Seminarians gather for convocation before school starts

By Aaron Williams
Eight of the nine seminarians studying for the priesthood for the Diocese of Jackson gathered at Chatawa St. Mary of the Pines retreat center recently for our inaugural convocation. The seniors, Nick Adam, Mark Shoffner and myself organized the event.
The theme of the retreat was “Take courage, it is I,” taken from Matthew 14:27.
There were four conferences. I spoke about the particular virtues seminarians for Jackson need to foster, using figures from our diocesan history as a reference. Shoffner talked about the benefits of our summer pastoral assignments to our overall formation. Adam spoke about building fraternity amongst ourselves in preparation for being a part of the fraternity of priests.
Father Augustine Pattimalam, a native of India serving in Philadelphia, spoke about his perspective and difficulties of entering the diocese as an outsider.
(Editor’s note: During the weekend Bishop Joseph Kopacz accepted Schoffner into candidacy for ordination. The three seniors will be ordained to the transitional diaconate in the spring of 2017.)