The Rev. Benjamin F. Bowling, 83, the senior Paulist Father in terms of age and years of service, died of congestive heart failure Monday at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

Father Bowling was born in Hughesville, Md., and earned a bachelor's degree from Mount Saint Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Md.He joined the Paulist Fathers in 1917 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1921.

After his oridnation, Father Bowling was sent to Rome for further studies. There he contracted tuberculosis and had to return to the United States. It was six years before he fully recovered from this illness.

In 1926, he became student chaplain at Saint Mary's College in California. In 1936, he transferred to the University of California at Los Angeles as Newman Chaplain.

In later years, he founded the Paulist Fathers Newman Center in Baltimore and was director of the Paulist Information Center in Boston. In the early 1970s, he returned to Baltimore and worked at the Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish. In 1976, he retired to the Paulist Fathers Seminary in Washington. He remained active in ministering to the sick and the elderly and also worked on weekends at the Church of Saint Edward the Confessor in Bowie.

Survivors include four sisters, Mrs. Allan Semple of Washington, Edith Bowling Bostwick of Alexandria, and Mrs. Victor Cook and Ruth Bowling, both of Baltimore.