We are very happy to welcome Fr. Alberic Lazera, O.S.B. to our Little Flower Catholic Church and School family here in Pensacola, FL. We know many of you have already had the opportunity to meet him, but we asked him to share a bit about his journey with us, and how God has brought him here for ministry.
I am Fr. Alberic Lazerna, OSB and I belong to the Benedictine Order. It was in June of 1987 when I entered the community of monks in Manila, Philippines. Since the monastery runs a University, San Beda University established in 1901, with 8000 students (from senior high school to graduate school) and 500 employees ( teaching and non-teaching), I enrolled myself in the Philosophy program of the University.After the four-year program in philosophy I took up my Theology from a 400 years old Pontifical University of Santo Tomas. My superior in the monastery, an Abbot, still required me before ordination to priesthood to pursue in the Graduate School where I finished an M.A. in Education in Guidance and Counseling at the De La Salle University, Manila.
Priestly Ordination and Monastic Assignments
In 1998 I was finally ordained a priest. Before and after my ordination to the priesthood the following assignments in the University were placed under my care: Prefect of Students ( 1989-1993), Head of Guidance Department (1993-1996), Vice President for Services (1996-2004), Vice President for Finance (2004-2011), Member of the Board of Trustees (1996-2012), Vice Rector and Vice President for Finance (2009-2012).
Those tasks helped me to established a better rapport with the people, the community of monks, the school and the church.
Pastoral Ministry in San Antonio, Texas
In 2012, I requested my superior to allow me to help in the parish of San Antonio, Texas since there was a need for a priest. This was a kind of sabbatical leave for me after non-stop working the University for 23 years.The original arrangement was to help in a parish only for one year but things and plans had to change through the course of time. In 2013, I was assigned by the Archbishop of San Antonio, Texas with the approval of my Abbot to serve as Administrator in a parish in Canyon Lake, Texas. This originally one year assignment was extended to five years and two months. The ministry that the Archbishop gave me in Canyon Lake has made the bond between me and the parishioners ever so strongly founded in Christian calling. My five years stay in that beautiful parish in Canyon Lake was very memorable and fruitful. New ministries were formed, Big Festivals were introduced, ACTs Retreats were appreciated, Guadalupe Society was well received, and the number of parishioners was doubled ( from 350 families to 700 families).
It was on June of this year when the Archbishop of San Antonio, Texas decided to send me to take the post of a pastor right on the border of US and Mexico.I was excited about the new assignment but since I don’t speak Spanish well it prevented me to accept the offer to administer to the Spanish speaking people. I was saddened by the turn of events and the plan of the archbishop that I may administer to Spanish speaking parishioners didn’t come to fruition.
Pastoral Ministry in Pensacola-Tallahassee
Due to my Spanish language barrier I decided to apply to Bishop William “Bill” Wack, Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee, to accept me into the Diocese. My gratitude to God for calling me to this ministry knows no bounds and just I consider San Antonio as a place where God reveals His presence, so do I journey to Pensacola-Tallahassee with same eagerness and delight in my heart.
I take off my shoes each time, knowing that the place calls me to minister is sacred ground.
-Fr. Alberic Lazerna, O.S.B.