Our Newest Priest: Father Lawrence Adams

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Hundreds gather at cathedral for rite of ordination 

JOHN FRANKO
Staff Writer

 In Father Lawrence Adams, Bishop David Zubik saw a man who said “yes” in the example of Jesus Christ and sought to be a father to all.

 “What a glorious day this is,” he said.

 Bishop Zubik welcomed Father Adams into the Pittsburgh presbyterate during ordination ceremonies June 29 at St. Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood.

 The bishop described Father Adams as a master of hospitality, someone who organized March for Life activities, who was a prayer partner of his at St. Paul Seminary, and as someone who understood the power of prayer in his life.

 “Well, dear Larry, the moment has finally come,” he said.

 Bishop Zubik spoke of a conversation the two had the evening prior to the ordination. They talked about how once Father Adams left the cathedral he would carry with him the important title of “Father.”

 Every man thirsts to be a father, the bishop noted, just as every woman thirsts to be a mother. The same is true with priests. Their spouse is the Holy Mother Church.

 “We are fathers of new life,” he said.

 Whenever there is a child to be baptized, a child to receive their first Communion or confirmation, or a sick person seeking a blessing, people want to see a “father.”

 No matter what the world tells us, he added, we need a father — and a mother. They give us life and teach us about it.

 Bishop Zubik told Father Adams that he will be an outstanding priest if he remembers who he is, and that God loves him. Through God’s grace, he noted, our gifts are made more perfect.

 What makes a dad great, the bishop said, is that he learns how to be a good dad by the seat of his pants, and through his mistakes. But through it all, he has compassion.

 It is important for every priest to embrace the title of “father” because it is what they need as they struggle with death, illness and questions about life.

 “People need to come to you as father so they can celebrate new life and new birth,” he said.

 Bishop Zubik cautioned, however, that ministry can become routine. He asked Father Adams to recognize what being a father means — that just as a father puts his children before himself, so must he put service to faithful before his needs.

 He asked him to remember his humanness, embrace his sinfulness, and act out of love with genuine joy and compassion. His task, the bishop noted, is to bring the faithful together as one and lead them to Christ.

 “Keep always before your eyes the example of the Good Shepherd, who came not to be served, but to serve,” he said.

 As part of the ancient ordination rite, Father Adams promised his respect and obedience to Bishop Zubik and his successors. He then prostrated himself before the altar as part of the litany of supplication.

 In the most solemn gesture of the rite, the bishop silently placed his hands on the head of the new priest. The other priests present followed, signifying their solidarity in priestly ministry.

 Father Adams was then invested with his stole and chasuble (priestly garments) and his palms were anointed with holy chrism by Bishop Zubik.

 The bishop extended his fraternal greeting, as did the other members of the presbyterate.

 Following Communion, Bishop Zubik presented Father Adams with his priestly faculties. He then asked for his blessing before Father Adams offered his blessing to the congregation.

 The bishop also gave Father Adams his first assignment. He has been appointed parochial vicar at St. Louise de Marrilac in Upper St. Clair.

 Father Adams said his first Mass on June 30 at his home parish of St. Germaine in Bethel Park.