I wanted to mark my return from my six month columnist’s vacation by honoring a brother in Christ who has gone to be with the Lord in the beginning of this summer. That brother was Father David Adams. Many people in this area knew him when he was the administrator of Our Lady of Perpetual Help from 1999-2001, and most recently one of the priests at St. Leo the Great Parish in Lincroft.
The list of David’s accomplishments have been tremendous in the 48 years that God has given to him on this earth and during his 18 years of consecrated priesthood. He was involved in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, St. Justin and St. Joseph Parishes in Toms River, St. Joan of Arc Parish in Marlton, Sacred Heart Parish in Mount Holly, St. Thomas More Parish in Manalapan, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Highlands, and St. Leo the Great Parish in Lincroft.
I am blessed to have many Catholic priests as my colleagues and friends. As one who is a Baptist, yet an ecumenist, and a lover of Christ’s universal (catholic) church, I appreciate greatly this relationship. As I was sitting in his memorial service, I was trying to figure out what was the uniqueness of Father Adams. This uniqueness was seen in contrast with other experiences I have had with other of my Catholic friends. There were times when I was considered a brother, but the prodigal brother. Or in the words of Paul M. Johnson about Tolstoy, “Tolstoy liked God as long as God remembered that He was the younger brother.”
Father Adams’ uniqueness was that he considered people as his equal or better. When we planned the Community Vacation Bible School, he did not send a delegate to participate in the choosing of the curriculum; he came himself. My recollection of him is sitting on the floor and intensely looking at each of the possible curriculum choices.
I taught at several Protestant seminaries. If I had a philosophical question to which I needed an answer before my lecture, I would email it to Father Adams. Inevitably I would receive an answer to my questions mailed to me after midnight – Father Adams favorite time with the philosophers and the theologians of the Catholic Church. During the Holy Week this year, Father Adams walked with us from church to church in Atlantic Highlands for the Stations of the Cross. He sang with us, prayed with us and joked with kids about their singing as they were walking.
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I have lost a good friend and a great brother. In his short life, Father Adams has been such a blessing. With many others, I treasure the words of Lacordaire inscribed on the memorial card: “To live in a world without wishing its pleasure; to be a member of each family, yet belonging to none; to share all the sufferings; to penetrate all secret; to heal all wounds; to go before God and offer Him their prayers; to return from God to men to bring pardon and hope; to have a heart of fire for charity and a heart of bronze for chastity; to teach and to pardon, console and bless always–what a glorious life! And it is yours, o Priest of Jesus Christ!”