Although he has only been assigned to parishes for seven of his 17 years of priestly ministry, Bishop-Parker has had a profound impact. Parishioners of St. Peter in Westernport and St. Michael in Frostburg, where Bishop-elect Parker was an associate pastor from 2000 to 2005, and Church of the Ascension in Halethorpe, where he was pastor from 2005 to 2007, describe a man wholly dedicated to his priesthood and in love with ministry.
Bishop-designate Adam J. Parker poses in April 2016 after a first Communion liturgy for Jonathan Parker Nelson (center) at St. Peter in Westernport. Also shown are Jonathan Parker’s parents, Linda and Mark Nelson, and Deacon Harold Bradley. Jonathan Parker was named after Bishop-designate Parker(Courtesy Linda Nelson)
“I think that’s a quality that is hard to describe,” he said, “but one that’s so valuable in any human being.”
Then-Father Adam J. Parker is pictured as a young pastor at Church of the Ascension in Halethorpe. (Courtesy Ascension Parish)
Bishop-designate Parker built a “very strong” relationship with the people, the deacon said, adding that “there was a great sense of loss and sadness when he left.”
Karen Metcalfe, a lifelong parishioner of St. Peter in Westernport, said Bishop-designate Parker had a special ability to connect with young people. He participated in many youth group activities, including snowboarding, with the young people in Western Maryland. He was a gifted homilist, she said, possessing a knack for finding theological truths in the ordinariness of everyday life.
Bishop-designate Adam J. Parker and Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski participate in the 2005 installation Mass for then-Father Parker’s installation as pastor of Church of the Ascension in Halethorpe. (Courtesy Ascension Parish)
“It’s so easy to relate to him,” said Nelson, who is Metcalfe’s younger sister. “He listens to people – truly listens. He’s going to be a great bishop.”
For more stories about Bishop-designate Parker and Bishop-designate Brennan, click here.
Email George Matysek at gmatysek@CatholicReview.org.