(CBS) — Sixty years of a priesthood filled with accolades and honors cover the walls of Father George Clements’ home.
They tell the story of a lifetime of service to church and community.
“I’m blessed. I’m still here after all these years,” Clements, 85, tells CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker.
One of the most celebrated priests in Chicago history entered the ministry as a young teen and was ordained in 1957.
It was the death of Martin Luther King Jr. that’s sparked his activism.
“That said to me, if they’re willing to go ahead and kill this saint, well, you don’t know how much time you have left.’”
As pastor of Holy Angels Church, he was also chaplain for the Black Panthers. When leader Fred Hampton was killed in a raid by Chicago authorities, Clements spoke at his funeral.
He gained national attention for his fight against drugs and rubbed elbows with politicians and popes.
But when you ask Clements about his greatest achievement, he points to his four sons.
He made history as the first American priest to adopt a child, a story that ended up on the big screen.
He’s been retired for 20 years, but he still answers the call when the needy ask for help. His latest guests: The Oyigadu family from Nigeria.
“I just don’t feel that any child should be without a home. It’s not right,” Clements says.
Clements will be honored and Wednesday at the Hilton Chicago.