St. Vincent Archabbey monk marks 60 years in vows

The Rev. Paschal A. Morlino, OSB

The Rev. Paschal A. Morlino, OSB, a monk of St. Vincent Archabbey, is marking 60 years of monastic vows in 2020. He has been serving as pastor of St. Benedict Parish in Baltimore since 1984.

Born in Portsmouth, Virginia, he has a sister, Margaret Stephenson of Portsmouth, Virginia, and a brother, Paul of Hampton, Virginia.

Following his freshman year at St. Paul’s High School, Portsmouth, he went to Belmont Abbey Prep School in Belmont, North Carolina, where he graduated in 1957. After his second year of college he entered the Benedictine Community of Belmont Abbey, professing vows there on July 11, 1960. He graduated from Belmont Abbey College in 1962, earning a bachelor of arts degree in history, with a minor in economics.

In the spring of 1963, when the newly independent community of Benedictines in Savannah was being formed, Father Paschal volunteered to go to Savannah to work in the school there. Following his profession of solemn vows on May 24, 1964, in Savannah, he completed his theological studies at St. Maur’s Seminary, Kentucky, graduating with a master of arts in theology in 1966. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 21, 1966, in the Church of the Sacred Heart in Savannah by the late Thomas McDonough, Bishop of Savannah.

During his time in Savannah he was assistant principal, teacher, librarian, bookstore manager, groundskeeper and the founder of the alumni office at Benedictine Military School.

In 1967, the Benedictine community sought outside help in staffing the school, which had grown and needed additional staff members. It was at this time that the monastic community of St. Vincent Archabbey took over operation of the school. He transferred his vows from Sacred Heart Priory, Savannah, to the Benedictine monastic community of Saint Vincent Archabbey in 1968.

Father Paschal was asked to go to Latrobe and pursue graduate studies leading to a master’s degree in library science at the University of Pittsburgh in 1969. During this time he worked in the library at St. Vincent as prep librarian and director of student assistants, reference librarian for the seminary and college, and an instructor in library usage at Saint Vincent College. Father Paschal has also done graduate work in religious education at Fordham University in oriental theology.

In 1969, Father Paschal was appointed associate pastor of St. Vincent Basilica Parish. He also served as president of the Latrobe Ministerium from 1971 to 1973.

During the years he was at the parish, he became aware of the problems of local teens. He was active in Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) groups, in the parish and diocesan level. He felt there was a great need for programs to help teens who were in bad home situations and doing poorly in school.

The following year he began to organize and develop the first home of what is now Adelphoi Village. Adelphoi has served thousands of youngsters since that time and is now one of the largest and most effective programs in the country for the rehabilitation of troubled youths. The program has received national and local awards and has grown to serve more than 2,600 youths a year coming from four states, with a staff of over 800.

Father Paschal was director of Adelphoi Village until 1976 when he resigned to become secretary to the abbot president of the American Cassinese Congregation of Benedictines. This position took Father Paschal to Saint Mary’s Abbey in Morristown, New Jersey. During this period he also worked as a marriage counselor and continued to spend part of his summers working to help the Christian Arabs of Galilee by spending time working in the villages and helping to develop community centers in Galilee.

Returning to St. Vincent in 1978, he became campus minister and preached missions and retreats in many parishes, high schools and colleges.

In July of 1980 the Melkite Archbishop of Galilee bestowed the title of Archimandrite on Father Paschal for all of the work he had done in Galilee. The title indicates the rank of honorary abbot in the Byzantine rite. Father Paschal has had faculties to celebrate the Byzantine liturgy since 1967. In searching his roots, Father Paschal discovered that family members were originally Italians of the Greek Rite in Italy.

In 1981, Father Paschal became pastor of St. James Parish, Waynesburg, Ohio. The Benedictine relinquished the responsibility for parishes they staff in the Diocese of Youngstown in 1984 and at that time he was asked to move to Baltimore to become pastor of St. Benedict Parish. He arrived there on July 13, 1984. Since his arrival in Baltimore the parish has tripled in size.

Father Paschal has worked to provide low income housing for those on fixed incomes, including building 80 senior apartments.

In recognition of this work, and in honor of his 25th anniversary as pastor in 2009, the 2600 block of Wilkens Avenue was renamed Paschal’s Way.

He has served as president of the Southwest Baltimore Presidents’ Council of Neighborhood Associations and in 1996 he was elected to represent the clergy of Baltimore’s Metro West section of the Urban Vicariate. As a result of this he has served on the Archdiocesan Priests Council, the Urban Vicariate Council and a is member of the Corps of Urban Pastors (council to the Urban Vicar).

Father Paschal has been involved with the Oblates of St. Benedictine program and in 2009 was named associate director of the Oblate program at St. Vincent Archabbey, serving in that capacity until 2018. The North American Association of Benedictine Oblates elected him vice president, and he works with Oblate directors in nearly 100 Benedictine communities in North America.

In January 2010, he received the Distinguished Church Leadership Award by the Fullwood Foundation of Baltimore for “outstanding individuals who have pursued and achieved excellence in many initiatives that richly benefit others.”

In May of that year he gave the commencement address at Belmont Abbey College, where he received an honorary doctorate degree of humane letters.

In May of 2016, as he celebrated the 50th anniversary of his ordination, St. Benedict Parish named its parish center Paschal Center. That same year he was honored with the Adelphoi Arnold Palmer Spirit of Hope Award, along with Adelphoi co-founders Jim Bendel and Ralph Scalise.

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