CHICAGO (CBS) — A funeral mass was held Saturday for the late Rev. George Clements – who was remembered for his faith, his civil rights leadership, and being a father.
At 10 a.m., a funeral mass was held at Holy Angels Church, at 615 E. Oakwood Blvd. in Bronzeville. Father Clements led parishioners at the church for 22 years.READ MORE: COVID-19 Update: Indiana Announces 1,243 New COVID-19 Cases, 36 Additional Deaths
Father Clements suffered a stroke last month and died Monday, Nov. 25, at the age of 87. His ministry extended well beyond the walls of this church.
As the long time pastor of Holy Angels Church in Bronzeville, his activism was sparked by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
But it was a deeply personal role that made Father George Clements famous and the subject of a movie: He became a parent, the first American priest to adopt a child. He hoped his example would encourage others to adopt black children.
“I just feel no child should be without a home,” Clements said.
He eventually became the father of four sons.READ MORE: Dolton Mayoral Candidate Giving Cash Prizes At Fundraiser After Previous Allegations Of Buying Votes
Clements also gained attention for his fight against drugs, and rubbed elbows with politicians and popes.
This year, Father Clements was accused of sexually abusing a minor in the 1970’s. Cardinal Blase Cupich asked Clements to step aside from ministry while investigators looked into the allegation.
Police said last month that the case is closed because the statute of limitations expired. The Archdiocese of Chicago said its investigation into the accusation against Father Clements is still open.
“The truth is the truth is the truth. I do believe my father will be exonerated,” son Friday Clements said following Father Clements’ passing.
Clements retired from active ministry in 2006. His entered the ministry as a young teen and was ordained in 1957.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Mostly Sunny With Seasonable Temperatures
In addition to Holy Angels Parish, Clements has served as pastor of St. Ambrose Parish on 47th Street, and St. Dorothy Parish on 78th Street. He also served in the Diocese of Nassau, the Bahamas; St. Sabina Parish, and the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.