By Joyce Coronel, The Catholic Sun
A stand-in for the bishop, a primary advisor and lead administrator, the Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia carries a heavy load. After nearly 19 years of faithful service, Fr. Fred Adamson is stepping out of curial leadership into parish life.
Fr. Adamson was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Phoenix on June 3, 1995. He has served at several parishes over the years, and he was appointed Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia on July 1, 2004.
He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the University of Michigan and his Master of Divinity degree from St. John’s Seminary, Camarillo, California. He worked for five years as a registered nurse with a specialty in cardiovascular intensive care.
“Fr. Fred hasn’t forgotten where he came from and brought the care and compassion from his profession as a cardiac care registered nurse to his pastoral ministry and his position as Vicar General/Moderator of the Curia. His medical training and experience have been transformed into an effective approach to pastoral leadership and management,” said Fr. Greg Schlarb, Vicar of Stewardship.
Bishop Emeritus Thomas Olmsted remarked that after prayer and discernment, he met Fr. Adamson. Then it was an easy decision to appoint him as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia.
“Fr. Fred embodies the advice of St. Paul to the Colossians (3:23), ‘Whatever you do, work at it with your whole being. Do it for the Lord rather than for men.’ Fr. Fred faithfully loves God and genuinely loves people. His personal holiness and integrity quickly win the trust of others and inspire them to work together for the mission of the Church.”
Judicial Vicar Fr. Chis Fraser, friend and housemate, said Fr. Adamson is “the hardest working priest I know, and I have been inspired over the years by his work ethic and his dedication to his ministry and his role as the bishop’s chief consultant. He is immensely selfless.”
Dr. Maria Chavira worked directly with Fr. Adamson in her role as Chancellor and will be taking on some of his duties as Vice Moderator of the Curia.
“Fr. Fred often reminded us that we are here to ‘love people’ and this is something that we all need to remember because oftentimes we would like to ‘solve a problem”’ but we are in the people business and that should be our priority.”
Those who worked with him said Fr. Adamson worked to strengthen relationships with partner organizations in the Diocese of Phoenix. Shannon Clancy, CEO of Society of St. Vincent de Paul, noted Fr. Adamson’s emphasis on pointing people to God. “What we have most appreciated about Fr. Fred at St. Vincent de Paul is the way in which he calls us in our ministry to a deeper relationship with God and with one another,” Clancy said.
Paul Mulligan, president and CEO of Catholic Charities Community Services, pointed to Fr. Adamson’s fostering of fellowship.
“He literally brought the organizations to the table, hosting regular leadership lunches, inviting feedback and fostering collegiality among leaders,” Mulligan said.
Nancy Padberg, president and CEO of Catholic Education Arizona, noted that Fr. Adamson inspired leaders to grow closer and cultivate “understanding and grace when needed in challenging moments.”
As Fr. Adamson prepared for his departure, he reflected on his years of service at the Diocesan Pastoral Center with gratitude. He said he is looking forward to returning to parish life July 1 at St. Bernard of Clairvaux in Scottsdale, a place he described as ““very near and dear to my heart.”
Bishop John Dolan sent him off with encouragement.
“I pray that as he moves toward his sabbatical and then into parish life that he will find great joy and comfort knowing that he really served the diocese so well as vicar general for many years.”
Jennifer Ellis contributed to this story.