Called by name

Editor’s note: Father Nick Adam was on retreat at press time. He will return in our next edition. Enjoy this summary of upcoming Vocations events.

Father Nick hosted a Vocations Summit at St. Francis Madison on Tuesday, Jan. 11 to gather together discerners and vocation supporters to network and learn more about what the Vocations department will be offering this year.
A replay of the event can be viewed on the Diocese Facebook page at

Vocations Calendar

Below is the preliminary calendar Father Nick shared at the Vocations Summit to help discerners and volunteers plan for events this year. Please let him know if you have men/women who would be interested and he will add them to his contact lists so they are in the loop:

February/March 2022
– Young Women’s Nun Run to Hanceville/Nashville/Alton, Illinois

April 8-10, 2022
– Young Men’s Seminary Come and See – St. Joseph Seminary College, Covington, Louisiana

June 3-5, 2022
Chosen Men’s and Women’s Discernment Weekend (College Age and Over) – St. Joseph Abbey and Seminary College, Covington, Louisiana

Summer 2022
– Quo Vadis Summer Discernment Days (Young Men Ages 15-25) -– Our Lady of Hope, Chatawa, Mississippi

Fall 2022

  • Third annual Homegrown Harvest Festival and Fundraiser

November 18-20, 2022
Quo Vadis Fall Discernment Days (with the Diocese of Baton Rouge, for Young Men Ages 15-25) – Camp Abbey, Covington, Louisiana

Save the Date

Deacon Andrew Bowden’s Priestly Ordination will be on Saturday, May 14 at 10:30 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle in Jackson.

Carlisle Beggerly’s ordination to the Diaconate (transitional) will be on Saturday, June 4 at 10:30 a.m. at Immaculate Conception West Point, Carlisle’s home parish.

If you are interested in learning more about religious orders or vocations to the priesthood and religious life, visit or email

Called by name

The road to priesthood is a long-haul. Once a man is accepted as a seminarian for the diocese, he can spend anywhere from 6-9 years in preparation for ordained ministry. During those years, he must be docile to the Holy Spirit and to the instruction of the church in order to be well-prepared to serve the People of God in his diocese. Priestly formation focuses on four dimensions of development: human, spiritual, intellectual and pastoral. In the next four issues I will take each of these dimensions and break it down.

Father Nick Adam
Father Nick Adam

            The human dimension is the “everyday” dimension of the man. What habits/character traits/virtues of a candidate create a bridge between himself and his flock as he helps to lead them to the Lord? What habits/character traits/vices create a stumbling block? This is the most basic part of priestly formation, and the human dimension is developed with the most basic of requirements in the seminary. Do you wake up on time for prayer? Are you pleasant at the breakfast table? What are your conversation skills? Are you comfortable speaking with someone who is much older/younger than you?

            Everyone will be at a different stage of development when they enter the seminary, but we all have traits that we can hone and develop as we seek to better relate to our surroundings. I believe that one of the most important traits that a man seeking priesthood must have is self-awareness. If we are humbly aware of our struggles and imperfections and we are honest about them, then we can move forward in peace and really seek to find the Lord in that struggle for improvement, but if we seek to hide our flaws from others and act like they are not there, then this is a recipe for misery, both for ourselves or those around us.

            The seminary is a place where honest and open communication about human formation is encouraged. Seminarians are encouraged to “fraternally correct” their peers if they witness a human formation issue themselves. Candidates regularly meet with a formation adviser who serves as a mirror for the man as he lives in the community, and yearly self-evaluations and faculty evaluations provide updates on progress. Human formation, however, continues for a lifetime. We are all called to be (as Bishop Robert Barron would term it) “great-souled,” men and women who are open to others and serve as witnesses to Christ’s love in the world. Human formation in the seminary provides many practical tools for men to be good, well-adjusted and helpful priests, but that work must continue beyond ordination.

Called by name

I have been very grateful to hear from many parish groups, priests, parishioners, and others who want to send Christmas greetings to our seminarians. I spent the early days of December visiting with our six men and they are all doing very well. All of the seminarians will get a well-deserved winter break, but I’ve been very pleased that all of them want to dive into parish life while also spending time with their families and friends. Please tell our men hello and encourage them to keep working hard if you see them in your parish this Christmas.

In his book Priests for the Third Millennium, Cardinal Timothy Dolan writes about the virtues that a diocesan priest must have to properly care for his people. A man must develop virtues like humility, fidelity, courtesy, integrity, simplicity of life and joy in order to minister effectively as a diocesan priest. I am very proud of our seminarians for the dedication they have displayed to their formation. Each one of them has different gifts, strengths and weaknesses, but they are all trying to develop these virtues that are so necessary to caring for God’s people.

As a short update on their status…Grayson Foley is our youngest seminarian and will complete his 2nd year of formation this spring. His priestly ordination would be in the Spring of 2028. Will Foggo has two less years of formation than Grayson since he had already completed three years of undergraduate work at Mississippi State. Will’s priestly ordination would be in the Spring of 2026. Ryan Stoer and Tristan Stovall are past the halfway mark of formation. They are scheduled for priestly ordination in Spring 2024. Our “senior” seminarians include Carlisle Beggerly of West Point. Carlisle’s diaconate ordination is set for June 4, 2022, and he will be ordained a priest in Spring 2023. Deacon Andrew Bowden’s priestly ordination is set for May 14, 2022 at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle. Deacon Andrew grew up at St. Jude in Pearl.

Thank you for your constant prayers and encouragement for these men. I am encouraged by the way they are using their talents and are courageously offering their lives to the Lord. Pray that they continue to develop the virtues a diocesan priest needs to serve you the best they can when, God willing, they come to their ordination day.

From left to right: Deacon Andrew Bowden, Carlisle Beggerly, Ryan Stoer, Grayson Foley, Will Foggo, Tristan Stovall and Bishop Joseph Kopacz. (Photo courtesy of Father Nick Adam)

Called by name

From Nov. 19-21, about 20 young men, open to the possibility of a call to the priesthood, gathered at Camp Abbey in Covington, Louisiana to learn more about discernment, at Quo Vadis II retreat. The event was a big success!

This series of retreats that we are offering as a diocese are opportunities for young men to build community with others who take their faith seriously. After having a diocese-only event this past summer at Our Lady of Hope in Chatawa, this latest event included youth and young adults as well as leadership from our diocese and the Diocese of Baton Rouge. Father Josh Johnson, Vocation Director for Baton Rouge, contacted me over the summer about the possibility of collaborating, and I was very excited to do so.

Father Nick Adam
Father Nick Adam

The weekend included talks on vocations, prayer, and discernment by yours truly, as well as Father Josh and some of the seminarians from each diocese. The participants also were able to have a Q&A session with all the seminarians of Jackson and Baton Rouge.

As usual, however, the most important time was spent having fun and praying as a community of believers and seekers. I thought that it really helped having another diocese participate as it increased the number of participants and also brought new ideas and talents to the forefront in planning and executing the weekend.

I was also grateful that Father Aaron Williams and several youth ministers from our diocese joined me in leading our young men through the weekend. We had a beautiful Sunday Mass for Christ the King along with a Eucharistic procession which kicked off the Year of the Eucharist in moving fashion. I left that weekend with some ideas about how to continue helping young people discern throughout the year. I know that those who participated would jump at the chance to build community and pray together on a more regular basis, and not just on retreat every few months, and so this Advent is an opportunity for me to prepare for more regular offerings in the New Year.

Even during a year of pandemic, we have been able to offer our young church discernment opportunities that have invigorated their faith and helped them understand the importance of following the Lord’s will for their life. I trust that eventually this will bear fruit in priestly vocations and vocations to religious life. As always please keep this intention in mind when you pray and thank you for your support of the Department of Vocations.

Called by Name

The culture of vocations continues to grow. As I asked young men around the diocese if they wanted to attend our upcoming Quo Vadis discernment retreat, I was really encouraged about two things: 1) most of them really wanted to attend, even if for some reason they couldn’t, because 2) they had either heard about our first QV in the summer from their friends or they had attended it and really enjoyed building community during those few days. So as of last check about 10 guys are going to attend our next retreat which will be held the weekend before Thanksgiving. The momentum is building, and we are able to offer these events free of charge because of the generosity that you have shown over the past year.

Father Nick Adam
Father Nick Adam

            When you gave to the 2nd Collection for Vocations back in August, you helped me offer this retreat in November. When you donated to the Homegrown Harvest Festival in October you helped foot the bill for our six current seminarians as they continue their priestly formation. Every time you give to this cause, however much it is, it pushes me to keep going. It helps me to remember that my job is not just to find anyone, but to encourage young men who are being called to answer that call to serve you. Your generosity has helped me to purchase a boatload of books that I plan to distribute to all of our deaneries in the coming year. I got some good ideas from other Vocation Directors of rural dioceses, and I hope to equip our pastors and parish leaders with some good resources to help them cultivate vocations so they can send them my way.

            I’ve been getting inspiration these last few weeks from the book Priests for the Third Millennium. The book is a collection of conferences delivered by Cardinal Timothy Dolan when he was Rector of the North American College in Rome. The talks encourage his seminarians to build up many different priestly virtues in order to serve their people well. These virtues include humility, fidelity, obedience, courtesy, integrity, patience and joy. I have been taking some of our discerners through parts of this book as a way to help them discover whether God is calling them to serve as diocesan priests. If we are not forming men with these virtues, they will not serve you the way you need to be served, and so I ask for your prayers for me, that I have the insight and courage that I need to give our discerners and seminarians the tools they need to serve you the way you deserve, to honor the generous support you have given them by serving you with true, priestly virtue.

            As Thanksgiving Day nears, I will be sure to give thanks to God for all of you. Thank you for caring so deeply about the future of the church. I do not take your support for granted, and neither do our seminarians and discerners. If you have any questions or concerns that you would like to bring to my attention, you can always contact me via email at Happy Thanksgiving!

Called by Name

While this is officially “Vocations Awareness Week,” here in the Diocese of Jackson we are dedicated to the fact that all of us should be open to the will of God in our lives, and rooted in prayer and relationship with the Lord, we seek to live out whatever the call ends up being. We are vocationally aware every day.

Father Nick Adam
Father Nick Adam

            Kathleen McMullin is a shining example of that. I remind you that Kathleen entered the community of the Franciscan Sisters of the Martyr St. George (Alton, Illinois) in early September. The call to consecrated life and the dedication to living out the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience is a call to live like Christ in a radical way.

Kathleen is discerning a call that in many ways provides her with more temporal challenges than the call to diocesan priesthood. As a diocesan priest, I can own things. If I want to go to the store, or to get some take-out, I can, and I can drive my own car there to boot. For Kathleen and vowed religious, everything they have is shared in common.

At the Benedictine monastery where I attended seminary it was always funny to see the monks fully habited driving back onto campus in random “community” vehicles that had to be “checked out” from their superior. This call to radical poverty is a path to freedom, however, and it gives Kathleen and her brothers and sisters the power to witness to a materialistic world that there is more to life than what we own. She has discerned that her call is to be in that community because she is confident in God’s love for her and she knows that no matter what happens, God will bring forth greater fulfillment in her life than anything else the world has to offer. She trusts that God has asked her to live and discern in that community for a reason, and I am so excited to see what the Lord has in store for her.

            Kathleen is in her late-20s, and she has been “vocationally aware,” for a very long time. She stayed open to God’s will while she graduated from high school, and college, and was trained as an occupational therapist, and finally she received the “go ahead” from the Lord to go deeper, to take a leap, and to trust him more fully. She was, and is, supported by a community of believers who inspire her and who are inspired by her. The fact that she remained open to this call and she was eventually able to respond to the Lord in such a beautiful way is a testament to the “Vocation Awareness” that is present in our diocese.

The greatest way we can remain “aware” is to pray for more vocations, and to pray for specific people in our community who we know are either thinking about priesthood or religious life or would make excellent priests and religious. Thank you for remaining vigilant and for continuing to beg the Lord of the harvest to send out more laborers into the field.

                                                                                       – Father Nick Adam

If you are interested in learning more about religious orders or vocations to the priesthood and religious life, please email Father Nick Adam at

Kathleen McMullin is pictured on the far left on a visit earlier in 2021 to the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George community in Alton, Illinois. McMullin entered the community in early September this year.

Called by Name

In mid-October, I spent a couple of eventful days at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. On Wednesday, Oct. 13 Ryan Stoer and Tristan Stovall were instituted to the order of acolyte. Acolyte institution is the final step before ordination to Holy Orders as a deacon. Men who are instituted to this order are given the opportunity to serve the Mass and even purify the vessels following Mass. Prior to acolyte institution candidates for the priesthood are instituted as lectors. Ryan and Tristan have been joy-filled witnesses to the formation process from the beginning of their time in the seminary. Please keep them and their families in your prayers.

Father Nick Adam
Father Nick Adam

The day after that joyous occasion I was surprised by some monumental news in the life of Notre Dame Seminary. The longtime rector of NDS, Father Jim Wehner, had already announced that this would be his 10th and final year leading the community as he would return to serve in his home diocese of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and on Oct. 14 NDS announced that Father Josh Rodrigue would succeed Father Wehner in that post. I was very pleased to hear this news. Father Wehner has been an incredible leader at the seminary, and I believe that Father Rodrigue will be able to keep the momentum going in New Orleans. Father Josh taught me during part of my time in the seminary, and he has been a great support to many men who have been recently ordained to the priesthood.

My time at the seminary was a time of great joy and being back for a couple of days was a great reminder that while this is no longer my home it remains a great one for the men who are seeking to know whether they are called to be priests. In the coming days I plan on visiting the other seminary that serves our priestly candidates, St. Joseph Seminary College in Covington, and I look forward to checking in on our two youngest seminarians, Will Foggo and Grayson Foley. Thank you as always for your support of our vocations department. Our final fundraising total from the Homegrown Harvest Festival was $81,177. All of these funds will go toward the education of our future priests as well as programs and events to help others discern whether they are called to the seminary or religious community to follow God’s call to Holy Orders or religious life.

Called by Name

Each September the National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors (NCDVD) convenes for a series of talks and workshops to help priests like me. One presentation that stood out was entitled “The Priests We Need Today,” which was delivered by Dr. Edward Sri.

Dr. Sri is a well-known theologian but, in this presentation, he spoke from his perspective as a husband and a father. He encouraged us as vocation directors to help our seminarians become missionary disciples. We do not need priests who are going to sit behind a desk and lead in abstract ways. Pope Francis is clearly calling priests to “go out,” and encounter those who may find themselves on the “outside looking in.”

 Dr. Sri also reminded us that witnesses are much more effective than teachers in this day and age. We can eloquently explain the faith in a homily, but if we are not living like Jesus none of our words will have any weight. Dr. Sri asked us to train men who “live out of their own encounter with God’s word.” He also asked us to form seminarians who are excellent spiritual fathers because they know their people. He provided the example of Pope John Paul II who spent so much time encountering young people, married couples, and all of his parishioners as a priest and continued to do so as a bishop and finally as pope.

Father Nick Adam
Father Nick Adam

So, how are we going to do this? That’s the question that popped into my head as I listened to Dr. Sri. Well, we are doing some great things already. I’ve told you about our Quo Vadis Young Men’s Retreat this past summer. That was great as our seminarians got to take leadership roles and mentor the men who participated. Several of our seminarians are a part of relief efforts on the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. All of our seminarians are encouraged to take an active role in the seminary communities that they live in. I rejoice when I see our seminarians cultivating meaningful relationships with parishioners and families that they meet on their summer assignments and at other times as they visit parishes and get to know the diocese, and I believe that this is where our formation program needs to continue to grow. I am working with Bishop Kopacz, the Chancery staff and priests in our parishes to help give our seminarians more opportunities to know you and to minister to you. The only way they can discern whether or not they are called to be a missionary priest in this missionary diocese is to get practice, and so this is what I need to facilitate as vocation director.

  Thank you for your continued support of our men. I hope you are able to attend our 2nd Annual Homegrown Harvest Festival which will be held on Oct. 2, 2021. All proceeds from this event will go toward helping our seminarians become the missionary disciples the church needs and toward finding more men and women who desire to follow the Lord’s call to priesthood and religious life. You can log onto to sponsor the event or buy individual tickets. Or call me at (601) 969-4020 if you have any questions. God bless you all for your commitment to your faith and to the church.

Called by Name

A priest once told me that Vocation ministry is like watching a tree grow minute by minute; you don’t see immediate results, but that doesn’t mean the growth isn’t happening. That priest was Fr. Mark Shoffner, and he told me that just a couple of weeks ago!

Father Nick Adam
Father Nick Adam

I appreciated that agricultural analogy very much and have been reflecting on it ever since because it mirrors my experience as I look back on the last year of vocation promotion. We just sent out our new poster to parishes and schools in the diocese featuring the faces of our six seminarians, and while there are no new additions this year, there has certainly been growth in our program. I have been so appreciative of the prayers and support of people that I run into across the diocese who know what we are doing and are offering their support in whatever way they can. I look forward to reaching out in new ways in the coming weeks and months to these stakeholders. The awareness of our need for good men from our soil and the excitement that is building among our people is palpable, and I know that growth, though sometimes silent, is occurring.

We also do have our first candidate for women’s religious life from our diocese in quite some time entering formation right now! Ms. Kathleen McMullin has just departed to begin her formation with the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George in Alton, Illinois. The mission of this order is to “make the merciful love of Christ visible.” They do this through working in healthcare and education across the world. Kathleen continues to be a great light in our diocese even though she is now a few hours away. Bishop Kopacz and I were honored to attend a “going-away” party hosted by some friends of the McMullins in the Jackson area, and it was really inspiring to see how much love and support she has as she witnesses to the call of Christ to religious life.

Please continue to pray for vocations and also encourage people who you believe may have a call. Don’t be afraid to tell them that you see gifts in them that could serve the Church well. You’d be surprised how many young people have never been encouraged to think about priesthood or religious life and therefore have never believed they were capable of it. I also remind you to please come to our 2nd Annual Homegrown Harvest Festival on October 2nd at St. Paul’s in Flowood. This event will bring together vocation supporters from across the diocese for a night of music, food and fun with our seminarians! You can buy your tickets or sponsor the event by going to I appreciate your consideration as we want to give as many excellent resources as possible to our future priests and religious.

Kathleen McMullin
RIDGELAND – Father Nick Adam gives Kathleen McMullin a blessing at her farewell party on Saturday, Aug. 21. McMullin departed the diocese to begin her formation with the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George in Alton, Illinois. (Photo courtesy of Father Nick Adam)

Called by Name

Thanks to all the pastors and parish staffs who hosted seminarians this summer. It is vital that our future priests have

Father Nick Adam
Father Nick Adam

positive experiences working with the People of God in our diocese, so thanks to St. Joseph Starkville, St. Paul Vicksburg, St. Peter Jackson, St. Joseph Greenville and Our Lady of Victories Cleveland for hosting our men. Also thanks to Father Scott Thomas, Father Mark Shoffner and the staff at St. Mary Basilica in Natchez as they continue to work with Deacon Andrew Bowden during his internship, which will last until mid-October.

Our 2nd Annual Homegrown Harvest Festival is set for Oct. 2 at St. Paul in Flowood. This celebration of vocations and seminarians in our diocese will be a great opportunity for the people of the diocese get to know our current seminarians and also learn how they can support vocations in the coming year. Our fundraising goal is $100,000 to go toward our operating budget for the year. I will be sending out a Flocknote with much more information very soon, but if you want to buy tickets or sponsor the event you can go to – right now!

Deacon Andrew Bowden is scheduled to be ordained to the presbyterate at 10:30 a.m. on May 14, 2022 at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle; Carlisle Beggerly will be ordained to the diaconate in preparation for priesthood at 10:30 a.m. on June 4, 2022 at his home parish – Immaculate Conception in West Point. Please mark these dates on your calendar!

Our Quo Vadis discernment days were such a hit this summer that we are going to be offering another young men’s discernment retreat Friday, Nov. 19 through Sunday, Nov. 21. The Diocese of Baton Rouge will also be taking part. I will be extending invitations to young men that I know may be interested, but if there are young men that you want to invite, please let me know and I will get them all the information!

If you want to know more about becoming a priest or religious brother or sister, please contact Father Nick at 601-969-4020 or You can also learn more about vocations by visiting to

Follow vocations on Facebook and Instagram: @jacksonpriests