SAU Buzz

Beeswax: Fr. Chuck Adam

by Ashlynn Maczko
Posted on Apr 27, 2017

Our last interview with Fr. Chuck before he is reassigned to St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Coralville, Iowa. Here, we get to know a little bit about him and he shares memories and his experience at St. Ambrose University both as a student and as the Chaplain of Christ the King Chapel.


Favorite time of day?

Early morning. I love when the earth is quiet. That would be my favorite time of day.

Favorite Day of the Week?

I love Sundays, it’s when the community gathers. And here I’d also say Wednesday nights.

If you could be any fictional character, who would you be and why?

That’s one I don’t know. I love the stories of King Arthur and the knights and medieval days. That might be one. Spiderman is fun. I love Robin Hood, but that’s probably based on a historical character. I love individuals that have a deep care for the poor. I would say it would have to say it would have to be someone who was really concerned about the needs of the poor.

Favorite Movie?

Monty Python, Young Frankenstein, Shawshank Redemption, Lion and the movie Silence. I also like musicals. Anything that can be a good escapism for the world, but I also like historical things too.

Favorite Artist/Band/Music?

I like all types of music. In my IPad I have James Taylor, Paul Simon, Dan Fogleberg, Mark Cohn, and musicals. I’ll listen to almost anything, not heavy metal or hard rock. I like classical music too. NPR is often on my radio while I’m driving, as well as KALA.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Southern Iowa, a little town called Richland. It’s a town of about 500 people. Went to a high school called Pekin which is a community high school made up of five small towns in that area. I graduated with a class of about 52 people.

Where did you go to college?

I spent a year at the University of Iowa and enjoyed my first year of college probably too much. But after that first year of college I was thinking about priesthood, but not knowing where to go. It turned out beautifully. My father is a farmer and he was needing some help, so I was able to take the whole next semester and spend time on the farm. After that, I came here. I met with the diocese and was accepted as a seminary. We had a seminary here at St. Ambrose at the time and that began my long love affair with this University. I graduated in 1982. After graduation I went to Washington D.C. to The Catholic University of America, and went to graduate school.

At what point in your life did you realize that you wanted to go into ministry?

Well, I think it became clear after my freshman year of college. The wonderful thing about having a seminary right here at St. Ambrose was that you could be a college student and attend prayer and be involved in studying philosophy and theology. I was a history major as well. It was during those years here at St. Ambrose, I think, that I really found my vocation solidified. I can remember being very involved in Parish life as a child. I also have three priests in my family. My brother Fr. Rich is at Sacred Heart Cathedral and he was a student here too. My older brother Nick is a pastor in Fairfield, Iowa. I would say it was something that was ingrained in me, a love for the church and being involved in the church as an altar boy. There were wonderful, happy priests here at St. Ambrose. I was influenced by them and I think in many ways developed a great love for priesthood. They were instrumental in my vocation.

What is your favorite part about St. Ambrose?

Obviously, it’s the students. I think that would be obvious. We have wonderful, good-hearted, faithful students and my favorite thing about students is that they get involved in service and they care about others. I see some good heartedness with not only all of the hours of service that we conduct through Campus Ministry, but even things like Dance Marathon and Habitat for Humanity. I also love the fact that students are not afraid to take part in the Chapel activities and to come and pray on Sunday and take part in the liturgy. I’ll miss working with students.

Is there a particular moment or memory that sticks out to you during your time at St. Ambrose?

I think the dedication of this Chapel would be one. We were able to completely reform, turn the church around, and renovate it in a way that we would have never dreamed would be possible. To come into the Chapel on the day that it was ready to be reconsecrated was an incredible thing, and to see the lighting and the Stations of the Cross with the clean walls. It was a complete renewal of the Chapel, and that might have been one of those high point moments. But others include graduations and celebrating with students. I do a lot of weddings here. I think of all those occasions, it’s hard to find one moment of great significance.

What type of impact do you wish to leave at St. Ambrose?

I hope that I’ve helped students take ownership of their faith. I hope that they find confidence in themselves and whatever they do. I hope to have made a difference in the lives of students and I think that would be the most important thing.

Have you travelled? What was your favorite place to visit?

Well, I did have the experience of going to Carlow College in Ireland and taking part in a retreat with our students that were studying at Carlow. That will always be a high point of my life. Fr. Conn, who is the Chaplain at Carlow, is a very good friend of mine, he’s invited me several times and I’ve been able to go to Ireland a number of times to visit with him. He was able to spend some time here at Ambrose for a whole year, that was two years ago. I’ve also been to Rome. I love Italy, Milan, and Florence. I’ve visited Greece. I’ve done some fun travelling. I had the opportunity with a priest friend to go to Istanbul and up to the Greek Islands and Athens, but I’d say Rome would be my favorite place.

What are your Hobbies?

I love to bike. I’m going to miss the wonderful trails, the Mississippi bike path as well as the Duck Creek bike path. For years I was a Ragbrai rider. I’d done that with family and friends. I love to bike alone, it’s even nice to have the peace and quiet. I also garden. I always have to have my tomato plants in the backyard. I’ll miss my little garden that I had here at St. Ambrose and maybe we’ll have to find a plot of earth to have a couple of tomato plants if nothing else.