Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Meet the 2020 transitional deacons

Published June 24, 2020

ATLANTA–On June 13, Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., ordained two transitional deacons as they journey toward the priesthood. Deacon Robbie Cotta and Deacon Paul Nacey look forward to ministering in Atlanta.


Place of birth: Johns Creek in July 1991.

Family: Parents, Norm and Kathy Cotta. Younger sister, Amy, and brother-in-law Ben. His mother worked at home and as a preschool teacher at St. Benedict. His father has enjoyed a long career at Nordson Corporation. Deacon Cotta was baptized at St. Benedict, and the family now attends St. Brigid.

Education: Graduate of Chattahoochee High School in 2009 and attended Georgia Southern University, graduating in 2013 with a degree in multimedia communications with a minor in political science. 

Work experience: He started working at Chick-fil-A as a junior in high school continuing through college and prior to seminary at Mundelein Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois. During college, Deacon Cotta worked as a student assistant in new media and media relations with Georgia Southern Athletics and also interned for two summers writing for, covering the Savannah Sand Gnats and the Gwinnett Braves.

Vesting clergy: Deacon Cotta was vested on ordination day by two permanent deacons from St. Brigid who impacted his life. 

Ministries of interest: “I’m getting pretty excited to start preaching. Seminary is great and I couldn’t even begin to describe how much we learn during this time, but a lot of your time is spent with people talking at you. I’m ready to be on the other side of things. I can’t wait to start proclaiming the Good News,” he said. “I’m slowly but steadily working to learn Spanish, and I hope to eventually become fluent (though I’m a very long way off). Yo creo que por la gracia de Dios y la gracia de google translate que todo es posible, no?!”

Best advice during vocation discernment: “I’m not sure I could pinpoint a certain word of advice, but would rather point to the examples given to me throughout my life. My mom taught me to pray and that God loves me. My dad showed me what it means to be a father and taught me how to be a son. My sister taught me how to be a brother. So many people have shown me how to live friendship; many great deacons have shown me what it means to serve, and many priests have shown me what it means to lead and shepherd as a spiritual father,” he said. “My advice to others, then, would be to ‘look’ to see how our heavenly Father is loving you and calling you through the relationships in your life.”


Place of Birth: Dallas, Texas in April 1991.

Family: Parents, Wayne and Kay Nacey of Mount Airy, North Carolina. Deacon Nacey’s dad works as an accountant and is also a deacon. His mom homeschooled the children. He has four siblings: Erin, who has a learning disability and lives with her parents; Claire Awtrey of Calhoun; T.J. Nacey of Virginia and Monica Nacey, of Calhoun.

Education: He attended Dalton State College in Dalton for two years of college (2009-11) and received an associate degree in psychology. Deacon Nacey then transferred to Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology (2011-2013). He attends Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Vesting deacon: Wayne Nacey, also a deacon, vested his son.

“The easy answer to why I chose him is because he is my dad. The more thoughtful answer is I chose him because he was part of the reason I had the courage to enter seminary in the first place,” said Deacon Nacey. “I saw something change in him that I had never witnessed before he was ordained. In witnessing that, I knew that the Lord would do the same thing for me if I just said ‘yes.’ The thing that I admire about him is his dedication. Whether it is his family or his job or his responsibilities at the parish, he works hard and gives everything he has.”

Ministries of interest: “I think the answer to this question changes for me every time someone asks me it. I think right now I am looking forward to working with people who are looking to enter the church, whether it is parents and their infants or through RCIA. I have already had a couple people ask me to baptize their babies after I’m ordained and just the idea brings me such joy,” said the new deacon.

He speaks English and a little Spanish.

Best advice during vocation discernment: For 21 years, Deacon Nacey has been praying a prayer that he learned in second grade religion class, preparing for first Communion. It says, “Lord Jesus Christ, take all my freedom, my memory, my understanding, and my will. All that I have and cherish you have given me. I surrender it all to be guided by your will. Your love and grace are wealth enough for me. Give me these Lord Jesus and I ask for nothing more.”

“While this prayer was never really given as ‘advice,’ I learned from it over the years and it taught me how to live and how to pray, by giving everything to the Lord,” he said.

Deacon Nacey also said he received more direct advice upon entering seminary–to “be docile to the Holy Spirit.” He said: “Through the good and bad, the easy and challenging, I knew that that was where the Lord wanted me to be. And knowing that, I could have peace because ultimately I want what the Lord wants for me.”