(Editor’s note: This article was reprinted from the Summer 2014 issue of Glenmary Challenge, the magazine of Glenmary Home Missioners, www.glenmary.org.)
When Glenmary missioners first arrived in West Point and New Albany, Miss, in 1965 to establish mission communities, 10 years had passed since the state’s school districts were ordered by the Supreme Court to desegregate, and the Voting Rights Act was about to be signed into law.
During that tumultuous time Fathers Joe Dean and Bob Rademacher (respective pastors of the new missions) worked to call together integrated faith communities in the heart of the national civil rights movement.
In the almost 50 years since those first missioners moved to Mississippi, Glenmary has established and/or staffed 12 missions in the state. Many of those missions were the first integrated congregations in their counties.
Missioners tried to meet the needs of all those living in the region, regardless of background, race or denomination.
In 1974 a summer camp was held for local youth near the Glenmary mission in Amory. The camp was one of the first in the state to be fully integrated.
Eventually, it evolved into Camp Glenmary, which continues to welcome campers every June. The two week of Camp Friendship are open to low-income kids in northeastern Mississippi, followed by two weeks of Catholic Camp, a time when Catholic young people from that same area gather as a group for the unique experience of not being in the minority.
Glenmary’s time in Mississippi came to an end on June 29, when the last three Glenmary missions were returned to the Diocese of Jackson: Houston Immaculate Heart of Mary, Bruce St. Luke the Evangelist and Pontotoc St. Christopher.
“As we leave the Diocese of Jackson, we rejoice that today, the Church is present in counties where our missioners have established Catholic communities, and numerous outreach programs are now in place,” says Father Chet Artysiewicz, president of Glenmary.
But, he adds, there is sadness in leaving a region that has been such an important part of Glenmary’s history as a missionary society.
The decision to move on to areas of mission need in other states is based on Glenmary’s strategic plan to consolidate mission efforts geographically, which enables missioners and lay coworkers to better collaborate and support each other.
Glenmary’s mission efforts in Mississippi were often groundbreaking in ways other than in the area of race relations.
In the early 1990s, lay professional coworkers were hired and trained by Glenmary to start Catholic communities in several states. In all, four missions were called together and established in Mississippi by lay leaders in Eupora, Ackerman, Ripley and Bruce.
Numerous outreach efforts such as sheltered workshops, day care centers and food pantries were begun by missioners and coworkers in Mississippi, with many still in existence. And Glenmary missioners and coworkers have been on the front lines in welcoming the influx of immigrants who have arrived in the state to find employment.
“As we leave Mississippi, I am heartened to see so many of our missions thriving and the members of those missions continuing on with Glenmary’s missionary charism of nurturing the faith and reaching out to those most in need,” said Father Atrysiewicz.
By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Catholic Charities’ Pro-Life working group has started planning the diocesan trip to the 2015 March for Life in Washington, D.C. The group has some activities already in the works and has launched a website to help youth leaders plan, raise money and get teens excited about the trip, set for Jan. 20-24, 2015.
In addition to the march itself, participants will attend a concert and prayer vigil arranged by the Archdiocese of Arlington, tour Mount St. Sepulcher, a Franciscan monastery, attend Mass at the national shrine of the Immaculate Conception, visit the shrine of Saint John Paul II and more as the itinerary develops.
“This peaceful demonstration that has followed the somber anniversary of (the Supreme Court case) Roe v. Wade every year since Jan. 22, 1973, is a witness to the truth concerning the greatest human rights violation of our time, legalized abortion on demand,” wrote Charlotte Koestler, Catholic Charities parish social ministry program specialist, in a press release inviting youth groups to start their own planning.
Teenagers who go often speak about how much the trip changed how they think about how church teaching impacts their lives. Patrick and Andrew Morgan, brothers from Madison St. Joseph school, both said it was a worthwhile experience.
“The trip really puts it into perspective for you that you are not alone in your beliefs and that there are many people right behind you in support. It is very comforting,” said 15-year-old Patrick Morgan.
His brother felt like the event was a great teaching tool. “The March for Life is perhaps the pinnacle of Catholic identity in education. I can truly feel the Church and her teachings living and well. It is a shaking event, but a necessary one. It really puts into perspective the present state of our nation, and calls to attention our role in it,” said 17-year-old Andrew Morgan.
The fee is $375 per student and includes the cost of the bus, hotel, six meals and admission to the activities. Students will have to pay for the remaining meals and may want to bring spending money.
Organizers, who include Kathie Curtis, director of the Office of Youth Ministry, representatives from diocesan high schools, the Knights of Columbus and parish youth leaders, are hoping that starting registrations early this year will give groups time to raise enough money to fill the bus . As always, the journey will start with Mass, this year celebrated by Bishop Joseph Kopacz. Koestler encourages teens, youth leaders and pastors to register online at www.jacksonmarchforlife.com and to check the site often for updates to the itinerary, reflections from those who have attended before and more detailed information on the trip.
By Catherine Cook
Ten weeks – the window of time from the closing of the previous school year to the opening of the next. “Summer break” – as it is often called – is anything but a “break” at schools. The familiar scent of newly cleaned and waxed floors is a palpable reminder of the work that continues throughout the summer to be refreshed and renewed for the upcoming school year. While the school buildings are being refurbished, the educators have used the summer break for refreshing, too.
Many have taken coursework or participated in workshops – and yes, they’ve taken another important refresher – a vacation (often at the beach) – all to be ready for that all important ‘first day of school.’ Classrooms that were packed away for proper cleaning are being unpacked, reorganized, and decorated – a summer ritual for teachers.
Teaching materials and textbooks are being counted and distributed and student supplies are being purchased. The first day of school for 2014-2015 is nearing, and the staff at each of our Catholic schools across the diocese is preparing to welcome returning and new students.
Another important ritual is planning for a year of instruction. It’s not enough to be ready for the first day of school. Educators must take the long view and think about what will be taught across the year until the last day of the school year.
The planning for the instructional year brings to mind the hot topic that continues to spark controversy – Common Core State Standards (CCSS). There continue to be misunderstandings about the role the CCSS play in Catholic schools across the country and in our diocese. We, Catholic school educators in the Diocese of Jackson, continue to answer questions about the use of CCSS. Most concerns focus on either a fear that any use of the standards ties our schools to federal curriculum requirements and/or that we are bound by the CCSS assessments and reading lists. Our Catholic schools are free to design our curriculum, plan and implement instruction, and assess learning in any way we determine appropriate for our students.
Our schools are accredited by the State Board of Education, and are therefore required to meet the Non-public School Accreditation Standards. Although established by the State Board of Education, these are not the same accreditation standards as our public counterparts. The Non-public School Accreditation Standards were revised in 2004 by a committee of non-public school educators that included representatives from both Catholic dioceses in Mississippi – Biloxi and Jackson.
The first and most important requirement that these standards place on our schools as relates to curriculum and instruction is that our “school curriculum is in conformity with the mission statement and is in keeping with the needs, aptitudes, and potential of the students enrolled” (NP Standard #19).
We are required to include reading/language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, physical education, and the arts in our kindergarten – grade eight curriculum. High schools must include the secondary course requirements that include the same as those for K-8 with the addition of business and technology. Our Catholic high school graduation requirements have and continue to exceed the state department of education requirements as well as those established by the institutions of higher learning.
Back to the issue of the common core – the Diocese of Jackson has for at least 20 years used state curriculum frameworks and standards as outlined by each of the subject area organizations (National Council of Teachers of English, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Science Teachers Association, etc.), our National Catholic Catechetical Directory and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as the standards included in the national assessments (ACT and Stanford Achievement Tests) as guides for developing a Catholic school curriculum. This has not changed with the introduction of the CCSS. It has been used along with the other national academic and Catholic catechetical documents listed above as we continue define student outcomes – what students should know and be able to do — for each grade level. Only Catholic schools use this formula which includes Catholic teachings for developing curriculum. For this reason our core is not common with public schools nor non-Catholic private schools.
There is no state or federal mandate for our schools to use any particular textbook or materials for teaching – only that texts have a copyright year within 12 years of the current year. This includes suggested reading titles. However, your child may very well bring home a textbook with “Common Core” emblazoned on the front cover. Many publishers across the country are making this claim about new textbooks. This is not unlike any other time in publishing history when minor changes are made to a textbook so a publisher can print a newer version. Teachers will tell you that often changes are minimal. And, even when changes are significant, remember that textbooks are a tool that do not and have not been used solely or totally as presented.
We take care to hire educators with the highest qualifications and skills to teach in our schools, and we are using their expertise and experience to review and revise standards for student learning, instructional methods and assessment measures.
This is an ongoing process for educators to ensure that students are receiving the academic program that not only includes essential content, skills, critical thinking, and problem solving, but one that is imbued with Gospel values. This is the hallmark of Catholic education – this is why our core is not common. We continue to take pride in the work of our educators and administrators across the diocese.
Our students continue to excel in academics, athletics, the fine arts, and service to others. Thank you to the parents and patrons that make Catholic education – communities of faith, knowledge, and service – a reality for the children of Mississippi.
(Catherine Cook is the Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Jackson)
By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Some familiar faces will be taking on new roles at three diocesan elementary schools when the new year starts the second week of August. Vicksburg Catholic, Meridian St. Patrick and Madison St. Anthony schools all have new administrators this year. Jules Michel, an education veteran in the Diocese of Jackson, will take on the role as principal in Vicksburg for one year. Julie Bordelon, formerly principal at St. Patrick will be principal at St. Anthony for a year while Jennifer David, formerly a teacher at Columbus Annunciation will become the principal at St. Patrick.
Michel retired in 2012 and Bordelon resigned this year. Both were available and agreed to serve a one year term to provide the school communities in Vicksburg and Madison the time to conduct a proper search for a long-term administrator.
“The process of finding the right administrator is not one we take lightly,” said Catherine Cook, superintendent of schools for the diocese. In order to find a new permanent administrator, each school community will form a search committee that will include the school’s pastor or canonical administrator and representatives from parish and school communities including members of the school advisory council. This committee will obtain information from the school stakeholders relative to the unique needs of the school and the qualities desired for a new principal. The committee will help determine a strategy for advertising the opening.
Once applicants are approved by the superintendent, the committee reviews applications, conducts interviews and recommends the candidate that best fits the needs of the individual school.
Michel has attended or been an administrator in three of the four high schools in the diocese. He graduated from Madison St. Joseph School, was principal at Greenville St. Joseph High school and was the administrator of Natchez Cathedral School. His last assignment in the diocese was as principal of Jackson St. Richard School.
Michel holds a bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University, a master’s in school administration from Delta State and has done post graduate work at the University of Tennessee and Spring Hill College.
He started teaching in 1969. During his time in Natchez he was part of the team that built new additions to the school and began a development office. Under his administration at St. Richard the school underwent a $3 million dollar renovation of the facilities. He served for eight years as the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) region V representative for secondary education and was part of the national principals’ retreat team. He was president of the Mississippi chapter for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Michel also served as chairman of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Mississippi secondary committee and national representative for Non Public schools in the accrediting agency. He has served on numerous educational and evaluation committees.
Bordelon holds a bachelor’s of science in elementary education and a master’s in educational leadership from Mississippi State University and has been in education since 1986. She has worked in Tampa and Meridian teaching kindergarten and sixth grade until becoming principal of St. Patrick in 2000. While she was principal she led the first annual appeal for the school, which generated
$151,000. She also helped with a $1.4 million capital campaign to build a new facility and started the first trust fund for the school. Bordelon started a development office and helped launch a marketing campaign for the school resulting in an 80 percent increase in enrollment. She is a member of NCEA and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum development.
The advisory council at St. Anthony hosted a meet and greet event for Bordelon Sunday, July 13, at the school. Families crowded the school’s reception area to get a chance to welcome their new principal.
David received her bachelor’s from the Mississippi University for Women and her master’s in education from Marymount University in Arlington, Va. She attended St. Mary School, now known as Columbus Annunciation, and started teaching first grade there in 1996. She went on to teach fifth and sixth grade as well as becoming the assistant principal. She helped establish the middle school at Annunciation and taught math and science to sixth-eighth graders.
“I am so excited to be the new principal at St. Patrick Catholic School, a school well-known in the community for high academic standards and Christian values. Like St. Patrick’s students, I was fortunate to get my start in Catholic schools, giving me a solid foundation for life,” said David. “I cannot wait to meet each and every member of our St. Patrick school family in the coming weeks. Together, we are going to have a great year,” she added.
Father Frank Cosgrove, pastor for the Catholic community of Meridian said he and the community are very excited to welcome David.
“She went to Catholic school herself, and that’s important. She also got her graduate degree from a Catholic university,” said Father Cosgrove. He said he and the search committee were very pleased when they found her.
“We really believe she will help St. Patrick continue to provide the highest academic standards rooted in a deep Catholic identity. We always say St. Patrick is not just a ‘private’ school, it’s a Catholic school, and that is very important to us,” he added.
(Editor’s note: find related back to school content in the bishop’s column on pages 3 and 11 and on page 14)
Los siguientes nombramientos han sido realizados en la Diócesis de Jackson:
Padre Ricardo Phipps
nombrado párroco de la Parroquia Santa Teresa en Jackson además de sus responsabilidades como párroco de las Iglesias Cristo Rey y Santa María, efectivo el 1 de julio de 2014.
Padre Jeremy Tobin, O.Praem, párroco asociado de las Parroquias Cristo Rey, Santa María y Santa Teresa en Jackson, efectivo el 15 de julio de 2014.
Por la recomendación del Muy Reverendo Harry A. Grile, C.Ss.R., Superior Provincial de los Redentoristas de la Provincia de Denver, se han realizado los siguientes nombramientos efectivos el 1 de julio del 2014:
Father Patrick Keyes, C.Ss.R., nombrado
para la Iniciative Hispana en el Delta, Mississippi, como Superior de la Comunidad Redentorista en Greenwood.
Nombrados para la Iniciative Hispana en el Delta, Mississippi, de la Comunidad Redentorista en Greenwood.
CORINTH – Dos de los trabajos de arte realizados por estudiantes miembros de la Parroquia St. James estuvieron expuestos en la Galería de Arte de Corinth recientemente. El trabajo de mosaico realizado por Beronica López fue escogido para ser mostrado en la exhibición de secundaria. El dibujo de Rilee Morrow ganó el primer premio en la categoría de dibujos.