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Adams Honored as Oldest Active Catholic Deacon on West Coast
By Cora Jackson-Fossett, Religion Editor
Published May 10, 2017

                          Deacon Emile Adams, Jr.

At the young age of 95, Emile Adams, Jr., continues to share his time and talents with his family, church and community. His motto is, “When someone asks me to do something, then there must be a need.”

Supplying the needs of others is a lifelong trait of Adams, who was honored recently as the oldest active deacon on the west coast in the Roman Catholic Church. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and the L.A. County Board of Supervisors issued certificates of appreciation saluting Adams’ deaconate career.

Deacon Emile Adams (center) with family and St. Bernadette Church members.

Described by friends as “a man of great faith, surprising humor and enormous energy,” Adams is a member of St. Bernadette’s Catholic Church in Baldwin Hills where he serves at the weekly and daily Masses, leads the Stations of the Cross and the Morning Office and co-chairs the Bereavement Ministry.

Since his ordination as a deacon in 1979, Adams has performed several marriages and baptisms, volunteered for 28 years with the Archdiocesan Marriage Tribunal and worked with the church’s finger printing program. In 1991, he accompanied then-Archbishop Roger Mahoney to Rome to witness Mahoney’s elevation to Cardinal by Pope John Paul II.

Adams has a long history of active church involvement. A native of New Orleans, he grew up participating in organizations such as the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO), the Junior Holy Name Society and the Junior Knights of Peter Claver.

As an altar boy as well, Adams recalled, “I liked to serve at funerals because I got out of class for the whole day.”

During his senior year in high school, Adams enlisted in the Navy and following his discharge in California at the end of World War II, he relocated his family to Los Angeles and later graduated from Dorsey High School.

In 1943, Adams married Anona LeBoeuf, a union that lasted 58 years and resulted in five children, 16 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and one great-great child.

He and Anona became members of St. Bernadette in 1972 and later initiated the parish’s Christian Service and the Bereavement Programs. Adams also worked 30 years for L.A. Department of Water and Power, retiring in 1986 as an electrical mechanic senior supervisor.

This past March 3, Adams marked his 95th birthday, but he shows no signs of decreasing his efforts to meet the needs of people. As Mayor Garcetti stated in his certificate to Adams, “You continue to touch the lives of others in countless ways.”

Deacon Jim Carper of St. Bernadette’s Catholic Church contributed to this article.

Categories: Religion
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