Fr. Hall remembered as wise, compassionate priest
Father Adrian B. Hall, the retired pastor of five parishes and a priest for 52 years, was remembered at his Funeral Mass March 18 as a kind and compassionate leader who used personal contact to change people’s lives.
“I would characterize him as a person who taught you not so much through his homilies but by his personal contact and his personal touch,” said Andy Benson, who met and befriended Father Hall in the early 1980s when he was pastor at St. Luke the Evangelist Church in Slidell. “He was a very smart man and very well read. He was exceedingly knowledgable and exceedingly generous with his time.”
Died at the Chateau
Father Hall died of cancer March 15 at the age of 77 at Chateau de Notre Dame. He most recently had lived in residence at St. Agnes Church in Jefferson, where his Funeral Mass was celebrated by Archbishop Gregory Aymond.
Father Hall was ordained in 1964 and served as an associate at St. Francis de Sales in Houma, St. Louis King of France in Metairie and St. James Major in New Orleans.
His pastorates were at Sts. Peter and Paul in Pearl River, St. Luke the Evangelist, St. Cletus in Gretna, St. Maurice in New Orleans and Our Lady of Lourdes in Slidell.
In his homily, Father Bac-Hai Viet Tran, pastor of St. Agnes, said he enjoyed sharing the rectory with Father Hall in his retirement as well as the interplay they would have comparing their seminary training and different cultural backgrounds.
“We respected each other and didn’t cross each other’s boundaries,” Father Bac-Hai said, smiling. “I consider myself a liberal, Oriental Confederate. Many times I would listen to him and say, ‘Yankee, go home.’ He’d reply, ‘I will, when you go back to Vietnam.’”
Visited the sick
Jack Truxillo, a parishioner of St. Agnes, said what impressed him the most about Father Hall was his willingness to serve others. Truxillo recalled a Saturday morning when he and two other parishioners headed to Reserve to visit an elderly parishioner.
“When we got there, Father Hall was already there visiting with him,” Truxillo said. “That just impressed me.”
Archbishop Aymond said he was seminarian in the early 1970s when he met Father Hall, and he always would remember Father Hall as “a very private person but one who, in his ministry, truly emptied and extended himself to God’s people in every parish he was assigned.”
Archbishop Aymond said he visited with Father Hall in the hospital shortly after he was diagnosed with cancer, and they discussed his imminent death.
“I asked Adrian, ‘How do you feel? Are you ready?’” Archbishop Aymond said. “And he said, ‘All of my priestly life I have preached the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. I’ve tried to live my life as a priest, and I truly believe that what I preached is what I believe. I’m ready to go home.’”
Careful with his money
Father Hall was famously frugal with his money, Father Bac-Hai said, but he asked the Vietnamese pastor to go shopping with him for a black suit. When Father Bac-Hai asked him where he wanted to go shopping, Father Hall said he wanted to check out Sears.
“I said, ‘God forbid, Adrian, you go to Sears to buy dishwashers and stoves,’” Father Bac-Hai said.
After taking Father Hall to several high-end stores, they left without a black suit.
“Everything we tried on was either too big or too expensive,” Father Bac-Hai said. “I said, ‘Lord, have mercy, Adrian, you have money. You can afford it. You have no children. You have the responsibility to support the economy of America.’”
“Well, he never asked me to go shopping again,” Father Bac-Hai said.
Sam Caruso, the former mayor of Slidell, knew Father Hall when he became pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes. Caruso was retired as mayor during Hurricane Katrina, but he was able to get officials to send high-water vehicles to the Our Lady of Lourdes rectory to help Father Hall evacuate.
“I think he was one of the best,” said Caruso, a former seminarian. “Adrian cared about people. He cared. I used to kid him after Mass when he would ask, ‘How was the homily today?’ And I’d say, ‘Adrian, all three of them were wonderful.’”
Father Hall loved to read everything he could get his hands on about the faith and frequently passed on books to parishioners, Benson said.
“He was resolute in his faith and in his struggles with his doubt, and he helped me with mine,” Benson said.
Father Bac-Hai said it was consoling to know that Father Hall was “home” with God.
“It’s the end of something, but it’s the beginning of something else,” Father Bac-Hai said. “Today, Adrian, it is Easter Sunday, and we should be happy about that. He is home at last.”
Father Hall, the son of Charles A. and Catherine Reboli Hall, is survived by his brother William and many nieces and nephews.