Diocese welcomes two priests, two deacons

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – The Diocese of Jackson ordained four men this spring, two as transitional deacons and two as priests.
People were standing in every available nook and cranny of the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle on the Feast of the Visitation, Thursday, May 31, to witness the ordination of Nick Adam and Aaron Williams to the priesthood.
The men come from very different backgrounds, but both answered yes to the call to serve their church. Father Adam’s family moved around. He is the youngest of eight and had already started a career in broadcasting when he first even considered the priesthood. Father Williams has one brother, has lived in Jackson his whole life and started serving at the altar at age five in hopes to get where he is today.
Family, however, played a huge role in the lives of both men. At the end of his first Mass, Father Williams invited his nieces, Ava and Hadley to place a bouquet of flowers at the feet of the statue of Mary. He then presented his mother with the cloth he had used the night before to clean the oil of Chrism off his hands, explaining to the congregation a tradition that calls for Julia Williams to keep the cloth so she can be buried with it wrapped around her own hands — a symbol of thanksgiving for the gift of her son to the church. In fact, Father Williams had a scripture verse embroidered onto it before his ordination so he could present it as a personal gift.
Nicki Michaud taught Father Williams when he was a boy at the cathedral. “It’s just amazing. He was such an awesome little boy and he questioned everything. He was a bit rowdy from time to time, but he would come and visit me even when I wasn’t his teacher anymore.” She spoke of his great love for music and the organ.
In addition to his theology studies, Father Williams is pursuing a degree in liturgy. “I think a lot of people are searching for the sacred and I think you can draw people into that sacred moment visually and through hearing and participating in the liturgy – (Father) Aaron has a great gift for that,” said diocesan Chancellor and friend Mary Woodward
Father Adam’s seven siblings and nine of their twelve children filled several pews in the cathedral for ordination and then at St. Richard for Father Adam’s first Mass. Infants, toddlers and big kids beamed as they watched their uncle profess his solemn vows.
Some of the students and families from St. Richard School, where Father Adam served his diaconate year and where he will serve as parochial vicar, attended the ordination as well.
Cy Steven, who will move up from St. Richard to Madison St. Joseph School this fall, attended the ordination with his family. He and his sister Ava Kathryn were altar servers for Father Adam’s first Mass.
“Father Nick is always laughing and smiling and I love to talk to him. He asked me to altar serve at his first Mass. I was excited that he was about to become a priest and I had a birthday on May 30th so I asked my mom if she would take me to the ordination for my birthday. It was really long but it was really worth it”
(Editor’s note: See personality profiles of the new priests on pages 10-11.)

Two ordained as priests

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Father Nick Adam and Father Aaron Williams were ordained to the priesthood on the Feast of the Visitation, Thursday, May 31, at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle. Both are local vocations. Father Williams grew up at the Cathedral and graduated from Jackson St. Richard and Madison St. Joseph schools. While Father Adam grew up out of state, he first felt the call to the priesthood while working in Meridian so he calls St. Patrick and St. Joseph his home parishes.
At the ordination Bishop Joseph Kopacz announced that Father Adam has been assigned as parochial vicar at Jackson St. Richard Parish and Father Williams has been assigned as parochial vicar at Greenville St. Joseph Parish. Father Williams will also teach at St. Joseph School.
Both men also celebrated their first Masses of Thanksgiving the following day. Father Williams celebrated a votive Mass of the Sacred Heart at 12:05 Friday at the Cathedral while Father Adam celebrated his Mass at 6 p.m. at St. Richard Parish.
Mark Shoffner is set to be ordained a transitional deacon on the day this paper is delivered to homes, Friday, June 9, at his home parish of Greenville St. Joseph. Deacon Adolfo Suarez Pasillas was ordained in Mexico earlier this year. Deacon Shoffner will serve his transitional year at Gluckstadt St. Joseph Parish while Deacon Pasillas will serve at Jackson St. Therese Parish.
Full coverage of all four of this year’s ordinations will appear in the next edition of Mississippi Catholic, set to publish Friday, June 29.
In Bishop column you can read the bishop’s ordination homily or click here.