Diocese welcomes two deacons on path to priesthood

JACKSON – Deacon Nick Adam, left, Bishop Joseph Kopacz and Deacon Aaron Williams leave the cathedral after Williams’ ordination Saturday, March 18. See details of both ordinations on pages 8-9. (Photo by Maureen Smith)

JACKSON – Deacon Nick Adam, left, Bishop Joseph Kopacz and Deacon Aaron Williams leave the cathedral after Williams’ ordination Saturday, March 18. See details of both ordinations on pages 8-9. (Photo by Maureen Smith)

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Friday, March 17, and again Saturday, March 18, the Diocese of Jackson gained two transitional deacons. Deacon Nick Adam, the youngest of eight, first pursued a career in broadcast journalism. Deacon Aaron Williams, a native of Jackson, became an altar server at age five and went to seminary directly out of high school.
The calls may have come differently, but the end result was the same. Deacons Adam and Williams both hope to be ordained into the priesthood next summer after spending a year in service to parishes.
Deacon Adam was ordained at Meridian St. Patrick Parish where he first discerned his call. He was working at television station WTOK as a sports and news anchor. He will spent the next year at Jackson St. Richard Parish.
Deacon Williams, ordained in his home parish of the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle, will spend his transitional year in Meridian serving at St. Patrick and St. Joseph Parishes.
See Bishop Kopacz’ shares his reflection on the ordinations here. Read more about Deacon Aaron Williams here and Nick Adam here and continue to pray for these men and the other seminarians preparing for the priesthood for the Diocese of Jackson.

From anchor desk to altar: Deacon Adam discerned call in Mississippi

By Maureen Smith
MERIDIAN – Nick Adam moved to Meridian to be a sports anchor. By his own admission, he practiced his faith, but never considered a deeper commitment before he landed in Mississippi. His time at St. Patrick Parish, under the direction of Father Frank Cosgrove, changed all that. He started to hear a deeper call.
Friday, March 17, on the feast of St. Patrick, he was ordained into the transitional diaconate in St. Patrick Church. He will be ordained into the priesthood next summer.
During the homily, Bishop Joseph Kopacz spoke of the parish patron as one of the greatest of all evangelizers. He also spoke about this history of the diaconate and how these men of service are so important to the work of the church. At the end of the homily, Bishop Kopacz invoked the prayer known as the breastplate of St. Patrick, a call to bring Christ into the center of all we IMG_2136_cdo.
Deacon Adam’s sister, Julie Bordes said Adam, the youngest of eight siblings, was always the peacemaker of the family. “With so many siblings there was always something. He kind of had to keep us together and he was the youngest. If he said ‘oh…’ or if he started crying about something we would all turn, look, feel guilty and act right,” she said. “I think it’s special in so many ways that as a youngest child he is going to now take that leadership role and be over a parish,” she added.
Bordes said the family did not suspect that he had a call, but in a way the siblings were not surprised when he announced his plan to enter seminary. “We were just so proud of him when he went into communications and was a sports anchor and a news anchor and he gave us each a call and said ‘you know, I think I might go into the priesthood’ and we just really couldn’t be prouder.”
Deacon Adam had to go back to school to earn a theology degree and learn about parish and church administration. Bordes said she knows he has the right personality for the job. “Ever since he was a little child he was so kind and nurturing. He always used his voice to help others and I just feel like he has found his place. He seems completely at peace,” she said.
Bordes said Deacon Adam’s vocation has been a blessing to the whole family that now the whole diocese gets to share. “He comes off as not very shy, but I think in his heart he is and that is sort of unique because it shows his true passion that he continues to talk and mentor and preach I would urge everyone to get to know him. He is such a fun guy. I have a three-year-old and a five-year-old and they have truly learned that priests are not just someone that stand up at Mass every Sunday, they like to watch football games, they like to run they are silly, they will tackle and play, so that has been special for our family as well with so many nieces and nephews,” said Bordes.
While ordinations into the priesthood still take place in the cathedral, Bishop Joseph Kopacz has started ordaining men into the transitional diaconate in their home parishes. Nick considers St. Patrick as his Mississippi home parish since he discerned hiIMG_2420_cs call here.
Denise Huntley is a parishioner at St. Patrick. She said she is thankful Bishop Kopacz was willing to ordain Deacon Adam in Meridian. “This has just been wonderful because we knew Nick before he even thought about becoming a priest and to watch him discern and grow in his faith and make the decision to become a priest – it’s just awesome to be here to celebrate this momentous occasion,” said Huntley.
“We look forward to the final ordination next year. There are not enough people going into the priesthood so to personally know someone like Nick – he’s an amazing young man and he’s going to make a wonderful priest,” said Huntley.
Deacon Adam will spend his transitional year at Jackson St. Richard Parish.

Deacon Williams’ love for liturgy bloomed early

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Julia and Mike Williams joined the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle when Julia was pregnant with her son, Aaron. He started serving as an altar server at age five and has loved liturgy ever since. On Saturday, March 18, Aaron was ordained into the transitional diaconate on his way to the priesthood.
“I was thinking about that today – he’s 25-years-old and we have been going to that church for 26 years. I am sure it means a lot to him, and it means a lot to me,” said his father of the ordination in his home parish.

IMG_2901Julia Williams said she encouraged her son to explore his vocation early, but both parents said they would have supported any decision he made. “I always felt like he had it (a vocation) and I was never going to discourage him. A lot of people kept saying ‘he’s young and he’ll change his mind,’ but I said I am not going to discourage him. If that’s what he wants, I am here to support him, especially when he got into junior high and people were like ‘is he going to grow out of it now?’ I said, if he’s wants it – then I am with him,” said Julia.
Williams said some parents worry about missing out on something if their son decides to become a priest, but she sees it differently. “I think it’s a real honor and a blessing to have a son who’s a priest. I’m overjoyed.” she said.
Mike Williams, Aaron’s father, felt the same way. He said he is proud of both of his sons and he just wanted them to find the vocation right for their lives. “I’ve never had a concern about it. You know, he’s going to be taken care of. And he’s going to take care of people. We have two sons and both of them – whatever they wanted to do we just got behind them,” he said.
Deacon Williams entered the seminary right out of high school. In addition to his regular studies at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, he is earning a masters of liturgy from St. Murdelin Seminary in Chicago. Deacon Williams’ love for liturgy and liturgical music runs deep. He plays the organ and arranges hymns for the seminary schola, or choir.

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Bishop Joseph Kopacz recalled one of history’s great deacons and musicians, St. Ephrem, in his homily. Ephrem was a father of the eastern church who used songs to combat the many heresies of his time. The bishop pointed to the importance of music and liturgy in the life of the church.
Barbara and Donnie Tynes watched Deacon Williams grow up in the cathedral. They said they could see his devotion to liturgy early. “Aaron has always stood out, even when he was in high school. He was always so reverent. Everything he did, all the Holy Week services,” said Barbara.
“He was so prepared, so involved,” added Donnie.
The couple said they hoped Aaron’s vocation would carry him into the priesthood and are glad to see him take this next step.
“It’s kind of like your own children graduating or moving on to something else and you’re just so proud of them that they can overcome these hurdles to make it to where they did,” said Donnie.
Deacon Williams will serve in Meridian at St. Patrick and St. Joseph Parishes before he is ordained into the priesthood next summer.