Called by Name

In John’s Gospel two disciples of John the Baptist begin to follow Jesus and ask him where he is staying. He responds with an invitation: ‘Come and See.’ (John 1:38-39)

We know that one of these disciples was Andrew, the brother of Peter. It is believed that the other disciple is John the Evangelist. John often makes mention of the disciple “whom Jesus loved,” and it is very possible that this is John himself. But we can also place ourselves in that position of the beloved disciple. We are all students of Jesus who are loved by him without reserve. Often, however, we live as if Jesus has nothing to teach us, and he’s just there to help us when we need it.

Each spring on Palm Sunday weekend, St. Joseph Seminary College hosts a ‘Come and See’ retreat for young men who are open to the call to priesthood. This retreat serves as a point on the road for young disciples as they gather information and seek to discern their vocation well.

Father Nick Adam

I try to send as many guys on this retreat as possible each year because it is a great way to see what seminary life is really like. Seminarians are not ‘normal’ in many ways: they schedule their life around prayer and Mass, and that’s not the norm. But they are very ‘normal’ in other ways. They have hobbies and interests far beyond the pews. They love to build good community and spend time having fun. In some ways, the seminary is the place where men go to learn a more virtuous ‘normal.’ In the secular world, we learn many things that seem normal but are actually damaging to our consciences and our souls. Bad language is thrown around like it’s nothing, and vicious behavior is talked about on a sliding scale depending on the audience.

In the seminary men are normal, but they have been invited to ‘Come and See’ a new way of living as they are challenged to rise above the small-ness of a life focused on self and move toward a life lived for God. That focus could lead them toward the ultimate end of priestly ordination, but even if it doesn’t, they are shown a way of living that helps them be the virtuous men that our society needs. At the ‘come and see’ retreat, visitors get a look at this way of life firsthand. They see the ‘normal-ness’ of the seminarians but also they are inspired by the different way of life they have voluntarily chosen.

I hope that we will have a great group of men going to the ‘Come and See’ this spring. Please pray that the men who are being called to this event have the courage to reach out to me and overcome the obstacles that can sometimes appear when something important is happening. Pray that many more men will want to follow Jesus wherever he leads them.

Father Nick Adam, vocation director

(Father Nick Adam can be contacted at