Bishop Kopacz schedule

Thursday, October 19 – Senior class visit, Greenville St. Joseph High School.
Thursday, October 19, 6 p.m. – Catholic Charities 6th Annual Purple Dress Run, Jackson, Hal & Mal’s.
Saturday, October 21, 11 a.m. – Opening Mass, Encuentro, Madison St. Francis of Assisi.
– 4 p.m. – Mass, Robinsonville Good Shepherd Parish
– 6 p.m. – Mass and blessing of new center, Olive Branch Queen of Peace Parish.
Sunday, October 22, 11 a.m. & 12:30 p.m. – English and Spanish Mass, Southaven Christ the King Parish.
– 4 p.m. – Confirmation, Southaven Christ the King Parish.
Monday, October 23, 9 a.m. – Mass, Southaven Sacred Heart School.
Monday, October 23, 1 p.m – Mass, Holly Springs Holy Family School.

Only public events are listed on this schedule and all events are subject to change. Please check with the local parish for further details

El respeto por la vida incluye toda la comunidad

Obispo Joseph Kopacz

Por Obispo Joseph Kopacz
Como muchos de ustedes saben, desde el inicio de mi ordenación e instalación como el 11ª obispo de Jackson, he visitado y presidido la celebración Eucarística en la gran mayoría de nuestras parroquias. Uno de los momentos más interesantes para mí durante la liturgia, y hay muchos, es la ofrenda de las Intercesiones Generales. Constantemente en nuestras parroquias estas peticiones perforan los cielos en el nombre de Jesucristo, en nombre de la dignidad de la vida humana, desde el momento de la concepción hasta la muerte natural, así como los problemas a lo largo de nuestras vidas que son un asalto a la dignidad humana. Hay un sinnúmero: la pobreza, el racismo, la trata de seres humanos, el odio al extranjero en nuestro medio, la pena capital, la pornografía, el terrorismo, en nuestro país en Las Vegas (la última) y en el extranjero, la guerra, la limpieza étnica y religiosa, para nombrar sólo unos pocos en contra de la imagen y semejanza de Dios.
Oramos para hacer una diferencia; vivimos para hacer una diferencia, y debemos estar agradecidos a todos nuestros fieles católicos, los de otras tradiciones religiosas, y aquellos que no tienen fe o creencia religiosa que trabajan en nombre de la dignidad humana, la solidaridad y la justicia. Para muchos, la fe impulsa el compromiso; para otros, es la luz de la razón que conlleva a la verdad y al propósito de la vida humana. San Juan Pablo II dirigió elocuentemente la interacción de estos dos dinamismos dentro de la persona humana. “La fe y la razón son como las dos alas en las que el espíritu humano se eleva hacia la contemplación de la verdad, y Dios ha puesto en el corazón del hombre el deseo de conocer la verdad para que, conociendo y amando a Dios, los hombres y las mujeres también puedan llegar a la plenitud de la verdad sobre sí mismos”.
En la búsqueda de la verdad la fe y la razón son de importancia crítica cuando nos esforzamos por crear una cultura de la vida en nuestra nación, ya que abren la puerta a colaborar con otros creyentes y no creyentes, para crear un orden social más justo y compasivo. De lo contrario, nosotros como católicos, somos fácilmente rechazados al endosar nuestras creencias sobre los demás. Por ejemplo, la Iglesia se opone inequívocamente al suicidio médicamente asistido por cualquier nombre que se promueva. Podemos señalar la sabiduría de la Asociación Médica Americana en su declaración de 1998 en oposición al suicidio médicamente asistido.
“Creemos que las leyes que sancionan el suicidio médicamente asistido sirven para debilitar los cimientos de la relación médico-paciente que se fundamenta en la confianza del paciente de que el médico está trabajando con tesón por su salud y bienestar… Creemos que es posible que las personas tengan la misma concentración, atención y compasión al final de la vida tal como se exhibe al comienzo de la vida. También pensamos que este es el camino que nuestra profesión debe responder a sus pacientes, no tomando sus vidas.
Creemos que es mucho mejor que simplemente diciendo: “Tómese estas dos pastillas y no me llame en la mañana porque usted no estará aquí”. La compasión en nuestra opinión radica en cuidar no en matar. Es cierto que incluso las estrellas eventualmente mueren. Pero no es para nosotros tirar de ellas desde el cielo antes de su tiempo. Más bien, debemos centrar nuestros esfuerzos en guiar suavemente su ascendencia (cuidados paliativos) adhiriéndonos a los mismos principios y mostrando la misma compasión y la misma preocupación de que gozaban en sus días más brillantes.
Todos nosotros, al igual que las estrellas, eventualmente moriremos. Pero el valor del espíritu humano debe continuar siendo respetado y debe seguir viviendo.” ¡Qué preciosas son estas palabras! Surgen de la luz de la razón y el juramento hipocrático que es una promesa sagrada de “no hacer daño.” Esto no es la exhortación de los predicadores y maestros de la fe, pero es armoniosa con nuestra creencia en la dignidad de la persona humana, hecha a imagen y semejanza de Dios. Juntos hemos llegado a la plenitud de la verdad acerca de nosotros mismos, y empujamos en contra de la cultura de la muerte que proyecta su sombra sobre la tierra.
Asimismo, hacemos brillar la luz de la fe y de la razón sobre el comienzo de la vida en el seno materno. A medida que el tiempo avanza la ciencia moderna está revelando el desarrollo y elegancia de los pre-nacidos a la vida humana y la viabilidad de nuestros hermanos y hermanas fuera del útero al comienzo del tercer trimestre. Un número creciente de jóvenes está abrazando el mensaje pro-vida que la Iglesia ha enseñado sin vacilaciones, no necesariamente porque creen que hemos sido creados a imagen y semejanza de Dios, sino porque la realidad los está mirando fijamente a la cara. La fe y la razón, la religión y la ciencia no están en contradicción entre sí, sino que están brazo a brazo promoviendo una cultura de vida.
Todas las personas de buena voluntad puede comprender que un inesperado, no deseado embarazo puede ser abrumador e incluso traumático, pero una cultura de vida puede redoblar sus esfuerzos para acompañar a las mujeres y a sus parejas, casadas y solteras, a escoger la vida, porque es una bella elección. Pero las fuerzas de la muerte nunca duermen. En los últimos tiempos, las mujeres que han tenido abortos están siendo alentadas a hablar de sus abortos como una insignia de honor mientras la gente aplaude, en lugar de hablar de él confidencialmente y con ajustes apropiados con un miembro de la familia o un amigo, un consejero o director espiritual, o en el sacramento de la reconciliación, la búsqueda de la paz y la vida nueva.
En Illinois, en este momento una propuesta de ley está siendo promovida para financiar abortos con el dinero de los contribuyentes hasta el momento de los dolores de parto. ¿Alguien dijo cultura de muerte?
La Iglesia y todas las personas de buena voluntad están de hecho en favor de la mujer y esto incluye a las mujeres en el útero. Mientras promovemos una cultura de vida, de justicia y de paz nos comprometemos nuevamente a superar todas las injusticias que atrapan a las personas en sus momentos de desesperación y aislamiento, al comienzo y al final de la vida, y en todas las etapas. En la Iglesia ponemos nuestras vidas y cuantiosos recursos al servicio de la dignidad humana. Con malicia hacia ninguno, damos testimonio de la belleza, del bien y de la verdad de la vida humana a imagen de Dios. Que la fe y la razón nos guíe a lo largo de este noble camino.

Respect for life encompasses entire community

Bishop Joseph Kopacz

By Bishop Joseph Kopacz
As many of you know, from the point of my ordination and installation as the 11th Bishop of Jackson I have visited and presided at Mass in the vast majority of our parishes.
One of the inspiring moments for me during the liturgy, and there are many, is the offering of the General Intercessions. Consistently in our parishes these petitions pierce the high heavens in the name of Jesus Christ on behalf of the dignity of human life, from the moment of conception to natural death, as well as the issues throughout our lives that are an assault on human dignity.
They are legion: poverty, racism, human trafficking, hatred of the stranger in our midst, capital punishment, pornography, terrorism, at home (Las Vegas the latest) and abroad, war, ethnic and religious cleansing, to name just one boatload of onslaughts against the image and likeness of God. We pray to make a difference; we live to make a difference, and we must be grateful to all of our Catholic people, those of other faith traditions and people of no faith or creed who labor on behalf of human dignity, solidarity and justice.
For many, faith drives the commitment; for others, it is the light of reason that arrives at the truth and purpose of human life. Saint John Paul II eloquently addressed the interplay of these two dynamisms within the human person. “Faith and reason are like two wings in which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth, and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth so that by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.”
Faith and reason in the pursuit of truth is critically important as we strive to create a culture of life in our nation because it opens the door to collaborate with other believers and non-believers to create a more just and compassionate social order.
Otherwise, we as Catholics, are easily dismissed as foisting our beliefs on others. For example, the Church is unequivocally opposed to physician assisted suicide by whatever name it is promoted. We can point to the wisdom of the American Medical Association in their 1998 statement in opposition to physician assisted suicide.
“We believe that laws sanctioning physician assisted suicide serve to undermine the foundation of the patient-physician relationship, which is grounded in the patient’s trust that the physician is working wholeheartedly for the patient’s health and well being…
We believe that it is possible for people to have the same focus and attention and compassion at the end of life as is exhibited at the beginning of life.
We also feel that this is the way our profession should respond to its patients, not by taking their lives. We believe that it is far more preferable than simply saying: ‘Take these two tablets and don’t call me in the morning because you won’t be here.’
Compassion, in our view, lies in caring not killing. It is true that even stars eventually die. But it is not for us to pull them from the sky before their time. Rather, let us focus our efforts on gently guiding their descent (hospice-palliative care) adhering to the same principles and showing the same compassion and same concern that they enjoyed in their brightest days. All of us, just like those stars, will die eventually. But the value of the human spirit must continue to be respected and must live on.”
How precious are these words! They arise from the light of reason and the Hippocratic oath which is a sacred pledge “to do no harm.” This is not the exhortation of preachers and teachers of the faith, but it is harmonious with our belief in the dignity of the human person, made in the image and likeness of God.
Together we come to the fullness of truth about ourselves, and push back against the culture of death that casts its shadow across the land.
Likewise, we shine the light of faith and reason upon the beginning of life in the womb. As time marches on, modern science is revealing the development and elegance of pre-born human life, and the viability of our brothers and sisters outside of the womb at the outset of the third trimester.
A growing number of young people are embracing the pro-life message that the Church has unwaveringly taught, not necessarily because they believe that we are created in God’s image and likeness, but because reality is staring them in the face. Faith and reason, religion and science are not at odds with each other, but are arm in arm, promoting a culture of life.
All people of good will can understand that an unexpected and unwanted pregnancy can be overwhelming and even traumatic, but a culture of life can redouble its efforts to accompany women and their partners, married and unmarried, to choose life, because it is a beautiful choice.
But the forces of death never sleep. In recent times women who have had abortions are being encouraged to speak of their abortions as a badge of honor while people applaud, rather than speaking about it in confidential and appropriate settings with a family member or friend, a counselor or spiritual director, or in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, seeking peace and new life. In Illinois at this moment legislation is being promoted to fund abortions with taxpayer money right up to the point of labor pains. Did someone say ‘culture of death?’
The Church and all people of goodwill are indeed pro-women and this includes women in the womb. As we promote a culture of life, justice and peace we recommit ourselves to overcoming all injustices that ensnare people in despair and isolation, at the beginning and end of life, and at all stages. In the Church, we place our lives and considerable resources in the service of human dignity. With malice toward none, we witness to the beauty, goodness and truth of human life in God’s image. Faith and reason guide us along this noble path.

Reconstrucción: una obra de fe, esperanza

Por obisPo JosePh KoPacz Construir y reconstruir son tareas tan esenciales para nosotros en nuestra vida diaria y especialmente para nosotros, como cristianos, que trabajamos para promover el reino de Dios en nuestro mundo, un reino de verdad y de amor, un reino de santidad y de gracia, un reino de justicia, amor y paz. Para muchas personas al terminarse el don del tiempo extendido el fin de semana del Día del Trabajo nos encontramos de nuevo en el ritmo de nuestra vida diaria, y listos o no, ansiosos o resistentes, la vida tiene una manera de tirarnos y de empujarnos. Qué creativo es el concepto de que un fin de semana largo a finales del verano, abierto al ocio y a la necesidad de equilibrio en nuestras vidas, nos da una pausa para reflexionar sobre la dignidad del trabajo en todas sus manifestaciones, la obra de nuestras manos, mente, corazón y espíritu. La fundación de la Palabra de Dios es la obra de la creación, (seis días) equilibrado por descanso del sábado (un día). La interacción entre el trabajo y el descanso en Dios produce mucho fruto al cumplir nuestra dignidad y destino como imago Dei. El salmo 90, v. 17 pide a Dios que bendiga la obra de nuestras manos para que podamos efectivamente preservar el orden correcto de las cosas y, además, la obra de la creación. El trabajo es bueno, y extractos del siguiente poema “Ser de uso” por Marge Piercy capta la sabiduría de las edades iniciado en Dios.
“La gente que más amo salta al trabajo de cabeza primero sin perder tiempo en la superficialidad….Me encanta la gente que utilizan, un buey a un pesado carro, que tira como el búfalo de agua con enorme paciencia, que se esfuerza en el barro y la porquería para hacer avanzar las cosas, quién hace lo que tiene que hacerse, una y otra vez…quiero estar con la gente que se sumerge en la tarea, que van a los campos para la recolección de la cosecha y trabajan en una fila y pasan las bolsas…El trabajo del mundo es común como el barro, chapuza, mancha las manos, se desmorona en polvo. Pero la cosa que vale la pena hacer bien hecha tiene una forma que satisface, limpia y evidente… El cántaro clama por agua
para llevar, y una persona por trabajo que es real.” Uno puede sentir la energía en este notable poema, y visualizar la decidida actividad de la que habla. Podemos ampliar estas imágenes en cada rincón de nuestras vidas, y fácilmente en la reconstrucción que se está llevando a cabo en Houston y Beaumont y en muchas comunidades en el sureste de Texas después del huracán Harvey. Este trabajo de recuperación continuará durante años y muchos trabajarán, de cerca y de lejos, vecinos y amigos, extranjeros e inmigrantes. Lo que lleva años para construirse puede ser derribado en momentos por el poder destructivo de la naturaleza, o las malas intenciones de la gente. La noche llegó y la mañana continuó y así reconstruimos porque hay un poder superior, y la fe, la esperanza y el amor prevalecerán. Para comprender esto mientras avanzamos en las interminables tareas que tenemos ante nosotros en nuestros hogares, escuelas y lugares de trabajo, es un regalo que nos motiva, especialmente en esos días que preferiríamos quedarnos en la cama. Este día, el 20º aniversario de la muerte de la Madre Teresa, nos recuerda la bondad, la belleza y la verdad de su vida, y la perspectiva fundamental de su fiel espíritu, es decir, “hacer de nuestra vida algo hermoso por Dios”. Su perdurable legado encarna la sabiduría que encontramos en el evangelio de Juan “el primer trabajo es tener fe en el que Dios envió, recordándonos como discípulos que el trabajo de la creación encuentra su realización en el plan de salvación de Dios en Jesucristo. El don de la fe, del tamaño de una semilla de mostaza, puede mover montañas. (Lucas 17,6) Consideren el amanecer de la Madre Teresa, alterado a mediados de su vida de fe dedicada a los indigentes y abandonados. Ella pasó la antorcha al educar a los jóvenes y privilegiado de clase media y alta de la India y caminó hacia el infierno de Calcuta donde muchas personas habían perdido la esperanza y movido montañas. ¡Qué semilla de mostaza! Esta ruta increíble de fe, esperanza y amor no es el derecho de nacimiento de unos pocos elegidos, sino la llamada del Señor en cada una de nuestras vidas. “Porque somos su obra, creados en Cristo Jesús para las buenas obras que Dios ha preparado de antemano, que deberíamos vivir en ellas.” (Efesios 2:10) Qué el Señor suscite en cada uno de nosotros una maravillosa armonía de fe y trabajo, de modo que podamos hacer de nuestras vidas algo hermoso desarrollando nuestros talentos, sirviendo a otros y dando a Dios la gloria.

Th e shepherd who didn’t run: Father Stanley Rother priest and martyr

BY BISHOP JOSEPH KOPACZ In 2003 I was privileged to travel to El Salvador and Guatemala to the shrines of the martyrs with the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers who had served in Central America in the preceding decades. The home base for our two-week pilgrimage was the Maryknoll Retreat Center in Guatemala City from where we traveled to the mountainous regions of that nation, as well as across the border to El Salvador. This weekend I am attending the beatification of Father Stanley Rother, one of those martyrs, a priest from Oklahoma City who laid down his life for his friends, the Tz’utujil, the indigenous people of the Lake Atitlan region in the mountains of Guatemala. Following the Second Vatican Council Pope Paul VI called for greater solidarity in the Catholic Church of the Western Hemisphere, and encouraged the Church in North America to journey in faith with their brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ in Central and South America. Soon after, as we know so well, the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson began its mission in Saltillo, Mexico, while
the Diocese of Oklahoma City was adopting the region of Lake Atitlan in the Diocese of Solola, Guatemala. Father Stanley Rother became part of the mission of his diocese in 1968, and immersed himself in the lives of the Tz’utujil people until his martyrdom in 1981. Like the Curé of Ars, Father Rother had struggled mightily with his academic studies in seminary formation, and was dismissed after First Theology. But he did not waver in his desire to the serve the Lord as a priest, and with the support of his bishop, he was given a second chance at Mount Saint Mary’s in Emmetsburg, Md. With the successful completion of his studies he was ordained a priest in 1963. While serving in rural Oklahoma in his fifth year of priesthood, he accepted the invitation to go to the margins as a missionary disciple to the diocesan mission in Guatemala. It was not an easy transition because he did not speak Spanish, let alone the dialect of the indigenous Tz’utujil. However, one dimension of life that he did know intimately was hard work and perseverance in the face of adversity. Grinding away, one day to the next, in a few years he learned Spanish, and even more incredibly, mastered the Tz’utujil dialect, proceeding to translate the liturgical texts for the Sacraments of the Eucharist, Baptism, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick, and Marriage, along with the New Testament into the language of his beloved
people. The love of Jesus Christ burning in his heart moved mountains. But even before learning how to communicate with words, Father Rother’s actions spoke volumes. He worked the land with his people as only an experienced farmer from Oklahoma could, teaching them, when appropriate, more effective farming techniques that yielded a richer harvest. Father Rother’s people loved him. Their language had no equivalent for the name Stanley, so they called him by his middle name of Francis, which in Tz’utujil became Padre A’Plas. They certainly did not think of God as a mystery that they themselves could master on their own terms. They looked at this man and others like him as visible channels of God’s presence, God’s compassion, God’s mercy. The indigenous people of that region had not known a priest for over a century, but with this good shepherd and others, they found a home in the Catholic Church.

The shepherd who didn’t run: Father Stanley Rother priest and martyr

By Bishop Joseph Kopacz
In 2003 I was privileged to travel to El Salvador and Guatemala to the shrines of the martyrs with the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers who had served in Central America in the preceding decades. The home base for our two-week pilgrimage was the Maryknoll Retreat Center in Guatemala City from where we traveled to the mountainous regions of that nation, as well as across the border to El Salvador.
This weekend I am attending the beatification of Father Stanley Rother, one of those martyrs, a priest from Oklahoma City who laid down his life for his friends, the Tz’utujil, the indigenous people of the Lake Atitlan region in the mountains of Guatemala. Following the Second Vatican Council Pope Paul VI called for greater solidarity in the Catholic Church of the Western Hemisphere, and encouraged the Church in North America to journey in faith with their brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ in Central and South America. Soon after, as we know so well, the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson began its mission in Saltillo, Mexico, while the Diocese of Oklahoma City was adopting the region of Lake Atitlan in the Diocese of Solola, Guatemala.
Father Stanley Rother became part of the mission of his diocese in 1968, and immersed himself in the lives of the Tz’utujil people until his martyrdom in 1981. Like the Curé of Ars, Father Rother had struggled mightily with his academic studies in seminary formation, and was dismissed after First Theology. But he did not waver in his desire to the serve the Lord as a priest, and with the support of his bishop, he was given a second chance at Mount Saint Mary’s in Emmetsburg, Md. With the successful completion of his studies he was ordained a priest in 1963. While serving in rural Oklahoma in his fifth year of priesthood, he accepted the invitation to go to the margins as a missionary disciple to the diocesan mission in Guatemala. It was not an easy transition because he did not speak Spanish, let alone the dialect of the indigenous Tz’utujil. However, one dimension of life that he did know intimately was hard work and perseverance in the face of adversity.
Grinding away, one day to the next, in a few years he learned Spanish, and even more incredibly, mastered the Tz’utujil dialect, proceeding to translate the liturgical texts for the Sacraments of the Eucharist, Baptism, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick, and Marriage, along with the New Testament into the language of his beloved people. The love of Jesus Christ burning in his heart moved mountains. But even before learning how to communicate with words, Father Rother’s actions spoke volumes. He worked the land with his people as only an experienced farmer from Oklahoma could, teaching them, when appropriate, more effective farming techniques that yielded a richer harvest.
Father Rother’s people loved him. Their language had no equivalent for the name Stanley, so they called him by his middle name of Francis, which in Tz’utujil became Padre A’Plas. They certainly did not think of God as a mystery that they themselves could master on their own terms. They looked at this man and others like him as visible channels of God’s presence, God’s compassion, God’s mercy. The indigenous people of that region had not known a priest for over a century, but with this good shepherd and others, they found a home in the Catholic Church.
The mission team of 12 who was serving when Father Rother arrived in 1968 gradually departed, not to be replaced. And in the years leading up to his martyrdom, he was one among his people, the last man standing, so to speak. Paralleling the mission in Saltillo, many people from Oklahoma went to Santiago Atitlan over the years. But unlike our mission which remained active until nearly a decade ago before being shut down by drug cartel brutality, the violence in Guatemala and El Salvador began decades earlier.
Civil wars erupted across Central America in the 1970s and raged throughout most of the 1980s. It was a bloody struggle between government forces and rebel groups with the former perpetrating more than 90 percent of the atrocities against their own people. Tragically, countless indigenous poor were murdered in Guatemala, along with an estimated 70,000 victims in El Salvador. Indigenous Church workers as well as missionaries from North America were caught up in the crossfire. Among the well known martyrs, whose shrines I had visited while on pilgrimage, was Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador who was gunned down at the altar by an assassin during the consecration of the Mass.
In 1980 three Religious Sisters, Ita Ford, M.M., Maura Clarke, M.M., Dorothy Kozel, O.S.U. and a Lay Missioner, Jean Donovan were raped and murdered by members of the Salvadoran National Guard. In 1989 El Salvadoran soldiers broke into the living quarters of the Jesuit priests at Central American University in San Salvador and executed six Jesuit priests, a housekeeper and her daughter. They were Fathers Ignacio Martin-Baro, S.J., Segundo Montes, S.J., Juan Ramon Moreno, S.J., Joaquin Lopez y Lopez, S.J., Amando Lopez, S.J., Juan Ramon Moreno, S.J., Elba Ramos, their housekeeper, and her 16-year-old daughter, Celina Ramos.
The dark clouds of reckless hate had reached the mountainous region of Lake Atitlan in the mid to late 1970s and the steady stream of abductions, murders and tortured remains went unabated in the ensuing years. In 1980 Father Rother was warned that his name was at the top of the death squads’ list and for a time he returned to the safety of his native Oklahoma. But he was tormented by the number of his beloved Tz’utujil people who were being mowed down by ruthless forces while he was far from harm’s way. With his bishop’s permission and the pained blessing of his family and friends, Father Rother returned for Holy Week, 1981.
His people rejoiced to embrace their shepherd once again. He gave them heart and hope. But the threats against his life only intensified. At night on July 28, 1981, three armed assassins broke into his rectory intending to abduct and torture him, before killing him and disposing of his body. Dying for his people was a sacrifice he was willing to make, but he had promised that he would not allow them to take him alive to torture and to throw away. For 15 minutes he fought them off with his bare fists, and realizing that they were not going to take this farm boy by force, they shot him in the head at point blank range. He was one of ten priests who was murdered in Guatemala in 1981.
There was an outpouring of grief in the immediate aftermath, but there was not an eruption of violence. During the funeral preparations Father Rother’s parents and family stated their intentions to bury his remains in the family plot in Oklahoma. His Tz’utujil family respectfully asked if they might keep his heart in Santiago Atitlan in their parish Church. They interceded that he had given them his heart in life; and with his heart they would cherish him in death. To this day it is encased at the back of Santiago Atitlan, the Church where his people faithfully ask his intercession when entering and leaving the house of the Lord that he had restored lovingly and ably during his years of service.
The following is a refection by Henri Nouwan who visited Atitlan two years after his martyrdom. “Stan was killed because he was faithful to his people in their long and painful struggle for human dignity, dying for them in whom he recognized the face of the suffering Lord. Stan stood with them as they learned how to read and write, sought proper nutrition and health care for their children, struggled to acquire small pieces of land to cultivate, and gradually free themselves from the chains of poverty and oppression. Martyrs are blood witnesses of God’s inexhaustible love for his people. We honor martyrs because they are the signs of hope for the living Church, they are reminders of God’s loving presence.”
Let us not forget the victims of such unspeakable violence, and grinding poverty, many who are forced to flee their homeland, then and now.

(Editor’s note: Bishop Joseph Kopacz is scheduled to attend Father Stanley Rother’s beatification ceremony in Oklahoma City Saturday, Sept. 23. Those who wish to know more about Father Rother can check out his biography, “The shepherd who didn’t run, Stanley Rother, martyr from Oklahoma,” by Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda.)

Reconstrucción: una obra de fe, esperanza

Construir y reconstruir son tareas tan esenciales para nosotros en nuestra vida diaria y especialmente para nosotros, como cristianos, que trabajamos para promover el reino de Dios en nuestro mundo, un reino de verdad y de amor, un reino de santidad y de gracia, un reino de justicia, amor y paz. Para muchas personas al terminarse el don del tiempo extendido el fin de semana del Día del Trabajo nos encontramos de nuevo en el ritmo de nuestra vida diaria, y listos o no, ansiosos o resistentes, la vida tiene una manera de tirarnos y de empujarnos. Qué creativo es el concepto de que un fin de semana largo a finales del verano, abierto al ocio y a la necesidad de equilibrio en nuestras vidas, nos da una pausa para reflexionar sobre la dignidad del trabajo en todas sus manifestaciones, la obra de nuestras manos, mente, corazón y espíritu. La fundación de la Palabra de Dios es la obra de la creación, (seis días) equilibrado por descanso del sábado (un día).
La interacción entre el trabajo y el descanso en Dios produce mucho fruto al cumplir nuestra dignidad y destino como imago Dei. El salmo 90, v. 17 pide a Dios que bendiga la obra de nuestras manos para que podamos efectivamente preservar el orden correcto de las cosas y, además, la obra de la creación.
El trabajo es bueno, y extractos del siguiente poema “Ser de uso” por Marge Piercy capta la sabiduría de las edades iniciado en Dios.
“La gente que más amo salta al trabajo de cabeza primero sin perder tiempo en la superficialidad….Me encanta la gente que utilizan, un buey a un pesado carro, que tira como el búfalo de agua con enorme paciencia, que se esfuerza en el barro y la porquería para hacer avanzar las cosas, quién hace lo que tiene que hacerse, una y otra vez…quiero estar con la gente que se sumerge en la tarea, que van a los campos para la recolección de la cosecha y trabajan en una fila y pasan las bolsas…El trabajo del mundo es común como el barro, chapuza, mancha las manos, se desmorona en polvo. Pero la cosa que vale la pena hacer bien hecha tiene una forma que satisface, limpia y evidente… El cántaro clama por agua para llevar, y una persona por trabajo que es real.”
Uno puede sentir la energía en este notable poema, y visualizar la decidida actividad de la que habla. Podemos ampliar estas imágenes en cada rincón de nuestras vidas, y fácilmente en la reconstrucción que se está llevando a cabo en Houston y Beaumont y en muchas comunidades en el sureste de Texas después del huracán Harvey. Este trabajo de recuperación continuará durante años y muchos trabajarán, de cerca y de lejos, vecinos y amigos, extranjeros e inmigrantes. Lo que lleva años para construirse puede ser derribado en momentos por el poder destructivo de la naturaleza, o las malas intenciones de la gente.
La noche llegó y la mañana continuó y así reconstruimos porque hay un poder superior, y la fe, la esperanza y el amor prevalecerán. Para comprender esto mientras avanzamos en las interminables tareas que tenemos ante nosotros en nuestros hogares, escuelas y lugares de trabajo, es un regalo que nos motiva, especialmente en esos días que preferiríamos quedarnos en la cama.
Este día, el 20º aniversario de la muerte de la Madre Teresa, nos recuerda la bondad, la belleza y la verdad de su vida, y la perspectiva fundamental de su fiel espíritu, es decir, “hacer de nuestra vida algo hermoso por Dios”. Su perdurable legado encarna la sabiduría que encontramos en el evangelio de Juan “el primer trabajo es tener fe en el que Dios envió, recordándonos como discípulos que el trabajo de la creación encuentra su realización en el plan de salvación de Dios en Jesucristo.
El don de la fe, del tamaño de una semilla de mostaza, puede mover montañas. (Lucas 17,6) Consideren el amanecer de la Madre Teresa, alterado a mediados de su vida de fe dedicada a los indigentes y abandonados. Ella pasó la antorcha al educar a los jóvenes y privilegiado de clase media y alta de la India y caminó hacia el infierno de Calcuta donde muchas personas habían perdido la esperanza y movido montañas.
¡Qué semilla de mostaza! Esta ruta increíble de fe, esperanza y amor no es el derecho de nacimiento de unos pocos elegidos, sino la llamada del Señor en cada una de nuestras vidas. “Porque somos su obra, creados en Cristo Jesús para las buenas obras que Dios ha preparado de antemano, que deberíamos vivir en ellas.” (Efesios 2:10) Qué el Señor suscite en cada uno de nosotros una maravillosa armonía de fe y trabajo, de modo que podamos hacer de nuestras vidas algo hermoso desarrollando nuestros talentos, sirviendo a otros y dando a Dios la gloria.

Rebuilding: a work of faith, hope

By Bishop Joseph Kopacz

Bishop Joseph Kopacz

To build and rebuild are so essential for us as we go about our daily lives, and especially for us as Christians working to further the Kingdom of God in our world, a Kingdom of truth and love, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a Kingdom of justice, love and peace. For many people as the extended gift of time of the Labor Day Weekend passed we found ourselves back into the rhythms of our daily lives, and ready or not, eager or resistant, life has a way of pulling and pushing us along. How creative is the concept that a long weekend at summer’s end, open to leisure and needed balance for our lives, gives us pause to reflect upon the dignity of work in all of its manifestations, the work of our hands, minds, hearts and spirit? The foundation of God’s Word is the work of creation, (six days) balanced by Sabbath rest (one day). The interplay of labor and rest in God produces much fruit as we fulfill our dignity and destiny as Imago Dei. Psalm 90, v. 17 asks God to bless the work of our hands so that we might indeed preserve the right order of things and further the work of creation. Work is good, and excerpts from the following poem “To Be of Use” by Marge Piercy captures the wisdom of the ages begun in God.
“The people I love the best jump into work head first without dallying in the shallows….I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart, who pull like water buffalo with massive patience, who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward, who do what has to be done, again and again…I want to be with people who submerge in the task, who go into the fields to harvest and work in a row and pass the bags along…The work of the world is common as mud, botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust. But the thing worth doing well done has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident…The pitcher cries for water to carry, and a person for work that is real.”
One can feel the energy in this remarkable poem, and visualize the purposeful activity of which she speaks. We can extend these images to every corner of our lives, and easily to the rebuilding that is underway in Houston and Beaumont and in many communities in southeastern Texas after hurricane Harvey and in Florida and the Caribbean after Hurricane Irma. This work of recovery will continue for years and many will labor, from near and far, neighbors and friends, strangers and immigrants. What takes years to build can be torn down in moments by the destructive power of nature, or the evil intent of people. Night came and morning followed and thus we rebuild, because there is a higher power, and faith, hope and love will prevail. To sense this as we go about the endless tasks before us in our homes, schools and work places is a gift that motivates us, especially on those days when we would rather stay in bed.
On the day I write this, the 20th anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa, we are reminded of the goodness, beauty and truth of her life, and the fundamental outlook of her faithful spirit i.e., “to make of one’s life something beautiful for God.”
Her enduring legacy embodies the wisdom found in the Gospel of John “the first work is to have faith in the one God sent, reminding us as disciples that the work of creation finds its fulfillment in God’s plan of salvation in Jesus Christ.
The gift of faith, the size of a mustard seed, can indeed move mountains. (Luke 17,6) Consider the dawn of Mother Teresa’s altered mid-life journey of faith dedicated to the destitute and abandoned. She passed on the torch of educating the young and privileged of India’s middle and upper class and walked into Calcutta’s hell where many had lost hope and moved mountains. What a mustard seed!
This path of incredible faith, hope and love is not the birthright of a chosen few, but the Lord’s call in each of our lives. “For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.” (Ephesians 2,10) May the Lord the Lord bring about in each of us a wonderful harmony of faith and work so that we can make our lives something beautiful by developing our talents, serving others and giving God the glory.

La peregrinación “a través del océano” proporciona compañerismo, comida, acción de gracias para los sacerdotes irlandeses

Bishop Kopacz

Por Obispo Joseph Kopacz
Después de tres años y medio como el 11ª obispo de la Diócesis de Jackson, era tiempo de seguir las huellas de nuestros obispos diocesanos en la época moderna quienes viajaron a Irlanda. Muchos no saben que durante la mayor parte del siglo XX, la mitad de los sacerdotes en Mississippi eran de Irlanda, el semillero de vocaciones al sacerdocio y a la vida religiosa. Incontables miles de misioneros irlandeses fueron enviados como heraldos del Evangelio por todo el mundo de habla inglesa. Por supuesto, me gustaría decir que los mejores vinieron a Mississippi para servir en la Diócesis de Natchez, Natchez-Jackson y, desde 1977, las Diócesis de Jackson y Biloxi, en las misiones estadounidenses, tal como se entiende comúnmente en Irlanda.
El Obispo Joseph Brunini tuvo la alegría de ir a Irlanda a ordenar sacerdotes para la diócesis de Natchez-Jackson. En la última parte de su episcopado las ordenaciones cesaron, y el propósito de sus visitas fue dirigido a la celebración de Misas de Acción de Gracias con las familias de los sacerdotes que habían servido, o estaban aún en servicio en Mississippi. Durante la época del Obispo Brunini, el Obispo Joseph Howze hizo lo mismo en su ministerio como Obispo Auxiliar de la Diócesis de Natchez-Jackson. El Obispo William Houck y el Obispo Joseph Latino continuaron las visitas pastorales a las localizaciones y los condados de Irlanda, donde miembros de las familias y los sacerdotes pudieran reunirse con el obispo para ofrecer la Eucaristía, la gran oración de acción de gracias de la Iglesia.
Aunque mi peregrinaje de una semana de duración no es un gran período de tiempo, necesita una generosa medida de organización y coordinación. A este respecto, le agradezco al Padre Mike O’Brien y a su familia y a la familia del Padre Patrick Noonan.
Originalmente, el Padre Mike y yo habíamos planeado celebrar dos Misas de Acción de Gracias, una en Roscommon y la otra en Limerick con el Padre Noonan como guíal. Pero su muerte el 4 de julio agregó una tercera Misa en la vigilia de la Asunción en su casa parroquial, Santa Ita en Raheenagh.
Nuestra primera Misa de Acción de Gracias tuvo lugar en la Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón en Roscommon y cerca de 60 miembros de las familias de los sacerdotes, vivos y fallecidos, que han servido en Mississippi estaban presentes: el Padre Brian Carroll, el Padre Gerry Hurley, el Padre Dan Gallagher, el Padre Frank Cosgrove, el Padre Tom McGing, el Padre P.J. Curley, Monseñor Patrick Farrell, el Padre Bernie Farrell, el Padre Tom Delaney, el Padre Mike O’Brien, el Padre Mattie Ruane, el Padre Juan Atkinson, el Padre Jim O’Riordan y Monseñor Noel Foley. Para continuar la reunificación después de la Misa nos reunimos con el original de la Abadía dominicana en el Hotel Abbey, construido a principios de los 1200s recordándome lo antigua que es la fe católica en Irlanda.
Nuestra segunda Misa de Acción de Gracias se realizó en la biblioteca del Hotel Strand en Limerick, con vistas al río Shannon y el centro de la ciudad. Aunque un grupo mucho más pequeño, el ambiente era muy adecuado para una Misa más cómoda y íntima y almuerzo.
Las familias del Padre David O’Connor, el Padre Mike O’Brien, el Padre Patrick Noonan, el Padre P.J. Curley, el Padre Jim O’Riordan, y el Padre Frank Corcoran estuvieron representadas en esta ocasión. Con esta segunda Misa de Acción de Gracias la peregrinación cambió su locus de Roscommon, en el centro de Irlanda, al suroeste del país, el lugar amado del Padre Noonan en el condado de Limerick.
En chanza clásica irlandesa, el Padre Noonan me había dicho, sabiendo que el Padre O’Brien sería mi chofer y guía durante el primer tramo del viaje, que hay mucho más de Irlanda que el Condado de Roscommon, la tierra natal del Padre Mike. Tal como habíamos disfrutado de la hospitalidad y de la casa de Tom O’Brien, el hermano del Padre Mike en Roscommon, fuimos cálidamente acogidos en el hogar de Michael Noonan donde estuvimos alojados durante el resto de nuestro tiempo en Irlanda. En tres mañanas consecutivas tuvimos el placer de disfrutar y el reto de consumir el “completo y variado desayuno irlandés” por lo que Irlanda es bien conocida.
Estas comidas fueron proporcionadas amablemente por cinco sobrinas del Padre Noonan. El lunes por la noche, la familia del Padre Noonan y muchos de los feligreses de su parroquia natal devotamente participaron en la Misa de los Preciados Meses en la vigilia de la Solemnidad de la Asunción. Qué oportuno fue celebrar la entrada de la Santísima Virgen a la vida eterna a través de los méritos de la muerte y resurrección de su Hijo mientras encomendábamos al Padre Noonan a Dios en la Eucaristía que él celebró durante 54 años como sacerdote. Después, nos reunimos en la finca de la familia donde el Padre Noonan vivió y creció antes de irse al seminario y ordenarse. Su hermano menor, ahora en su años 70, y sus hijos continúan la tradición familiar de la producción lechera.
En conclusión, me gustaría recordar las palabras al final del Evangelio de san Juan cuando el Evangelista afirma que si él hubiera escrito todo lo que Jesús dijo o hizo, no habrían suficientes libros en todo el mundo para incluirlo todo.
Asimismo, había mucho que ver mientras conducíamos a través de la campiña irlandesa. Vimos hombres y mujeres participando en juegos de hockey y rugby, cabras y vacas, y naturalmente tuvimos la oportunidad para jugar golf. Tuvimos muchas conversaciones que duraron hasta bien tarde en la noche. Siempre había mucho que comer y beber. Habían tierras pantanosas y piedras, una pinta de Guinness, y una gota de Jameson. Fue la “ irlandés plena” de hospitalidad y amabilidad a cada paso a lo largo de las carreteras del país. Hasta que nos volvamos a encontrar, que Dios nos sostenga en la palma de sus manos.

Pilgrimage ‘across the pond’ provides fellowship, food, thanksgiving for Irish priests

Bishop Kopacz

By Bishop Joseph Kopacz
After three and one half years as the 11th bishop of the Jackson Diocese it was time to follow in the footsteps of our diocesan bishops in the modern era who traveled to Ireland. Many may not know that for the greater part of a century half of the priests in Mississippi were from Ireland, the seedbed for vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Countless thousands of Irish missionaries were sent as heralds of the Gospel throughout the English speaking world. Of course, I like to say that the best came to Mississippi to serve in the Diocese of Natchez, Natchez-Jackson, and since 1977, the dioceses of Jackson and Biloxi, to the American Missions, as is commonly understood in Ireland.
Bishop Joseph Brunini had the joy of going to Ireland to ordain clergy for the diocese of Natchez-Jackson. In the latter part of his episcopacy the ordinations ceased, and the purpose of his visits was directed toward the celebration of Masses of Thanksgiving with the families of priests who had served, or were still serving in Mississippi.
Bishop Joseph Howze during the time of Bishop Brunini did the same in his ministry as the Auxiliary Bishop of the diocese of Natchez-Jackson. Bishop William Houck and Bishop Joseph Latino continued the pastoral visits to the locales and counties in Ireland where family members and priests could gather with the bishop to offer the Eucharist, the Church’s great prayer of Thanksgiving.
Although my pilgrimage of a week’s duration is not a large period of time, it still required a generous measure of organization and coordination. In this regard I thank Father Mike O’Brien, and his family and the family of Father Patrick Noonan back home in Ireland.
Originally, Father Mike and I had planned to celebrate two Masses of Thanksgiving, one in Roscommon and the other in Limerick with Father Noonan as the local guide. His unexpected death on July 4 added a third Mass, his Month’s Mind, or the Mass offered a month after someone has died, on the Vigil of the Assumption in his home parish church of Saint Ita’s at Church Raheenagh.
Our first Mass of Thanksgiving took place at the Church of the Sacred Heart in Roscommon and nearly 60 family members of the priests, living and deceased, who have served in Mississippi were in attendance: Father Brian Carroll, Father Gerry Hurley, Father Dan Gallagher, Father Frank Cosgrove, Father Tom McGing, Father P.J. Curley, Msgr. Patrick Farrell, Father Bernie Farrell, Father Tom Delaney, Father Mike O’Brien, Father Mattie Ruane, Father Sean Atkinson, Father Jim O’Riordan and Monsignor Noel Foley.
After the Mass we gathered at the Abbey Hotel to continue the reunion with the original Dominican Abbey, constructed in the early 1200s, providing the background setting, reminding me of how ancient the Catholic faith is in Ireland. Our second Mass of Thanksgiving occurred in the Library Room of the Strand Hotel in Limerick overlooking the River Shannon and the city center.
Although a much smaller gathering, the ambience was well suited for a comfortable and more intimate Mass and luncheon.
The families of Father David O’Connor, Father Mike O’Brien, Father Patrick Noonan, Father P.J. Curley, Father Jim O’Riordan, and Father Frank Corcoran were represented on this occasion.
With this second Mass of Thanksgiving, the pilgrimage shifted its locus from Roscommon in the center of Ireland to the southwest of the country to Father Noonan’s beloved County Limerick. In classic Irish banter, Father Noonan had pointed out to me, knowing that Father O’Brien would be my chauffer and guide for the first leg of the journey, that there is a lot more to Ireland than County Roscommon, the home turf of Father Mike.
As we had enjoyed the hospitality and home of Tom O’Brien, Father Mike’s brother in Roscommon, we were warmly welcomed into the home of Michael Noonan where we were lodged for the remainder of our time in Ireland.
On three consecutive mornings we had the pleasure of enjoying and the challenge of consuming the “Full Irish,” the smorgasbord breakfast for which Ireland is well known. These meals were provided graciously by five of Father Noonan’s nieces.
On Monday evening the family of Father Noonan and many of the parishioners of his home parish devoutly participated in the cherished Month’s Mind Mass on the Vigil of the Assumption. How fitting it was to celebrate the Blessed Mother’s entrance into eternal life through the merits of her Son’s death and resurrection while commending Father Noonan to God at the Eucharist that he celebrated for 54 years as a priest.
Afterwards, we gathered at the family farm where Father Noonan spent his formative years prior to his seminary formation and ordination. His younger brother, now in his 70s, and his sons continue the family’s tradition of dairy farming.
In conclusion, I recall the words at the end of the Gospel of Saint John when the Evangelist asserts that if he wrote down everything that Jesus said or did, there wouldn’t be enough books in the whole world to contain it all. Likewise, there was so much to see as we drove through the Irish countryside.
There were so many engaging conversations that rolled on into late night gatherings. Always, there was plenty to eat and plenty to drink. There were bog lands and stone, a pint of Guinness, and a drop of Jameson. There was men’s hurling, and women’s rugby, goats and cows, and, of course, an opportunity to golf. It was the “full Irish” of hospitality and graciousness at every turn along the country roads. Until we meet again, may God hold us in the palm of his hands.