It may be the middle of the calendar year, but the vocations calendar is about to turn. We got to celebrate the priestly ordination of Father Andrew Bowden in May and the ordination to the diaconate of Carlisle Beggerly in June. Now, vocation directors in turn are getting ready for the ‘next school year,’ and the work of finding the next Bowdens and Beggerlys.
In July, we will hold our third Quo Vadis discernment retreat at Our Lady of the Pines in Chatawa. This is a retreat open to young men ages 15-25 who are open to a call to priesthood. The retreat will run from July 25-28. Our first two retreats of this kind were held last year, and they were a lot of fun. If you know of someone who would benefit from this retreat, or if you are interested in helping out with this event or ones of this kind – i.e. chaperoning, providing food/snacks, please let me know via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In early August the seminarians will come together for our annual convocation. This event has grown over the last several years and we enjoy getting together and checking in prior to the new school year. One of the highlights of the convocation this year will be seminarian Will Foggo receiving his call to candidacy. Being a candidate for Holy Orders means a couple of things: 1) you are committed to priestly discernment, and while you have not officially committed to going all the way to ordination, you believe that the Lord is calling you in this direction. Think of it like a high school football player making a verbal commitment to a college. One of the joys of candidacy is that a seminarian is then authorized to start wearing a roman collar in public. This is a neat stage of discernment because it starts ‘getting real’ for the seminarian. He is a public man of the church, not just as a seminarian, but visibly through his dress. Typically, a man receives candidacy when he begins his theology studies – 2-4 years into his priestly formation.
The convocation is also a good opportunity to build fraternity with our current priests. We’ve had our convocation in Natchez the last two years, which has been amazing, and distinctly ‘Mississippi,’ but this year we are going to have our gathering in the Jackson Metro Area, and I’m planning on inviting priests from around the area to drop by to say hello and give talks to the seminarians. There is no better way to build relationships that quality time in front of another person, and in a world that is increasingly digital, it is vital that our seminarians get in front of our current priests so they can encourage one another. I find it very energizing to witness the zeal and excitement of our seminarians, and I’m excited to get together with them all at the end of what will be a busy summer for each of them.
– Father Nick Adam
If you are interested in learning more about religious orders or vocations to the priesthood and religious life, please email email@example.com.