josephinum this fall.  

As the new academic year begins, we offer updates on our current seminarians.

Deacon Charles Deering will return to Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans for his 4th and final year of theology. He was ordained as a transitional deacon in June and is currently serving a 5-month diaconate internship at Holy Spirit Parish in Tuscaloosa with Msgr. Michael Deering. Deacon Charles is a graduate of U.A.B. and a member of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church. He is scheduled to be ordained to the priesthood on June 11, 2022.

Daniel Sessions returns to the North American College in Rome for his 3rd year of theology. He is a member of St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church. Daniel attended St. Rose Academy and John Carroll Catholic High School, entering seminary after high school. Daniel was assigned to St. Mark the Evangelist this summer with Father Bob Sullivan. He is scheduled to be ordained a transitional deacon in 2022.  

Having completed pre-theology and receiving the B.A. in philosophy, Patrick DePew and Max Gallegos return to the Pontifical College Josephinum in Ohio for Theology 1. Patrick is a member of Holy Infant of Prague Catholic Church and a graduate of Auburn University. Patrick completed his summer assignment with Father Tim Pfander at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Huntsville. Max is a member of Our Lady of the Valley  Catholic Church in Fort Payne and a graduate of Jacksonville State University. He was assigned to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. Henry parishes this summer with Father Wyman Vintson. Patrick and Max are scheduled to be admitted to Candidacy and Instituted to the Ministry of Lector during the fall semester.  

John Gardiner begins his final year of philosophy at the Pontifical College Josephinum. He is a member of Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Huntsville. After attending Franciscan University for one year, John transferred to the Josephinum. John completed his summer parish assignment at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Anniston with Father John McDonald.

Collins Hess, John Paul Stepnowski, and Andrew Vickery begin their 2nd year of pre-theology at the Pontifical College Josephinum. Collins is from Madison and a member of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. He graduated from Auburn University and was assigned to St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Demopolis with Father Justin Ward and assisted the Guadalupan Missionary Sisters of the Holy Spirit with community outreach.  John Paul is a graduate of the University of Alabama in Huntsville and is a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Huntsville. His summer assignment was at the Cathedral of St. Paul with Father Bryan Jerabek. Andrew is a member of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Tuscaloosa, and he graduated from the University of Alabama. He was assigned to Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church in Fort Payne with Father Rick Chenault.

With the seminarians returning to school, the Office of Vocations encourages everyone to keep the men in prayer. Through funding provided by Catholic Charities, the Vocations Office can provide seminarian posters and prayer cards to each parish. These should arrive in parishes near mid-September. Please take a prayer card home with you and remember the seminarians in your daily prayers. Also, pray for more men to hear and answer Christ’s call to serve as priests in the Diocese of Birmingham. 

The Benedictine Monks of St. Bernard Abbey in Cullman have four men continuing in formation for priesthood this year.  

Rev. Br. Dominic Lee, OSB, was ordained a transitional deacon this spring and continues studies at Sant’ Anselmo in Rome this fall.  He professed vows in 2015 and was a member of Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Huntsville before entering the monastery.  Rev. Br. Dominic is scheduled to be ordained to the priesthood on Aug. 6, 2022.

Br. Pachomius Alvarado, OSB, and Br. Paschal Pautler, OSB, return to St. Meinrad Archabbey for Theology 3. Br. Pachomius is originally from Cuba and professed monastic vows in 2015. Br. Paschal attended St. Rose Academy, then St. Bernard Preparatory School. He was a member at St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church and the Cathedral of St. Paul before professing monastic vows in 2015. Both men are scheduled to be ordained as transitional deacons on April 9, 2022.  

Br. Romanus Davitt, OSB, begins Theology 1 at St. Vincent Archabbey this year.  He was a member of St. James Catholic Church in Gadsden before entering the monastery and professing vows in 2017.