Deb Wagner
Freelance Writer
June 23, 2018 // Diocese

A priest for a quarter century: Father Tyrell Alles, OSB

Deb Wagner
Freelance Writer

Terrell Alles, OSB

Father Tyrell Alles, OSB, was born and raised in Sri Lanka, where his parents still reside. He is the oldest sibling to a brother and sister. He said he heard God’s call to become a community priest at a very young age. After much prayer and contemplation, he joined the Order of Saint Benedict, hence the OSB behind his name. More specifically, Father Alles belongs to the Sylvestro Benedictine Congregation, which is a branch of the Benedictine Confederation.

Becoming a part of a religious community is a process, he said, just as it is a process to become a diocesan priest. Father Alles completed his college education and later found employment with a private company in order to gain some experience in the world. He joined the OSB in 1987 and served his community as a religious brother while becoming engaged in monastic formation in a Benedictine monastery in Sri Lanka. At the same time, he attended the National Seminary in Sri Lanka for his philosophical and theological studies. He was ordained to the priesthood on Aug. 28, 1993. Thereafter, he spent his first few months of the priesthood preparing himself for studies in sacred Scripture.

He spent much of his priesthood studying and later teaching sacred Scripture at The National Seminary of Our Lady of Lanka and other theological institutions in Sri Lanka. In addition, he was involved in the academic and spiritual formation of seminarians prior to coming to the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend three years ago. He said that almost all his work in this diocese has been serving as the pastor of St. Peter Parish. It is his first experience as pastor.

Father Alles recalled that teaching and forming seminarians to the priesthood, celebrating the sacraments and being a friend to parishioners of St. Peter are among his favorite parts of being a priest. “Most importantly, every Mass I pray is a memorable event,” he said. He added that he feels he has been blessed with other memorable events in his 25 years as a priest as well, including his studies at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome; learning other languages in Germany and France; doctoral studies in sacred Scripture at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.; and meeting St. John Paul II in Rome on three occasions.

As the anniversary of his ordination approaches, Father Alles will not be celebrating with the customary acknowledgements and fanfare, but rather he said he will be “prayerfully thanking God for the gift of my priesthood in a simple eucharistic celebration for all the blessings He has showered upon me during the past 25 years. I plan to reflect on the good, bad and the ugly experiences of life, the lessons I have learned for myself, and how I can become a good and holy priest, pleasing to God.”

“I thank God for my parents and family members who journeyed with me during the past 25 years,” he said gratefully. “I thank God for the gift of my priesthood and for all who have enriched my priestly life and who pray for me. I thank all my formators both academic and spiritual. I thank the Sylvestro Benedictine Congregation for the monastic formation I received. I thank the bishop and the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend for inviting me and for trusting me with my first experience of being a pastor, at St. Peter’s Parish. I thank the staff and parishioners for accepting me, a foreign priest, as their pastor, and for their love, concern and treasured friendship.”

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