By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
The urge to connect with others and a deep sense of service has guided Deacon Adam B. Carrico’s journey to the priesthood.
It took him many years and numerous struggles to answer the call and complete the journey that has ultimately led him to his presbyteral ordination on Dec. 19, the young deacon said during a recent interview with The Record.
Deacon Carrico, 32, will be ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz this Saturday at the Cathedral of the Assumption, 433 S. Fifth Street, at 11 a.m.
His call to the priesthood began when he was in third grade at St. Aloysius School in Pewee Valley, Ky., he said. The example of his parish priest, the late Father John Dickman, made a lasting impression.
Father Dickman’s simple presence and “the humanity of him” left an indelible mark on Deacon Carrico, he said, noting, “I wouldn’t be here without him.”
His call to serve emerged in his teen-age years, when he spent his free time at Friendship Manor, a nursing home in Oldham County. He began working there in order to help pay his tuition at St. Xavier High School and later at the University of Louisville.
During the eight years he worked at the home, Deacon Carrico said he began to feel called to help people.
“There was an aspect of wanting to serve people,” he said, noting that the experience was a “kind of discernment.”
He also had a realization about this call to service: He “couldn’t do it all on his own,” he said. “I needed a way to incorporate myself into something larger.”
A way to do that, he thought, was through the priesthood.
After he completed a degree in history at U of L in 2006, Deacon Carrico began to seriously consider the priesthood. He researched the Benedictines and planned a visit to St. Meinrad Archabbey.
“I felt a sense of peace that I hadn’t felt in a long time,” after visiting the archabbey, he said, calling it a life-altering visit.
When he returned home, he contacted the archdiocese’s Vocation Office and soon after enrolled at St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology.
Just five months prior to Deacon Carrico’s diaconate ordination, he lost his younger brother, Kurtis, to suicide. That was in 2013 and it had a profound impact on Deacon Carrico’s life, influencing the last several years of his time in the seminary.
While he already had an interest in counseling and reaching out to those who were hurting, Deacon Carrico said his brother’s death has deepened that desire.
He would like to use his personal experience of grief and tragedy to help others who find themselves in the same situation.
“I understand the darkness people can be in. I do know the struggles people go through. I tend to try to speak to people in a way that says ‘I’m human. I’m not perfect,’ ” he said.
Deacon Carrico said he has thought about furthering his education in the field of counseling in order to assist parishioners who are struggling.
Since his graduation in May from St. Meinrad, he has served at St. Gabriel the Archangel Church in Fern Creek.
He is looking forward to celebrating the sacrament of reconciliation as a priest, he said, adding that he wants to let people know “they do not have to be scared” to come to confession.
“A lot of the experiences and the depths people can find themselves in, I feel that I can connect with them in those moments on a human level,” he said.
Two priests in particular have had a significant impact on Deacon Carrico’s vocational journey, he noted. Following his brother’s death and his diaconate ordination, Deacon Carrico spent a few months away from school to process his grief and to deal with other personal issues. He credits Father Jeffrey Shooner, who at the time was the director of the Vocation Office, and Benedictine Father Denis Robinson, president-rector of St. Meinrad, with helping him through that tumultuous time.
“When things were really tough — and it hasn’t always been the easiest — they were there,” he said. “Their patience and understanding and guidance have kept me moving forward.”
Deacon Carrico has been assigned as an associate pastor of St. Gabriel. His first Mass of Thanksgiving will be Dec. 20 at St. Aloysius Church in Pewee Valley, Ky., at 5 p.m.