Prairie Messenger Header

Diocesan News

Manitoba physician awarded papal knighthood

By James Buchok


WINNIPEG — The Knighthood of St. Gregory the Great, a pontifical honour established in 1831 by Pope Gregory XVI, was conferred upon Dr. Paul Adams of the Archdiocese of Winnipeg Oct. 22 at St. Paul’s College, by Archbishop Richard Gagnon.

“God works through all sorts of people so his will be done,” said Gagnon in his homily for the mass of the conferral, “and this depends very much on our willingness to listen to his voice.”

Adams, 95, has provided a lifetime of service to the care of Manitobans. In 1965 he and his wife, Louise, initiated a natural family planning program for Manitoba which later became affiliated with Serena Canada.

“Today the church honours an individual who has placed his life and career on the side of the Gospel, the Gospel of life,” the archbishop said, referring to Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life), the 1968 encyclical by Pope Paul VI, subtitled On the Regulation of Birth, reaffirming the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding parenthood and the use of birth control. Gagnon said the Adamses also encouraged Catholic physicians to become active in Canadian Physicians for Life.

“Dr. Adams, your biography is very long and rich in your service to the church and community, including having delivered 8,000 babies. Your concern for the sanctity of life has extended far beyond your career, and you also worked to help the poor and refugees.”

The archbishop continued: “Today is World Mission Sunday, which is appropriate, as you have always sought to further the mission of the church by furthering the Gospel of life. This knighthood is an honour for you and for Louise and for all of us.”

The Order of St. Gregory the Great is one of five Orders of Knighthood of the Holy See. The honour is bestowed on Roman Catholic men and women, and in rare cases to non-Catholics, in recognition of their personal service to the Holy See and to the Roman Catholic Church, through their labours, their support of the Holy See, and their examples set forth in their communities and their countries.

Shirley and David MacKinnon, who are part of the Serena Manitoba family, say the program is still going strong 50 years after its inception, and in July 10 couples attended the Serena natural family planning class at Misericordia Hospital in Winnipeg.

“Some might wonder what the attraction is to natural family planning, besides the fact that it respects the church’s teaching on the regulation of births within a Catholic marriage,” said David. “Although this is a very important factor for many Catholic couples, others want to learn how to incorporate NFP with breastfeeding, or are coming off the pill, or are dissatisfied with their present means of family planning. There is also a growing trend among many couples toward a more natural, organic, and environmentally friendly lifestyle, so it not surprising that they would be attracted to natural family planning.”

David said the Serena program is not simply the calendar rhythm method of family planning. “Because a woman’s cycle lengths can vary from month to month by many days, a mathematical calculation was just not reliable.”

Serena teaches a sympto-thermal method of natural family planning. David said they have used the method during all phases of their married life. “We consider NFP a true blessing and gift that has strengthened and enriched our marriage.”

For information on upcoming Serena Manitoba programs, see


Diocesan News
Canadian News
International News