March 1, 2021 | Local News

Lisa Adams (left) with her daughter, Kelsey, and husband, Joey. COURTESY OF LISA ADAMS

A firm foundation

Family’s witness, hospitality, led newfound friends to enter the Catholic Church


When the Carrico brothers built a house for Joey and Lisa Adams 10 years ago, they provided a foundation that was not only physical, but also spiritual.

“That family introduced us to things we didn’t know we were missing,” said Lisa, who will enter into full communion with the Catholic Church on Easter 2021, joining Joey and their daughter, Kelsey, who both entered the Church a few years earlier.

Lisa, who is currently undergoing the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) process at St. Jerome Parish in Fancy Farm, explained that their family had contracted with Mike and Paul Carrico – members of a large, local Catholic family – to build their house.

Joey, Lisa and Kelsey developed a deep friendship with the Carrico family, who welcomed them into their own home for a weekly Wednesday night meal and fellowship.

The Adams family’s house, which was built by the Carrico brothers and completed in 2011. COURTESY OF LISA ADAMS

And over the period of time it took to build the Adams’ house, the Carricos provided an example of Catholic joy and hospitality, which made an impression on their new friends.

“They were not pushing Catholicism: they were pushing family, fellowship and love of one another,” said Lisa.

A new beginning

 Lisa was raised Baptist, and at “age 13 or 14” she accepted Jesus and was baptized.

“I just thought it was the best thing in the whole wide world,” said Lisa in a Feb. 4, 2021 phone conversation with The Western Kentucky Catholic.

She still becomes teary-eyed when remembering the experience, and retains vivid memories from the day, including what dress she was wearing, who the preacher was, and that she was baptized with several close girlfriends.

Teenage Lisa wrote about her baptism for an assignment in a high school English class, which she titled “New Beginnings.” She remembers even her teacher being impressed and moved by what she wrote.

“I was a teenager, but I knew that God was speaking to me and I have never regretted it since,” said Lisa.

Mother Carrico

Years later, as a wife and mother, Lisa wanted her daughter to be raised in a church. Joey, who had been baptized in the same Baptist church as Lisa, had nothing against the church but was still “searching” for something.

Being welcomed into the Carrico family’s home began to piece together some of the puzzle for Joey.

Over time, as Lisa, Joey and Kelsey came to know the large Catholic family, they also grew to love the Carricos’ beloved matriarch, Mary Wilmuth Carrico – whom the Adams family came to know as “Mother Carrico.”

“She wanted to know who you were and where you came from, and to listen to you,” said Adams.

The family matriarch made a big impact on Joey as he searched for answers about faith. Thanks to Mother Carrico’s genuine love and witness, Joey realized he was being called to become Catholic.

Joey entered the Catholic Church in 2017. Sadly, Mother Carrico had passed away one year prior, so she was unable to see her “adopted” child join the Church she loved so deeply.

Joey Adams with Mary Wilmuth Carrico, who was influential in Joey’s decision to enter the Catholic Church. This photo is now framed in the Adams family’s living room. COURTESY OF THE CARRICO FAMILY

Today, a photo of Joey and Mother Carrico is framed in the Adams family’s living room as a permanent reminder of the woman who made such an impact on their faith journey.

 After Joey became Catholic, Kelsey – who had also been “searching” for something more – started attending Mass with him.

“I was perfectly accepting and comfortable with that,” said Lisa, adding that this gave Kelsey the opportunity to see the “spiritual side” of her father.

It wasn’t too long before Kelsey decided to join the Catholic Church. She made her First Holy Communion at St. Jerome Parish in 2019.

Time to reflect

 Lisa was always comfortable among Catholics. She grew up with Catholic friends, which she said is typical when being raised in the small, very Catholic community of Fancy Farm. She has been in Catholic weddings and would sometimes attend Mass with friends.

Lisa Adams with her daughter, Kelsey, at a St. Jerome Picnic in Fancy Farm several years ago. Mother and daughter will be confirmed together at St. Jerome Parish in Fancy Farm during the Easter Vigil 2021. COURTESY OF LISA ADAMS

She also helps at the annual St. Jerome Parish Picnic, which, though sponsored by the parish, is an event that draws people from all over the county, the state and the United States.

“None of that was foreign to me,” she said. “Over the past couple of years I have come to know it all as a ‘guest.’”

After her husband and daughter entered the Church, and especially after the COVID-19 shutdown, Lisa said this was “a good time to evaluate what I want.”

“The biggest thing for me has been for our family to worship together,” she said.

As a young adult, Lisa had spent some time attending a First Christian church, which offered the communion bread at every service. This was different from Lisa’s Baptist church, which only provided communion a few times a year on special days, like Christmas and Easter. This had always intrigued her, and made her ask a lot of questions.

In fall 2020, she found herself sitting in on the parish RCIA sessions with St. Jerome’s pastoral associate, Sr. Martha Keller, OSU. Lisa told her, “I want to listen and observe.”

“But the more I thought about it, prayed about it…” Lisa said she started to realize she knew what she wanted to do: she desired to join her family in worshiping together.

“I think that COVID has given me time to reflect and see where I’m at,” said Lisa.

At the Easter Vigil, Lisa will receive her First Holy Communion and the Sacrament of Confirmation. Kelsey will be confirmed along with her.

Lisa said she looks forward to receiving Jesus in the Eucharist. Right now at Communion time, she receives a blessing from St. Jerome’s pastor, Fr. Darrell Venters.

“I can’t wait to finally do that,” she said of receiving Holy Communion, admiring “the unity of seeing that entire congregation get in line. They’re all there for the same reason.”

Her sponsor, appropriately, is one of the Carricos: Kaye Carrico Atkins.

“I’m excited for what’s to come and what God has in store for our family,” said Lisa.

Originally printed in the March 2021 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.


Current Issue

Publisher |  Bishop William F. Medley
Editor |  Elizabeth Wong Barnstead
Contributors |  Riley Greif, Rachel Hall
Layout |  Rachel Hall
Send change of address requests to [email protected]