By Dan Russo
CEDAR RAPIDS — The first ever rectory on the Mt. Mercy University campus was officially dedicated and blessed recently, marking a milestone in the history of the Catholic college founded by the Sisters of Mercy in Cedar Rapids. On Oct. 28, Archbishop Michael Jackels and Father Anthony Adawu, campus priest for Mt. Mercy, were on hand to perform the blessing, which was followed by a Mass and celebratory lunch.
“It means a lot to me,” said Father Adawu. “This is a home away from home for me.”
The building at 1329 Elmhurst Drive NE will be the residence for the priest and also host other events for the community. Father Adawu is originally from Ghana and served in Maryland for eight years before coming to Mt. Mercy about a year ago. He is the first priest in many years to serve full-time on campus. Aside from providing the sacraments and fulfilling the other duties of a priest, Father Adawu teaches in the religion, philosophy and education departments of the university.
“The first year has gone very well,” he said. “You try as much as possible to build relationships and you try to understand the community you are a part of.”
Sisters of Mercy, faculty, board of trustee members and donors were among those present at the blessing and Mass. The new residence was given by university board of trustees chair Brandt Worley and his wife, Sandy, in honor of Brandt’s mother, Charlotte, and her cousin Father Gerald A. Condon. Named the Condon Family Rectory, Worley wanted to pay homage to his family’s deep roots in the Cedar Rapids community. Father Condon was the assistant principal of Regis High School from 1963 to 1966 and was the pastor of St. Matthew Parish in Cedar Rapids from 1983 to 1993. He marks the 60th anniversary of his ordination this year.
“I want to express my profound gratitude to Brandt and Sandy Worley, Charlotte Worley, Father Gerald Condon and the entire Condon and Worley families,” said Father Adawu.
On the same day as the rectory blessing, the university also marked the groundbreaking for a new athletic complex and the blessing of a garden dedicated to a long-time board of trustee member, according to Adawu. Mt. Mercy University, Loras College and Clarke University are the three Catholic higher learning institutions located in the Archdiocese of Dubuque.
PHOTO: Archbishop Michael Jackels prays during the blessing of the new rectory building on Mt. Mercy University’s campus Oct. 28 in Cedar Rapids. Beside him is Father Anthony Adawu, the full-time campus priest who will be living in the building. (Contributed photo)