May 8, 2024 at 8:38 a.m.

‘GOD’S LOVE, MERCY AND FORGIVENESS’

Deacon Adam Feisthamel talks to The Evangelist about the three things he wants to share with the faithful as his ordination to the priesthood nears.
Deacon Adam Feisthamel will be ordained to the priesthood along with four other men on May 18 at the Cathedral. (Photo provided)
Deacon Adam Feisthamel will be ordained to the priesthood along with four other men on May 18 at the Cathedral. (Photo provided)

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TE: Can you talk about your upbringing and where you grew up?

DF:  My hometown is Colonie. I grew up and went to school there my entire life (other than in seminary). I went to Roessleville Elementary School, Sand Creek Middle School and Colonie Central High School. In middle school, I took part in wrestling and throughout high school I played freshman, J.V. and varsity football. During the offseason, I took part in the shot put and discus through the track and field program. I went to Hudson Valley Community College for two years and then transferred to SUNY Albany to complete my dual bachelor’s degree in political science and criminal justice.

SAVE THE DATE
The combined Priesthood and Diaconate Ordination will take place on Saturday, May 18, at 11 a.m., at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany. Deacons Thomas Fallati, Adam Feisthamel, Paul McDonald, Anthony Onu and Joseph Tuan Pham will be ordained to the priesthood, and Eric Ramirez will be ordained to the permanent diaconate. You can watch the ordination live at www.rcda.org/live
stream. 

My childhood parish was (the former) Our Lady of Mercy where Father John Waldron and Father Tony Chiaramonte served as pastors. In my youth, I enjoyed taking part in a number of the different activities at the church. In my early years I was an usher, an altar boy, and I also sang in the choir. I really enjoyed coming to church to sing as a kid.

TE: Was your family religious?

DF:  Yes, my family overall was religious growing up. For most of my early childhood we were regular Mass goers and were quite active in the parish through volunteering at various events and activities. As I entered into my early to mid-teens, my weekly Mass attendance decreased, and I started doing research to try to figure out what religion is true. I started off by reading the Scriptures myself and then ventured into reading up on various other religions such as Islam and Hinduism. I ended up at a dead-end road with my search, it was taking too much time, and I figured later on in life when I’m older and maybe retired, I will have more time and I can work things out then.

Needless to say, I continued to practice my Catholic faith by going to Mass on the major holidays. Deep down I did firmly believe and trust in Christ — I just wanted to make sure that I was following the right religion. Unfortunately, other things in life like college and a career put this search on the back burner. It took until I was 24 years old to fully realize that this Catholic faith that I was born into is not just one religion among many but rather the true religion.

TE: When were you first drawn to the priesthood?

DF:  My first draw to the priesthood occurred when I was about 24. At that time, I was still working for the Fuccillo Automotive Group as a car sales representative. A month or two after my faith had been reinvigorated from my experience at the Auriesville Shrine (a family member’s physical healing), I remember sitting at my desk one day and just feeling this very strong passion to speak to people about the faith and carry out the works of mercy.

As I sat there at the dealership, I remember pondering the various different career paths I could take in the church, such as: being a religion teacher or catechist, an RCIA director who would go down the path of conversion with adults, or serving in some other way as an assistant to a local pastor. However, when thinking about these roles nothing seemed to click. It didn’t seem that they would satisfy the desire and longing that I had in my heart.

Then shortly after this, the notion of becoming a priest suddenly popped into my mind. At first I immediately discounted the idea, it seemed way too radical and quite frankly I was not worthy to take on that role. However, when I started to think further about it — if I was truthful with myself — I noticed that the priesthood seemed to “check all the boxes.” It seemed that the priesthood might satisfy what I long to do.

I remember nonetheless rejecting the idea again — since I was in a four-year serious relationship at the time — however, the idea of the priesthood always seemed to come back to me. It in a sense kept resurfacing until I actually took the time to really think about it seriously. After a month or two of contemplating it, I reached out to the vocations director to find out more about the priesthood and to receive some guidance about whether or not this may be the road I should take — that maybe God was calling me to this. To my relief, the vocations director didn’t just immediately sign me up for the priesthood, but instead he had me stop in at a few meetings with other guys that were discerning. There was no obligation attached; it was merely to listen, learn and pray together. I found it to be very helpful to meet other guys contemplating the same idea. These meetings happened pretty much on a monthly basis and when I felt like I wanted to go down this path further, I let the vocations director know that I was ready for the next step.

TE: Was there someone that noticed the calling in you or encouraged you?

DF:  As mentioned, the idea surfaced at the car dealership, however after watching a few YouTube videos of Father Robert Barron (now Bishop Robert Barron), I learned a few discernment tips — one of them being to ask God to give you a sign that He is calling you to the priesthood. Father Barron explained that the priesthood is a radical step to take and it’s not outlandish to ask God to confirm it for you through a few providential signs.

So some of my providential signs included a number of different people that told me that I would either make a good priest or should look into serving the church in some way. For instance, one of my previous bosses suggested this to me, a few customers that I sold cars to suggested it to me, my mother even suggested it to me, and then finally it wasn’t until my own girlfriend recommended it that I really got the message.

TE: What are you looking forward to when you are ordained?

DF:  The aspect of the priesthood that I am most looking forward to is celebrating the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith, so it’s hard to really put into words how meaningful and intimate with God celebrating Mass will be.

In addition to this, although I look forward to celebrating all the sacraments, my heart is especially inclined toward being a minister of God’s mercy in the Sacrament of Confession. I remember the first time I went to confession after my re-conversion to the faith — it had been well over a decade since I had gone — and the time before that was when I received the Sacrament of Confession as  a child. The 10 minutes I spent in the confessional with this priest was easily one of the most powerful, emotional and intimate experiences that I’ve ever had with the love and mercy of God. By experiencing that myself, I want to provide that for others. I want to show them God’s love, mercy and forgiveness.

TE: What is the best way, in your mind, to grow vocations?

DF:  I would say one of the best ways to cultivate vocations is to continue to promote the regular reception of the sacraments. Regularly going to confession (about every two weeks) and receiving the Eucharist at least weekly is central to confidently knowing the state of life that God is calling us to (whether it be married life, the single life, religious life or the priesthood). And for those already who have chosen a state of life, carrying out this practice will undoubtedly enrich their lives supernaturally.

TE: What is your favorite bible passage that you lean on?

DF:  Mark 16:19-20. “And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.”


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