By Maureen Smith
Bishop Joseph Kopacz has appointed Father Nick Adam Director of Vocations and Father Aaron Williams Director of Seminarians effective June 13. The men were ordained together in 2018. Father Adam is the parochial vicar at Jackson St. Richard Parish and Father Williams is the parochial vicar at Greenville St. Joseph Parish.
Fathers Adam and Williams have come up with a plan and structure for their team-effort at increasing vocations to both the priesthood for men and consecrated religious life for men and women. Father Adam will take the lead on recruitment and early discernment. His plan includes regular visits to colleges across the state as well as diocesan high schools, regular maintenance and updates to social media and diocesan websites and collaboration with their fellow priests and lay ministers to foster a culture of vocations.
Father Williams will work with seminarians once they enroll to keep an eye on their formation and provide support when needed. He will act as an intermediary between all the people involved in formation including Bishop Kopacz, seminary faculty and pastors overseeing summer assignments. He will also assist in the upkeep of the office’s online presence.
Bishop Kopacz noted that both men were already working in vocations prior to this appointment by their living witness as young, vibrant priests. “Their love for their vocations comes through in their interactions with their parishioners and students. They are a natural fit for this work,” said the bishop.
They also represent two ends of a vocational spectrum. Father Williams knew he wanted to be a priest at a young age. He was serving at the altar long before most children and went straight from high school into the seminary. Father Adam, on the other hand, did not consider the priesthood until after he completed college and started a career in broadcast journalism. This diversity of experience will be an asset to their work.
Earlier this year, Fathers Adam and Williams organized a seminary visit for a group of young men from the Jackson area. Visits like these can help a young man see what day-to-day life is like in the seminary setting and help him decide to take the next step in his discernment.
“One of the greatest joys of my first year of priesthood has been working with young Catholics and witnessing the joy of the Gospel through their example,” said Father Adam. “It reminds me of the great experience that I had in the seminary, studying with so many other young men who shared a love for the faith and for the priesthood. My goal as vocation director is simply to offer our young people an opportunity to come and see what the call to religious life is all about, and help them discern whether they are called to love and serve the Lord in this way,” he added.
For Father Williams, the appointment is an extention of the work he was already doing. “This past year I have served as an intermediary between the bishop and the seminary formation staff and seminarians. This appointment formalizes that relationship and will allow me to continue to assist in the same way this upcoming year,” he explained. “The seminaries which serve our diocese are remarkable institutions, and I look forward to the opportunity to stay involved with their programs and to assist Father Nick Adam in his great ministry to the diocese as vocation director,” he added.
Father Adam publishes a weekly podcast, the Positive Priest Podcast available on several podcast platforms. Both men post audio of their homilies on Soundcloud. Those interested in learning more about vocations can contact Father Nick Adam at (601) 366-2335 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.