Stations of Cross offer Lenten reflection in action

ABERDEEN St. Francis of Assisi, Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. followed by Mass at 5.
AMORY St. Helen, Fridays at 5 p.m., followed by Word and Communion Service.
BATESVILLE St. Mary, Fridays at 5 p.m.
BOONEVILLE St. Francis, Fridays at 5 p.m.
Chatawa St. Teresa of Avila, Fridays at 4:30 p.m.
CLEVELAND Our Lady of Victories, Fridays at 6 p.m.
COLUMBUS Annunciation School, Wednesday, April 12, at 2 p.m. in the gym
CORINTH St. James, Fridays at 7 p.m. with meatless soup at 6 p.m.
GLUCKSTADT St. Joseph, Wednesdays at 6 p.m., followed by Mass. On April 5, there will be Sacrament of Reconciliation from 5-7 p.m. (no Stations of the Cross).
GREENVILLE St. Joseph, Fridays at 5:30 p.m., March 31, followed by fish fry by KC ($10 per plate) and April 7, followed by shrimp and corn bisque ($10 per plate).
GREENWOOD Immaculate Heart of Mary, Fridays at noon and St. Francis of Assisi, Fridays at 6 p.m. in English. Spanish Stations of the Cross at 6:30 p.m.
GRENADA St. Peter, Fridays at 6:15 p.m. followed by soup and salad supper by Knights of Columbus.
HERNANDO Holy Spirit, Fridays at 6:30 p.m. followed by a Lenten meal (March 31) or fish fry (April 7) Good Friday at 3 p.m.
HOLLY SPRINGS St. Joseph, Fridays at 3 p.m.
Iuka St. Mary, Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m. followed by liturgy and Bible study.
JACKSON Holy Family, Fridays at 6 p.m.
– St. Peter Cathedral, Adoration and Stations of the Cross Fridays 4:30 – 6 p.m.
– St. Richard, Fridays at 2: 15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
MADISON St. Francis of Assisi, Fridays, Parish Rosary at 6 p.m. followed by Stations of the Cross at 6:30 p.m. and Lenten meal at 7 p.m. Good Friday “Live” Way of the Cross at 2 p.m. (weather permitting)
McCOMB St. Alphonsus, Fridays at 6 p.m. followed by meal in Liguori Hall.
Magnolia St. James, Fridays at 5:30 p.m. followed by meal in James Hall.
MERIDIAN St. Patrick, Friday, April 7, at 6 p.m. followed by fish fry fundraiser for Relay for Life team. Good Friday “Live” Way of the Cross at 5 p.m.
MERIDIAN St. Joseph, Friday, March 31, at 6 p.m.
NATCHEZ St. Mary Basilica, Fridays at 12:05 p.m. and the 5:15 pm followed by a fish fry in O’Connor Family Life Center (except on Good Friday).
NATCHEZ, Assumption, Fridays at 5:30 p.m.
OLIVE BRANCH Queen of Peace, Fridays at 6:30 p.m. followed by a Lenten meal (March 31) or fish fry (April 7). Good Friday at 3:00 p.m.
RAYMOND Immaculate Conception, Fridays at 7 p.m.
ROBINSONVILLE Good Shepherd, Wednesday, March 29, at 6:30 p.m. and Wednesday, April 5, at 6:30 p.m. Both will be followed by a Lenten meal
SARDIS St. John, Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. followed by a Word and Communion Service.
SENATOBIA St. Gregory, Fridays at 6:30 p.m. followed by a Lenten meal. Good Friday at 3 p.m.
SHAW St. Francis, Fridays after 6 p.m. Mass
SOUTHAVEN Christ the King, Fridays at 6:30 p.m. followed by either a Fish Fry (March 31) or Lenten Meal (April 7). Good Friday at 3 p.m.
TUPELO St. James, After 12:10 p.m. Mass; 6 p.m. with Benediction; 7 p.m. Spanish Stations of the Cross, Fish Fry on March 31 by KC
VICKSBURG St. Michael, Fridays at 5:30 p.m. followed by a fish fry by the Knights of Columbus.
VICKSBURG St. Paul, Fridays at 5:15 p.m. First Friday Mass and Anointing of the Sick on April 7, at noon followed by lunch in Farrell Hall
YAZOO CITY St. Mary, Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. followed by Mass and soup supper in the parish hall.

Seminarian summer assignments announced

Every summer, seminarians studying for the priesthood for the Diocese of Jackson are assigned to ministry in a parish or service center as part of their formation. Bishop Joseph Kopacz has approved the following assignments for this summer:

Deacon Nick Adam– Jackson St. Richard Parish
Deacon Aaron Williams – Meridian St. Patrick and St. Joseph Parishes

Andrew Bowden – Our Lady of Victories, Cleveland
Juan Carlos Camacho – St. Therese, Jackson
Andrew Nguyen – Institute for Priestly Formation, Creighton University

Adolfo Suarez-Pasillas and Cesar Sanchez-Fermin – St. Dominic’s hospital, Jackson
Hayden Schmitt & Tristan Stovall – Catholic Camp in Pontotoc



Bishop’s team roll out pastoral priorities

JACKSON – Father Kevin Slattery, far right, introduces resource team members (l-r) Joyce Hart, Pam Minninger, Patty Greene, Maureen Smith and Tom Walsh. (Photo by Elsa Baughman)

JACKSON – Father Kevin Slattery, far right, introduces resource team members (l-r) Joyce Hart, Pam Minninger, Patty Greene, Maureen Smith and Tom Walsh. (Photo by Elsa Baughman)

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – A hundred people gathered at St. Dominic Centre in Jackson on Sunday, March 19, to begin the process of implementing the new diocesan vision, mission and pastoral priorities. The participants came from parishes across the Deanery one area with some visitors from Deanery two. Bishop Joseph Kopacz had hoped to lead all of the implementation sessions, but the death of his brother meant that he had to miss the first two.

JACKSON – Members of the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle discuss the new mission, vision and priorities with their pastor, Father Anthony Quyet, center. (Photo by Maureen Smith)

JACKSON – Members of the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle discuss the new mission, vision and priorities with their pastor, Father Anthony Quyet, center. (Photo by Maureen Smith)

Father Kevin Slattery, vicar general, led off the session by going over the data gathered during last year’s listening sessions. He then introduced the new vision, mission and priorities.
Maureen Smith, director of communications, presented how the process will move forward. Each parish will convene a team to prayerfully consider the priorities. They will be expected to write a new set of goals for their parish community based on the new priorities. Each parish will be provided with a diocesan resource person who can guide them through the process of writing and executing SMART goals to help them support the new mission, vision and priorities.
SMART is an acronym which stands for goals which are specific and measurable, motivating, attainable, relevant and time-bound. The groups got instruction in how to narrow down big concepts into goals, tasks and time-lines. They also met the resource people who will be working with them.
Then, the crowd broke into parish groups who tried their hands at a sample SMART goal. The parish groups will meet during the next three to five years to continue to work on the priorities. During the next two weeks, a team from the chancery will travel to each deanery to host the same workshop. While these meetings are open to the public, they are especially designed for the people who will be working on the parish teams to write and execute SMART goals. The meetings are not specific to the area so anyone can attend any meeting. The schedule is below.

Bishop Kopacz mourns brother, Robert

Robert S. Kopacz, 69, of Dunmore, died Friday, March 17, at home. He was preceded in death by his wife, the former Catherine Laggan, who died Aug. 11, 2013. They had been married 43 years.
Born in Scranton, son of the late Stanley S. and Carmella M. Calomino Kopacz, he was a member of Immaculate Conception Church, Scranton. He was a graduate of Dunmore High School class of 1965 and was employed by RCA Corporation before retirement.
His family would like to thank the nursing staff and hospitalist program at Moses Taylor Hospital and Dr. Michael Sunday for their care.
Surviving are a daughter, Jennifer Coar and companion, Dan Berger, Dunmore; a son, attorney Robert J. Kopacz and wife, Kerri, Dunmore; grandchildren, Kathleen, Emma and Caroline Coar, and Abigail, Patrick and Aiden Kopacz; a sister, MaryEllen Negri, Moosic; a brother, Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz, Jackson, Miss.; nieces and nephews.
The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Tuesday, March 21 at Immaculate Conception Church, Scranton. Interment took place at Cathedral Cemetery, Scranton.

Diocese welcomes two deacons on path to priesthood

JACKSON – Deacon Nick Adam, left, Bishop Joseph Kopacz and Deacon Aaron Williams leave the cathedral after Williams’ ordination Saturday, March 18. See details of both ordinations on pages 8-9. (Photo by Maureen Smith)

JACKSON – Deacon Nick Adam, left, Bishop Joseph Kopacz and Deacon Aaron Williams leave the cathedral after Williams’ ordination Saturday, March 18. See details of both ordinations on pages 8-9. (Photo by Maureen Smith)

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Friday, March 17, and again Saturday, March 18, the Diocese of Jackson gained two transitional deacons. Deacon Nick Adam, the youngest of eight, first pursued a career in broadcast journalism. Deacon Aaron Williams, a native of Jackson, became an altar server at age five and went to seminary directly out of high school.
The calls may have come differently, but the end result was the same. Deacons Adam and Williams both hope to be ordained into the priesthood next summer after spending a year in service to parishes.
Deacon Adam was ordained at Meridian St. Patrick Parish where he first discerned his call. He was working at television station WTOK as a sports and news anchor. He will spent the next year at Jackson St. Richard Parish.
Deacon Williams, ordained in his home parish of the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle, will spend his transitional year in Meridian serving at St. Patrick and St. Joseph Parishes.
See Bishop Kopacz’ shares his reflection on the ordinations here. Read more about Deacon Aaron Williams here and Nick Adam here and continue to pray for these men and the other seminarians preparing for the priesthood for the Diocese of Jackson.

Kelly brings Passion & Purpose tour to Jackson

MADISON – the Madison High School auditorium was packed for evangelist Matthew Kelly's "passion and purpose" event Saturday, March 11. (Photo by Monica Walton)

MADISON – the Madison High School auditorium was packed for evangelist Matthew Kelly’s “passion and purpose” event Saturday, March 11. (Photo by Monica Walton)

By Monica Walton
MADISON – Matthew Kelly definitely has passion, and his purpose is clear: to inspire and motivate Catholics to breathe new life into the Church and re-energize the Catholic community. He brought that passion to the Diocese of Jackson on Saturday, March 11, for a half-day workshop.
“Matthew’s message here today fits beautifully with the key element of our new vision for our diocese to inspire disciples,” said Bishop Kopacz, who kept a front-row seat for the full four-plus hours. “It’s like Matthew said, we want to develop life-long best practices of the faith. We want to keep that hunger and thirst for what God wants for us.”
With his distinct Australian accent, Kelly captivated the more than 800 people who traveled from across the state — Southaven to Brookhaven, the Gulf Coast, and a few from out-of-state — to spend their Saturday afternoon at Madison-Central High School. Though Kelly travels monthly to deliver his message of “living every day with passion and purpose,” nothing about the event felt rehearsed and stale. The program was split up with breaks to process the message and music by inspirational singer Eliot Morris.
Kelly skillfully held the attention of the audience with no written notes or props. While his message had very serious undertones, it was also sprinkled his light-hearted Catholic humor that resonated well with the people. He even inspired the few young people attending such as 12-year-old Maria Verucchi of St. Mary Basilica in Natchez who was there with her parents. Maria admitted, “It wasn’t boring like I thought it would be. I like that he told jokes, and they were funny!” She appreciated what Kelly said about “making a space in your daily life for silence.”
“He’s right,” Maria said. “It’s easier to think when there’s silence. But, I live in a house of five kids, so that will be a challenge!”
Maria’s mom, Karen Verucchi, said Maria didn’t know anything about Matthew Kelly prior to this, and she wasn’t real happy to give up her Saturday afternoon. “I didn’t expect her to take notes, but she wrote down many of his ideas!” Karen said. She, herself, has been inspired by Kelly’s books and videos to pray more and do more. She hoped her oldest daughter would feel inspired as well.
Owen Bertelsen, 9, also traveled from Natchez with his father. Owen was excited to see Matthew Kelly, as his class has been watching the Dynamic Catholic Lenten videos at school. He proudly showed off the full page of notes he had taken, complete with bullet points. “I plan to go to confession every month this year!” he exclaimed, referring to Kelly’s Game Changer Challenge.
“We need game changers to change our lives and allow God to change us,” said Kelly. Referring to dwindling Church attendance he posed the question, “If this continues, what will the Catholic Church in America be like?” Kelly pointed to the audience and said, “We answer that. It’s up to you and me. What are you willing to do?”
He challenged everyone present to commit to do one of the following three game changers for one full year: read the Gospels for 15 minutes a day; go to confession once a month; or write down one thing God is saying to you at every Mass. “This will change your life,” he proclaimed.
Debby and Grant Myers both have made a commitment to implement one of the game changers. The couple made a day-trip with a dozen people from Greemwood Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish, and secured front row seats. “I was worried it would be one of those ‘touchy-feely’ kind of things,” said Grant.
His wife had reassured him saying, “I think you’ll be delighted.” And, they were both delighted! A non-Catholic friend had seen Kelly in New York and encouraged Debby to go to one of the events. “I had been watching his schedule to see when he might be close enough,” said Debby. “As soon as I saw he would be in Madison I ordered tickets online.”
Three close friends and members of the Young Adults Group at Flowood St. Paul Parish, Kim Walker, Lexie Gosselin and Mary Henry, were very excited to see Kelly live. They arrived an hour early to secure seats up close. “We have done two of his book studies and we watch his videos,” said Gosselin. “He is so down-to-earth and relatable.”
This event was four years in the making. Members of the Dynamic Catholic team have been communicating with people in the Jackson diocese to book a Passion and Purpose event since 2013. Samantha Milroy has worked with Dynamic Catholic for more than two years on pilgrimages and as an event team leader. She said Kelly came to Mississippi to get people excited about their Catholic faith. “Matthew’s mission is to re-energize the Church,” said Milroy. “He is about unifying people and taking our faith to the next level.”
Before the final segment, Morris led the audience in a sing-along encouraging the room of Catholic disciples to act. The crowd joined in the refrain, “Right here, nowhere else. Right now, never again.” Kelly closed with a powerful message. “There’s nothing more attractive and powerful than holiness,” he said. “Collaborate with God. Find that deep place in you. Make decisions and live in that deep place.” Kelly left the stage to a standing ovation.
(Monica Walton works at Flowood St. Paul Parish.)

Fostering the call: Extension offers boost for Seminarian Endowment

By Maureen Smith
Catholic Extension Service has honored the Diocese of Jackson with the opportunity to partake in its Seminarian Endowment Challenge. The goal of this challenge is to help the diocese cultivate its long-term financial ability to fund the increasing cost of seminarian education by offering matching funds for new or increased dollars raised toward seminarian education.
Ten seminarians are currently in priestly formation for the Jackson diocese, attending St. Joseph and Notre Dame Seminaries, both in Louisiana. The cost for educating each seminarian is between $34,000 and $50,000 each year, depending on which school they attend.
Within the upcoming months, the diocese will begin asking the faithful to relieve some of this burden by donating to the Seminarian Education Endowment. Thanks to this challenge from Catholic Extension, each gift can go even farther. Catholic Extension has agreed to award this diocese $25,000 if donors raise $100,000 in new or increased donations by December 31. Groups of people can donate, but the donation must be a new one, not a renewal from last year, and it cannot come from an organization such as the Knights of Columbus.
The diocese is obligated to pay the schooling for seminarians, as they in turn give their lives to us as priests. Fostering this endowment is critical to help these men complete their discernment and formation as well as being a catalyst for local vocations.
The Office of Stewardship of Development will be hosting several brunches in honor of the seminarians throughout the spring, but anyone can donate at any time. To learn more about how the challenge contact Rebecca Harris, Director of Stewardship and Development at 601-960-8477 or by email

From anchor desk to altar: Deacon Adam discerned call in Mississippi

By Maureen Smith
MERIDIAN – Nick Adam moved to Meridian to be a sports anchor. By his own admission, he practiced his faith, but never considered a deeper commitment before he landed in Mississippi. His time at St. Patrick Parish, under the direction of Father Frank Cosgrove, changed all that. He started to hear a deeper call.
Friday, March 17, on the feast of St. Patrick, he was ordained into the transitional diaconate in St. Patrick Church. He will be ordained into the priesthood next summer.
During the homily, Bishop Joseph Kopacz spoke of the parish patron as one of the greatest of all evangelizers. He also spoke about this history of the diaconate and how these men of service are so important to the work of the church. At the end of the homily, Bishop Kopacz invoked the prayer known as the breastplate of St. Patrick, a call to bring Christ into the center of all we IMG_2136_cdo.
Deacon Adam’s sister, Julie Bordes said Adam, the youngest of eight siblings, was always the peacemaker of the family. “With so many siblings there was always something. He kind of had to keep us together and he was the youngest. If he said ‘oh…’ or if he started crying about something we would all turn, look, feel guilty and act right,” she said. “I think it’s special in so many ways that as a youngest child he is going to now take that leadership role and be over a parish,” she added.
Bordes said the family did not suspect that he had a call, but in a way the siblings were not surprised when he announced his plan to enter seminary. “We were just so proud of him when he went into communications and was a sports anchor and a news anchor and he gave us each a call and said ‘you know, I think I might go into the priesthood’ and we just really couldn’t be prouder.”
Deacon Adam had to go back to school to earn a theology degree and learn about parish and church administration. Bordes said she knows he has the right personality for the job. “Ever since he was a little child he was so kind and nurturing. He always used his voice to help others and I just feel like he has found his place. He seems completely at peace,” she said.
Bordes said Deacon Adam’s vocation has been a blessing to the whole family that now the whole diocese gets to share. “He comes off as not very shy, but I think in his heart he is and that is sort of unique because it shows his true passion that he continues to talk and mentor and preach I would urge everyone to get to know him. He is such a fun guy. I have a three-year-old and a five-year-old and they have truly learned that priests are not just someone that stand up at Mass every Sunday, they like to watch football games, they like to run they are silly, they will tackle and play, so that has been special for our family as well with so many nieces and nephews,” said Bordes.
While ordinations into the priesthood still take place in the cathedral, Bishop Joseph Kopacz has started ordaining men into the transitional diaconate in their home parishes. Nick considers St. Patrick as his Mississippi home parish since he discerned hiIMG_2420_cs call here.
Denise Huntley is a parishioner at St. Patrick. She said she is thankful Bishop Kopacz was willing to ordain Deacon Adam in Meridian. “This has just been wonderful because we knew Nick before he even thought about becoming a priest and to watch him discern and grow in his faith and make the decision to become a priest – it’s just awesome to be here to celebrate this momentous occasion,” said Huntley.
“We look forward to the final ordination next year. There are not enough people going into the priesthood so to personally know someone like Nick – he’s an amazing young man and he’s going to make a wonderful priest,” said Huntley.
Deacon Adam will spend his transitional year at Jackson St. Richard Parish.

Deacon Williams’ love for liturgy bloomed early

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Julia and Mike Williams joined the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle when Julia was pregnant with her son, Aaron. He started serving as an altar server at age five and has loved liturgy ever since. On Saturday, March 18, Aaron was ordained into the transitional diaconate on his way to the priesthood.
“I was thinking about that today – he’s 25-years-old and we have been going to that church for 26 years. I am sure it means a lot to him, and it means a lot to me,” said his father of the ordination in his home parish.

IMG_2901Julia Williams said she encouraged her son to explore his vocation early, but both parents said they would have supported any decision he made. “I always felt like he had it (a vocation) and I was never going to discourage him. A lot of people kept saying ‘he’s young and he’ll change his mind,’ but I said I am not going to discourage him. If that’s what he wants, I am here to support him, especially when he got into junior high and people were like ‘is he going to grow out of it now?’ I said, if he’s wants it – then I am with him,” said Julia.
Williams said some parents worry about missing out on something if their son decides to become a priest, but she sees it differently. “I think it’s a real honor and a blessing to have a son who’s a priest. I’m overjoyed.” she said.
Mike Williams, Aaron’s father, felt the same way. He said he is proud of both of his sons and he just wanted them to find the vocation right for their lives. “I’ve never had a concern about it. You know, he’s going to be taken care of. And he’s going to take care of people. We have two sons and both of them – whatever they wanted to do we just got behind them,” he said.
Deacon Williams entered the seminary right out of high school. In addition to his regular studies at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, he is earning a masters of liturgy from St. Murdelin Seminary in Chicago. Deacon Williams’ love for liturgy and liturgical music runs deep. He plays the organ and arranges hymns for the seminary schola, or choir.


Bishop Joseph Kopacz recalled one of history’s great deacons and musicians, St. Ephrem, in his homily. Ephrem was a father of the eastern church who used songs to combat the many heresies of his time. The bishop pointed to the importance of music and liturgy in the life of the church.
Barbara and Donnie Tynes watched Deacon Williams grow up in the cathedral. They said they could see his devotion to liturgy early. “Aaron has always stood out, even when he was in high school. He was always so reverent. Everything he did, all the Holy Week services,” said Barbara.
“He was so prepared, so involved,” added Donnie.
The couple said they hoped Aaron’s vocation would carry him into the priesthood and are glad to see him take this next step.
“It’s kind of like your own children graduating or moving on to something else and you’re just so proud of them that they can overcome these hurdles to make it to where they did,” said Donnie.
Deacon Williams will serve in Meridian at St. Patrick and St. Joseph Parishes before he is ordained into the priesthood next summer.

SEARCHers reflect on retreat

The Office of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Jackson offers the SEARCH retreat two times a year usually once in the fall and spring. High-school students gather for a weekend of faith and fun. Those who attend often return as retreat leaders. Several of this year’s attendees from
the March 3-5 retreat offered some reflections on their experience:

Emma Dieckman
Junior at Madison St. Joseph
Emma planned to attend with friends, but when they could not make it, she was not so sure about the weekend.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
As the weekend went on I just felt God with me the whole time. I’m not Catholic but I do go to a Catholic school so I was used to Catholic things. When people would share their stories about their life and spiritual journey they would just touch me so much. When we listened and sang songs it was like the first time I had ever listened to the words and the first time I realized how powerful the words of songs are.
The whole weekend my relationship with God strengthened and I really grew closer to him. I loved seeing young people and people I go to school with be vulnerable to God. This isn’t even the beginning of how much Search impacted my life, it is very hard to put that into words; you should just go and see it for yourself. I am forever thankful for the friend I made and old friends I rekindled my relationship with, the friends I grew closer to and how much closer I grew to God. Search is 10/10 and I highly recommend.

Olivia Patterson
Junior, Madison St. Francis of Assisi SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESParish
I searched in November of 2016 and I could honestly say that it was the best weekend of my life. Throughout the entire weekend, I met so many amazing new people, learned how Christ has worked through others, and finally realized how he is working through me. I felt an overwhelming amount of love from absolute strangers but most importantly I felt love from God himself. I found myself becoming stronger in my faith everyday after that weekend. My main goal was to come back and staff the retreat, and on March 3rd, 2017, that dream became a reality.

Meredith McLaurin
College Freshman, Tupelo St. James Parish
This is McLaurin’s second time as a retreat leader.
March 2017, will forever be my favorite SEARCH though, we got the chance to dedicate the SEARCH to one of the girls who gave me the retreat. She passed away a month and a half before the retreat, it felt like the best way to honor her. This SEARCH was the most life-changing (event) for me, letting me feel more full of love and faith than before. I got the chance to give a talk again and lead a small group that made a profound impact on me.
My small group bonded together the first night in a way I had never seen before. It was our job as the leaders to help them with their SEARCH journey, but I believe that they helped us as much as we helped them. This small group opened my eyes to new things and how faith can get you through anything. This SEARCH gave me the strength to realize who I am and help me begin to start to figure out what I want to do after I graduate college.
It’s because of SEARCH that I hope to do something that impacts youth every single day, though I may not know now what I am going to do, I do know that I will forever be changed by the weekends I spend at SEARCH. I can’t wait to keep coming back and giving to the one thing that has helped guide me to God every time I wake up.
The next SEARCH retreat will be in the Fall 2017. For more information contact Abbey Schuhmann in the Office of Youth Ministry –, 601-949-6934 or visit