By Joanna Puddister King
WEST POINT – Carlisle Beggerly grew up Protestant, but an encounter with St. Augustine’s Confessions led him to seek out the church that the author belonged to.
“I felt called to the priesthood from the beginning of my conversion,” said Beggerly.
He then spent some time with a religious order, but then left and attended law school, all the while still feeling a call to priestly life.
The next step toward ordination to the priesthood for Beggerly was his ordination into the transitional diaconate on Saturday, June 4 at his home parish of Immaculate Conception in West Point by Bishop Joseph Kopacz.
Typically, transitional deacons spend one final year in seminary before priestly ordination. Men ordained as transitional deacons do so with the intention of becoming a priest.
“During the transitional [diaconate] period, we try to place our seminarians in parishes that can give them a wide range of experiences,” said vocations director, Father Nick Adam.
“This will be the first time a seminarian can baptize a baby, witness a wedding or preside at a funeral. We want to make sure they have many opportunities to delve into parish life and walk with families along the way.”
Fellow Immaculate Conception parishioner, Barbara Elliott has known Deacon Beggerly and his family since they began attending the parish more than 10 years ago.
“He’s always been very devout … and instrumental in helping the children of the parish with the liturgy,” said Elliott. “We are so proud of him.”
Those in the transitional diaconate are tried to be placed at a parish with a school so they can be a part of the day-to-day life of kids, parents and faculty. A great place for that is at St. Francis and St. Anthony School in Madison, where Beggerly will serve through some time in October.