Archdiocese’s oldest priest celebrates 100th birthday

By Joyce Duriga | Editor
Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Archdiocese’s oldest priest celebrates 100th birthday

Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Evergreen Park celebrated Father Al Adamich's 100th birthday with a Mass and party on May 15, 2022. Father Adamich is the current oldest priest in the Archdiocese of Chicago. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Father Adamich greets parishioners at his birthday party. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Gina Pakalka, a former teacher at the parish school, greets Adamich. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Adamich smiles as parishioners sing "Happy Birthday." (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Parishioners sing to Father Adamich. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Father Adamich blows out candles on his cake. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Parishioners greet Father Adamich. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)
Parishioners greet Father Adamich. (Karen Callaway/Chicago Catholic)

What’s the secret to living 100 years? Intercessory prayer.

That’s what Father Al Adamich said on May 15 during his 100th birthday party at Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Evergreen Park.

“If you have to pay people to pray for you, do so,” Adamich quipped. “Never pass up the chance to ask people to pray for you.”

A week earlier, on May 8, Adamich celebrated 74 years as a priest. He was born in Joliet and attended St. Joseph School before the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, and he served as associate pastor at Mother of God, Waukegan (1948-1966); St. Hubert, Hoffman Estates (1966-1970); St. Symphorosa (1970-1971); and Most Holy Redeemer, Evergreen Park (1991-1992). He was pastor of Mother of God (1971-1991).

Since retiring in 1992, he has resided at Most Holy Redeemer.

A fall late last year has made him unable to celebrate Sunday Masses at the parish, but he was able to do so on May 15.

Most Holy Redeemer parishioners turned out in large numbers for cake and punch and to personally wish Adamich a happy birthday.

Deacon Mark Phelan has served alongside Adamich for 10 years and had tears in his eyes when he spoke about how special the priest is to him and the parish.

“He’s such an inspiration,” Phelan said. “He’s a wonderful man. He’s a man of God.”

The priest still has a good word for everyone and a friendly demeanor.

“He prays for everyone. He prays constantly,” Phelan said. “He’s just the most wonderful man I ever met. He really is.”

Gina Pakalka taught at the parish school for 45 years and said Adamich enjoyed interacting with the students.

“He’s a wonderful man. He loves the little kids and he always, always talked to them at church,” she said. “He’s always happy.”

His presence at the parish brings a sense of stability, she said.

“He’s just genuinely, genuinely good. He’s always been such a real inspiration,” Pakalka said.

While Maria Scruggs has only known Adamich for six years, she still finds him inspiring.

“That’s always been really nice to see someone who is still dedicated to his parishioners,” Scruggs said. “At least for me, it tells me just because I’m growing older it doesn’t mean I have to stop or slow down.”

Longtime parishioner Winnie Ligda said Adamich didn’t want any kind of celebration for his 100th birthday, but the parishioners overruled him.

“We all looked at him and said, ‘Too bad for you,’” Ligda joked.

She moved to the parish in 1970 and said Adamich has been a constant.

“He’s a good man,” she said.

When Ligda’s husband was ill, Adamich visited him in the hospital, in the nursing home and at her own home.

“He came repeatedly and he was just wonderful. He was that way with all the parishioners. He’s a very kind, loving and compassionate man,” she said.


  • priests
  • retired priests

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