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Reflections on the Priesthood by Ambrose’s Spiritual Shepherd

Fr. Chuck Adam

December 2011 | by Jane Kettering

On a beautiful June afternoon, the St. Ambrose community gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ordination of its beloved chaplain, Rev. Chuck Adam '82.

In his own words, Father Chuck reflects upon his life as a priest:

"My reaction to 25 years of priesthood can be summed up in three words: I am humbled, joyful and grateful.

"It's humbling to look back on the years and be reminded of how many people have been so crucial to my ministry. If there have been successes in my ministry, it has often been a result of their influence.

"I think the challenge of leadership in pastoral ministry today is to realize no one has all the answers. Ministry is less about what I do, and more about encouraging and drawing out the talents of others for the building up of the Body of Christ.

"I've watched the beginning steps of new students engaging with campus ministry. Fast-forward and I see those same students, now graduating, carrying out liturgical ministries with great confidence and poise during the baccalaureate Mass.

"I've also seen students come to understand our church's social teachings and develop their own passion for overcoming injustice. We get things started but very soon step out of the way so the Spirit can inspire and move them to action.

"Secondly I am joyful. My jubilee celebration was a direct representation of the joy of my vocation. I had a lump in my throat during the opening song; so many people who have been crucial to my ministry joined me in Mass. I was deeply touched when my family sang "You are priest forever." God is the source of a vocation. My jubilee was really a joyful celebration of God's goodness.

"Lastly, I am grateful. As one who doesn't crave attention, I was disinclined to a big gathering but in the end, very touched. I am also grateful for the support of brother priests-both diocesan spiritual brothers and my siblings, Fathers Nick and Rich Adam-and especially for my parents who were present for the day of celebration.

"I like to think of myself as a happy priest. I love what I do and find my ministry at St. Ambrose joyful and fulfilling. The enthusiasm of our students involved in campus ministry gives me confidence for the future."

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