Youth News

Easter Egg Toss

WINONA – Sacred Heart parish youth hosted their first Easter Eggstravaganza including a raw egg toss, pictured. The students also enjoyed dying eggs, face/arm painting, crafts, relay races, egg toss and a “pock the egg” tourney. The event ended with a picnic lunch. (Photo by Tara Trost)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crowning Mary

Flight to the finish

JACKSON – The Cardinal Men’s Club hosted the Flight to the Finish 5-K race Saturday, May 6 at St. Richard Parish. Above, Andrew Doherty takes off at the start of the fun run. (Photo by Chris Lombard)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Service project prepares youth for confirmation

Spring recital at St. Thea Bowman

 

Ven Espíritu Santo, llena los corazones de tus fieles

Por Opisbo Joseph Kopacz
El poder del Espíritu Santo de Dios que resucitó a Jesús de entre los muertos se encuentra nuevamente en el centro de la oración pública de la iglesia mientras celebramos la Ascensión en este fin de semana, con la exaltada fiesta de Pentecostés a seguir. “Ven Espíritu Santo, llena los corazones de tus fieles y enciende en ellos el fuego de tu amor… y renovaremos la faz de la tierra”. Durante el pasado mes el Espíritu Santo me ha mantenido activo con la celebración de 16 confirmaciones hasta la fecha alrededor de la diócesis, confirmando la presencia de Dios en la vida de nuestros jóvenes discípulos.
De una manera notable nuestra sagrada misión y visión se reviven a través de la confirmación al abrazar la diversidad de dones, los ministerios y obras del Espíritu Santo, al servir a otros de muchas maneras creativas y, por supuesto, al inspirar a los discípulos en el conocimiento y la comprensión de que Jesús es el Señor y Dios es nuestro Padre. La plenitud de la iniciación cristiana se realiza con la marca del santo crisma y cuando las promesas hechas en el bautismo por los padres, padrinos y madrinas han sido realizados.
La efusión de las bendiciones del Espíritu Santo es evidente en el amor a la familia, a los padrinos, amigos y a la comunidad parroquial. No hay lenguas de fuego visibles sobre las cabezas de los recién confirmados, pero el lento y regular fuego de la fe ha estado quemando y el amor del Señor resucitado es evidente.
En medio de la temporada de confirmaciones marcamos el primer aniversario del brutal asesinato de nuestras queridas religiosas, las Hermanas Paula Merrill, SCN, y Margaret Held (SSSF), con oraciones y la bendición e inauguración de su monumento en Liberty Park en el centro de Durant. Fue un encuentro vibrante compuesto por personas de la comunidad local, de la Parroquia Santo Tomás en Lexington, de sus comunidades religiosas en Kentucky y Wisconsin, y por los fieles de toda la Diócesis de Jackson.
El Espíritu Santo, la prenda de vida eterna, fue nuestra consolación, esperanza y paz. Cuando   comenzamos el servicio de oración se abrió el cielo, y acompañando la presencia del Espíritu Santo, hubo también un derrame, o mejor dicho, una lluvia torrencial, abundante en Mississippi. Este remojón vino completo con imágenes y sonidos, relámpagos y truenos. Esta muestra de la creación de Dios a menudo abruma las palabras de la oración, pero no desanimó nuestros espíritus y propósitos de dar tributo a la vida y la muerte de las hermanas en el servicio al Señor y a los pobres. De cierta manera profunda, fue como un diálogo entre el cielo y la tierra. La naturaleza habló y nosotros sólo pudimos hacer una pausa y esperar y, a continuación respondimos con oraciones que atravesaron las nubes. Al final bendecimos el monumento, y sus vidas y muertes permanecerán como un testimonio de servicio amoroso a lo largo de la vida en esta estresada área de nuestro estado.
Recordamos que la presencia del Espíritu Santo en nuestros corazones, mentes y almas es un anticipo a la promesa de la vida eterna y la fiesta del cielo. Esto es cierto para todos los creyentes que son bautizados en el nombre del Padre, del Hijo y del Espíritu Santo, y es fortalecido en el sacramento de la confirmación. Como un signo visible de esta realidad interior la vida religiosa y ordenada entre nosotros señala nuestro objetivo de estar siempre con el Señor. Nos recuerdan que nuestra ciudadanía está en los cielos y que no tenemos aquí ciudad permanente. Las muertes violentas de las Hermanas Paula y Margaret sólo sirven para profundizar la convicción de la sabiduría de las sagradas escrituras que, bienaventurados los que mueren en el Señor, déjenlas descansar de sus labores porque sus buenas obras van con ellas.” Ellas permanecen con nosotros como testigos de la verdad, que sea que vivamos o que muramos, del Señor somos.
Las bendiciones del Espíritu Santo moran dentro de nosotros y nos rodean de innumerables maneras. Durante la próxima semana todos podemos enriquecer nuestro viaje a Pentecostés rezando la novena al Espíritu Santo. La mayoría de las veces oramos en el poder del Espíritu a través del nombre de Jesucristo para gloria de Dios Padre. Durante estos días podemos orar intencionalmente al Espíritu Santo para que nos inspire, para liberarnos del pecado, para que nos permita vivir el Evangelio y para servir con amor como discípulos del Señor. Ven, Espíritu Santo, renueva la faz de la tierra.”

Durant Sisters remembered, honored in town where they served

By Ruthie Robison
DURANT — A downpour of rain didn’t dampen a dedication and blessing ceremony of a monument to honor the lives of Sisters Margaret Held, SCN, and Paula Merrill, SSSF.
A crowd of about 100 gathered Saturday, May 20, in Durant’s Liberty Park and weathered the Saturday afternoon storm to pay tribute to the two Sisters, who both made a lasting impact on the community in which they resided for the last 15 years of their lives.
Merrill, who was with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth based in Nazareth, Kentucky, and Held, who was with the School Sisters of St. Francis based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, were slain in their Durant home on Aug. 25, 2016. They were both 68.
The two nurse practitioners worked at Lexington Medical Clinic and attended St. Thomas Catholic Church in Lexington, located about 10 miles west from their home.
“It was wonderful to see so many people come here from around the country,” said the Rev. Greg Plata, OFM, pastor of St. Thomas, who led the service. “Even though it was a horrible day weather-wise, that did not deter from the joy of the day that we come together. I think that every time I go that way, (the monument) will be a place for me to stop and say a prayer and be thankful to God for these two amazing women. It’s just a great way to remember our sisters.”
Some of those attending the event included Durant city leaders, family members and longtime friends of Held and Merrill, staff members and patients of Lexington Medical Clinic and parishioners of St. Thomas.
The dedication service featured speakers Durant Mayor Tasha Davis and Bishop Joseph Kopacz, songs, prayer, Scripture readings and the unveiling of the monument.
To start the event, Davis welcomed those attending.
“I know it is a sad event that we’re here, but they were such wonderful people,” she said. “The Bible teaches us to give honor where honor is due, and we can all agree that it is befitting to honor these two ladies who left an everlasting mark on the city of Durant and Holmes County as a whole.”
Before blessing the monument, Kopacz spoke of the sisters’ service to their communities.
“Just as from the heavens the rain and the snow come down and accomplish what they’re sent to do, so Sister Paula and Sister Margaret came to these communities, accomplished God’s mission and returned to life fulfilled in heaven,” he said.
 After the unveiling, several people in attendance shared sentiments about Held and Merrill.
Mary James, who worked with the Sisters at Lexington Medical Clinic, said that she and the other staff members at the clinic were truly blessed to have known both Held and Merrill.
“They took me under their wings, and we became family,” she said. “The sisters’ angelic presence was so great. We miss them daily. … Whenever we get a little down or teary-eyed, we remember these words, ‘Let love win.’ If the sisters were here today, they would probably say something like this: ‘There’s no love like forgiveness, and there’s no forgiveness without love.'”
Held’s brother, James Held, spoke of his sister’s love for the people of Durant and Holmes County.
“We always tried to convince her to come back to the Midwest,” he said. “We never could convince her to come back, and we missed her. She loved you so much, and she stayed and she gave her life for all of you.”
James said that the Held family has felt terrible pain since his sister’s tragic death, but he also knows that the pain felt by the members of the Mississippi community where she touched so many lives must be equally as bad.
“Now that she has passed we have our sorrow, but we think of your sorrow,” he said. “You saw her every day. She touched your lives on a daily basis, and now you have that gap that Margaret’s gone, and you’re reminded of that all the time.”
Merrill’s family was unable to attend the ceremony. Connie Blake, a longtime friend of Merrill’s and an associate with the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, spoke on behalf of the family.
“Sister Paula was my friend for over 49 years,” she said. “One thing she said she always wanted to do was to follow what we’ve all been asked to do, and that’s to love one another and to care for one another, and indeed that was her life’s work.”
Blake said she and Merrill’s family are humbled and overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support they continue to receive.
Held and Merrill “would be astonished and somewhat embarrassed by all of this attention,” she said. “Paula and Margaret were quiet, humble and simple women, who lived out their passion to serve the undeserved in Mississippi.”
Durant Alderwoman Carolyn Riley led a grassroots effort to memorialize Held and Merrill with the monument at Liberty Park. Riley, who did not know the sisters personally, said she was touched in the wake of the tragedy when she heard the many stories about what all the women did for the community — taking care of the sick and uninsured, providing medicine for those who could not afford it and even helping someone sign up for disability.
“I feel like their love was heartfelt to the community. The service they gave to the community, because it came from the heart, it touches the heart,” she said. “When I saw (the people of Durant) so hurt and so distraught, it touched my heart, and I said, ‘We cannot forget them,’ because they did so much for us, not only in Durant but Holmes County. They shouldn’t be forgotten. I want my children, my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren to always remember them.”
After a closing prayer and blessing by Father Plata, a memorial Mass was held at St. Thomas, followed by a fish fry.
With the storms passed and the sun out and shining, parishioners and guests gathered outside St. Thomas to dry off and share memories of the sisters before the church service.
Sister Michele Doyle, SSSF, of Ridgeland, who also teaches a weekly Bible study at the church, remembered Held and Merrill as women who did “all the right things.”
“They recycled. They had their own garden. They lived a very simple life. They were helping the poor,” she said. “They were my very good friends, and I miss them a lot.”
A couple of nurses who are both members of the church talked about how Held and Merrill were respected in the local medical community and would go out of their way to help any of their patients.
“They were just so generous with their time and their money, and they treated everybody so personably,” said Barbara Bogy, a registered nurse at University Hospital-Lexington.
“They were just goodness walking,” added Beverly Brown, now retired from the Health Department in Lexington. “You couldn’t find a patient who didn’t love them to pieces, because they helped everybody.”
The group reminisced about Merrill’s delicious oatmeal cookies that she would bring to church potlucks and Held’s salads, featuring veggies from her garden and a homemade dressing, which she brought to the weekly Bible study class.
“They were excellent cooks,” said Sister Doyle.
Jamie Sample, the music leader at St. Thomas, said that the past several months have been hard for the 35-member parish.
“They were like our family, and they were my choir. Every time I pick the music out, I cry,” she said. “We just miss them so much. It’s just left such a void. They did so much that we didn’t even know that they did.”
Sister Tonya Severin, vice provincial for the Western Province of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, who knew Merrill for the past 14 years, said she thought the monument would be a way for the people of Durant and Holmes County to keep a connection to Held and Merrill.
“They were such a presence to the people of this area that I think if they just go to that memorial and just sit there and talk or touch it, somehow that touching can bring back some of that connection again and can be a way to find strength to go on, because that’s what they brought to us,” she said. “I think it isn’t just their deaths that are important, it’s their lives. They lived with the message of Jesus, that we are to give of ourselves in loving service to others, and that’s what they did so unobtrusively.”
As the rain began to fall during the dedication ceremony, Sister Ramona Schmidtknecht, SSSF, of Holly Springs, said she immediately thought about telephone conversations she had with her friend, Held.
“She would call us from Durant and ask if we got rain, and she’d say, ‘Oh, it missed us again,’ and she said, ‘It goes everywhere around us but in Durant,’” said Schmidtknecht. “She would want rain for her flowers, and she said, ‘We just don’t get it.’ She brought the rain today, but I thought, ‘OK, but not so much.’”
(Ruthie Robison is the lifestyles editor for the Greenwood Commonwealth and a member of Greenwood Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish.)

Calendar of events

Correction
JACKSON Tickets for the Catholic Charities Bishops’ Ball scheduled for Saturday, June 10, at Jackson Country Club are $85 per person. The dinner and auction event starts at 6:30 p.m. Details: 601-355-8634. The price printed in the last edition was incorrect. We regret the error.

SPIRITUAL ENRICHMENT
ABERDEEN St. Francis of Assisi, Bible study, held on the last Sunday of each month after Mass in the parish hall. Details: (662) 813-2295.
BROOKSVILLE Dwelling Place Retreat Center, “Transitions and Transformation,” June 9-11. Facilitators: Dr. Francis Baird, LPC, has a private counseling practice in Columbus & Starkville; Clare Van Lent, MA CSp, Dwelling Place director. Begins at 5:30 p.m. Some of the topics that will be dealt with during this retreat will be: realizing my gifts, overcoming my fears, addressing my regrets, exploring my lost dreams. This weekend will be a time to explore these issues in the light of faith. Donation $180. Details: Sheila Avery, secretary, (662) 738-5348 or www.dwellingplace.com to register online.
HERNANDO Holy Spirit, Cursillistas interested in forming a men’s prayer group. Details: call Wayne Miller at (901) 679-3400.
RIDGELAND Hospice Ministries volunteer training program, June 9-10. Volunteers are always in need to answer the call of helping others during one of life’s most trying experiences, terminal illness. It is a fast-paced program filled with speakers (and refreshments). Friday, June 9 – 5:30-8:30 p.m. and Saturday, June 10 1-5 p.m. Details: call Volunteer Services at (601) 898-1053 ext. 258.
JACKSON St. James Episcopal Church “Walking the Mourners’ Path” a 6-week course beginning Sunday, June 4, offers comfort and healing for whatever stage of grief you may be in. Details: call Ann at (769) 257-2377 or mclemore.a@a@gmail.com.
NATCHEZ St. Mary Basilica, Book Club resumes with a study of a Christian classic, “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis. Beginning Tuesday, June 6 on the 1st & 3rd Tuesdays of the month at 6 p.m. in the O’Connor Family Life Center. You can download the discussion questions at cslewis.org/resources/studyguides. Details:  (601) 445-5616.

PARISH, SCHOOL AND FAMILY EVENTS
GREENVILLE Steve Azar Delta Soul Celebrity Golf and Charity Event, June 8-10. Details: General Info: info@steveazarsaintceciliafoundation.org or Delta Soul deltasoul@sascf.org.
– Reggie Smith Baseball Clinic, Thursday, June 8, 8 a.m. – noon, Delta Sportsplex, held in conjunction with Delta Soul Celebrity and Charity event. Ages 9 years and older. Cost: $10 per player and all proceeds will benefit the Delta Sportsplex. Details: Beth Giachelli (662) 822-6632 giachelliphotography@hotmail.com or Jeffrey Giachelli (662) 822-6836 jeffrey.giachelli@farmsourceag.com.
JACKSON St. Therese, CWA Garage Sale, Saturday, June 10, 7 a.m. – noon in the gym. Proceeds benefit the parish projects of the St. Therese CWA. Drop-off times are Saturday, June 3, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. & June 5-8, 5-7 p.m. Details: church office, (601) 372-4481.
MERIDIAN Catholic Community of St. Patrick and St. Joseph, the Knights of Peter Claver will be selling fish and rib plates on Saturday, June 3, 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. on the corner of 8th Street and 26th Avenue. If 10 or more tickets are purchased, knights will deliver within the city limits. Details: tickets may be purchased from any Knights of Peter Claver member or call (601) 938-5757.
VICKSBURG St. Michael, meals on wheels next service day is Friday, June 9, 8 a.m. in the Parish Hall. Help is needed with cooking, boxing or delivering the meals, or if you like to donate a dessert, salad, or bread. Details: contact Carrie Meyer at (601) 218-1007 or Jennifer Vincent at (601) 529-3230.

YOUTH BRIEFS
HERNANDO Holy Spirit, Vacation Bible School, June 26-30, 6 – 8:30 p.m. Teen helpers ages 12+ only. Please fill out registration forms and put in basket in back of the church starting the first Sunday in June. Details: Lucy Holland at (662) 429-1188.
JACKSON Sister Thea Bowman School, Enrollment is now underway for 2017-18 school year. Details: contact Shae Robinson at (601) 352-5441.
MADISON St. Francis of Assisi, Hero Central Vacation Bible School. Many heroes are needed to volunteer to teach, assist, work in the kitchen, decorate, and babysit on June 19-23. Details: contact Mary Catherine at mc.george@stfrancismadison.org or (601)-856-5556 to volunteer.
MERIDIAN St. Patrick School, Pre-registration continues for the 2017-18 school year. Registration fee is $300. Details: (601) 482-6044
OXFORD St. John, Vacation Bible School, June 5-9, youth- ages 4 – entering 4th grade. pro-life themed program where kids will learn to discover, respect, protect, serve and celebrate life. Volunteers welcome. Details: contact Kristin Whelan at (404) 538-9100 or kmwhelan8@gmail.com.
SOUTHAVEN Sacred Heart School (PreK-4 through 8th grade) is holding open enrollment for new families.  Sacred Heart is one of three national finalists for Innovations in Catholic Education for Promoting Catholic Identity. Details: Contact principal Bridget Martin (662) 349-0900 or bmartin@shsm.org  

Correction
JACKSON Tickets for the Catholic Charities Bishops’ Ball scheduled for Saturday, June 10, at Jackson Country Club are $85 per person. The dinner and auction event starts at 6:30 p.m. Details: 601-355-8634. The price printed in the last edition was incorrect. We regret the error.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful

By Bishop Joseph Kopacz
The power of God’s Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead is once again at the center of the Church’s public prayer as we celebrate the Ascension on this weekend, with the exalted feast of Pentecost to follow.
“Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love… and we shall renew the face of the earth.” During the past month the Holy Spirit has kept me active with the celebration of 16 Confirmations to date around the diocese, confirming God’s presence in the lives of our young disciples. In a noteworthy manner our Sacred Mission and Vision come alive through Confirmation as we embrace the diversity of gifts, ministries and works of the Holy Spirit, serve others in many creative ways, and, of course, inspire disciples in the knowledge and understanding that Jesus is Lord, and God is our Father. The fullness of Christian Initiation is accomplished with the mark of holy Chrism, and the promises made at Baptism by parents and godparents have been realized. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit’s blessings is evident in the love of family, godparents, friends and the parish community. There are no visible tongues of fire upon the heads of the newly confirmed, but the slow and steady fire of faith has been burning and the love of the risen Lord is evident.
In the midst of the Confirmation campaign we honored our beloved religious, Sister Paula Merrill, SCN and Sister Margaret Held, SSSF, who were murdered last fall. Faithful friends and family gathered with prayer and the blessing and unveiling of their monument in Liberty Park in downtown Durant. It was a spirited gathering, comprised of people from the local community, from St. Thomas parish in Lexington, from their religious communities based in Kentucky and Wisconsin, and from the faithful from around the diocese of Jackson.
The Holy Spirit, the pledge of eternal life, was our consolation, hope and peace. As we began the the prayer service the heavens opened, and accompanying the presence of the Holy Spirit, was also an outpouring, or better said, down pouring of torrential rains, Mississippi’s abundance. This drenching had the whole package with sights and sounds, lightening and thunder. This display of God’s creations often overwhelmed the words of prayer, but it did not dampen our spirits and resolve to give fitting tribute to the sisters’ lives and deaths in service to the Lord and to the poor. In some profound way, it was like a dialogue between heaven and earth.
Nature spoke and we could only pause and wait, and then we responded with prayer that pierced the clouds. In the end we blessed the monument, and their lives and deaths will stand as a testimony to loving service over the course of a lifetime in this stressed area of our state.
We recall that the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, minds, and souls is a foretaste of the promise of eternal life, and the feast of heaven. This is true for all believers who are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and further strengthened in the Sacrament of Confirmation. As a visible sign of this interior reality the vowed lives of the religious and ordained among us point to our goal to be with the Lord forever. They remind us that our citizenship is in heaven, and that we have no lasting city here. The violent deaths of Sisters Paula and Margaret only serve to deepen the conviction in the wisdom of the sacred scriptures that “blessed are they who die in the Lord, let them rest from their labors for their good deeds go with them.” They remain with us as witnesses to the truth, that whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
The blessings of the Holy Spirit dwell within us and surround us in countless ways. Over the next week we can all enrich our journey to Pentecost by praying the Novena to the Holy Spirit. Most often we pray in the power of the Spirit through the name of Jesus Christ to the glory of God the Father. During these days we can pray more intentionally to the Holy Spirit to inspire us, to free us from sin, to empower us to live the gospel, and to lovingly serve as disciples of the Lord.  
Come, Holy Spirit, renew the face of the earth.

Tutwiler sister honored by alma mater

By Maureen Smith
Dr. Anne Brooks, SNJM, received the Walter Patenge Award from the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine on Monday, May 8.  She was one of three distinguished alumni to get the award this year. It honors Michigan state alumni for their commitment to excellence in medicine, government and public service.
Brooks, a member of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary and an MSUCOM alumna, is the medical director and chief administrator of the Tutwiler Clinic in Tutwiler, Mississippi. She also serves as a staff physician at Merit Health Northwest Mississippi, clinical adjunct faculty member and Mississippi preceptor for osteopathic and allopathic medical students in the U.S. and Toronto, and a clinical instructor for nurse practitioner and physician assistant students in Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama.
She has served in Mississippi for 34 years. Tallahatchie General Hospital acquired the clinic last year. The partnership was a win for the hospital, staff and community as it broadened the resources available and helped the hospital reach more patients.
The award is named for Walter F. Patenge, the first president of the Michigan Osteopathic Medicine Advisory Board.

LANSING, MI – Sister Anne Brooks receiving her Patenge award citation from William Strampel, dean of the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. (Photo courtesy MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine)

Health Dept. offers crisis communication help

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – The Mississippi Department of Public Health invited representatives of at-risk populations to a workshop on Thursday, May 18, to work on improving communications. Dorothy Balser, disaster recovery coordinator for Catholic Charities, attended on behalf of the organization and the diocese.
Before the workshop, participants took a survey to better direct the day’s activities. “They asked which at-risk populations does your group serve, what threats are they concerned about, what communication channels do they use and what sources does that at-risk group turn to and trust,” said Balser. The workshop was meant to help the Health Department open new avenues to communicate sensitive information in times of crisis and help organizations think more strategically about their own communication with their clients.
Tim Tinker, Director of Strategic Communications at Atlas Research in Washington D.C., helped facilitate the day. He talked about cultural or socio-economic factors that might make reaching one group or another harder. For example, language barriers, lack of access to technology or the internet, a cultural mindset that might make a population mistrust a government source. The health department can use this information to craft more effective messages when there is a threat to public health, such as an illness outbreak, a time when water is contaminated or after a natural disaster. The night before the workshop a water main in Vickburg burst, cutting off the supply of water to 40,000 people. Liz Sharlot, spokesperson for the department of health, said her department already had guidelines, precautions and other information posted to its website and urged participants to share that information with their clients.
Tinker explained that in times of emergency, organizations must keep their messages to their simplest and most direct formats.
“He used the term 27, nine, three for the idea that your message should be 27 words, about nine seconds and only have three points,” said Balser. “He explained that you should not give people too much information when there is a crisis, they are already overwhelmed, be succinct,” Balser continued.
Organization representatives were invited to put their own challenges and information on large sheets of paper around the room. Members of the health department’s communication team will type up all the information and share it with participants.
At the end of the day, each representative was asked to come up with an aspiration statement for how they would use the information they gleaned to improve their communication.

Jóvenes hispanos celebran la resurrección de Cristo

El 22 de abril, unos 30 jóvenes hispanos celebraron la resurrección de nuestro Señor durante el primer “Pascua Juvenil, Viva Cristo Rey” en el Locus Benedictus en Greenwood. El día consistió en oración, canciones, actividades al aire libre, videos, sesiones de escucha y más. Sacerdotes Redentoristas del Delta estaban disponibles para escuchar confesiones y el día terminó con la celebración de la Santa Misa.

Hermanas religiosas recordadas con un monumento

DURANT – Un aguacero no amortiguó la ceremonia de dedicación y bendición de un monumento para honrar las vidas de las hermanas Margaret Held y Paula Merrill.
Una multitud de 100 personas se reunieron el 20 de mayo en el Parque de la Libertad en Durant y resistieron la tormenta para honrar a las dos monjas, que hicieron un impacto en la comunidad en la que residieron durante los últimos 15 años de sus vidas.
Merrill, una hermana de la Caridad de Nazaret y Held, una hermana de la Escuela de San Francisco fueron asesinadas en su casa el 25 de agosto de 2016. Las dos trabajaron en la Clínica Médica de Lexington y asistieron a la iglesia Católica Santo Tomás en Lexington.
“Fue maravilloso ver a tanta gente venir de todo el país”, dijo el reverendo Greg Plata, OFM, pastor de Santo Tomás, quien dirigió el servicio. “A pesar de que fue un día horrible en cuanto al tiempo, eso no disuadió de la alegría del día en que nos reunimos. Cada vez que voy por ese camino (el monumento) voy a agradecer a Dios por estas dos mujeres increíbles. Es una manera grandiosa de recordar a nuestras hermanas.”
Algunos de los asistentes incluyeron líderes de la ciudad de Durant, familiares, amigos, personal y pacientes de la clínica y feligreses de Santo Tómas. El servicio contó con la presencia del alcalde de Durant, Tasha Davis, y del obispo Joseph Kopacz, cantos, oraciones, lecturas bíblicas y la inauguración del monumento.
Para iniciar el evento, Davis dio la bienvenida a los asistentes. “La Biblia nos enseña a dar honor donde se debe el honor y todos podemos estar de acuerdo en que es digno de honrar a estas dos señoras que dejaron una marca eterna en la ciudad de Durant y el condado de Holmes.”
Antes de bendecir el monumento, Kopacz habló del servicio de las hermanas a sus comunidades. “Así como de los cielos la lluvia y la nieve bajan y cumplen lo que se les manda hacer, la Hermana Paula y la Hermana Margaret también llegaron a estas comunidades, cumplieron la misión de Dios y les devolvieron la vida cumplida en el cielo,” dijo.
Después de la inauguración, varias personas compartieron sentimientos sobre Held y Merrill. Mary James, quien trabajó en la clínica, dijo que ella y los otros miembros del personal de la clínica fueron verdaderamente bendecidos por haber conocido a Held y Merrill. “Me tomaron bajo sus alas, y nos hicimos familia. La presencia angélica de las hermanas fue tan grande. Los extrañamos todos los días.”
El hermano de Held, James Held, habló del amor de su hermana por la gente, “Siempre tratamos de convencerla de que regresara al medio oeste. Nunca pudimos convencerla de que regresara y la extrañamos. Ella te quería tanto y ella se quedó y dio su vida por todos ustedes.”
Carolyn Riley, concejal de Durant, dirigió el esfuerzo para conmemorar Held y Merrill con el monumento. Riley, que no conocía personalmente a las hermanas, dijo que la tragedia la afectó cuando escuchó las historias sobre lo que las hermanas hicieron por la comunidad – cuidando a los enfermos y los sin seguranza, proporcionando medicamentos para los quien no pudieron pagar, e incluso ayudar a algunos a inscribiese para la discapacidad.
Después de una bendición, se llevó a cabo una misa en Santo Tomás, seguida de una comida de pescado. Hermana Michelle Doyle, SSSF, recordó a Held y a Merrill como mujeres que hacían “todas las cosas correctas”. “Reciclaron. Tenían su propio jardín. Vivían una vida muy simple. Estaban ayudando a los pobres. Fueron mis amigas y las extraño mucho.”  
Hermana Tonya Severin, vice-provincial de la Provincia Occidental de las Hermanas de la Caridad de Nazaret, dijo que el monumento sería una forma para que la gente de Durant mantengan una conexión con Held y Merrill. “Vivieron con el mensaje de Jesús, que debemos entregarnos a nosotros mismos en servicio amoroso a los demás y eso es lo que hicieron tan discretamente.”

Departamento de Salud ofrece ayuda para la comunicación

Por Maureen Smith
JACKSON – El Departamento de Salud Pública de Mississippi invitó a representantes de las poblaciones en riesgo a un taller el jueves, 18 de mayo, para trabajar en mejorar las comunicaciones. Dorothy Balser, coordinadora de recuperación de desastres de Caridades Católicas, asistió en nombre de la organización y la diócesis.
Antes del taller, los participantes hicieron una encuesta para dirigir mejor las actividades del día. “Preguntaron qué poblaciones de riesgo su grupo sirve, de qué amenazas están preocupadas, qué canales de comunicación utilizan y en qué fuentes el grupo de riesgo se vuelve y confía”, dijo Balser. El taller tenía como objetivo ayudar al Departamento de Salud a abrir nuevas vías para comunicar información sensible en tiempos de crisis y ayudar a las organizaciones a pensar de manera más estratégica sobre su propia comunicación con sus clientes.
Tim Tinker, director de comunicaciones estratégicas de Atlas Research en Washington D.C. llegó a Jackson desde Atlanta para ayudar a facilitar el día. Habló de factores culturales o socioeconómicos que podrían hacer más difícil alcanzar a un grupo. Por ejemplo, las barreras del idioma, la falta de acceso a la tecnología, una mentalidad cultural que podría hacer que una población desconfíe de una fuente gubernamental. El departamento de salud puede utilizar esta información para elaborar mensajes más efectivos cuando existe una amenaza para la salud pública, como un brote de enfermedad, un momento en que el agua está contaminada o después de un desastre natural. La noche anterior al taller, una corriente de agua en Vicksburg estalló, cortando el suministro de agua a 40.000 personas. Liz Sharlot, portavoz del departamento de salud, dijo que su departamento ya tenía directrices, precauciones y otra información publicada en su sitio web e instó a los participantes a compartir esa información con sus clientes.
Tinker explicó que en tiempos de emergencia, como un desastre natural o un momento en que puede haber una amenaza para la salud pública, las organizaciones deben mantener sus mensajes en sus formatos más simples y directos. “Utilizó el término 27, 9, 3 para la idea de que su mensaje debe ser de 27 palabras, unos nueve segundos y sólo tiene tres mensajes”, dijo Balser. “Él explicó que usted no debe dar a la gente demasiada información cuando hay una crisis, ya están abrumados, ser sucinta”, continuó Balser.
Representantes de la organización fueron invitados a poner sus propios retos y la información en hojas de papel grandes alrededor de la sala. Los miembros del equipo de comunicación del departamento de salud escribirán toda la información y la compartirán con los participantes.
Al final del día, a cada representante se le pidió que presentara una declaración de aspiración para saber cómo usarían la información que recopilaron para mejorar su comunicación.