Youth News

Silly science wows Sacres Heart

SOUTHAVEN – University of Mississippi science professor Dr. Breese Quinn  and some of his students wowed Sacred Heart school with demonstrations of physics and science. The students used air to levitate and direct ping-pong balls; distributed force to lay on a bed of nails and watched liquid nitrogen transform marshmallows transform into brittle frozen treats. Alex Pham, above, left, reacts to the cold. (Photos by Sister Margaret Sue Broker)

Project to grow on

CLARKSDALE – Students at St. Elizabeth School made terrariums in the 4H Cloverbuds Program after school.

Under the Sea on the stage

COLUMBUS – On April 6-7, Annunciation School middle school students performed The Little Mermaid for sold out crowds! The entire cast takes a bow at the grand finale. (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)


Crowning Mary

GREENVILLE – Students at St. Joseph School gathered in the outdoor prayer garden for the May Crowining. Senior Class President Allison Wise crowned Mary. (Photo by Missi Blackstock)

MERIDIAN – Matthew Wilson holds a banner while Ellie Rush places a crown of flowers on a statue of Mary during St. Patrick School’s May Crowning Mass on May 4. Ms. Pressly’s first-grade students participated in the Mass and placed flowers at Mary’s feet.(Photo by Helen Reynolds)

Matthew Wilson and Ellie Rush











GRENADA – Above, Father Aroika Savio, pastor, places rosary beads in Mary’s hands while, at right, Blaire Johnson places flowers during a Mass at St. Peter on Sunday, May 7. (Photo by Michael Liberto )


Leading the way on Holy Week

RIPLEY – The youth from St. Matthew Parish led stations of the cross outside during Holy week. Fourteen students participated in the hour-long devotion on the parish grounds. (Photo by Madeleine C. Hale)

Easter Egg tradtion

JACKSON – Children from pre-k through sixth grade claim prizes at the St. Richard Egg Hunt on the First Sunday of Easter. The parish’s youth groups organize the activity. (Photos by Maureen Smith)


Trevor Muzzi

GREENVILLE – St. Joseph Catholic School Junior Trevor Muzzi has been selected to play in Omaha, Nebraska from June 17 to June 22 with the 18u UnderArmour National Baseball Team.  “At these select nationwide events, top high school talent is showcased for over 100 college coaches and professional scouts. Through this joint association, Baseball Factory’s players not only receive quality training and guidance, but also the kind of exposure essential for success at the next level (Photo courtesy of Missi Blackstock)

National and World News

WASHINGTON (CNS) – The American Health Care Act that passed by a four-vote margin May 4 in the House has “major defects,” said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Social Development. “It is deeply disappointing that the voices of those who will be most severely impacted were not heeded,” Bishop Dewane said in a May 4 statement. “The AHCA does offer critical life protections, and our health care system desperately needs these safeguards. But still, vulnerable people must not be left in poor and worsening circumstances as Congress attempts to fix the current and impending problems with the Affordable Care Act.” He added, “When the Senate takes up the AHCA, it must act decisively to remove the harmful proposals from the bill that will affect low-income people – including immigrants – as well as add vital conscience protections, or begin reform efforts anew. Our health care policy must honor all human life and dignity from conception to natural death, as well as defend the sincerely held moral and religious beliefs of those who have any role in the health care system.” One of 20 Republicans to vote against the bill was Rep. Chris Smith, R-New Jersey, co-chair of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus.
WASHINGTON (CNS) – Many religious leaders viewed President Donald Trump’s executive order on religious freedom, which he signed in a White House Rose Garden ceremony May 4, as a step in the right direction. In a ceremony for the National Day of Prayer prior to signing the executive order, Trump told the assembled religious leaders: “We’re taking big steps to protect religious liberty” and he assured them the government “won’t stand for religious discrimination.” Three religious leaders, including Washington Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl, offered prayers during the ceremony. Just prior to the event, Cardinal Wuerl and Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, met with Trump about the order. In an interview with Catholic News Service at Reagan National Airport just after the White House ceremony, Cardinal DiNardo said the meeting with the president was brief but productive. Earlier, in a statement, the cardinal said the executive order “begins the process of alleviating the serious burden of the HHS mandate,” referring to the mandate issued by the federal Department of Health and Human Services requiring most religious employers to provide coverage of artificial birth control for their employees even if they morally oppose it.
WASHINGTON (CNS) – After Arkansas executed its fourth death-row inmate in eight days April 27, Sister Helen Prejean, a longtime opponent of capital punishment, said “future generations will look back upon the events unfolding in Arkansas tonight with horror. The barbarity is overwhelming.” Sister Prejean, a Sister of St. Joseph of Medaille, tweeted that message 30 minutes after Kenneth Williams was pronounced dead. His lawyers unsuccessfully petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay, saying the inmate should not be executed because three health care professionals had determined he was “intellectually disabled.” Relatives of a man killed by Williams in a crash during his 1999 escape from prison also pleaded with the governor to call off his execution. “There is nothing pro-life about the state-sanctioned killing of an intellectually disabled man,” was just one of the many messages Sister Prejean tweeted during Williams’ final hours. Catholic Mobilizing Network in Washington, an advocacy group seeking to end the death penalty, similarly sent Twitter updates the night of the execution and each of the eight days when other inmates were executed, including two executions April 24. Governor Asa Hutchinson ordered the executions to use a controversial drug before it would expire May 1. The state will no longer be able to get supplies of the drug, which was used in several executions in which the condemned seemed to suffer before he died.
The social media messages urged people to pray for those facing execution, their families, the victim’s families and even the prison guards.
Bishop Joseph Kopacz joined the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and hundreds of faith leaders in Arkansas in publicly deouncing the executions. Bishop Kopacz’ statement is available on the diocesean website,
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – To best respond to new challenges in the field of communication, the Vatican needs smart, courageous teamwork, not nostalgia for a glorious past or doomsday forecasts, Pope Francis said. As the Vatican continues to integrate and coordinate its numerous media outlets under the Secretariat for Communication as part of a wider process of reform, the pope said “we must not be afraid of this word,” reform. Reform is not brushing a bit of fresh paint on things, but “reform is giving another form to things, organizing them in another way,” he said May 4 in a speech to the secretariat’s members, directors and officials, who were holding their first plenary assembly since the pope instituted the body in 2015. Reform, the pope added, must be done “with intelligence, meekness, but also, also, allow me (to use) the word, with a bit of ‘violence,’ but kind, good violence, in order to reform things,” he said in off-the-cuff remarks. “Let’s not allow the temptation of clinging to a glorious past to prevail. Instead, let us make great team players in order to better respond to the new challenges in communications that today’s culture demands of us without fear and without imagining apocalyptic scenarios.”

Summer offers chance to refresh, build faith

Complete the circle

George Evans

By George Evans
As I write this the calender has turned to May. My grandchildren are anxious for school to end for the year, for the approaching piano recital to hurry up and get here and for the swimming pool to open. Everything outside is green and fresh. We continue our journey on the road of holiness as adults.
What do we do on our journey? We are well into the Easter season. The daily readings in the liturgy excite us with the stories of Stephen, the first martyr of the early Church, of Peter, John and Paul and the other disciples who have seen the risen Lord and proclaimed him despite the punishments and threats of the ruling civil authorities. Our faith is renewed because the risen Lord has touched us again and taken away our greatest fear, death. He has assured us he is always with us. He has challenged us to take the message he has given us to the ends of the earth and promises us the strength to do it through him.
So, what do we do in “the good ole summertime” having been fortified and blessed and called to holiness and mission. We pray. We open ourselves to the Lord of the Paschal Mystery we have recently celebrated. We plead for mercy from the God of all mercy. We acknowledge our sinfulness confident of his forgiveness. We do this every day so that our tendencies to revert to self to the exclusion of others is shielded. We seek summer Eucharist to feed on the sustenance of the Lord himself under the appearances of bread and wine and thereby be strengthened to face whatever trials, tribulations or challenges that come our way. Because prayer allows us to touch divinity our summer journey is on its way.
Related to prayer, summertime is a great time for reading good stuff. We may even find reflection in a way that surprises us. Helpful in this pursuit may be any of the daily books which include scripture and reflections to get us started on our own. Living Faith, Give Us This Day, Living with Christ are my favorites but there are many others. Choose that which best excites your own reflection and be on your way to wonderful daily growth in holiness. Summer is also a good time for reading longer spiritual works. There are thousands. Contemporary authors I find helpful and stimulating on my journey are, among others, Fathers James Martin, SJ, Henri Nouwen, Ronald Rolheiser, OMI, and the last three Popes. Many “secular” authors bring incredible “spiritual” insights to novels and short stories. Anthony Doerr’s Pulitizer Prize Winning “All the Light We Cannot See” knocked me over.
Summer brings terrific opportunities for workshops, mission training, retreats, etc. for help on our journey of holiness. I mention three of them sponsored by our diocese and commented on further on pages 8-9 of this issue of Mississippi Catholic. 1. June 8-9 Liturgical Music: Ministry Encounters Mystery. Alexis Kutarna, director of music for St. Mary Seminary, Houston, Texas, featured presenter. 2. Pastoral Ministries Retreat and/or workshop, “Living as Missionary Disciples” June 5-8. 3. Faith Community Nursing: training specifically for registered nurses. These and other opportunities to connect faith with work, faith sharing or teaching opportunities are valuable avenues to enhance our journeys of holiness.
After replenishing ourselves in all of the above ways (or at least some of them) we are ready to take our nurtured holiness into the marketplace as challenged by the Lord and Pope Francis so to do. We may not be called to bring his message to Africa or the Far East in order to be holy, but we are called to leave self to bring Christ to others every day by the way we treat every one, be they friend or foe, rich or poor, gay or straight, powerful or on the fringes. Whether they are in prison or free, sick or healthy, ugly or attractive, good are bad.
Our journey to holiness leads us to love all as we have been loved first by the Lord. “The good ole summertime” of this type journey will do more than a week at the beach (as important as it may be) to make us whole and happy. It may lead to more members/volunteers for prison ministry, St. Vincent de Paul, Knights of Columbus, Habitat, ushers, etc. Funny how God always works and provides.
(George Evans is a retired pastoral minister from Jackson St. Richard Parish.)

Mother a synonym for love, care, sacrifice


Father Ledoux

By Father Jerome LeDoux, SVD
Although I had gone to Saint Catherine Catholic Church in Arnaudville, Louisiana, to officiate a wedding 35 years ago, and once more to do a revival about 15 years later, I had never been to nearby Saint John Francis Regis Church.
Fastforwarding to April 8, I was being called to Saint John Francis Regis Church to officiate the homegoing celebration of Media “Maydell” Mary Mallet, the mother of Holy Ghost Church faithful member, Mary Mallet Daigle. When her mother went home to God, Mary and her husband Farice were still suffering from the excruciating loss of their 39-year-old son Selby on January 30, 2016.
A precious matriarch in her own right at 96, Maydell had to endure as grandmother what her daughter Mary suffered as Selby’s mother. Besides, even fewer grandmothers than mothers face the ordeal of burying a child so young. As nature would have it usually, children and grandchildren should bury their elders.
The reverse is nothing short of a nightmare for parents and grandparents.
Of course, in the esteemed image of a Maydell, the typical mother so dear to all us children, we see the paradigm of our own mother. Yes, I saw my own sweet mother, Mary Gastonia Petrie LeDoux, easing into paradise at the age of 95 years and seven months on February 12, 1996. I smiled and my heart grew warm.
“The good book tells us,” I said, “in Psalm 90:10, ‘Seventy is the sum of our years, or 80 if we are strong.’ I added, ‘or 96 if one is like Maydell!’” What a blessing and what a glory to be such a matriarch and such a staunch Christian!
Yet, even at that advanced age, it is still not enough for us greedy children. God made us greedy for life and greedy for love, and we are never satisfied with the life and love allotted to us. Saint Augustine says it powerfully, “Our heart is restless until it rests in you.” No matter how old she is, mother is never here long enough.
Impelled by something deep inside, I asked the congregation whether they had heard the song MOTHER. When not one responded, I said, “M is for the many things you gave me; O means only that you’re growing old; T is for the tears you shed to save me; H is for your heart as pure as gold; E is for your everlasting loving.
“R is right and right you’ll always be. Put them all together, they spell Mother; a word that means the world to me. – Please do it in E flat, brother musician,” I requested.
When I sang it once, some picked it up. More caught some of it the second time around. Finally, we did a decent performance on the third round. The evident effect on the family was reward enough for sharing the Mother’s Day song. Besides, Maydell will be spending her first Mother’s Day in heaven with the Communion of Saints, featuring the Blessed Trinity et al, together with her parents, her husband of 60 years, her two deceased children and all her deceased relatives and friends. The surviving seven of Maydell’s nine children were there to celebrate her triumph.
At the conclusion of burial prayers for Maydell Mallet in Saint Leo Cemetery in Leonville, LaQuella Johnson, who had checked with me and Deacon Charles Richard about the timing, started prerecorded sacred music on a portable machine, then released a white dove that circled momentarily before flying away, affecting the crowd profoundly. In about thirty seconds, she released a second white dove that rose majestically and circled in spectacular fashion before flying away. With a bit of wonder and excited smiles, the folks tracked the white doves as long as they could, picturing Maydell’s liberated soul flying away to heaven.
We soon learned why the white doves had circled momentarily before flying away. They were homing pigeons getting their bearings for making the 60-mile flight back to their home base loft in Scotlandville (Baton Rouge). “They can find their way home from 200 miles away,” 17-year-old Johnson explained. “We train them carefully and take good care of them. They are always eager to get home. Sadly, we lose some in the winter from hawks that come here from the cold North.”
Johnson’s satisfaction and love for her work oozed out of her demeanor and every word. “I started this ‘Glory Birds’ business when I was 11 years old. Now after six years, I am passing the business down to my younger sister, because I am about to enter college at Southeastern University in Hammond.”
Although LaQuella conceived the idea for “Glory Birds” after watching a movie showing the release of white doves, her father Pharoah and her mother Yolanda had prepared her mind for such things by instilling in their children a love for animals. At and near their home they have fish, rabbits, quail and guinea pigs. As if modeling for Mother’s Day/Father’s day, the amazing pair also taught their kids to make jelly and preserves from fruit that they grew, and pickles from cucumbers.
“God is love, and all who abide in love abide in God and God in them.” (1 John 4:16)
(Father Jerome LeDoux, SVD, has written “Reflections on Life since 1969.)

Obispo reflexiona sobre aniversario

Por Opisbo Joseph Kopacz
Escribo la columna de esta semana en el fin de semana del 40 aniversario de mi ordenación sacerdotal, el 7 de mayo de 1977. Durante momentos más tranquilos y mientras estoy en el altar durante las celebraciones litúrgicas, me impresiono por la gracia y la maravilla de que han pasado 40 años y el buen pastor me ha guiado a través de las interminables montañas del noreste de Pennsylvania en la Diócesis de Scranton hacia el sur profundo en la Diócesis de Jackson, Mississippi. Después de casi treinta y seis años y medio allá y cerca de tres y medio aquí, estoy feliz de estar vivo y bien, con buena memoria y gratitud, y capaz de servir con motivación y propósito.
El año 40 y los 40 días de tiempo en la Biblia representan tiempo sagrado, kairos, cuando Dios y su gente caminaron juntos (o flotaron en el tiempo de Noé) en el desenvolvimiento de la historia de la salvación. Es un tiempo de purificación, regeneración y la gozosa esperanza de algo nuevo en el horizonte. Para el cristiano, las aguas del diluvio prefiguran las aguas purificadoras del Bautismo y un período de 40 días que está estrechamente asociado con la temporada de cuaresma. Una vez en tierra el arco iris a través de las nubes era el signo del pacto entre Dios y la humanidad, y la promesa de una nueva vida. En mi breve tiempo aquí, un nuevo día ha amanecido y he conocido la vida abundante que el Buen Pastor prometió en la lectura del evangelio de este fin de semana. Además, con las ruidosas tormentas que he experimentado desde que me mudé al sur, multiplicado por 40 días y noches, podría imaginar la construcción de un arca en cada esquina.
En la experiencia del Éxodo tenemos dobles períodos de tiempo de 40 años y 40 días. Los israelitas vagaron durante 40 años en el desierto y Moisés pasó 40 días y 40 noches en el Monte Sinaí que trajeron consigo el don de los Diez Mandamientos, el corazón del Tora, y el signo y la sustancia de la evolución de la alianza entre Dios y los israelitas. \Estas tablas de piedra fueron hechas y adoptadas en los comienzos de la permanencia en el desierto y fijó el estándar para la creación de relaciones que Dios exigía de los israelitas antes de abrir la puerta a la tierra prometida a Abraham y a Sarah y a sus descendientes. Y así he reflexionado sobre los 40 años de preparación que los israelitas sufrieron, y de una manera muy real puedo saborear todas las experiencias de mi sacerdocio como pábulo para el molino que el Señor ha utilizado para fortalecer mi relación con él, y para servir ahora como el 11º obispo de Jackson. Una lección aprendida es que Dios puede redimir y transformar todas nuestras labores fieles y esfuerzos vanos para cumplir su voluntad.
Asimismo, me siento confiado trazando un paralelo entre los 40 días que Moisés pasó en el monte Sinaí y los cuarenta días que Jesús soportó en el desierto en previsión de su ministerio público con mi ministerio en la Diócesis de Jackson. Cuando Moisés bajó de la montaña él sabía que Dios, quien es misericordioso hasta la milésima generación, era un Dios fiel, y siempre estaría con ellos. El becerro de oro fue un gran bache en el camino, pero fue atravesado exitosamente. Los israelitas tenían ahora una misión y visión sagrada con prioridades pastorales claras. (Ustedes saben a dónde voy con esto.)
Del mismo modo, cuando el Espíritu Santo sacó a Jesús del desierto puso en marcha la misión sagrada de la Nueva Alianza a establecerse en su sangre, arraigada en la profecía de Isaías. “El Espíritu del Señor está sobre mí, porque él me ha ungido para predicar el evangelio a los pobres… y anunciar el año de gracia del Señor (Lucas 4:18ff). En el mismo sentido, el Espíritu Santo ha ungido y facultó al Cuerpo de Cristo en nuestra diócesis, con una renovada misión sagrada y visión de futuro que está encarnado en nuestras prioridades pastorales.
Esta es la vida de la nueva alianza en la sangre del Señor para mí mientras viajo y sirvo a través de la diócesis. Dios está renovando mi fervor cuando veo la sabiduría de nuestra visión: servir a los demás, inspirar discípulos, abrazar la diversidad en cada curva en la carretera.
Esta noche será mi 12ª de 23 celebraciones del sacramento de la confirmación y la diversidad de los dones y ministerios en la iglesia, la llamada al discipulado y el mandato de servir están vivos y bien en nuestros discípulos jóvenes. Los recién confirmados son las piedras vivas que representan la mano de obra de la fe, la esperanza y el amor, que sucede a diario en sus familias y parroquias a través de la extensión de nuestros 65 condados en el estado de Mississippi.
La visión también se realiza en nuestras escuelas y programas de formación en la fe, a través de Caridades Católicas y del Hospital St. Dominic, a través de innumerables servicios sociales y la promoción de un orden social más justo. Para mí el trabajo de planificación pastoral en el último año y medio ha permitido al Espíritu Santo llevarnos suavemente hacia adelante con mayor determinación y pasión por la obra del Evangelio en la Iglesia Católica para la salvación de todos. Nos arraiga profundamente en la Biblia y las palabras del profeta Miqueas nos vienen a la mente como una lámpara para nuestros pies. “Dios le ha mostrado, oh mortales, lo que es bueno. Y lo que el Señor exige de vosotros? Actuar con justicia, amar la misericordia y caminar humildemente con tu Dios.” (6:8).
A los 40 estoy agradecido a todos los que rezan por mí fielmente a diario en la plegaria eucarística en la Misa, a través del rosario, y en una multitud de otras maneras, porque mi celo y deseo de servir permanecen fuertes. Este es un don del Señor, el Buen Pastor, el fruto de la oración. Como nos gusta decir en estas partes, Soy bendecido. “Estoy seguro de esto, que él que comenzó en usted (nosotros) su obra buena la irá llevando a buen fin hasta el día en que Jesucristo regrese” (Fil. 1:6).

Chancery staff celebrate anniversary

JACKSON – To mark Bishop Kopacz’ 40th anniversary of priestly ordination, chancery and Catholic Charities staff gathered for Mass and a luncheon in the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle on Friday, May 5. At right, Karen Brown, the bishop’s secretary and Cindy Wood, Father Kevin Slattery’s secretary, congratulate Bishop Kopaz. Below, the staff enjoys lunch in the cathedral center. He was ordained on May 7,1977 in Scranton, Pa. (Photos by Tereza Ma)

Calendar of event


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 to register online.


 BROOKHAVEN St. Francis of Assisi, “Moral Relativism: A Catholic Response”, begins the first Wednesday in June (June 7), Father Henry Shelton will facilitate a 5-part series using in the parish library, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Details: parish office (601) 833-1799.

COLUMBUS Annunciation, Lowndes County Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen is seeking a new volunteer coordinator from Annunciation Church. Requires a small monthly time commitment every first Monday and first Wednesday. There is also a monthly board meeting on the last Tuesday of the month. Details: Leslie Jones, (541) 868-4944 or

HOLLY SPRINGS St. Joseph, needed: someone to teach Spanish on Sunday after Mass. Details: call Sister Emily (662) 342-1073.

MADISON St. Francis of Assisi, Cajun Fest 2017. Sunday, May 21, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Features Cajun food, Cold drinks and live music, children’s games, raffles, General Store and plenty of opportunity to socialize in a family friendly atmosphere. Details: (601) 856-5556.

Mass of Thanksgiving in honor of Father Al Camp’s 60th Anniversary of the Priesthood, Thursday, May 25, 11 a.m. Father Camp has been a true example of how a priest must minister to a wide variety of God’s Sheep. A luncheon will follow. Details: RSVP to (601) 856-5556.     

OLIVE BRANCH Queen of Peace, Thrift Store Volunteers Needed. Queen of Peace will be responsible for the Olive Branch Thrift Store for the month of May.  The Thrift Store is located at Hacks Cross and Hwy 178.  Volunteers needed during operating hours of Tuesday: 10AM—12:30PM, Friday: Noon—4:00PM and Saturday: 10AM—2PM.  Also needed on Monday and Thursday when the store is closed to sort new donations.  Sign-up sheet in the Commons. Details: Contact Mary Bailey, (901) 489-7876.

TUTWILER, Tutwiler Community Education Center (TCEC) celebration of 25 years since completion of their current building in downtown Tutwiler, Saturday, June 17, at 5pm at TCEC. Everyone is welcome to attend the dinner and program recognizing those who helped establish the Center. Founder Sr. Maureen Delaney will be attending. Entertainment provided by the children of TCEC’s music department. Details: Make your reservation by calling Ms. Carla Ross, Ms. Lucinda Berryhill or Ms. Shelley Ricker at TCEC (662) 345-8393 or emailing before May 31.


GREENVILLE St. Joseph School Gymnasium, Mini Cheer Camp, June 5-7, 8-11 a.m. Ages 3-12 years old. Cost: $50 per participant; includes snacks and lots of fun. Benefits St. Joseph Middle School cheerleaders. Deadline for a T-shirt is May 15. Details: Ms. Perlita Dixon, (662) 378-9711.

Football camp, June 5-7, 8-11 a.m., SJCS Field House, Coach John Baker

Basketball camp, June 5-7, 12 p.m. – 3 p.m., SJCS Gymnasium, Coach James Hunter

Baseball camp, June 12-14, 8-11 a.m., SJCS Baseball Field, Coach Chris Williams

Soccer camp, June 19-21, 8-11 a.m., SJCS Practice Field, Coach Craig Mandolini

 Above four camps for Ages 5-12 years old, boys and girls. Cost: $50 per camp. Attend all 4 for $180 ($20 savings); 3 camps for $135 ($15 savings). Includes T-shirt if registered by May 15 or June 1 without T-shirt. Details: Missi Blackstock, (662) 378-9711.

Tennis Camp, May 30-June 2–The Mark Apartments, Cost: $40. 4-6 yr olds—8am-9am; 7-9 yr olds–9:15am-10:15am; 10-12 yr olds–10:30am-11:45am; 13+ yr olds–11:45am-1pm. Tennis Camp is not included in the sports camp packages. Details: Marcia Williams (870) 926-4648

JACKSON Sister Thea Bowman School, Enrollment is now underway for 2017-18 school year. Details: contact Shae Robinson at (601) 352-5441 for a packet.

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 or (601)-856-5556 to volunteer.

MERIDIAN St. Patrick School, Pre-registration continues for the 2717-18 school year. Registration fee is $300. Details: (601) 482-6044 or to schedule a personal tour with the principal, Mrs. David.

Catholic Camp 2017 for children in NE Mississippi June 18-24 for boys and girls ages 8-11; June 25-July 1 for boys and girls ages 12-14. This is a residential, over-night camp that includes daily Mass, sports, art and opportunities to meet other Catholic children in North MS. Cost:  $100/week. Scholarships and reduced fees are available. Application deadline is June 12.  Details: call Father Tim Murphy, 662-304-0087. E-mail:

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 Brotherton Martin to schedule your tour today.  Details: (662) 349-0900 or  

DURANT Sisters’ Memorial: A monument in memory of Sr. Margaret Held, SSSF, and Sr. Paula Merrill, SCN, will be dedicated on Saturday, May 20, 3 p.m., at Liberty Park on Northeast Depot Street and Highway 12.  All are invited to come to remember and honor these two women who followed our Lord by serving the medical needs of the people of Holmes County. Refreshments will be served. If you would like to donate, please bring snacks to share. Details:  Carolyn Riley,  or call Father Greg Plata, (662) 392-3000.

JACKSON Belhaven University, Dr. Billy Kim International Center, Room 202, “Foundations of Faith Community Nursing” Course and Retreat, June 9-10 & 23-25. Designed to assist all faith communities to grow toward wholistic health from a global perspective. Open to registered nurses of all faith traditions. Registration closes May 26. Cost: $200, includes tuition, materials, Continuing Nursing Education contact hours and meals for all class dates. Details: Ann Elizabeth Kaiser, (601) 213-6378 or






Laying a new foundation at St. Therese

By Elsa Baughman
JACKSON – Members of St. Therese Parish are setting plans for the construction of a building to house classrooms for religious education classes and offices. Ben Mokry, president of the finance council, explained that when St. Therese School was closed in 2015, its facilities were sold to a company to open a charter school. The parish could continue to use the building until March 2018, which is now less than a year away.
Msgr. Elvin Sunds, pastor, presented one of two proposals at a recent meeting. “Now, it’s time to start planning for the future of the parish,” he said. “Let’s try to envision together where we want to be in the next five, 10 or 20 years considering our current and future needs for our children and the whole community.”
The floor plan presented to the community included 10 classrooms, offices and other facilities. Gathered in groups, the community discussed the pros and cons of the design.
The spirit of those present indicated a desire to work together for the good of the whole community. All showed enthusiasm for continuing planning for the future. At one moment, someone in the crowd shouted, “That is what makes us great,” referring to the multicultural community at St. Therese.

JACKSON – Ben Mokry, president of the St. Therese finance council, presents a building proposal at a recent parish community meeting as Msgr. Elvin Sunds looks on. (Photo by Elsa Baughman)

Nursing workshop aims to integrate faith with care

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Registered nurses have the opportunity this summer to participate in a 38-hour workshop and retreat on the concept of faith community nursing. The workshop, organized by Catholic Charities, is based on the Westberg Institute in Memphis, which specializes in faith-based community nursing. It is set for June 9-10 and June 23-25 at Belhaven University in Jackson.
Participants will learn about spirituality, holistic health and community as it relates to community nursing. “Faith community nursing provides a ‘wholistic’ blending of nursing expertise and spiritual care as professional nurses practice in congregations, faith-based organizations and other institutions as part of ministry team,” according to a flier for the event. This program is designed to help faith communities get closer to the ideal and develop community outreach opportunities.
“The training is for nurses, although I have had other individuals taking the course as well. I am working hard to provide a retreat-like setting, so we can minister to the participants as they minister to others wholistically,” explained Ann Elizabeth Kaiser, coordinator for the Catholic Charities faith-based nursing program. “I hope faith communities and other health institutions may sponsor individuals, so they may attend the event and bring knowledge and compassion to their congregations,” she added. The workshop costs $200, but scholarships are available.
Several congregations in the Diocese of Jackson have a faith-based nursing ministry. In some cases, they offer health education in their parishes, keep an eye on those in the parish who may be having health issues or sponsor health screenings for the community.
To register for the workshop or find out more about scholarships, contact Ann Elizabeth Kaiser at (601) 213-6378 or

Memorial to honor Durant Sisters

By Maureen Smith
DURANT – On Saturday, May 20, at 3 p.m., the community is invited to honor the memory of Sisters Paula Merrill, SCN, and Margaret Held, SSSF. Father Greg Plata, OFM, will bless and dedicate a marker to the two women in Liberty Park in Durant, Miss. The women were found murdered in their home in Durant in August 2016. Both had been nurse practitioners at a medical clinic in Lexington.

Carolyn Reynolds, an alderwoman in Durant, conceived the idea of a memorial. “She called me, she didn’t really know the sisters, she had never met them, in fact, but she knew about all the good work they had done and thought it would be tragic if there was no memorial for them,” said Father Plata.
“She was hearing people in Durant talk about them – grown men were crying about them so she thought ‘surely someone like this needs some recognition,’” said Jaime Sample, the music minister at Lexington St. Thomas Parish where the sisters were in the choir. “I still cry sometimes when I am selecting music,” said Sample.
Family members and members of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth and the School Sisters of St. Francis will be on hand for the dedication. In fact, the Sisters of Charity will arrive early and spend a week doing service in Durant, which is currently cleaning up from a tornado.
The monument will include pictures of the sisters and will sit near a similar marker dedicated to two Durant natives who died on 9/11. The dedication service will include scripture readings and the sisters’ favorite songs, ‘This Alone I Ask,’ and ‘How Can I Keep from Singing’ as well as some reflections from close friends and family members. After the service, the community will gather for Mass at 4:30 at St. Thomas.
“I still miss them, but I know they are still with us. I know they are watching over us,” said Sample. The parish is still accepting donations for the marker. They can be sent to St. Thomas Catholic Church, 200 Boulevard St., Lexington, MS, 39095 or via Go Fund Me at: