Carmelites Celebrate Feast Day with Jackson area parishes

The small chapel in the Carmelite Monastery on Terry Road was overflowing with friends and supporters of the Carmelite nuns and Carmelite Seculars during Mass at 6:30p.m. on Sunday evening, July 16, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. This, too, was the final day of the Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel which began on Sat., July 8, and continued with daily Masses and Novena Prayers to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

The Celebrants and choirs were from different parishes in the Jackson area each day of the Novena. On the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, St. Richard Choir graced the chapel with beautiful harmony. Father Jeremy Tobin, OPraem, and Father Kevin Slattery concelebrated the Mass. The homilist was Deacon Denzil Lobo.

Deacon Lobo reminded the congregation that when Mary stood under the cross with John, the beloved disciple, she then understood Simeon’s prophecy, “Your heart will be pierced by a sword.”  Looking down and seeing his mother with his beloved disciple, Jesus passed the responsibility of taking care of his mother to him.  John then took her into his heart and his home.  Just like John accepted Mary into His home, Jesus invites us to accept Mary into our hearts and homes. Mary is now our mother and prays for us, her children, and we, in turn invoke her protection and intercession. After the Mass, all were invited to a reception on the lawn of the Monastery catered by the Catholic Filipino Community and Carmelite Seculars. (Those who may be interested in learning more about the Carmelite Secular lay vocation may contact Dorothy Ashley, 601-259-0885 or

Fresh faces greet new school year

JACKSON – Students and their families meet their teachers and tour the school during Sister Thea Bowman’s back to school afternoon Sunday, August 6. Sister Thea Bowman, situated near Jackson State University, offers music, Spanish and technology as supplements to its excellent curriculum.(Photo by Melissa Smalley)

GREENVILLE – Friends reunite in the halls on the first day of class for St. Joseph school in Greenville. The unit school has new principals for both the elementary and high schools this fall.(Photo by Missi Blackstock)

NATCHEZ – At left, at Cathedral School, Beth Foster’s kindergarten class started their day with the Pledge of Allegiance on Monday, August 7. Cathedral Unit School offers pre-k through 12th grade education and welcomes a new administrator and high school principal this year. (Photo by Cara Serio)

MADISON –  first day at St. Anthony School. (Photos by Kristian Beatty)

MADISON – The seventh grade meets for the first time at St. Joseph School on Monday, August 7. Students from all Jackson-area Catholic elementary schools in addition to students who transfer from private and public schools, started their middle and high school journey as Bruins with a day of tours, orientation and lessons in the fight song. (Photo by Tricia Harris)




Spare Change helps military archdiocese

PEARL – Students attending Vacation Bible School at St. Jude Parish collected spare change for the Archdiocese of the Military Services, USA. This archdiocese does not have one geographic area. It serves Catholic military personnel and their families around the world. Students sent the money and a letter about their Vacation Bible School experience and got a nice thank you letter in return. (Photo by Tereza Ma)

VBS a breath of inspiration

WEST POINT – Immaculate Conception Parish teamed up with the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation to host a vacation Bible School this summer. Youth volunteers from both churches assisted the teacher from Immaculate Conception while Incarnation provided food daily. The theme this year was Maker Fun Factory – Created by God Built for a Purpose. The classes ran from July 10-13 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and averaged 20 children participating each night with an average of 10 youth helpers. “We opened our VBS to the community so we had children that do not necessarily attend our churches. I feel we had a great turnout and we had awesome helpers and teachers,” wrote Penny Elliott, who submitted the photos. At right, students make their own cars. At left, they blow into the sails to race the cars to demonstrate how God is with us even when we can’t see him just as their breath invisibly moves their cars. (Photos by Penny Elliott)

Inspiring Day on the water

SEMINARY – Mason Daniels, a member of the Meridian St. Patrick and St. Joseph youth group, uses a rope swing to jump into the Okatoma Creek Saturday, July 15. A group of 19 youth and adults spent the day on the water. One of the highlights was listening to the faith story of Dan Ryan. He is currently a student pilot at Naval Air Station Meridian and a graduate of the Naval Academy in Annapolis. After we lunch on the creek side bank, Dan shared some of his faith story and how important it has been to him during his time at the Naval Academy and now at NAS Meridian as he is progressing toward earning his wings. He encouraged the youth to hold fast to their faith and that Christ will see them through to their tough times and celebrate with them during their joyful times. (Photo by John Harwell)

Two dozen from Oxford attend Catholic conference

OXFORD – Twenty-seven members of St. John the Evangelist Total Youth Ministry (TYM) and eight chaperones left Oxford early Friday morning, July 21, to attend the annual Mid-American Conference sponsored by the Franciscan University, Steubenville, Ohio. The Mid-American Conference is held at Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo., and is sponsored by the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Teen Conferences are held in 25 locations throughout the United States, and attract some 50,000 teens and young adults annually. The Mid-American Conference, Springfield, is held in two sessions with a combined attendance of some 7,000 teens. This is the eighth year St. John’s TYM has attended. Students earn their expenses by taking part in fund-raising projects at St. John. (Photo by Gene Buglewicz)

St. Elizabeth hosts 86 for Vacation Bible School

CLARKSDALE – St. Elizabeth Parish hosted Vacation Bible School June 12-16. The theme was Maker Fun Factory- Created by God, Built for a Purpose. An average of 86 kids came each day. The week filled with music, games, scripture, and inventions aimed at teching the children that God individually created each person for His specific purpose.

Alive in You offers work, play

CHATTANOOGA – Eight girls from Clarksdale St. Elizabeth Parish attended Alive in You Catholic Service Camp and Conference in Chattanooga, Ten June 20-25. The girls worked an an area elementary school on the playground and painting classrooms and did a full yard cleanup for an elderly lady. On their day off, they took a white water rafting trip. At left, Olivia Watts, Madisen Lutts and Shelby Gordon spread mulch at the school. At right on the rafting trip, the guide is Evan from Outland Expeditions, Read Middleton, Madisen Lutts, Olivia Watts, Lauren Agostinelli, and Shelby Gordon. (Photos by Sarah Brooks Cauthen)


Diocese announces return of #iGiveCatholic giving blitz

By Christopher Luke
JACKSON – Most parishes have a ‘honey-do’ list. Maybe there is a need for more ministry space, perhaps the parking lot could be repaved or a school could use new lab equipment. The diocesan Office of Stewardship and Development is offering a chance for parishes to tackle the fund-raising for those needs through #iGiveCatholic.
#iGiveCatholic is a 24-hour online crowdfunding effort held on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. This day is known as Giving Tuesday around the nation. On November 28th, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson will be participating in its second year with #iGiveCatholic. The national version of this campaign involves 16 total arch/dioceses and has a goal to raise $3.5 million.
#iGiveCatholic isn’t just a fund-raiser. It is an opportunity for the Catholic community to affirm its faith, share the gifts they have been given and inspire Catholics to come together as faithful stewards. It offers a chance to proclaim faith through financial and social media support.
In 2016, the campaign included the Archdiocese of New Orleans, the Dioceses of Baton Rouge, Houma-Thibodaux, Biloxi and Austin.
This year it has extended to the Archdioceses of Atlanta, Kansas City and Mobile, as well as the Dioceses of Helena, Mont.; Knoxville/Memphis, Lexington/Owensboro, Ken.; Lubbock, Tex.; and Paterson, NJ.
The goal for the Catholic Diocese of Jackson is $150,000.00. Last year, the national goal was to raise $1.5 million from the participating dioceses, but by the end of giving day 2016, donors had exceeded that by $307,311 with a total of 6,826 gifts. Participants from the Catholic Diocese of Jackson raised $96,460 online and $36,276 offline, with a total of $132,736 given by 1,019 donors.
Many of the 47 participating parishes, organizations and schools around the diocese had great results last year Twenty-two churches, 11 non profit organizations, and 14 schools were a part of #iGiveCatholic in 2016.
They found many ways to advertise their needs. The sisters at Carmelite Monastery, who created an online video to gain support, used their donations to pay for building upgrades and renovations.
Clarksdale Saint Elizabeth Parish needed a parking lot and used photos with captions, called memes, to explain their need. Father Scott Thomas even staged a fake bicycle crash in a pothole to add some humor to the effort.
Jackson Sister Thea Bowman School raised money for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) lab equipment and an interactive smart board. Their cheerleaders posted a video on social media to gain support from current parents and alumni.
Clarksdale Saint Elizabeth School’s students shared all the reasons they give Catholic in their promotion. Columbus Annunciation Catholic School and Greenville Saint Joseph School both promoted giving Catholic by making videos of students frozen in place to play off of a national trend called the mannequin challenge.
Here is how #iGive Catholic works: donors visit, and search for their parishes, schools, ministries and nonprofit organizations. From November 10-26, donors can schedule gifts to their favorite ministry via an advanced giving option.
Donors may also donate on the actual giving day, Tuesday November 28. The website administrators will update leaderboards all day so people can see how close each organization is to its goal. The minimum donation is $25. There is no maximum donation. The site offers users a chance to post messages on social media inviting others to give as well.
Chris Luke can answer any questions by phone at 601-960-8481 or email at
(Christopher Luke is the coordinator for the Office of Stewardship.)

Seven schools welcome new leaders

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Seven Catholic schools in the Diocese of Jackson will start the year with new principals. Some are familiar faces, others are new to their communities. At Madison St. Joseph, Dena Kinsey moves into the role of principal after serving in the administration there for several years.
Prior to that, Kinsey taught at both St. Richard and St. Joseph. “Teaching chose me. It’s a calling that I’ve always had. I tried to ignore it, but I kept being called back. I’ve had brief stents in the public schools, but Catholic schools are where I find my family, my center,” she said.
Part of her plan for the school is to get the word out about the quality of education available through Catholic schools in Jackson. “I’m definitely a believer in servant leadership. I’m a worker, so I hope to be in the midst of everyone going about the business of helping young people grow to be better than they were. Mother McCauley (of the Sisters of Mercy) said, ‘fitting them for the world without unfitting them for heaven.’ I love that. I have full faith in the teachers at St. Joe,” Kinsey added.
Jackson St. Richard welcomed Jennifer David as principal on July 1. David was previously the principal at Meridian St. Patrick School. She also worked at Columbus Annunciation for several years. She said she is excited to work in a community where she has access to so many other Catholic schools and is looking forward to collaborating with all the other communities in the Jackson area. Her daughter will attend Madison St. Joseph High School.
Meridian St. Patrick’s new principal, Montse Kaun Frias, a native of Spain, comes to Mississippi from Mexico, where she was the principal of a school run by the Legionaries of Christ. She has also been a teacher and school counselor. “I’m glad to be in a Catholic environment because from my educational experience, teaching and promoting virtues and values is what makes a real impact in a student’s life and is what makes a teacher or school unforgettable,” Frias said. Her previous position in Mississippi was with Lamar County schools.
“I have always considered working in a school as an opportunity to contribute to making a better world. A good education provides society with constructive leaders who will live justice and love,” said Frias.
Sally Olivi has lived in Clarksdale her whole life, is an active member of St. Elizabeth parish and has been in education for decades, so when the principal at St. Elizabeth School retired she saw a great opportunity to step into the spot. “I am honored and lucky to be here,” said Olivi.
Olivi worked at a local public vocational school where she taught and then served as director for six years. She also taught at Lee Academy until it closed its elementary school at a time that coincided with the retirement of St. Elizabeth’s previous principal, Jeannie Roberts.
“Things are already set up in a good, organized way,” Olivi said of the school. “I like to have good communication and keep the children first in what we do,” she added. She is grateful to be able to now take her faith into the classrooms. “The great thing about Catholic school is that it is Christ-centered and that’s one thing I love about this school.”
When she worked at public and private schools she noted “students who graduated from St. Elizabeth were better prepared, better behaved and had better morals. That stood out to me,” said Olivi. She said the Catholic school graduates tended to get honors in their high schools. She intends to continue the strong tradition of excellence St. Elizabeth holds in the community.
“I’m really excited about this new chapter at St Elizabeth School, building off the success of recent years,” said Father Scott Thomas, pastor of St. Elizabeth Parish and canonical administrator for the school. “Mrs. Olivi brings a great love for education as well as the Catholic Church. I’m thankful to God for sending us yet another faith-filled educator for the future of Clarksdale,” he added.
Greenville St. Joseph Catholic Unit School has new leadership for both Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary and St. Joseph High schools. St. Joseph unified onto one campus last year and the new leadership hopes to continue to emphasize the theme of ‘one school.’
Steve Weis is the overall administrator and high school principal. A product of Catholic schools in Missouri, Wies comes to St. Joseph from Cleveland High School. Since 2010, Wies served as Cleveland’s athletic director and math teacher, as well as baseball and soccer coach.
Dr. Jo Anne Heisterkamp will serve as principal of Our Lady of Lourdes. Although new to the role, she has a history with the school. “Both of my children graduated from here and I was a special education teacher and academic director in the high school,” said Heisterkamp. She left to teach at Mississippi Valley State University where she was tapped to be director of student teaching.
Heisterkamp retired from that position to care for her husband, who died last year. He was an engineer who helped build the Uncle Ben’s plant in town.
“This was not on my radar. This was a call from God,” she said of the job. After Paul Artman and Michelle Gardiner announced their plans to retire from St. Joseph, a couple of friends asked Heiserkamp if she planned to apply, so she got an application and started thinking about it. “Three times God just came to me and said, ‘apply.’”
Heisterkamp said she and Weis make a great team. “We are working through it together. We truly do have the same vision. This is just awesome,” she said. She already had a good impression of the faculty at St. Joseph. “These teachers are so great here. When I had a student teacher here, her mentor teacher was just so good.”
Teamwork is already part of the culture in Greenville. “They (teachers) work together – it’s just phenomenal, the mindset of this school,” said Heisterkamp. She and Weis hope to provide a place for students to thrive. “We like a lot of structure. They (the students) need structure, even in high school,” she explained.
Norm Yvon is already putting his personal touch on his administration as principal at Cathedral High School and chief administrator of the unit school. “He wrote individual notes to each senior and left them in their lockers,” said Cara Serio, development director at Cathedral. Yvon also wrote a prayer for the school community, which he hand-delivered to teachers in their classrooms earlier this summer.
Yvon came up with the theme for the year – Positively Catholic – during the Pacific Institute’s seminar for principals in July. The workshop was offered by the Office of Catholic Education to help unify administrators from across the diocese. (See page 1 for related story.)
“We held a prayer service to kick off the year – it was absolutely beautiful,” said Serio. The staff also attended a retreat led by Joanne Waycaster with the theme “Feeding the lambs: care and tending of future shepherds.”
Serio added that Yvon is serious about his responsibilities. She said he is detail oriented and is taking time to learn the ins and outs of school operations.

Elementary schools

Annunciation – Columbus (PreK-8)
Mrs. Joni House, Principal
223 North Browder St. 39702-5236
Tel: 662-328-4479

Holy Family – Holly Springs (PreK-8)
Ms. Clara Isom , Principal
395 N. West St. 38635-1922
Tel: 662-252-1612

Sacred Heart – Southaven (PreK-8)
Mrs. Bridget Martin, Principal
5150 Tchulahoma Rd. 38671
Tel: 662-349-0900

St. Francis – Greenwood (PreK-6)
Mrs. Jackie Lewis, Principal
2607 Highway 82 E 38930-5966
Tel: 662-453-9511

St. Elizabeth – Clarksdale (PreK-6)
Mrs. Sally Olivi, Principal
150 Florence Ave. 38614-2720
Tel: 662-624-4239

St. Patrick – Meridian (PreK-8)
Montse Kaun Frias, Principal
2700 Davis St. 39301
Tel: 601-482-6044

Unit schools

Cathedral – Natchez (PreK-12)
Mr. Norm Yvon, Chief Administrator;
High School Principal
701 Martin Luther King Jr. St. 39120-2962
Tel.: 601-442-1988Mrs. Shannon Bland, Assist Admin;
Elem. Principal
701 Martin Luther King Jr. St. 39120-2962
Tel.: 601-442-1988

St. Joseph Catholic Unit School (PreK-12)
St. Joseph High School (7-12)
Mr. Steven Wies, Chief Admin;
High School Principal
1501 VFW Rd. 38701-5841
Tel.: 662-378-9711
High School Website

Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary (PreK-6)
Dr. Jo Anne Heisterkamp, Assist. Admin;
Elementary School Principal
1501 VFW Rd. 38701-5841
Elem. School Website
Elementary School Secretary: Keri Moss
Tel: 662-334-3287

Vicksburg Catholic Unit School (PreK-12)
St. Aloysius High School (7-12)
Dr. Buddy Strickland, Chief Admin;
High School Principal
1900 Grove St. 39183
Tel.: 601-636-2256 / Fax: 601-631-0430

St. Francis Xavier Elementary (PreK-6)
Mrs. Mary Arledge, Asst. Admin;
Elementary Principal
1200 Hayes St. 39183
Tel.: 601-636-4824
Elementary School Secretary: Linda McMinn

St. Joseph – Madison (7-12)
Mrs. Dena Kinsey, Principal
308 New Mannsdale Rd. 39110
Tel.: 601-898-4800
Web Page
Secretary: Melinda Weisenberger

St. Anthony – Madison (PreK-6)
Mr. Jim Bell, Principal
1585 Old Mannsdale Rd. 39110
Tel: 601-607-7054 / Fax: 601- 853-9687

St. Richard – Jackson (PreK-6)
Mrs. Jennifer David, Principal
100 Holly Dr. 39206
Tel: 601-366-1157 / Fax: 601-366-4344
Secretary: Tammy Conrad

Sister Thea Bowman – Jackson (PreK-6)
Mrs. Shae Robinson, Principal
1217 Hattiesburg St. 39209-7411
Tel: 601-352-5441

School theme: Living as Missionary Disciples: embrace, serve, inspire

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Hundreds of Catholic School students returned to their classrooms the first and second weeks of August, but the work for administrators, faculty and staff started weeks prior to that. This year the Diocese of Jackson welcomes five new principals while another two administrators move into new leadership positions. The Office of Education is also working on unifying the Jackson area schools as one system and bringing all Catholic schools together with a shared vision and mission.
Natchez Cathedral and Greenville St. Joseph Unit schools as well as Clarksdale St. Elizabeth and Meridian St. Patrick hired new principals. Within the system, Dena Kinsey moved into the role of principal at Madison St. Joseph School while Jennifer David moved to Jackson St. Richard School as principal. Meet the new principals on page 9.
Earlier this year, a representative from the Pacific Institute Education Initiative came to offer a workshop called “Thought Patterns for Higher Performance.” Principals and a school representative from each school across the diocese attended a two-day session in July. The workshop focused on recognizing and changing thought patterns that hold people back from doing new things that might improve their lives.
Catherine Cook, superintendent of Catholic Education said offering the workshop was a starting point in her plan of uniting all the schools with one vision moving forward. “This was about inspiring leadership, getting everyone on the same page with a clear vision,” said Cook. “We wanted to provide them with the tools to take that vision and move forward with it,” she added. A coach from the institute will come back in September. The institute interviewed principals before the process started and will follow up with them during the year.
Cook explained that her office is leading an effort this year to help all the schools in the diocese become a more unified system. One means is through system-wide accreditation through AdvancEd, an agency formed from a merger of Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) with North Central Association and the later addition of Northwest Accreditation Commission. Initially, only the high schools were accredited by SACS, and later individual elementary schools applied for accreditation.
“This system (diocesan) accreditation will bring all of our schools into the one accrediting agency. AdvancEd recognizes the National Catholic School Standards that were developed by a task force of Catholic school educators and supporters in communication with the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) and promulgated in March 2012,” explained Cook. “Whereas, previously our schools met the general school standards of accreditation with the freedom to have Catholic identity as an ‘add on’ component, this system-wide accreditation using the NCSS will integrate Catholic identity into our standards of operation,” she added.
Cook has asked each school to revisit its mission statement with an eye to making sure it is still appropriate and fits with the diocesan vision and Pastoral Priorities as well as the mission statement for the Office of Education. That work will be ongoing throughout the school year.
In addition to working with administrators, The Office of Education and the Department of Faith Formation offered retreats to faculty and staff at schools in Columbus, Jackson, Greenville, Meridian and Vicksburg. The schools in Holly Springs, Greenwood, Natchez and Southaven hosted their own spiritual kick-offs to the year.
The diocesan theme for the year is Living as Missionary Disciples: embrace, serve and inspire. Living as missionary disciples is what the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops selected as the catechetical theme for this year. The embrace, serve and inspire statement comes from the new vision statement for the Diocese of Jackson: embrace diversity, serve others, inspire disciples.
“When we select a theme, we always look around at what is going on in the life of the Church as a whole,” explained Cook. “We looked at the USCCB theme and it fit perfectly with the new Pastoral Priorities and the vision statement, so we saw an opportunity to tie it all together.”
Karla Luke, assistant superintendent for Catholic Schools, attended the retreat in Jackson, held at the Mississippi Ag Museum. “We learned how our different roles connect to our theme — what does it mean to live as a missionary disciple as a cafeteria worker or teacher or office staff,” said Luke. Fran Lavelle, director of Faith Formation for the Diocese of Jackson and Abbey Schuhmann, coordinator for youth ministry for the diocese, planned the retreats. In Jackson, they offered activities to help the staff and faculty from Jackson Sister Thea Bowman and St. Richard as well as Madison St. Anthony and St. Joseph Schools get to know one another better, including a pocket and purse scavenger hunt.
The spiritual component of the day centered on the missionary disciple theme for the year. Kim Brown, counselor at Jackson St. Richard said she enjoyed the day. “I felt like I am part of a bigger mission. It’s not just us at St. Richard – it’s the diocese and Catholic education overall. I am part of that bigger mission so I have a responsibility to do my very best.” She is also looking forward to working with other area schools. “You know, we work in our own little silos, so it’s nice to know there are others out there doing what we do. It was great to put faces to names,” said Brown.

Honoring Bishop Houck

JACKSON – Mark Terry places a stencil on the marker for Bishop William Houck’s grave under the watchful eye of his father Jim in the bishops’ cemetery next to the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle. The marker was then sandblasted and painted. Onsite engraving is something of a lost art, which is why it took so long to get the work done on the grave. Bishop Houck died in 2016. He was bishop from 1984-2003. (Photo by Mary Woodward)

Calendar of events

BROOKSVILLE Dwelling Place Retreat Center, Thomas Merton: Spiritual Writer and Contemplative Retreat, September 8-9, begins with dinner at 6:30 p.m. Donation: $100. Presenter: Ed Thebaud is a passionate admirer and scholar of Merton. He is a member of the International Thomas Merton Society. Details: (662) 738-5348 or email
CULLMAN, Ala. Benedictine Sisters Retreat Center, Celebrating Women, September 29 – October 1, a gathering of women of many cultures from across the South. You will have the opportunity to design your own place setting at the table using image and art to express who you are. Presenter: Sister Mary McGehee, O.S.B. and team. Details: (256) 734-8302, or

AMORY St. Helen, Sister Lael will be offering English as a Second Language classes to interested parishioners. Details: contact Sister Lael (662) 256-8392 to register.
GRENADA St. Peter, Blood Drive Sunday, August 20 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Details: church office (662) 226-2490.
JACKSON Christ the King, Health Fair, Saturday September 23 from 9 a.m. – 12 noon in the multipurpose building. Details: church office (601) 948-8867 or
JACKSON Holy Family, fall series, the History and Implementation of the RCIA, beginning Wednesday, August 16. Did you miss getting confirmed, but would like to complete the Sacraments of Initiation? Been Catholic all your life but still wonder why we do what we do? Or do you know someone who is interested in becoming Catholic? Refreshments at 5:30 p.m. and class from 6:00 -7:15 p.m. Details: church office (601) 362-1888.
MADISON St. Francis of Assisi, Discovering Christ 2017, begins Thursday, September 7, and lasts for seven weeks. An opportunity to deepen your faith and grow closer to your fellow parishioners. Free and includes a meal and live music. Complimentary child care is provided. Space is limited so register early. Details: (601) 856-5556, or
NATCHEZ St. Mary Basilica, Knights of Columbus Spaghetti Dinner Benefit, Family Life Center, Sunday August 20, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. eat in or take out. Details: church office (601) 445-5616.
TUPELO St. James, Catholic Book Club meets at noon in the library the second Wednesday of each month. Next meeting is September 13. The selection for September will be “The Complete Father Brown Mysteries” by G.K. Chesterton. Come and bring a friend even if you haven’t read the book. Details: church office (662) 842-4481 or
JACKSON The Volunteers of Gleaners, Open House 237 Briarwood Drive, Sunday, August 20, 2-4 p.m., celebrating 30 years of service in the Jackson Metro area. They are a public charity that salvages food and distributes to shelters and safe lodges. Enjoy refreshments, meet the board members and discover many volunteer opportunities. Details: Nancy Willis (601) 956-4740 or Gloria Martinson (601) 856-0673.

JACKSON Bishop Joseph Kopacz and the Office of Youth Ministry are encouraging everyone aged 18-39 to participate in a pre-synod survey sponsored by Pope Francis to prepare for World Youth Day 2018. A link to the survey is available on the diocesan website: or
NATCHEZ Multi-parish youth celebration, Sunday, Sept. 17, 10 a.m.- 5:30 p.m. at St. Mary Basilica. Presenters from Dumb Ox Ministries as well as musical duo Greg & Lizzie will lead a day of fun, food and worship with the theme #PrayProclaim. Youth from all parishes are welcome. Registration is $10. Details: Carrie Lambert, 601-455-5616 or

MIAMI, Fla 14th National Black Catholic Men’s Conference, Oct. 5-8, Miami, Fla. The theme this year is “The Challenge is to Silence the Mind.” Adult registration is $150, High school and college registration is $75 and youth aged 8-13 is $50 not including hotel rooms. The Office of Black Catholic Ministries has registration scholarships available on a first-come basis. Details: 601-949-6935

In Memoriam

Father Charles Yost

Father Charles Yost, SCJ, died July 8 at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake in Franklin, WI. He had gone into home hospice care just days earlier. He was 85. Father Yost professed his first vows in 1951 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1958. From 1962-63 he was able to fulfill his dream of being a missionary, serving in Indonesia. Father Yost moved to Mississippi in 1993, working in parish minstry at Hernando Holy Spirit. He also served as spiritual director of the Sacred Heart League (now Sacred Heart Southern Missions) from 1998-2004.
Retired, Father Yost was a member of the Sacred Heart Community at SHML. In retirement, he continued to be active, overseeing the production of the American Ordo for many years, in collaboration with the Province Development Office. He was buried in Wisconsin.

Fundación sólido encontrada en historia breve de los obispos

Por Opisbo Joseph Kopacz

Opisbo Kopacz

El 28 de julio, la Diócesis de Jackson marcó el 180 aniversario de su fundación con la promulgación oficial del Papa Gregorio XVI como la 13 ª diócesis católica en los Estados Unidos. Ahora hay casi 200 diócesis católicas en el país, lo que nos hace una de las tatarabuelas. La diócesis celebró su 175º aniversario con una conmemoración más formal y festiva. También es importante reconocer estos 180 años con gratitud y orgullo, pero no habrá celebraciones diocesanas en este aniversario. Como un vino fino, seguimos envejeciendo mientras nos esforzamos por ser siempre antigua y siempre nueva en el anuncio del Evangelio en nuestro tiempo.
Tendremos la oportunidad en octubre de este año de tener una conmemoración diocesana amplia del 100º aniversario de las apariciones de la Virgen en Fátima. Vamos a consagrar nuestra diócesis al Corazón Inmaculado de María, una manera espléndida de marcar nuestro 180 aniversario como diócesis.
La historia de nuestra diócesis es amplia y multidimensional y elegí el legado de los 11 obispos diocesanos para presentar un pedacito de nuestra herencia de fe. Cuatro años después de la fundación de la diócesis, el Obispo John Joseph Chance de Baltimore llegó a Natchez en 1841 a fundar y cuidar la fe católica que estaba realmente en un estado embrionario. Al momento de su muerte inesperada en 1852, había establecido 11 parroquias en Mississippi en Paulding, Biloxi, Jackson, Bay St Louis, Pass Christian, Vicksburg, Sulphur Springs, Pearlington, Port Gibson y Yazoo City. También fue coadyutorio para la creación de la primera escuela católica en Mississippi, una academia de señoritas, establecida en Natchez por tres de sus sobrinas, un signo de gran amor por su tío. Las Hijas de la Caridad también llegaron en 1847 para comenzar la tradición de la educación católica en la Escuela Catedral en Natchez, marcando su 170º aniversario.
El Obispo Oliver Van de Velde, S.J. llegó a Natchez durante un tiempo trágico – el brote de una epidemia de fiebre amarilla en la región en la que murieron unas 750 personas en Natchez y más de 7,800 en Nueva Orleáns. El ex presidente de la Universidad de San Luis, Obispo Van de Velde, se movió rápidamente para continuar la obra del Obispo Chance. Otro hito en la historia de la Iglesia Católica en Mississippi se produjo en 1855 con la apertura del Colegio de San Estanislao en Bay Saint Louis. Cinco hermanos del Sagrado Corazón sirvieron como profesores, el comienzo de su historia orgullosa en la diócesis. El Obispo Van de Velde sucumbió a la fiebre amarilla y murió en 1855, al igual que otros 40 feligreses.
El Obispo William Henry Elder fue ordenado e instalado como el tercer obispo de Jackson en 1857 y sirvió hasta 1880. Durante la administración del Obispo Elder, la Guerra Civil consumió al país en violencia y derramamiento de sangre durante cuatro años. El Obispo Elder ministró a los soldados y celebró Misa para los heridos durante la guerra. Él también sirvió como ministro a una comunidad de libertos en Natchez formada por esclavos que huyeron después que la ciudad fue ocupada en 1863 por las tropas federales. Bajo la ocupación de la Confederación, el obispo fue expulsado de Natchez y encarcelado en Vidalia, Louisiana, por negarse a orar por el gobierno de los Estados Unidos. Durante la epidemia de fiebre amarilla de 1878, el obispo personalmente asistió a las víctimas y contrajo la enfermedad. Sobrevivió, pero seis sacerdotes diocesanos se encontraban entre los muchos que perecieron. El Obispo Elder fue nombrado coadjutor de la Archidiócesis de Cincinnati en 1880 y más tarde se convertiría en arzobispo, donde sirvió hasta 1904. Cuando se fue de Mississippi, había 19 sacerdotes, 42 iglesias, 12 escuelas para niños blancos, tres escuelas para niños negros, y una población de 12.500 católicos.
En 1881 el Papa León XII nombró a Francis August Janssens de Nueva Orleans como el cuarto obispo de Jackson. El Obispo Janssens se concentró en la finalización de la construcción de la catedral, la contratación de la construcción de la sacristía y la instalación de un órgano de tubos.
La educación católica fue una característica de su tiempo en Mississippi. Cuando llegó, en 1881, existían 15 escuelas; cuando salió para Nueva Orleans, siete años más tarde, había 26. Durante su administración, se comenzó una misión entre los indios Choctaws en Tucker, creando una escuela integrada por tres Hermanas de la Misericordia. Las Hermanas de la Caridad comenzaron a enseñar a los niños afroamericanos en el presbiterio original durante este tiempo. En 1888 el Obispo Janssens fue trasladado para convertirse en Arzobispo de Nueva Orleans
El Padre Thomas Heslin del Condado de Longford, Irlanda, un pastor en Nueva Orleáns, fue nombrado el quinto obispo de la diócesis por el Papa León XIII. Una de las iniciativas principales del Obispo Heslin fue evangelizar y establecer misiones entre los afroamericanos. El Obispo Heslin invitó a la Sociedad de San José y a la Sociedad del Verbo Divino a que asistieran a misiones entre los negros de Mississippi. En 1890 fue establecida la parroquia Sagrada Familia en Natchez como la primera parroquia de la diócesis dedicada a ministrar en la comunidad afroamericana. Santa Madre Katharine Drexel fue instrumental en la construcción de una escuela para los niños de la Sagrada Familia en Natchez. El Obispo Heslin murió después de 22 años al servicio en la diócesis y fue enterrado en la Colina Católica en el cementerio de la ciudad de Natchez.
El Padre John Gunn, un sacerdote marista del Condado de Tyrone, Irlanda, fue nombrado el sexto Obispo de Natchez por el Papa Pío X en 1911. El cultivó la relación de la diócesis con Extensión Católica la cual ayudaría en la construcción de capillas en todo el estado. En el momento de su muerte en 1924, casi todos los católicos en Mississippi podían ir a Misa en una de estas capillas al menos una vez al mes. Las iglesias católicas aumentaron de 75 a 149 durante su administración, y los católicos crecieron en número de 17.000 a más de 31.000. El Obispo Gunn murió en Nueva Orleáns en 1924 y está enterrado junto a su compatriota irlandés, Monseñor Thomas Heslin en la Colina Católica en el cementerio de la ciudad de Natchez.
El Padre Richard Oliver Gerow de Mobile fue nombrado el séptimo Obispo de Natchez por el Papa Pío XI. Trabajó durante 42 años y vio un crecimiento enorme de la Iglesia Católica en Mississippi. El número de sacerdotes aumentó de 63 a 222, y las iglesias aumentaron de 108 a 159. Durante su administración se incluyen los años de la inundación del Río Mississippi en 1927, la Gran Depresión, la Segunda Guerra Mundial, el conflicto de Corea, y el movimiento de los derechos civiles, incluyendo el trágico asesinato de Medgar Evers en Jackson. El Obispo Gerow supervisó la renovación del santuario de la catedral para la celebración del centenario de la diócesis en 1937.
Estaba particularmente interesado en el ecumenismo y es recordado por su postura cristiana en los primeros días de la integración escolar. Fue un historiador consumado y un fotógrafo ávido y documentó eventos y actividades numerosos de la Iglesia en toda la diócesis. En 1957, la Diócesis de Natchez se convirtió en la Diócesis de Natchez-Jackson. La Iglesia San Pedro en Jackson se convirtió en la co-catedral.
En 1967, Joseph Bernard Brunini fue nombrado el octavo Obispo de la diócesis y fue instalado el siguiente año en la co-catedral de San Pedro en Jackson, después de haber sido ordenado obispo en 1957 por el Papa Pío XII. El Obispo Brunini es nuestra única vocación nativa de Mississippi que ha servido como obispo en nuestros 180 años de historia. Su administración fue muy diversa – la implementación del Concilio Vaticano II, la continuación del movimiento de los derechos civiles, y la guerra de Vietnam. Supervisó la desegregación pacifica en las escuelas católicas de Mississippi y como un líder fuerte abordó los asuntos del ecumenismo, la evangelización, la pobreza y la justicia social.
En 1973, Joseph Lawson Howze fue nombrado Obispo Auxiliar de la Diócesis de Natchez-Jackson. En 1977, la Diócesis de Natchez-Jackson fue dividida para convertirse en la Diócesis de Jackson, compuesta de 65 condados del norte del estado, y la Diócesis de Biloxi, compuesta de más de 17 condados del sureste de Mississippi. En ese momento, el Obispo Howze se convirtió en el primer obispo de la Diócesis de Biloxi.
El Obispo William Russell Houck fue uno de 27 obispos ordenados por el Papa Juan Pablo II el 29 de mayo de 1979. Fue obispo auxiliar de la Diócesis de Jackson de 1979-1984, y fue instalado en 1984 como el noveno obispo de Jackson. Proclamar que Jesucristo es Señor fue el lema episcopal elegido por el Obispo Houck, el cual sería su misión durante casi 37 años como obispo en Jackson, a través de santificar, predicar, escribir, enseñar, liderar, servir a los pobres. En enero de 2003 el Papa Juan Pablo aceptó la renuncia del Obispo Houck y siguió sirviendo como el presidente de Extensión Católica hasta el 2007.
El Obispo Joseph Nuncio Latino, un nativo de New Orleans y sacerdote de Houma Thibodaux fue ordenado e instalado como el décimo obispo de Jackson en 2003 y sirvió hasta el 2014. Dedicó su ministerio como obispo a fomentar las iniciativas de la justicia social basada en el evangelio, al trabajo de dirigentes laicos y las vocaciones. Durante su mandato, la Oficina de Protección de los Niños fue establecida para ayudar a garantizar un seguro entorno para los niños en nuestras iglesias, escuelas y comunidades. Bajo su liderazgo, la iglesia implementó la nueva traducción en inglés del Misal Romano, y acompañó a la diócesis a través del proceso de misión y ministerio en el 2007 que condujo a las seis estructuras pastorales de los seis decanatos que sirven a la diócesis tan bien diez años más tarde.
Esto nos trae a mí, su Obispo Joseph Richard Kopacz de Scranton, PA. Fui ordenado e instalado como el undécimo obispo de Jackson en 2014. Durante los últimos tres años y medio la diócesis ha abrazado un proceso de visualización que ha inspirado una visión renovada con Prioridades Pastorales que se encuentra ahora en una fase de implementación diocesana.
Damos gracias por lo que ha sido y procedemos con esperanza para lo que será, como discípulos de nuestro Señor Jesucristo en nuestra fe católica.
(Nota del editor, busque más información sobre la consagración al Corazón Inmaculado de María en las próximas ediciones de Mississippi Catholic.)

Opisbo Chance

Strong foundation found in brief history of bishops

By Bishop Joseph Kopacz

Bishop Kopacz

On July 28, the Diocese of Jackson quietly marked the 180th anniversary of its founding with the official promulgation by Pope Gregory XV1 as the 13th Catholic diocese in the United States. There are now nearly 200 Catholic dioceses in the country which makes us one of the great great grandparents.
For the 175th anniversary the diocese celebrated with a more formal and festive commemoration which was fitting for such an auspicious milestone. It is noteworthy also to acknowledge the 180-year marker with gratitude and pride, but there will not be diocesan wide celebrations for this anniversary. Like a fine wine we continue to age as we strive to be ever ancient and ever new in the proclamation of the Gospel in our time.
We will have the opportunity in October of this year to have a diocesan-wide commemoration for the 100th anniversary of our Blessed Mother’s appearances at Fatima. We will consecrate our diocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, a splendid way of marking our 180 anniversary as a diocese. The history of our diocese is expansive and multidimensional and I choose the lens of the 11 diocesan bishops to present a sliver of our legacy of faith.
Four years after the founding of the diocese, Bishop John Joseph Chanche from Baltimore arrived in Natchez in 1841 to plant and nurture the Catholic faith which was truly in an embryonic state. At the time of his unexpected death in 1852 he had established 11 parishes in Mississippi in Paulding Biloxi, Jackson, Bay St Louis, Pass Christian, Vicksburg, Sulphur Springs, Pearlington, Port Gibson and Yazoo City. He was also instrumental in the establishment of the first Catholic School in the state, an academy for young ladies, opened in Natchez by three of his nieces, a sign of great love for their uncle.
The Daughters of Charity also came in 1847 to begin the tradition of Catholic Education at Cathedral School in Natchez, marking its 170th anniversary. Bishop Oliver Van de Velde, S.J. arrived in Natchez at a tragic time — the outbreak of a yellow fever epidemic in the region, which killed some 750 people in Natchez and more than 7,800 in New Orleans. The former president of St. Louis University, Bishop Van de Velde, moved quickly to continue the work of Bishop Chanche.
Another milestone for the Catholic Church in Mississippi occurred in 1855 with the opening of St. Stanislaus College in Bay Saint Louis. Five Brothers of the Sacred Heart served as the faculty, the beginning of their proud history in the diocese. Bishop Van de Velde succumbed to the yellow fever outbreak and died in 1855, as did 40 parishioners. Bishop William Henry Elder was ordained and installed at the third bishop of Jackson in 1857 and served until 1880.
During Bishop Elder’s administration, the Civil War consumed the nation in violence and bloodshed for four years. Bishop Elder ministered to soldiers and celebrated Mass for the wounded throughout the war. He also ministered to a community of freedmen formed in Natchez by slaves who fled after the city was occupied in 1863 by federal troops. Under Union occupation, the Bishop was expelled from Natchez and imprisoned in Vidalia, Louisiana, for refusing to pray for the United States government.
During the yellow fever epidemic of 1878, the Bishop personally ministered to victims and contracted the disease himself. He survived, but six diocesan priests were among the many who perished. Bishop Elder was named Coadjutor of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in 1880 and would later become Archbishop where he served until 1904. When he left Mississippi, there were 19 priests, 42 churches, 12 schools for white children, three schools for black children, and a Catholic population of 12,500. In 1881 Pope Leo X11 appointed Francis August Janssens of New Orleans as the fourth bishop of Jackson.
Bishop Janssens focused on the completion of the cathedral, contracting for the building of the sacristy and installing a pipe organ. Catholic education was a hallmark of his time in Mississippi. When he arrived in 1881, there were 15 schools; when he left for New Orleans seven years later, there were 26. During his administration a mission among the Choctaws at Tucker began, creating a school staffed by three Sisters of Mercy. The Sisters of Charity began teaching African-American children in the original presbytery during this time. In 1888 Bishop Janssens was transferred to become Archbishop of New Orleans. Father Thomas Heslin of County Longford, Ireland, a pastor in New Orleans, was named the fifth Bishop of the diocese by Pope Leo XIII.
One of Bishop Heslin’s major initiatives was to evangelize and establish missions among African Americans. Bishop Heslin invited the Society of St. Joseph and the Society of the Divine Word to staff missions among black Mississippians. In 1890 Holy Family Parish in Natchez was established as the first parish in the diocese dedicated to ministering in the African American community. Saint Mother Katharine Drexel was instrumental in building a school for the children of Holy Family in Natchez.
In 1894 the Brothers of the Sacred Heart opened a school for boys in Natchez. Bishop Heslin died after 22 years of service to the Diocese and was buried on Catholic Hill in the Natchez City Cemetery. Father John Gunn, a Marist priest, from County Tyrone, Ireland was appointed the sixth Bishop of Natchez by Pope Pius X in 1911. He cultivated the diocese’s relationship with Catholic Extension to help in the building of chapels throughout the state. By the time of his death in 1924, almost every Catholic in Mississippi was able to reach one of these chapels for Mass at least once a month.
Catholic churches grew from 75 to 149 during his administration, and Catholics grew in number from 17,000 to more than 31,000. Bishop Gunn died in New Orleans in 1924 and is buried beside his fellow Irishman Bishop Thomas Heslin on Catholic Hill in the Natchez City Cemetery. Father Richard Oliver Gerow of Mobile was appointed the seventh Bishop of Natchez by Pope Pius XI. He served for 42 years and saw a tremendous growth in the Catholic Church in Mississippi. Priests grew in number from 63 to 222, and churches increased from 108 to 159.
His administration included the years of the 1927 Mississippi River Flood, Great Depression, World War II, the Korean conflict, and the Civil Rights Movement, including the tragic murder of Medgar Evers in Jackson. Bishop Gerow oversaw the renovation of the cathedral sanctuary in celebration of the centennial of the Diocese in 1937. He was especially interested in ecumenism and is remembered for his Christian stand in the first days of school integration. He was a consummate historian and an avid photographer and documented many church activities and events throughout the Diocese. In 1957, the Diocese of Natchez became the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson. St Peter Church in Jackson became the Co-Cathedral.
In 1967, Joseph Bernard Brunini was named eighth Bishop of the Diocese and was installed the following year at that co-cathedral, having been ordained a bishop in 1957 by Pope Pius XII. Bishop Brunini is our only native Mississippi vocation to serve as bishop in our 180-year history. His administration was quite diverse — implementation of Vatican II, the continuing Civil Rights Movement, and the Vietnam War. He oversaw peaceful school desegregation in Mississippi’s Catholic schools, and as a strong leader he addressed such issues as ecumenism, evangelization, poverty and social justice. In 1973, Joseph Lawson Howze was named Auxiliary Bishop for the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson. In 1977, the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson was divided to become the Diocese of Jackson, comprised of the northern 65 counties of the state, and the Diocese of Biloxi, made up of the southeastern most 17 counties of Mississippi. At that time, Bishop Howze became the first Bishop of the Diocese of Biloxi. Bishop William Russell Houck was one of 27 bishops ordained by Pope John Paul II on May, 29, 1979. He was auxiliary bishop for the Jackson diocese from 1979-1984 when he was installed in 1984 as the ninth Bishop of Jackson.
“Proclaim Jesus Christ is Lord” is the episcopal motto chosen by Bishop Houck, which would be his mission for nearly 37 years as a bishop in Jackson, through sanctifying, preaching, writing, teaching, leading, serving the poor. In January, 2003 Saint John Paul accepted Bishop Houck’s resignation and he continued to serve as the president of Catholic Extension until 2007. Bishop Joseph Nuncio Latino, a native of New Orleans, and a priest of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux was ordained and installed as the 10th bishop of Jackson in 2003 and served until 2014. He devoted his ministry as bishop to fostering Gospel-based social justice initiatives, lay leadership, and vocations.
During his tenure the office for Protection of Children was established to help insure a safe environment for children in our churches, schools and communities. Under his leadership the church implemented the new English translation of the Roman Missal, and he shepherded the diocese through the Mission and Ministry process in 2007 that led to the six deanery pastoral structure that serve the diocese so well ten years later.
This brings us to yours truly, Bishop Joseph Richard Kopacz of Scranton, Pa. I was ordained and installed as the 11th Bishop of Jackson in 2014. During the past three and one half years the diocese has embraced an Envisioning Process that has inspired a renewed Vision with Pastoral Priorities that is now in a diocesan-wide implementation phase. We give thanks for what has been, and we proceed with hope for what will be as disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ in our Catholic faith.
(Editor’s note, look for more information on the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in upcoming editions of Mississippi Catholic.)