The first week of August there was a flurry of activity for the seminarians of our diocese. Some were wrapping up their summer assignments while our four new men were busy getting the last requirements met for seminary studies this fall. We all took a few days of rest of relaxation in Ridgeland for our annual Seminarian Convocation. This gathering started as a seminarian-led initiative back in 2016. Back then Father Aaron Williams and I were still in seminary and we wanted to schedule a few days away to build community with the other seminarians. It had been a few years since we’d had such a gathering, and we knew we wanted to make it a little more formalized.
Each year since we’ve gathered in some way, shape or form, and I think each year it’s done what it’s supposed to do: build camaraderie and facilitate good communication. Since I’ve been vocation director, I’ve used the Convocation to talk to the guys about what to expect for the coming year. This was especially helpful this year since we have four new seminarians. It was fun to see how to the dynamic of the group was bolstered and changed by the addition of new blood, and to see our returning guys step up and be good leaders for the new men.
I realized this year how important it is not to over-schedule. Our seminarians get a lot asked of them throughout the year. They have academic duties of course, but they are also very involved in the community life of their respective seminarians. This is all on top of what they are responsible for here in the diocese. So, these few days provided some good rest and relaxation, and the guys could just sit and visit with one another. I enjoyed racing Grayson Foley across a pond on a paddle board — sadly I lost twice, but I didn’t fall in!
One more tradition that has grown is a day where Bishop Kopacz comes and has a conversation with the seminarians. The topics have varied over the years, but it is a great gift to have a Bishop who wants to build up relationships with the seminarians. This year we also celebrated with Will Foggo as he was instituted as a “candidate” for Holy Orders. This is a canonical process that allows Will to wear the roman collar as a public representative of the church. It is a great opportunity for a seminarian to realize that he is a public representative of the church, even if he is not yet ordained.
I’d like to thank Bobby Arnold, who donated his property for the week to us. Please say a prayer for him and his intentions if you would in thanksgiving for his generosity!
– Father Nick Adam
If you are interested in learning more about religious orders or vocations to the priesthood and religious life, email firstname.lastname@example.org.