Called by name

Another ‘school year’ is reaching its end for our seminarians. This means final exams and papers and looking ahead to the summer.

Only one of our seminarians will be on parish assignment this summer. Following his first year of studies, EJ Martin (St. Richard, Jackson) will spend his summer at St. John the Evangelist in Oxford with Father Mark Shoffner. John Le (St. Francis, Brookhaven) will be doing clinical pastoral education in Houston, Texas. This is a summer of hospital chaplain fieldwork that many seminaries recommend as men continue to progress toward ordination.

Four of our seminarians, Will Foggo (St. Paul, Flowood), Grayson Foley (St. Richard, Jackson), Ryan Stoer (St. Richard, Jackson) and Tristan Stovall (Holy Cross Philadelphia) will be joining me during the months of June and July in Cuernavaca, Mexico. We have partnered with the Monastery of Our Lady of the Angels in Cuernavaca to provide our seminarians with a summer immersion so they can be on the road to fluency in Spanish by the time they get ordained.

Father Nick Adam

We have two men who have discerned that the Lord is not calling them to priesthood. Tripp Bond (St. Patrick, Meridian) and Straton Garrard (St. Richard, Jackson) have decided to leave the program, or ‘discerned out.’ It is never easy to ‘lose’ a seminarian, but we remember that the seminary is not a place for those who have already decided that they are going to be priests – this is the common misconception that I’ve been trying to debunk. The seminary is the place where men discover whether or not they are called to be priests. I am grateful that Straton and Tripp asked the question in the first place, and we pray that their life has been enriched by their time in formation and that they will grow in holiness as they pursue their life outside priestly formation.

As our program grows, we trust in the Lord. We have one new seminarian for the Fall – Wilson Locke (St. Joseph, Starkville) – and a few others who are seriously considering entering. God is answering our prayers, and supporting vocations means supporting our men whether or not they become priests. If our program is healthy, then we will have more men ‘discern out’ because we are inviting and supporting men who are truly open to God’s will to study in the seminary and discover whether they are called to the priesthood.

The best thing you can do is encourage the young men that you see in your parish to consider the priesthood, and to remind them that seminary is not the end, it is just the beginning. Please pray for all of our seminarians and for Tripp and Straton. Thank you for supporting our program, and we beg the Lord to bring forth more laborers for the harvest.

                                                                                         – Father Nick Adam

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