New posters are coming soon! Each year I’m excited to publish a new seminarian poster with the happy faces of our current seminarians. I love to see how guys ‘move up the ranks.’ For example, in 2020 and 2021, Grayson Foley was in the last spot on the poster and now he’s fourth in line (almost on the top row!) as he continues to progress through the program. Will Foggo is now second on the list, and it seemed like yesterday that he was second to last! It’s also fun to see when guys get their ‘collar.’ Deacon Tristan Stovall spent three years on the poster collar-less, but now he’s been wearing his roman collar for years as he makes the final approach to priestly ordination.
One of the biggest changes this year is the way that the ‘classes’ are listed on the poster. In years past, we designated the seminarians according to their academic standing. A seminarian listed as 2nd Philosophy meant that he was in his second year of philosophy studies. But the US Bishops recently approved a new Program for Priestly Formation, and instead of focusing on the academic standing of each seminarian, they are asking us to see their formation through the lens of ‘stages.’
The first stage that is required for seminarians now is the Propaedeutic Stage, or preparatory stage. During this time, the seminarian learns how to be a seminarian, and his class load is less than a typical undergraduate student. Once he clears this stage of formation, he moves onto the Discipleship Stage. During this time, the seminarian is expected to be growing in Christian virtue as a student of Jesus, the High Priest. He needs to show growth in charity, and of course continue to pass his classes as they start to ramp up to a normal undergraduate load. By the end of this stage, this man should be a public man of prayer and virtue, and someone who is showing real potential to be a pastor in the church.
The next step is the Configurative Stage, where the man receives Candidacy (he starts to wear the Roman collar), and he is now a public man of the church. He is being configured through continued study, prayer and practice into a man who is not only a disciple, but a shepherd. Once he has completed this stage, the seminarian is ready for diaconate ordination, or the Pastoral Synthesis Stage. During his time as a deacon, the seminarian uses all that he has learned in seminary formation and applies it to his life in the diocese and in a specific parish. Using the language of the new program Deacon Tristan, for example is in the Pastoral Synthesis Stage of his journey to priesthood, instead of his 4th Year of Theology.
It may seem tedious to change this language, but it is certainly helpful for me as I walk with our seminarians. I need to make sure I’m not just worried about whether they pass their classes, but I need to make sure I’m preparing them to go to the next stage of discernment. So far, I’ve heard good things from our men regarding these changes to their formation, and I believe the church is right to focus on formation, rather than simply completion of academic requirements.
God won’t move a ‘parked car.’ Father Brett Brannen of the Diocese of Savannah wrote a very popular book on priestly discernment called To Save a Thousand Souls. In the book, he encourages all young people to move toward their vocation in life. He writes that “God won’t move a parked car,” meaning that the Lord honors our freedom, and if we are not willing to start seriously discerning our vocation, then he won’t force us into a decision. The longer we wait, however, the more we deprive ourselves of the grace that God gives to those who have courageously chosen a vocation. It is important to remember that the church calls us to give ourselves fully to a vocation, a call to another, at some stage of our life. This call includes a lifelong commitment that we make solemnly before the Lord and His church. This call can be to marriage, or the priesthood/consecrated life.
It has become popular to delay making a choice on a vocation until we are a little more ‘mature,’ but it is important to remember that maturity does not magically happen just because we get older. I know some folks who are in their early 20s who are way more mature than I was at that age, and while they don’t have ‘life experience,’ they do have a real direction in their life. Faith Formation is more important than life-experience, and when young people are formed in a strong life of faith in their families and parishes from a young age, they are able to move toward life-long vocational commitments faster, and this is a good thing!
On the other hand, some people who delay making vocational commitments in the name of getting more life experience risk stunting their formation even more because they don’t progress in maturity, but only in age, and the extra time they give themselves is spent de-forming their consciences rather than preparing them for the lifelong sacrificial love that our vocation demands.
God won’t move ‘a parked car.’ He won’t force us to grow in our life with him. If we don’t have a solid life of prayer and participate in the sacraments, then we risk missing out on the vocation that the Lord has called us to. Please encourage the young people in your life to grow in maturity. Challenge them to live virtuously and help them to understand that God will help them when they ask for it. All young people should be praying to know their vocation – praying to know who they are called to give their life for. When we move toward the Lord and we ask Him to help us, we will be challenged to do things we never would have chosen ourselves, and yet we become fully alive because God gives us the grace to do things we never would have been capable of otherwise.
Father Nick Adam
For more info on vocations email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Save the date: Homegrown Harvest – Saturday, Oct. 21
If you want to bring together good men and women from Mississippi and encourage them to seek the will of God in their life, consider being a sponsor or buying tickets for this event. You can register by visiting bit.ly/HGHarvest2023. Remember Burse Club members receive a free ticket!
It is Back-to-School time for our seminarians! We have seven men studying for the diocese right now. This year is the first year of a new requirement for men studying to be priests.
The Bishops of the United States have put together a propaedeutic year – which is kind of like a year of basic training for new seminarians. The men in this propaedeutic program will focus less on the academic requirements of priestly formation and spend the year focusing on growing in the good habits that are necessary to be a good seminarian, and one day, a good priest. Focuses include building a stable life of prayer, building good friendships, working on some personal challenges based on one’s background and staying in good physical shape.
I don’t know about you, but I would welcome a year to focus on building up great habits and breaking down bad ones, so I pray that this is a blessed year for these men.
Our two new seminarians are taking part in the propaedeutic year. Wilson Locke (St. Paul Vicksburg) is a Starkville native who has spent the last three years as the youth director at St. Paul’s in Vicksburg. He is a convert to Catholicism and came into the church while at St. Joseph in Starkville. He is entering the propaedeutic program at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. Francisco Maldonado (Immaculate Heart of Mary, Greenwood) is a native of Houston, Texas, who just finished with his freshman year at Mississippi Valley State. After his year at Valley, Francisco decided to apply to the seminary and desires to discern whether he is called to our mission diocese.
We have five returning seminarians this coming year. Deacon Tristan Stovall (Holy Cross Philadelphia) is set to be ordained a priest on May 18, 2024, and he is currently at St. Mary in Natchez on his extended deacon assignment. John Le (St. Francis Brookhaven) just completed his hospital ministry summer and is returning to Sacred Heart Seminary in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. John has extensive formation experience as a Jesuit, so we are working on a schedule with him regarding how much ‘more school’ he’ll need. Will Foggo (St. Paul Flowood) is about ‘halfway done,’ as he enters his fourth year of formation in the seminary. EJ Martin and Grayson Foley (St. Richard Jackson) are both five years away from ordination. (God willing of course!)
Ryan Stoer (St. Richard Jackson) has decided to transfer to the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. I’ve worked closely with Ryan on this decision, and while I am certainly sad to see him go, Santa Fe is getting a high-quality seminarian and future priest. One of the toughest parts of this job is being ‘detached,’ and open to the Lord’s will and not just our own needs. I ask that we all pray for Ryan and wish him all the best and that God’s will be done!
We certainly wish all of our seminarians the very best this school year. Please keep them all in prayer!
– Father Nick Adam, vocation director
For more info on vocations email: email@example.com. Save the date: Homegrown Harvest – Saturday, Oct. 21
Our summer immersion trip is nearing its end and we are all working to continue to progress in our capacity for Spanish. The experiences here continue to be unique and rich.
For the Fourth of July, we were invited to cook traditional American cuisine and we all chipped in to buy fireworks and enjoy a great show in the evening. Deacon Tristan cooked the best gumbo I have ever had (maybe it’s because I haven’t been in my home country for six weeks, but it was amazing nonetheless) and we had a great evening.
One of the best aspects of this program is that our teachers stay at the monastery with us. They eat meals with us and we get to know them and their families. At the Fourth of July party, the families of all the teachers were invited. It was a great evening and a great witness to the teachers and their families of the joy of the priesthood and the joy of our seminarians. I was able to give an in depth lesson on how to play cornhole (I never knew how many rules their were to that game until I had to describe them all in Spanish!)
As the program nears its end I am very excited to get home. It’s been a lot of work and there are many challenges that come with living in a different country for a long period of time. The message that continues to come to me in prayer is that I need to embrace the uncomfortable. It is good, sometimes, to be uncomfortable because it helps us to stretch ourselves and become who God wants us to be, not just who we are comfortable being. I believe this experience has helped me, and our seminarians, learn that lesson, and this will be a great gift for the rest of our lives.
Many times this summer we have been faced with a choice: we could either turn back to a place of comfort, or keep going. This happened in the classroom, during conversations at meal time, and on excursions. We went on a long hike a little while back that we weren’t expecting to be too arduous, but an hour in we realized that the terrain was going to be really tough. But we kept going, and the beautiful scenery made it all worth it.
Every time we kept speaking Spanish instead of retreating back into English was a moment of grace. Every time we kept trying to listen to the homily even when we didn’t think we’d understand any of it was a moment of growth. Every time we kept walking because that is what the Lord wanted us to do was a moment to grow closer to him and to grow in humility and trust. I learned a lot of Spanish this summer, but I think my reliance and trust in Jesus Christ grew the most.
LLamados por su nombre Por Padre Nick Adam CUERNAVACA, México – Llevamos varias semanas de nuestra excursión a México mientras tres de nuestros seminaristas y yo aprendemos español y nos encontramos con las culturas de la parte central del país. Nuestro día típico durante la semana laboral consiste en cuatro horas de clases que cubren gramática, conversación, cultura e historia. Cada día, dos horas son individuales con un maestro, mientras que las otras dos incluyen conferencias con un grupo y más conversación. Nos hospedamos en una abadía benedictina llamada Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles en un pequeño pueblo dentro de los límites de la ciudad de Cuernavaca. Asistimos a Misa todos los días en el monasterio y nos unimos en oración con los monjes para la Liturgia de las Horas.
CUERNAVACA, México – Los seminaristas Will Foggo y Grayson Foley se pueden ver en el coro, de la abadía benedictina Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, durante la Misa en el Día de la Fiesta de San Benito. (Fotos cortesía del Padre Nick Adam)
Nuestros maestros también viven en los terrenos, por lo que interactuamos con ellos a lo largo del día y los conocemos y aprendemos sobre sus familias y sus experiencias a un nivel más personal. Los fines de semana hemos ido de excursión para conocer las culturas de la región. Nuestro primer fin de semana fue un amplio recorrido por el área metropolitana de la Ciudad de México. El segundo lo pasamos en una pequeña comunidad indígena llamada Cuautla donde trabajamos en una parroquia y visitamos varias de sus 24 capillas misioneras. Como sacerdote con una gran comunidad hispana en su parroquia, ya he visto muchos frutos de este viaje. Debido a que estamos en México, entiendo mucho más acerca de las personas a las que sirvo en casa. Ha sido divertido experimentar cosas aquí que ya experimenté en Mississippi. La comida, las celebraciones y las costumbres aquí me recuerdan a menudo cosas que nuestra comunidad hispana ya hace en la Catedral de San Pedro. También es algo ‘incómodo’ para todos nosotros. Tenemos el desafío de buscar pacientemente las diferencias en la cultura, la comida y otras prácticas , por ejemplo, ¡todavía tengo que encontrar el uso del aire acondicionado! Sin embargo, cada vez que se presenta un desafío, el Señor nos está ayudando a crecer en el amor y perseverar. Estos desafíos fortalecen nuestra determinación de compartir el Evangelio y nos ayudan a comprender más sobre nosotros mismos y sobre el mundo en el que vivimos, y el mundo del que provienen y aprecian nuestros propios feligreses.
CIUDAD DE MÉXICO – (i-d) Will Foggo, Grayson Foley, el diácono Tristan Stovall y el padre Nick Adam, director de vocaciones de la diócesis, en el exterior del Museo de Arte de la Ciudad de México a principios de junio.
Estoy agradecido por aquellos que nos están ayudando a sentirnos como en casa en México. Muy especialmente estoy agradecido por el hermano Francisco, quien es el líder de nuestro grupo y un monje en el monasterio. Es originalmente de España, pero se mudó a la Ciudad de México para trabajar en el centro de la ciudad. Había sido ateo pero su tiempo con los pobres convirtió su corazón. Es una fuente constante de energía y alegría. También estoy muy agradecido con nuestra maestra principal, Bibiana Arroyo. Ella y su equipo están muy dedicados a asegurarse de que nuestra educación sea lo mejor posible y hace un trabajo fabuloso e interactúa con todos los estudiantes y se asegura de que nos sintamos como en casa. He llegado a ser amigo de su marido Jesús, a los dos nos encanta el baloncesto. Nuestro viaje de inmersión de verano está llegando a su fin y todos estamos trabajando para seguir progresando en nuestra capacidad para hablar español. Las experiencias aquí continúan siendo únicas y ricas. Para el 4 de julio, nos invitaron a cocinar comida estadounidense tradicional y todos aportamos para comprar fuegos artificiales y disfrutar de un gran espectáculo por la noche. El diácono Tristan preparó el mejor gumbo que he probado, tal vez sea porque no he estado en mi país de origen durante seis semanas, pero de todos modos fue increíble y tuvimos una gran velada. Uno de los mejores aspectos de este programa es que nuestros maestros se quedan en el monasterio con nosotros. Comen con nosotros y llegamos a conocerlos a ellos y a sus familias. A la fiesta del 4 de julio se invitó a las familias de todos los maestros. Fue una gran velada y un gran testimonio para los docentes y sus familias de la alegría del sacerdocio y la alegría de nuestros seminaristas. Pude dar una lección detallada sobre cómo jugar cornhole, ¡nunca supe cuántas reglas había en ese juego hasta que tuve que describirlas todas en español!
A medida que el programa se acerca a su fin, estoy muy emocionado de llegar a casa. Ha sido mucho trabajo y hay muchos desafíos que conlleva vivir en un país diferente durante un largo período de tiempo. El mensaje que me sigue llegando en oración es que necesito abrazar lo incómodo. Es bueno, a veces, sentirse incómodo porque nos ayuda a estirarnos y convertirnos en lo que Dios quiere que seamos, no solo en lo que nos sentimos cómodos siendo. Creo que esta experiencia me ha ayudado a mí ya nuestros seminaristas a aprender esa lección, y este será un gran regalo para el resto de nuestras vidas. Muchas veces este verano nos hemos enfrentado a una elección: podemos regresar a un lugar cómodo o seguir adelante. Esto sucedió en el salón de clases, durante las conversaciones a la hora de comer y en las excursiones. Hicimos una larga caminata hace un tiempo que no esperábamos que fuera demasiado ardua, pero una hora después nos dimos cuenta de que el terreno iba a ser muy difícil. Pero seguimos adelante, y el hermoso paisaje hizo que todo valiera la pena. Cada vez que seguimos hablando español en lugar de volver al inglés fue un momento de gracia. Cada vez que intentábamos escuchar la homilía, incluso cuando no pensábamos que entenderíamos nada, era un momento de crecimiento. Cada vez que seguíamos caminando, porque eso es lo que el Señor quería que hiciéramos, era un momento para acercarnos a él y crecer en humildad y confianza. Aprendí mucho español este verano, pero creo que mi dependencia y confianza en Jesucristo fue lo que más creció. Todavía queda mucho trabajo por hacer y más desafíos por cumplir. Por favor, manténganme a mí y a nuestros otros tres peregrinos de Jackson en sus oraciones.
We are two weeks into our excursion to Mexico as myself and three of our seminarians learn Spanish and encounter the culture(s) of the central part of the country.
Our typical day during the work week consists of four hours of classes covering grammar, conversation, culture and history. Two hours each day are one-on-one with a teacher while the other two include lectures with a group and more conversation.
We are staying at a Benedictine Abbey called Our Lady of the Angels in a small pueblo within the city limits of Cuernavaca. We attend Mass each day at the monastery and a join in prayer with the monks for the Liturgy of the Hours. Our teachers live on the grounds as well, so we interact with them throughout the day and get to know them and learn about their families and their experiences on a more personal level.
On weekends, we’ve gone on excursions to encounter the cultures of the region. Our first weekend was a wide-spanning tour of the Mexico City metro area. Our second was spent in a small indigenous community called Cuautla where we worked in a parish and visited several of its 24 mission chapels. As a priest with a large Hispanic community in his parish, I have already seen lots of fruit coming from this trip. Because we are in Mexico, I am understanding much more about the people I serve back home. It has been fun to experience things here that I’ve already experienced in Mississippi. The food, the celebrations and the customs here remind me often of things that our Hispanic community at St. Peter’s already does.
It is also somewhat ‘uncomfortable’ for all of us. We are challenged as we seek to patiently encounter the differences in culture, food and other practices (for example, I have yet to encounter the use of air conditioning!) Each time a challenge has presented itself, however, the Lord is helping us grow in love and persevere. These challenges are strengthening our resolve to share the Gospel and helps us understand more about ourselves and about the world we live in, and the world that our own parishioners come from and cherish.
I am grateful for those who are helping us feel at home in Mexico. Most especially I am thankful for Brother Francisco, who is the leader of our group and a monk in the monastery. He is from Spain originally but moved to Mexico City to work in the inner-city. He had been an atheist but his time with the poor converted his heart. He is a constant source of energy and joy.
I am also very thankful to our lead teacher, Bibiana Arroyo. She and her team are very dedicated to making sure that our education is the very best it can be, and she does a fabulous job and interacting with all the students and making sure we are feeling at home. I’ve gotten to be friends with her husband Jesús, we both love basketball. There is still much work to be done, and more challenges to be met. Please keep myself and our other three pilgrims from Jackson in your prayers.
– Father Nick Adam, vocation director
For more info on vocations email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we continue to nurture a culture of vocations in our diocese, we are starting a new initiative to invite more stakeholders to get involved. The Catholic Women’s Burse Club is a ‘meeting-less’ association that invites all Catholic women in the Diocese of Jackson to support our seminarians. We have sent out invitations throughout the diocese, so be on the lookout! A small gift is all it takes to become a member of the Burse Club, and all members will be connected to the Office of Vocations with a monthly report and will be asked to pray for our seminarians. They will also be recognized at our annual Homegrown Harvest Fundraiser each fall.
One of the biggest sources of priestly vocations is parents. If parents encourage and promote priestly life to their sons, then it is a much easier road to the seminary. Unfortunately, the opposite is true as well. It is very challenging for young men when their parents do not support their decision to discover God’s will for them in the seminary. I know that it can be scary as a parent when your children choose to take a “road less traveled,” but God will not be outdone in His generosity. I encourage all parents, and as we are in May, all mothers to please encourage your sons to consider the priesthood. It can be easy to say “we need good priests,” but it is more difficult to proclaim, “…and those good priests can come from our family!”
I am hopeful that the Burse Club will provide helpful information and a wonderful opportunity for women of the diocese to get involved in our quest to bring forth homegrown vocations. We ask for the intercession of the patroness of our diocese, Our Lady of Sorrows, and we are confident that the Lord will bless our efforts. Please consider joining the Catholic Women’s Burse Club. We are rejoicing this month at the ordination to the priesthood of Carlisle Beggerly and the ordination to the transitional diaconate of Tristan Stovall. Kay Beggerly and Ginger Stovall, the mothers of these men, have supported them greatly and have encouraged them every step of the way. This is a great gift and we thank them for giving their sons to the family of the church.
The women of the diocese should be receiving information via mail on the Burse Club in May. If you would like more information on the Burse Club, you can contact the Office of Vocations at (601) 969-4020.
For more info on vocations email: email@example.com.
Back in Spring 2021, I visited the Diocese of Little Rock to discover why they had so many seminarians. For the past several years the diocese had consistently large numbers of seminarians and most of those seminarians came from parishes in the diocese. This was interesting to me since the Diocese of Little Rock has a similar demographic layout to the Diocese of Jackson. The diocese spans the entire state of Arkansas, and other than the parishes in the metro area of the capital, and a couple of university towns, most of the parishes are in rural areas.
When I spoke to Msgr. Scott Friend, then the longtime vocation director of the diocese, he told me that one of the biggest unifying forces for his men was their dedication to learning Spanish and being ready to serve whatever community they needed to upon ordination. Speaking with some of the young priests of the diocese on that trip, they told me how their dedication to learning a second language had galvanized them to see their priesthood through the lens of mission, and this was helpful since they were studying for a mission diocese. They shared with me that learning Spanish created a ‘buy-in’ among the seminarians and helped them to grow in humility and trust of the Lord as they struggled to encounter the People of God in a new way.
As I processed through my visit to Little Rock and I spoke to Bishop Kopacz about the experience, I was sure that language immersion and a dedication to being ready to minister to the growing number of Hispanic Catholics in our diocese needed to be a focus in our formation program.
In Summer 2022, I visited the Benedictine Abbey of Our Lady of the Angels outside of Cuernavaca, Mexico in hopes of finding an immersion program that fit our needs. I visited on Fourth of July weekend as the seminarians in that year’s program in the middle of their studies led by lay teachers and monks from the Abbey. I came away very impressed by the program, and we began to make plans to implement this summer program as a part of our formation plan.
This summer, four of our seminarians and I will depart for Cuernavaca to take part in this program. We will spend two hours each day individually practicing with a teacher, then two hours in small group discussion. We will also be spending regular prayer time and attending Mass with the monastic community in the Abbey. We will also be visiting historical sites around the area, including the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who is the patroness of North America. I am very hopeful that this program will not only equip our seminarians with a much-needed skill in today’s church, but that it will be a great source of fraternal bonding. The Lord meets us whenever we take a risk and trust in Him, and I know that He will be with us in Mexico. Please keep myself, Ryan Stoer, Tristan Stovall, Grayson Foley and Will Foggo in your prayers this summer, and pray to the efforts of these great seminarians will bless them, and our diocese, for many years to come.
Father Nick Adam
For more info on vocations email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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
For more info on vocations email: email@example.com.
Every Palm Sunday weekend, St. Joseph Seminary College hosts a “Come and See” experience for young men. This has been a very important retreat for many of our current and former seminarians because it gives them an up-close look at what seminary life is really like. One of the biggest challenges in vocation promotion is trying to overcome perceptions that we have about seminary formation. I know that before I actually went and saw the seminary, I thought it was much more like a monastery. I expected to see people quietly praying and being very serious all the time. Of course, we all hope that there is lots of prayer in seminary life, and there is, but there is also vibrant community life. This is what is highlighted most clearly at the St. Ben’s Come and See (as I’ve said before, St. Joseph is colloquially known as St. Ben’s since it is a Benedictine monastery!)
The men arrive on Friday night and have a big crawfish boil which some local Knights of Columbus Council put on. The weekend is filled with talks about seminary life, and there are lots of opportunities to play sports throughout the days on campus. The weekend is rounded off with “Emaus walks,” where current seminarians pair off with Come and See participants to give them a listening ear to process what they have seen and heard over the weekend. After this, every goes to Palm Sunday Mass at the Abbey Church on campus. This is the highlight of the weekend as huge palms are waved throughout the sanctuary and the nave of the Church. The monks of St. Joseph Abbey take great care in their Holy Week liturgies, and it is inspiring to the visitors.
I ask you to regularly pray for men discerning the priesthood. There are many obstacles that are placed in front of young men even as they make the first steps in a healthy discernment. Distractions can seem much more distracting, fears can become much more pronounced and sometimes the Lord’s voice can get drowned out by the many voices in the culture which do not prioritize the Lord. We have several young men actively discerning whether the seminary would be right for them right now, please keep them in prayer, and simply pray that God’s will be done! Satan does not want good and holy priests, and he wants to shut off the possibility of priesthood at the earliest moments, so pray a St. Michael prayer and ask the Archangel to intercede as these men consider their call and fight against distractions in their discernment.