Bishop Kopacz leads the applause for the recipients of the Bishop Chanche Medal and youth awards for service for 2017. The awards were given out during a Mass at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle on Saturday, Feb. 18. (Photo by Maureen Smith)
Every February the Diocese of Jackson bestows the Chanche Medal for service upon individuals, nominated by their parishes, who have given extraordinary service to their communities. This year the celebration was Saturday, February 18 at 1:30 p.m. in the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle. What follows are excerpts from the nominations for all of this year’s honorees.
Rebecca Bellipanni from McComb, St. Alphonsus
REBECCA BELLIPANNI – McComb St. Alphonsus
Cleans and maintains sanctuary, operated first integrated daycare in McComb using parish facility, lay ministries.
“Many times Protestants have told me how much the St. Alphonsus daycare meant to their family. Their children’s’ success in school, college and career would be traced to the early learning and moral foundation Becky Bellipanni provided for them,” Father Brian Kaskie, pastor.
Richard Butler from Natchez, Assumption
RICHARD BUTLER – Natchez Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Volunteer music director.
“His service has meant that a small parish, Assumption in Natchez, has had a music program for every Sunday, during Advent and Christmas times and for Lent, Holy Week and Easter,” Father David O’Connor, pastor.
Tony Dardeau from Vicksburg, St.-Michael
TONY DARDEAU – Vicksburg St. Michael
Sacristan, usher, lector, replaces misselettes and sanctuary/tabernacle candles.
“While commitment to his individual ministries may seem small and unassuming, the totality of Tony’s ministerial work is amazing. He is a wonderful example of someone living out their baptismal promises.” Father P.J. Curley, pastor.
JOHN DAVIS – Chatawa St. Teresa of Avila
Pastoral council, usher, lay ministries.
“Since the parish in Chatawa is full of older, retired people, including John, he is always available to help in any way. He feels responsible for fulfilling his responsibilities even though he is a volunteer,” Father Suresh Thirumalareddy, pastor.
Aulene Flaccomio from Woodville, St. Joseph
AULENE FLACCOMIO – Woodville St. Joseph
Sacristan, bereavement committee, volunteer.
“In spite of some health issues, Aulene faithfully carried out her sacristan duties. Her ministry is a powerful witness to the gospel of stewardship,” Father Scott Dugas, pastor.
Margaret Griffin, from Batesville, St. Mary
MARGARET JUNE GRIFFIN – Batesville St. Mary
Altar Society and flower guild, Cursillo, ministry to homebound, music and liturgical ministries.
“June is a true evangelizer – in her family, her parish family and in the civic organizations to which she belongs. She the THE faith leader in her family and an extremely dedicated lay minister in the parish,” Father Sam Messina, pastor.
Gene Loper from Jackson, St. Peter
GENE LOPER – Jackson St. Peter the Apostle.Doctor for priests, religious and Madison St. Joseph athletic teams. Supports development efforts at Madison St. Joseph School.“His special ministry is Catholic education. I do not believe we would have St. Joseph High School today without the sacrifices in time and energy he has made for that school.” Msgr. Michael Flannery, cannonical steward for St. Joseph School.
AGNES McCRAINE – Gloster Holy Family (mission)
Community advocate for social justice, bereavement committee member, community leader.
“Miss. Agnes’ ecumenical outreach in helping and encouraging others through prayer services for social justice causes, bettering her Centerville community, helping nurture prayer sessions on poverty, crime and quality of life for more than 30 years speaks volumes about her commitment to church and community,” Father Scott Dugas, pastor.
Ruth McWilliams from Natchez, St. Mary Basilica
RUTH McWILLIAMS – Natchez St. Mary Basilica
Liturgical planning, youth program, volunteer.
“She was a staff member during a creative period for this parish – helping plan and open a new family life center, while many new programs were being developed and a time of increased parishioner participation. Her role was to take new ideas at their beginning and develop them into programs, recruiting chairpersons and participants,” Father David O’Connor, pastor.
Clara Mandolini from Greenville, St. Joseph
CLARA MANDOLINI – Greenville St. Joseph
Catechist, RCIA team, bereavement ministry, Discovering Christ leader.
“Clara’s volunteer work requires significant time in training and teaching so she is at church instead of at home. She currently travels to Jackson for training in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd,” Father Bill Henry, pastor.
Emily Moran from Philadelphia, Holy Cross
EMILY MORAN –Philadelphia Holy Cross
Youth ministry, parish council, liturgical ministries.
When the previous pastor died “the church was without a priest for almost a year. During those months, she played an important role in the church and the religious education of the children. Because of her commitment and dedication, we have a good number of children fro the CCD and have good programs for them,” Father Augustine Palimattam, pastor.
Gloria Morarity from Olive Branch Queen of Peace
GLORIA MORARITY – Olive Branch Queen of Peace
Catechist, youth group leader, church landscaper, liturgical ministries.
“The one thing that stands out about Gloria is her quiet, positive and humble ways. She is quick to encourage all parishioners with a pat on the back and a reminder that God is with all of us,” Father Thi Pham, SCJ, pastor.
ROBERT NEWELL– Jackson St. Peter the Apostle
Finance council, ministry to elderly, lay ministries
“Bob Newell was an incredible man who brought great humor, joy and love to all relationships. He was the glue that held us all together at the cathedral. His Catholic faith guided him throughout his life in every situation, good and not-so-good,” Father Anthony Quyet, pastor.
John Pham and Thuy Nguyen from Forest, St. Michael
JOHN PHAM AND THUI NGUYEN – Forest St. Michael the Archangel Ministry to Vietnamese community, liturgical ministries, upkeep of parish facilities.
“The Vietnamese population continues to grow. While some are moving away… St. Michael remains the site for big celebrations such as Tet and the New Moon Festival. They are always involved in those celebrations both in preparation and cleanup,” Father Joseph Dyer, pastor.
Arnie and Lois Senger from Clinton, Holy-Savior
ARNIE AND LOIS SENGER – Clinton Holy Savior
Directors for diocesan Engaged Encounter ministry, parish repair work, bookkeeping, lay ministry.
“Working with Engaged Encounter has made a difference for hundreds of couples preparing for marriage in the diocese. Arnie saves us money by working on parish buildings and Lois by working on the books,” Father Tom McGing, pastor.
Judy Strong from Gluckstadt, St.Joseph
JUDY STRONG – Gluckstadt St. Joseph
Lay ministries, bereavement committee coordinator, flower guild coordinator, Knights of Columbus auxiliary.
“Judy’s service provides me with calm assurance that whatever I need done, she can be counted on to take care of it. Her calm, quiet dedication is a testament to the faith she lives out every day,” Pam Minninger, pastor.
proxy for Jane Sullivan from Tupelo, St.James
JANE SULLIVAN – Tupelo St. James
Ministry to sick and homebound. liturgical ministries.
“Jane has been an inspiration to so many. Not only does she touch the lives of those she visits and their families, she is an inspiration to our parishioners who see her ministry and witness her quiet, humble presence,” Father Lincoln Dall, pastor.
Shannon Trautman from Amory, St.-Helen
SHANNON TRAUTMAN – Amory St. Helen
Youth ministry, Meals-on-Wheels, food pantry work, liturgical ministries.
“Without Shannon and another woman, the youth and children’s programs would not exist. The community of Amory is also deeply indebted to this family. The Food pantry, meals on wheels, the school system and Amory Downtown are all aware of who they are and the good they do with humility and grace,” Sr. Lael Niblick, pastor.
Ossie Whittington from Jackson, Holy Family
OSSIE WHITTINGTON – Jackson Holy Family
Men’s club, hospitality ministry, physical plant upkeep and repair.
“Mister Whittington took off work to be present during the building of the new parish hall, the demolition of the old building and to take care of ‘little things’ as needed by the pastor … He has been one of the consistent persons who would readily respond when needed,” Father Xavier Armirtham, pastor.
DAVID AND WENDY WHITTINGTON – Magnolia St. James (mission)
Lay ministries, pastoral council, finance council, overall volunteers.
“This couple is so prayerful. They are a very good inspiration to younger couples in our parish. Many people in our parish admire them for their ministry, service and sacrifice,” Father Suresh Thirumalareddy, pastor.
Wes Williams from Madison, St. Francis
H. WESLEY WILLIAMS, III – Madison St. Francis of Assisi
Coordinator for ChristLife program, Knights of Columbus, Habitat for Humanity, Boy Scouts, capital campaign committee, catechist, lay ministries, finance council.
“This past year, Wes has made it a priority to help the parish grow as a community by promoting the mission of the parish, helping build community and helping form disciples among the parishioners at St. Francis.” Father Albeenreddy Vatti, pastor.
Tori Ann Cobb from Gluckstadt, St. Joseph, Chanche youth award.
TORI ANN COBB – Gluckstadt St. Joseph
SEARCH retreat leader, CYO, youth choir, liturgical ministries, mentor and tutor, service club
“Tori sets an example of how to behave as a proud member of the church and her community. I feel like she has challenged me to be a better youth minister to all I serve.”
Caroline Doherty from Jackson, St. Richard, youth award
CAROLINE GRACE DOHERTY – Jackson St. Richard
SEARCH retreat leader, CYO, CORE team, Madison St. Joseph High School Cross Country team captain, president Mu Alpha Theta math club, Madison Mayor’s youth council.
“Because of her maturity, Caroline has built a heart of kindness to serve others while responsibly balancing her academic affairs, extracurricular activities and faith life. Overall, Caroline is a witness of word and service to others in her actions, words and deeds.”
Helen Greene from Canton, Sacred Heart, Chanche youth award
HELEN M. GREENE –Canton Sacred Heart
Alive in You service camp, youth choir, nursing home volunteer.
“Helen is mature, responsible and compassionate. She goes out of her way to welcome newcomers and be am ambassador for her faith.”
Rodney Self from Jackson, Holy Family, Chanche youth award
GERALD SELF, Jr. – Jackson Holy Family .
Liturgical ministries, CYO, volunteer activities, Alive in Youth service camp.
“His integrity is impeccable. He quietly goes about doing his tasks s with little fanfare, but demonstrates that he has a strong moral compass and is willing to help others.”
Laurie Richard from McComb, St. Alphonsus, Chanche youth award
LAURIE RICHARD – McComb St. Alphonsus
CYO, music ministry, crisis pregnancy volunteer, ministry to homebound.
“Laurie has a deep devotion to prayer and a love for evangelization. Everyone feels welcome in her presence and she tactfully challenges other youth to live out their own faith.”