To see more photos of Deacon Crowe, click here.

By Christie L. Chicoine
CS&T Staff Writer

WYNNEWOOD – Rev. Mr. Adam S. Crowe, 26, a transitional deacon at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary who was to be ordained a priest in May for the New York Diocese of Ogdensburg, died suddenly at the Seminary Tuesday, Jan. 27.

“You understand that eventually you’re going to have to say goodbye to classmates, but you don’t expect to do that at 26 years old,” said Rev. Mr. Richard Smith, a classmate whose home parish is St. John the Baptist in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia.

Although difficult to reconcile that Deacon Crowe did not live to be ordained a priest, Deacon Smith said he finds consolation in the fact that his classmate remains “in the priestly ranks. He’s still a deacon. He still has those graces.”

Had it been God’s will, Deacon Crowe would have been the sole priestly ordination for his diocese this year. He received an early Chrismas present when his chalice arrived before Christmas break. His vestments were also prepared.
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“He was very dignified, a good representative of the Church and of our Lord,” said Msgr. Joseph G. Prior, rector of the seminary, who also recalled the deacon’s wit and patience.

At St. Charles, Deacon Crowe performed in theater productions and belonged to the choir. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus and the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

In addition to his studies at St. Charles, Deacon Crowe had been serving his diaconate assignment at St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Chester since September.

Despite the fact that the City of Chester contrasts sharply to Deacon Crowe’s upbringing on a dairy farm in upstate New York, “he was very much at home here,” said Father Joseph C. McLoone, pastor of St. Katharine.

“The people really liked him,” Father McLoone said. “He was very easy-going, very unassuming. He was willing to roll up his sleeves and get to work.

“Certainly, the Church has lost somebody who would go on to be just an exemplary priest, but how could we ever gauge anything that anyone could ever do here in this world against the reward that has been prepared for each one of us in heaven?”

Deacon Crowe was ordained a transitional deacon in May 2008 at St. Mary Cathedral in Ogdensburg by Bishop Robert J. Cunningham, who celebrated the funeral Mass Monday, Feb. 2, in Ogdensburg.

“So close to ordination, so close to the beginning of a life of service as a priest, we mourn his leaving us,” the bishop said.

“But our faith urges us to hope that Adam can indeed intercede for us before the eternal High Priest. In a manner totally unexpected by any of us, Adam can fulfill his desire to be a priest. Selfishly we wish that Adam could have been with us for a much longer period of time. Reluctantly, from a human perspective, we now give him back to God.”

St. Charles Seminary was well represented at the funeral liturgy and at the Feb. 1 vespers service, also held at St. Mary Cathedral. Seminarians and faculty from both the theology and college spanisions attended.

Cardinal Justin Rigali will celebrate a memorial Mass on behalf of Deacon Crowe for the St. Charles Seminary community at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6 at the Chapel of St. Martin of Tours at St. Charles. At press time, Bishop Cunningham and the auxiliary bishops of the Philadelphia Archdiocese were expected to concelebrate.

Auxiliary Bishop Daniel E. Thomas presided at a holy hour Jan. 27 for the seminary community at the Chapel of St. Martin of Tours. Auxiliary Bishop Joseph P. McFadden also attended, along with a number of archdiocesan priests.

Although shocked and saddened by the loss of one of their own, the seminarians pulled together in prayer, Msgr. Prior said.

“As the shock is starting to slowly wear off and the grief is becoming more real, they’re being there for one another – and, as they typically are, being men of faith,” he said.

Deacon Crowe is survived by his parents, Lawrence and Theresa; a twin sister, Erin Crowe; two brothers, Kevin and Darin; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. He was preceded in death by his paternal and maternal grandparents.

CS&T Staff Writer Christie L. Chicoine may be reached at (215) 587-2468 or

Deacon Adam Crowe’s Apostolate Assignments in the Philadelphia Archdiocese

In addition to his studies at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Deacon Adam Crowe had been serving his diaconate assignment at St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Chester since September.
Throughout his years at St. Charles, Deacon Crowe also served in the following apostolate assignments in the Philadelphia Archdiocese: Holy Family Parish in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia; St. Joseph Villa in Flourtown; Sacred Heart Parish in Manoa; Incarnation of Our Lord Parish in Philadelphia and Roman Catholic High School for Boys in Philadelphia.