Bruins bring home state soccer championship


By Mary Woodward
CLINTON – Another diocesan Catholic school has brought home state championship hardware. The Madison St. Joseph Lady Bruins soccer team captured the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Division 3A/2A/1A championship with a three nil victory over South Pontotoc.
The match, played Feb. 7, at Clinton High School’s Arrow Field on a mild, sunny day, is the Lady Bruins second state title. The first title was in 2006.
Not surrendering a single goal in post season the team relied on solid defense and quickness throughout the playoffs. During the semifinal keeper Bridget Abadie blocked three penalty kicks in an overtime shootout against defending state champion Our Lady Academy (OLA) to propel the Lady Bruins to the championship match.
Allie Milner, Katelyn Hanneke, and Joanna Bellan accounted for the three goals as the stingy Bruin defense held South Pontotoc scoreless.
St. Joseph defeated three other Catholic school teams including OLA from Bay St. Louis to make it to the final match. They topped Pascagoula’s Resurrection High School 4-0; Hattiesburg’s Sacred Heart 3-0; and finally OLA 1-0. Either Sacred Heart or OLA has won the last five state titles.
For Head Coach Dwayne Demmin the title gives him eight state championships with St. Joseph. He has seven with the boys team to add to this his first with the girls team.
The Lady Bruins finished the season 17-6-1.

Using Lent to reconnect with God

Complete the circle
By George Evans
What do we do as we search again to make this a good Lent. Do we pray more? Yes. Do we go to daily Mass? Yes, if possible. Do we give up something? Yes, if its something that’s hard and means a lot to us like cussing, smoking or drinking. Do we treat our spouse, children or grandchildren better. Yes, and now we are getting to the God stuff because of the other stuff.
When we pray more and better in quiet and perhaps with scripture, go to Eucharist daily or at least more frequently, deny ourselves those pleasures we love or are addicted to then the God stuff all of a sudden smacks us in the face.
The reason is simple.  Prayer, sacrament, self denial and discipline purify and open us to allow the God who is always there with his voice calling and arms open to be heard by us and embraced by us. Once we hear him and embrace him then the God stuff automatically follows.
Instead of me, me, me we focus on you, you, you.  Remember Jesus healing Peter’s mother-in-law though he was tired after a long day and healing the daughter of a foreigner, a Greek woman, Syrophoenician by birth, even though he was trying to go unnoticed when he went to the district of Tyre.  He knew from prayer what his father wanted of him and he responded accordingly and this was his God stuff. And he periodically needed to hear and be touched by his father, just as we do, to keep going in his mission. Should we not do the same and serve and touch the other? Is this not what Lent is meant to be about?
From the first pages in Genesis God’s method is clear. After creating us he gave us a beautiful garden filled with all we needed, nourished and embraced us and gave us the command to take care of this world and the creation he had given us.
He didn’t tell us just to sit back  but rather to “be fertile and multiply,” “to have dominion over all the living creatures.” He used the Cain and Abel story in the best cross examination in Scripture to make it clear that YES, we are “our brother’s keeper.” He repeatedly blessed his covenant people, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Isaiah and the other prophets and after forming them sent them to do the great things in the Hebrew scriptures. It is always His way to love and form his people and then to send them to do the great leads of the Covenant. It always is a matter of coming to him and then going from him to bring him to others, to the world.
Jesus comes from the Godhead itself formed from all eternity in his relationship to his Father and brings to us the very life of that relationship.  Jesus goes from the Father and touches as many people as possible in his relatively short time on earth. But he touches them in such an extraordinary way by his life and Resurrection that the world is forever changed.
Time and dates are based on his short life. His disciples came to him after being called, and formed by him proceeded to bring him to the ends of the earth as commanded in the Great Commission, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations.”
Lent then is that special time when  we come again to Jesus and the Father with renewed emphasis on prayer, sacrament, self denial and openness to the Spirit who is the love of the Father and Son, and touched as we will be by their embrace then we go to bring them to all nations starting with every person we meet in day to day life.  We go to spouse, children, grandchildren, co-workers, friends and even enemies. And we take Christ with us to all.  And when we do, the great surprise is that we see Christ in each of them.
We go to the poor, homeless, beggars, widows, orphans, aliens – we go to all and we meet them in our  everyday life, not in some foreign country, and we serve them. We take Jesus with us because we have been formed by him and have been made strong enough by him to serve and we let him act through us as his hands and feet.
And finally our serving brings us  great peace and union with him, maybe for the first time. With the resurrection on Easter as we are touched with a glimpse of eternity arm and arm with our brothers we have served.
(George Evans is a pastoral minister at Jackson St. Richard Parish.)

View of Christians as perfect flawed

Word on Fire
By Father Robert Baron
Many atheists and agnostics today insistently argue that it is altogether possible for non-believers to be morally upright.  They resent the implication that the denial of God will lead inevitably to complete ethical relativism or nihilism.  And they are quick to point out examples of non-religious people who are models of kindness, compassion, justice, etc. In point of fact, a recent article has proposed that non-believers are actually, on average, more morally praiseworthy than religious people.
In this context, I recall Christopher Hitchens’ remark that, all things considered, he would be more frightened of a group of people coming from a religious meeting than a group coming from a rock concert or home from a night on the town. God knows (pun intended) that during the last twenty years we’ve seen plenty of evidence from around the world of the godly behaving very badly indeed.
Though I could quarrel with a number of elements within this construal of things, I would actually gladly concede the major point that it is altogether possible for atheists and agnostics to be morally good. The classical Greek and Roman formulators of the theory of the virtues were certainly not believers in the Biblical God, and many of their neo-pagan successors today do indeed exhibit fine moral qualities. What I should like to do, however, is to use this controversy as a springboard to make a larger point, namely that Christianity is not primarily about ethics, about “being a nice person” or, to use Flannery O’Connor’s wry formula, “having a heart of gold.” The moment Christians grant that Christianity’s ultimate purpose is to make us ethically better people, they cannot convincingly defend against the insinuation that, if some other system makes human beings just as good or better, Christianity has lost its raison d’etre.
Much of the confusion on this score can be traced to the influence of Immanuel Kant, especially his seminal text Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone. Like so many of his Enlightenment era confreres, Kant was impatient with the claims of the revealed religions. He saw them as unverifiable and finally irrational assertions that could be defended, not through reason, but only through violence. Accordingly, he argued that, at its best, religion is not about dogma or doctrine or liturgy but about ethics. In the measure that the Scriptures, prayer, and belief make one morally good, they are admissible, but in the measure that they lead to moral corruption, they should be dispensed with. As religious people mature, Kant felt, they would naturally let those relatively extrinsic practices and convictions fall to the side and would embrace the ethical core of their belief systems.  Kant’s army of disciples today include such figures as John Shelby Spong, John Dominic Crossan, James Carroll, Bart Ehrman, and the late Marcus Borg, all of whom think that Christianity ought to be de-supernaturalized and re-presented as essentially a program of inclusion and social justice.
The problem with this Kantianism both old and new is that it runs dramatically counter to the witness of the first Christians, who were concerned, above all, not with an ethical program but with the explosive emergence of a new world. The letters of St. Paul, which are the earliest Christian texts we have, are particularly instructive on this score. One can find “ethics” in the writings of Paul, but one would be hard pressed indeed to say that the principal theme of Romans, Galatians, Philippians, or first and second Corinthians is the laying out of a moral vision.
The central motif of all of those letters is in fact Jesus Christ risen from the dead. For Paul, the resurrection of Jesus is the sign that the world as we know it — a world marked by death and the fear of death — is evanescing and that a new order of things is emerging. This is why he tells the Corinthians “the time is running out” and “the world in its present form is passing away;” this is why he tells the Philippians that everything he once held to be of central importance he now considers as so much rubbish; this is why he tells the Romans that they are not justified by their own moral achievements but through the grace of Jesus Christ; and this is why he tells the Galatians that neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the “new creation.” The new creation is shorthand for the overturning of the old world and the emergence of a new order through the resurrection of Jesus, the “first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
The inaugural speech of Jesus, as reported in the Gospel of Mark, commences with the announcement of the kingdom of God and then the exhortation to “repent and believe the good news.” We tend automatically to interpret repentance as a summons to moral conversion, but the Greek word that Mark employs is metanoiete, which means literally, “go beyond the mind you have.”
On Mark’s telling, Jesus is urging his listeners to change their way of thinking so as to see the new world that is coming into existence.  It is indeed the case that Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Jews, atheists, and agnostics can all be “good people.” In terms of what we privilege today, they can all be tolerant, inclusive, and just.  But only Christians witness to an earthquake that has shaken the foundations of the world and turned every expectation upside down. A key to the new evangelization is the rediscovery of this revolutionary message.
(Father Robert Barron is the founder of the global ministry, Word on Fire, and the Rector/President of Mundelein Seminary. He is the creator of the award winning documentary series, “Catholicism”  and “Catholicism:The New Evangelization.” Learn more at

Youth briefs & Gallery




COLUMBUS – Annunciation Parish children’s church will begin Sunday, Feb. 22, during the 10:30 a.m. Mass for children five and younger. Details: Lisa Kerby, 662-386-6343,
– Friday, Feb. 27, CYO service hours available from 5 – 7 p.m. in the Activities Center. Bring a dessert and serve at the fish fry. Details: Maria Dunser, 662-328-2927.

CULLMAN, Ala. – St. Bernand Preparatory School open house, Sunday, March 8, from 2 – 4 p.m. St. Bernand is a co-ed boarding-and-day school for grades seventh-12th. Details:, 256-255-5890,

JACKSON St. Therese Parish Knights of Columbus Council 8285 basketball free throw championship for boys and girls ages nine – 14, Saturday, Feb. 28. from 10 a.m. – noon in the gym. Details: Julian Valencia, 601-906-1967.

MADISON St. Francis of Assisi Parish annual winter retreat, “Anchored in Hope,” Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27-28. All seventh-12th graders are invited. Led by the National Evangelization Team.

MERIDIAN – St. Patrick Parish, Junior CYM will go skating at Skate Odyseey, Sunday, Feb. 22, from 1 – 4 p.m. in North Hill. Bring $9 for admission, skates and snacks. Details: Carlissa, 601-880-1817.

God wants you to find real love, pope tells youths

By Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Christianity is not a set of prohibitions, but a “project for life” that can lead to true happiness in building better relationships and a better world, Pope Francis told Catholic young people.
“Do you realize how much you are worth in the eyes of God?” the pope asked youths in his annual message for local celebrations of World Youth Day. “Do you know that you are loved and welcomed by him unconditionally?” The ability to love and be loved is beautiful and is a key to happiness, but sin means it also can be “debased, destroyed or spoiled” by selfishness or the desire for pleasure or power, he said in the message, published Feb. 17 at the Vatican.
In preparation for the next international celebration of World Youth Day, which will be held in Krakow, Poland, July 25-Aug. 1, 2016.
The Poland gathering will focus on the beatitude from St. Matthew’s Gospel, “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” The 2015 theme chosen by Pope Francis is the beatitude, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” The “beatitude” or blessedness for which God created human beings and which was disrupted by the sin of Adam and Eve “consists in perfect communion with God, with others, with nature and with ourselves,” the pope wrote. God’s “divine light was meant to illuminate every human relationship with truth and transparency.”
But with sin, he said, Adam and Eve’s relationship with each other, with God and with creation changed. “The inner compass which had guided them in their quest for happiness lost its point of reference and the attractions of power, wealth, possessions and a desire for pleasure at all costs led them to the abyss of sorrow and anguish.” God still loved the human creatures he created and still wanted them to find happiness, the pope said, so he send his son to become one of them and to redeem them.
Jesus taught that impurity or defilement was not something that happened because of what someone ate or who they touched, but was something that came from inside the person. Jesus listed “evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness,” the pope said, pointing out that most of the things on the list have to do with a person’s relationship with others.
“We need to show a healthy concern for creation, for the purity of our air, water and food,” the pope told young people, “but how much more do we need to protect the purity of what is most precious of all: our heart and our relationships. This ‘human ecology’ will help us to breathe the pure air that comes from beauty, from true love, and from holiness.” Through prayer, speaking to Jesus ”as you speak to a friend,” and reading the Bible, he said, people can draw closer to God and allow him to purify their hearts, discovering God’s call to live a life of love in marriage, the priesthood or religious life.

Legislators honored at Catholic Day at Capitol

Joy Matthews leads a tour of the state Capitol for Catholic Day at the Capitol.

Joy Matthews leads a tour of the state Capitol for Catholic Day at the Capitol.

By Elsa Baughman
JACKSON – Bishop Joseph Kopacz kicked off the 2015 Catholic Day at the Capitol by offering the opening prayer in the House of Representatives at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 4. The event  honored the 12 Catholic legislators serving at the state Capitol. At 10 a.m., Bishop Roger Morin, Bishop of the Diocese of Biloxi, opened the Senate session with a prayer.
At 12:05 p.m. participants from both dioceses and some of the legislators gathered in the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle for Mass and afterwards enjoyed lunch in the parish hall where both bishops recognized the Catholic legislators and made a short presentation.
Bishop Kopacz talked about the teachings of the Catholic Church on social justice. Bishop Kopacz pointed out that the church, since Pope Leo’s XIII encyclical “Rerum Novarum” in 1891 to Pope Francis’ “The Joy of the Gospel” has addressed the condition of the working classes.
After mentioning the seven principals of Catholic social teaching: life and dignity of the human person, call to family, community and participation, rights and responsibilities, option for the poor and vulnerable, the dignity of work and the rights of workers, solidarity and the care for God’s creation, Bishop Kopacz noted that the voices of the prophets cry out in defense of the vulnerable in many ways in every age and certainly in our society today.
“We are here to discuss social justice which works to bring greater life into the communities of our state and our nation,” he said.
Bishop Kopacz urged those gathered to remain active in their communities with a quote from Pope Francis’ Evangelii Guadium on the social dimension of evangelization: “It is no longer possible to claim that religion should be restricted to the private sphere and that it exists only to prepare souls for heaven or relegate to the inner sanctum of personal life, without influence on societal and personal life, without concern for the soundness of civil institutions, without a right to offer an opinion on events affecting others.” (182-183)
In his presentation on “Supporting family unity through social justice” Bishop Morin said we are called to advocate for things such as nutrition, education, housing and healthcare. “We do as much as we can out of charity, but we must also do as much as we can in the pursuit of justice to alleviate the pain and suffering of families and children who are impeded from the goods available to others.” He added that charity can be a minimal response given from a surplus, but justice flows from an obligation to be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters.
The event ended with a tour of the State Capitol led by Joy Matthews.
In a letter to participants, Linda Raff, interim director of Catholic Charities Jackson, wrote, “The public arena, whether it be legislation or public policy, has the profound opportunity to positively impact the lives of all of our citizens particularly those that need a “hand up” to improve their lives and the lives of their families and children. We ask you to remain involved in exploring these issues and gaining knowledge about their impact on our citizenry.
“In doing this important work, you become a sign of God’s love and concern for all people particularly the poor and vulnerable,” she wrote.
Catholic Charities sponsors this annual event. Some years the Poverty Task Force, sponsored by Catholic Charities, picks a particular topic or legislative issue to target and uses Catholic Day to educate people about the issue in hopes of influencing lawmakers. This year the task force did not see any one particular bill or issue in need of attention so the group used the day to honor Catholics who are serving as lawmakers. The Task Force members also want to raise awareness about advocacy on a local level by empowering people across the diocese to engage their lawmakers in discussion. Finally, it’s an opportunity to put into practice the Catholic call to faithful citizenship by deepening the commitment to the cause of promoting gospel values in pursuit of the common good at every level of society.

Upcoming Retreats

St. Mary of the Pines
Eight-day retreats –  $640
Five-day retreats –  $400
Weekend directed retreats – $160
Directed Retreats: The resident retreat director is Sister Dorez Mehrtens, SSND. To schedule a retreat contact Sister Dorez, 601-783-0411 or 601-810-7758 (cell),
Private Retreats: A private retreat is a retreat without a director and may be scheduled any time space is available. The individual chooses his/her own resources and rhythm of prayer and reflection throughout the day. Suggested donation: $65 per night. Financial assistance for any retreat is available upon request.
“A Lenten Day of Reflection,” Saturday, Feb. 28, from 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Cost is $30, lunch is included.
Contact: St. Mary of the Pines Retreat Center, 3167 Old Highway 51 South, Osyka, MS, 39657, 601-783-3494,

The Dwelling Place
“Spiritual Doors, Saturday, April 25, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Cost is $45 and includes lunch.
This experience is a time to open the doors of our hearts to the fruits of the spirit. Going beyond the door we discover God’s unique gifts. Led by Karen Hodges and Lee Oswalt from Tupelo
Contact: The Dwelling Place, 2824 Dwelling Place Road, Brooksville, MS, 39739, 662-738-5348,

Benedictine Center
“Holy Week at the Monastery,” April 2-5. Experience the days of the Sacred Triduum immersed in the beauty of Sacred Heart Monastery. Join the monastic community in their silence and in their prayer as they celebrate the special liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil, and Easter Sunday.  Limited Enrollment. Silence.
Cost is $210 for private rooms; and $185/person for shared rooms.
Contact: Benedictine Sisters Retreat Center, 916 Convent Road, Cullman, AL 35055, 256-734-8302,

Directed Retreats: The Jesuit Spirituality Center specializes in personally directed retreats based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola. Solitude and silence are important aspects of these retreats. Retreats may range from three days, five days, or eight days, to a full month.
Dates: Feb. 23 or 26, March 9 or 12, March 23 or 26, April 13 or 16. Retreats of eight-days begin on the first date. Retreats of five or three days begin on either date. Costs vary according to the length of the retreat.
“In Your Presence is Fullness of Joy: Yoga and Contemplative Prayer,” Thursday Sunday, March 5-8. Led by Andrea Vidrine. Cost is $240
Come and experience a weekend of prayer, joy, and fellowship. In this retreat participants will practice contemplative awareness through Christian chanting, centering prayer, conscious breathing, lectio divina, body prayer, art as prayer and drumming as prayer.
Included is one full day of silence which may be extended throughout the retreat, according to the desire of the retreatant. No prior experience with yoga is necessary.
Contact: Jesuit Spirituality Center, 313 Martin Luther King Dr., Grand Coteau, La. 70541, 337-662-5251.

St. Joseph abbey – Christian Life center
Married Couples Retreat, “Growing in Faith and Love,” Saturday and Sunday, March 21-22. Begins at 9 a.m. Cost is $275.
Contact: Jason Angelette, 504-830-3716,

Cathedral parish prays for consecrated communities

022015concecratedlifeJACKSON – The Mary and Martha Circle of St. Peter Cathedral parish has developed a prayer book for parishioners to share in celebrating the Year for Consecrated Life. Individuals or families have signed up at each of the cathedral parish’s Masses to take home a copy of the book and pray for religious communities serving in the diocese.
The book contains an intention for each day of the week followed by an interesting fact about the consecrated life and prayers. Each section concludes with the Our Father, three Hail Marys and the Glory Be.
At the end of each Mass the book is passed from the current holder to the next person or family who has taken on the responsibility of praying that week. A prayer of blessing is prayed over them before the final blessing of the Mass.
Mississippi Catholic would like to hear about what different parishes are doing to celebrate the year so we may share those ideas with others and lift up all those who have been called to serve the church in the consecrated life. Email or call 601-969-3581.

Thea’s Turn celebrates life, legacy of local leader

By Maureen Smith
MADISON – In honor of the 25th anniversary of the death of Sister Thea Bowman, FSPA, the Office of Black Catholic Ministry for the Diocese of Jackson is sponsoring a staging of the play “Thea’s Turn.” The show was written by Mary Queen Donnelly, a childhood friend of Sister Bowman.
Sister Thea Bowman was a Mississippi native who rose to national prominence with her tireless campaign to promote diversity in the church. She used her own experience of learning about and embracing African American culture to teach that each ethnic and racial group has gifts to offer the church. Sister Bowman used song, storytelling and her extensive education to deliver her message.

Idella Johnson, left, Marcia Peyton and Tione Johnson play Sister Thea, Sister Charlotte and Bertha Bowman in the New Orleans production of Thea's Turn. The adult Sister Thea Bowman and the child Bertha Bowman are on stage together representing the conflicts Bowman faced in her life.

Idella Johnson, left, Marcia Peyton and Tione Johnson play Sister Thea, Sister Charlotte and Bertha Bowman in the New Orleans production of Thea’s Turn. The adult Sister Thea Bowman and the child Bertha Bowman are on stage together representing the conflicts Bowman faced in her life. ( photo by Marcia Peyton)

The play is a retelling of Sister Bowman’s life. Donnelly said she wanted to portray the conflict Sister Bowman faced and overcame when she tried to reconcile her rich African American cultural background with her desire to be a nun in an all-white, traditional Catholic community. Sister loved her culture and her church. The conflict takes the form of arguments between the adult Sister Thea Bowman and the child Bertha Bowman. “It’s sort of a conflict we all have,” explained Donnelly. The play also features two choirs, a gospel choir and a choir singing pre-Vatican II style liturgical music.
“It’s not a musical, but it is filled with music, because Thea was. She would sometimes burst into song, even during interviews,” said Donnelly. Donnelly said Sister Bowman did not want a blend of African-American and white cultural experiences, she wanted both groups to appreciate and celebrate the other. She wanted people of all racial and cultural backgrounds to recognize their unique ways of worshipping, singing and living and share that diversity with others.
“I just think it’s a great story. I like the way Mary (Donnelly) juxtaposes the solemn, formal worship practices of the church with the praise and hands-in-the-air style worship of Southern Baptist or other Southern churches,” Director Chris Roebuck, education director at New Stage Theater said of the play. He said he considers all of his actors storytellers and wants the process of staging the play to be a collaborative effort. “I want them to find the reality and truth in the story and play that,” he explained.
Roebuck held local auditions to fill the roles in the play, saying he would be looking for people who can embrace the spirit of the show.022015thea04
Donnelly and Bowman grew up in the same town, Canton, but lived very different lives. Bowman was the only child of a modest black family while Donnelly was one of six children in a white family. The girls knew one another from attending Holy Child Jesus Parish together, but did not stay in close touch after Donnelly left to attend boarding school in New Orleans and Bowman left to join the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse, Wisconsin.
The two reconnected years later when Sister Bowman was in New Orleans to teach at Xavier University’s Institute for Black Catholic Studies. Donnelly was a columnist at that time for the New Orleans Times Picayune. Sister Bowman already had cancer and although she was keeping up with a busy travel and teaching schedule, she had to rest often during her trips to keep up enough energy to give her presentations.
“I asked my editor if I could write a feature about Sister Thea,” said Donnelly. “I spent three days with her. You didn’t just interview Thea – you followed her!” said Donnelly with a chuckle. She attended the classes Sister Bowman taught, went to liturgies with her and sat at her bedside when Sister Bowman was exhausted from her activities.
“She really wanted me to hear her story. She knew her time was limited,” said Donnelly. After she wrote her story, Donnelly continued to keep in touch with her friend from childhood.
After Sister Bowman died, Donnelly wrote several remembrances of her, including one for America Magazine. The play came later, at the suggestion of Sister Bowman’s long-time caretaker Sister Dorothy Ann Kundinger, FSPA. “I tell stories in dialogue. I had so many interviews with her. I felt this urgency in Thea,” explained Donnelly. “I thought Thea wanted to be on stage. She was such a dramatist,” she added.
Much of the dialogue is quotes from Donnelly’s interview notes. “I used her words. Most of the play is from private conversations,” she said.
The play has been performed in New Orleans, New York and won a new play competition at the New Stage Theater in Jackson. Some of those performances were just staged readings, but the one in New Orleans was a complete play.
“I learned of the play several years back when it was featured in New Orleans. I caught it there and it was amazing,” said Will Jemison, coordinator for the Office of Black Catholic Ministry. “I think it’s great that the diocese Sister Thea served in will finally have a chance to feature her and educate a new generation about her steadfastness of faith, in spite of so many challenges,” he added.
Donnelly is also thrilled to bring the play to Sister Bowman’s home diocese. The playwright has moved back to Canton and is glad to be closer to the community where she grew up.
Sister Thea has been gone for 25 years, but Donnelly said her legacy is an important one. “I think she has a big message for people. We need her.”
One of the themes Donnelly thought was so important to Sister Bowman’s work was that each individual has a gift to offer. It might be why the nun loved the song ‘this little light of mine,’ which plays a role in the production. “People think they have to do big things, but everyone has a little light they can shine for humanity,” said Donnelly.
Thea’s Turn will be staged at the Fine Arts Center at Madison St. Joseph High School Friday and Saturday April 10-11, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 12, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 each and can be reserved by emailing



  • BATESVILLE St. Mary Parish, mission, “The Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation, and Eucharist as they relate to Pope Francis’ book, Joy of the Gospel,” March 2-4, at 6 p.m. Led by the Redemptorist priests serving in Greenwood.
  • BOONEVILLE St. Francis Parish, mission “How Accessible am I to God?” Sunday, March 8, beginning with lunch after the 11 a.m. Mass, and ending at 3:30 p.m. Led by Father Henry Shelton.
  • CLARKSDALE St. Elizabeth Parish, mission March 16-18. More details to come.
  • COLLIERVILLE, Tenn, Women’s Morning of Spirituality, Saturday, Feb. 28, 8:15 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at Catholic Church of the Incarnation. To register: or Mary Beth Trouy, 901-853-1819.
  • CORINTH St. James Parish, Father Robert Barron’s “Catholicism” video series, Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m.
    – Study of the Book of Revelation, Tuesdays from 10:30 a.m. – noon in room #1 downstairs, and on Sundays at 10:45 a.m.
  • GREENVILLE St. Joseph Parish mission Sunday-Tuesday, Feb. 22-24. Led by Michael Cumbie. Reconciliation service on Tuesday after the mission.
  • GREENWOOD Retreat, “Mary in the Mystery of Christ and the Church,” Saturday, March 7, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Locus Benedictus Retreat Center. Led by Brother Daniel Korn, C.Ss.R. Cost is $25 and includes lunch. Details: Magdalene Abraham, 662-299-1232.
  • HOLLY SPRINGS Immersion Experience with Sisters of the Living Word, March 15-19. Open to single women age 18-40. Details: Sister Collette Fahrner, 847-636-9822 or
  • IUKA St. Mary Parish, retreat, “How Accessible am I to God?” Wednesday, March 11, begins with Mass at 10 a.m. Led by Father Henry Shelton.
  • JACKSON Christ the King Parish, Lenten mission, March 22-24. Led by Brother A. Gerard Jordan, O. Praem.
  • JACKSON Holy Family Parish, mission Saturday, Tuesday, March 14-17. Led by Father Henry Shelton on the theme, “How Accessible Am I to God,” an opportunity to examine ourselves during this Lenten season. Reconciliation will be available on Monday night, March 16. Details: Church office, 601-362-1888, or Joyce Adams, 601-214-6123.
  • JACKSON St. Peter Parish, Lenten retreat, “How to Make Lent the Springtime of the Soul,” Saturday, March 14, from 9:30 a.m. – noon, followed by a Mass of anointing. Lunch will be served.
    – Mary & Martha Circle retreat, “The Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Lively Virtues of Our Blessed Mother,” Saturday, May 21, at the Norbertine Priory, from 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Breakfast and lunch will be served.
  • JACKSON St. Richard Parish, Lectio Divina on the Lenten Sunday Scriptures, Mondays at 10 a.m. in the Mercy Room. There will be a retreat day on Monday, March 16, from 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Details: Sister Therese Jacobs, 601-366-2335.
  • JACKSON St. Therese Parish, annual women’s retreat, March 6-8 at St. Mary of the Pines in Chatawa. “Finding Joy in Everything,” led by Karla Luke. Registration deadline is Feb. 25. Details:, 601-372-4481.
  • MERIDIAN St. Patrick Parish, downtown Lenten service, Thursday, March 5, at noon, followed by lunch.
    – Six-week series on “Living the Eucharist,” Wednesdays from 6 – 7 p.m. in Kehrer Hall. Details: Ida Bea Tomlin,, 601-880-9542.
    – Wednesdays at 6:15 p.m. in the parish center. Led by Christy Price. Details: Mary Billups,, 601-693-1321.
  • – Thursdays at 2 p.m. Led by Jo Anne Zettler. Details: Mary Billups.
    SHAW St. Francis of Assisi Parish, one-hour Lenten reflection based on the teachings of Pope Francis, Tuesdays of Lent from 10 – 11 a.m. at the home of Grace Venuti, beginning Feb. 24.
  • YAZOO CITY St. Mary Parish, penance mission, Sunday-Wednesday, March 1-4. Led by Father Henry Shelton. Volunteers are needed to help with preparations for lunches and suppers. Details: Diane Melton 662-571-3136.


  • CLEVELAND The annual Lent lunches begin on Wednesday, Feb. 25, every week at First United Methodist Church. Our Lady of Victories Parish will prepare lunch on March 11. Details: Frances Janoush, 662-347-0499.
    – The Solomon Counseling Center offers counseling services for Catholic adults, children/adolescents, couples and families in the Delta area. Hours are flexible. Fee scale is from $5 to $35 per hour. The center is connected with Catholic Charities in Jackson. Details: Jennifer Medders, 662-832-5519.
  • GREENVILLE Sacred Heart confirmation class clothing and food drive for St Vincent de Paul from now until the end of this month. Leave donations in the back of the church.
    – Black History Program will be held Sunday, March 1, at 3 p.m.
  • GREENVILLE St. Joseph parishioners invited to Our Lady of the Lake Altar Society’s 105th spaghetti dinner at St. Mary Parish in Arkansas, Sunday, March 1, from 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Plates are $12 for adults and $6 for children.
    – Healing Mass, Thursday, Feb. 26. Prelude music begins at 11:15 a.m. Lunch will be served and afterwards there will be five games of dime bingo.
  • McCOMB St. Alphonsus Parish, blood drive, Monday, March 9, from 2 – 7 p.m. in Liguori Hall.
  • OLIVE BRANCH Queen of Peace Parish, blood drive, Sunday, March 1, from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • PEARL St. Jude Parish, garage sale, Saturday, March 7. The Young Apostles are collecting items for the sale. Items can be dropped off at the parish office during office hours, before/after Sunday Masses. Details: Rhonda or Stacy, 601-939-3181.
  • SHAW St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Lenten luncheons begins on Wednesday, Feb. 25, at noon.
  • YAZOO CITY St. Mary Parish, service at Manna House Feb. 23-27. Call the office to volunteer.


  • Batesville St. Mary, Fridays at noon followed by Mass.
  • Clarksdale St. Elizabeth, Fridays at 5:30 p.m.
  • Columbus Annunciation, Fridays at 5:30 p.m. in the chapel followed by a fish fry in the Activities Center.
  • Greenville Sacred Heart Parish, Fridays, Feb. 20, March 3 and 20 at 6 p.m.
  • Greenville St. Joseph Parish, Fridays, Feb. 27, March 13 and 27 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Grenada St. Peter, Fridays at 6:15 p.m. Holy Communion and a short meditation followed by a light supper.
  • Hernando Holy Spirit Parish, Fridays at 6:30 p.m. followed by a soup supper.
  • Iuka St. Mary Parish, Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m.
  • Jackson St. Mary Parish, Fridays at noon.
  • Jackson St. Richard, Fridays at 2:15
  • Jackson St. Therese, Fridays at 5:30 p.m.
  • Jackson Christ the King Parish, Fridays at 6:30 p.m.
  • Pearl St. Jude, Fridays at 6 p.m. followed by a catfish dinner cooked by the Knights of Columbus.
  • Sardis St. John, Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m.
  • Shaw St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Fridays at 6 p.m.


  • Hernando Holy Spirit, Monday-Friday at 8 a.m.
  • Southaven Christ the King, Monday-Friday at 9 a.m.
  • Olive Branch Queen of Peace, Monday-Friday at 9 a.m.