National music educator to offer liturgical workshop in Pearl

By Mary Woodward
The diocesan Office of Worship and Liturgy is sponsoring a retreat-style conference entitled “Liturgical Music: Ministry Encounters Mystery” for liturgical music ministers, clergy and LEMs, June 8 – 9, at Pearl St. Jude Parish. The presenter for the experience is Alexis Kutarna, director of music for St. Mary Seminary in Houston, Texas.

Alexis Kutarna

Born and raised in Canada, Kutarna has been involved in church music ever since she was a child. Kutarna earned the Master of Arts in Liturgy at The Liturgical Institute at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, where she wrote her thesis on “The Sacramental Nature of Sacred Music.” She holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in music, as well as a performer’s certificate.
Kutarna has a special interest in the spirituality of liturgical music, and was privileged to study chant with Fr. Columba Kelly, OSB. She has served as a parish music and liturgy director, working with singers of all ages.
In a letter to parish leaders and musicians, Bishop Joseph Kopacz remarked: “In my travels around the diocese, I have experienced some wonderful liturgies with all kinds of musical offerings. This retreat experience will help affirm and broaden our parish musical horizons.
“Everyone from the novice to the most accomplished will benefit greatly from this conference. It is meant to inspire us to grow more deeply in our understanding of the divine mysteries and the unique and sacred role music plays in that mystery,” wrote the bishop.
“More deeply inspired and thoughtful liturgies based in our rich spiritual and theological tradition give us the fuel to embody and live the Gospel and proclaim it to others.”
Frequently asked to speak on music and the liturgy, Kutarna presents in a variety of contexts, from parish choirs and retreats to lectures and conferences. She has presented on seminary musical formation, the spirituality of chant, liturgical participation, and singing the Mass, including at the 2016 NPM convention.
She teaches the Summer Learning Schola for the St. Basil School of Gregorian Chant. In April of this year, she spoke on music and heaven at the “Transfigured” young adult conference in Chicago, hosted by the Liturgical Institute.
Kutarna teaches courses on the liturgy and liturgical music at the University of St. Thomas for the seminary, the permanent diaconate program, and the master of sacred music program.
The retreat will incorporate prayer, instruction, reflection and interaction. It is designed for those who actively engage in music ministry on the parish level. It also is designed to benefit clergy in additional knowledge of the role of music in the liturgy.
Retreatants will enjoy a journey into the sacred mysteries and gain a better understanding of their ministry as musicians in the liturgy. Topics for reflection include: Mystery and Liturgy, Mystery and Silence, Mystery and Music and From Mystery to Ministry. Though the retreat will be in English, resources for Spanish and bilingual Masses will be a part of the retreat.
As a prayer experience, the Liturgy of the Hours will be sung throughout and there will be a session on practical applications during the Mass.
The tentative retreat schedule will begin with check- in at 1 p.m. on Thursday, with overview and first session beginning at 2 p.m., and run until 9 p.m. Thursday night; it will begin on Friday at 8:30 a.m. and end with Mass at 4 p.m.
Cost is $60, which includes three meals and materials. Participants must make their own lodging arrangements. For more information contact Mary Woodward, chancellor, at 601.960.8475 or mary.woodward@jacksondiocese.org.
(Mary Woodward is the chancellor and coordinator for the Office of Liturgy.)

Charities to recognize Maloney siblings at Bishop’s Ball

Catholic Charities has started selling tickets to this year’s Bishop’s Ball, a premire fundraising event set for Saturday, June 10, at the Jackson Country Club. In addition to dinner, a silent and live auction and dancing will keep the evening lively. During dinner, Bishop Joseph Kopacz will present the Good Samaritan Award to the Maloney siblings, a family whose support of the church spans several generations.
In the 1950s, James C. “Cowboy” Maloney was a residential builder in the Jackson area. With the post-war building boom rapidly transforming Jackson, the contractor and his wife Dolly carved out a comfortable living to support their family of three sons and a daughter: Con, Bridget (Fielder), Eddie and Johnny. As a way to provide better prices for his construction, in 1952 Cowboy and Dolly opened Maloney Supply Company as a local lumber yard, offering building materials at wholesale pricing. Maloney soon realized he had failed to factor in a crucial detail: his targeted consumers – building contractors – were also his direct competition in the construction business. To overcome the hurdle, Maloney retired from the construction business to concentrate on his new retail/wholesale venture. In addition to lumber and building materials, he began selling built-in appliances used in residential construction.
Creative marketing, personal customer service and affordably-priced appliance additions to his lumber lineup helped Maloney Supply flourish. “We quickly evolved to a full-line appliance dealer and from there became a TV dealer when the first television station came on line in Mississippi,” said Con, the eldest of the three Maloney sons who now share the reins of the appliance empire. “It’s the best of worlds, retail-wise,” explains Johnny, who came on board after graduating from Ole Miss in May 1978. “You’ve got Eddie who’s great with finance and Con who’s the best at marketing and I stay in between.”
Bridget no longer works in the family business, but “when she did, she was one of the best sales associates we ever had. She could sell ice to an Eskimo,” Johnny bragged.
Sister Dorothea Sondgeroth, OP, associate executive director of the St. Dominic Health Services Foundation, said the Maloney family is most deserving of this special recognition. “They exemplify their Catholic faith by their actions and involvement in parish functions and their service on various boards within the diocese. Their love for the Church and for community runs deep in the family roots. The Maloney family has been a pillar for St. Dominic’s, the only Catholic healthcare facility in Mississippi and has played an important role in its growth,” she said.
Tickets to the ball are $85 per couple. Call 601-326-3758 to reserve seats.

Charities tournament benefits

JACKSON – Catholic Charities hosted its annual Charity Tennis Tournament March 30-April 7 at River Hills Club. One unique feature of this event is Kid’s Day, held this year on Wednesday, April 5.

The day began early when 55 students from Rowan Middle School arrived at River Hills. They were all wearing matching Kids Day t-shirts made for the event. USTA officials gave the students an overview of the game of tennis. They were then joined by students from the Brinkley Junior High tennis team.

The interesting thing about the Brinkley group is that they are part of a newly formed team made up of members who were introduced to tennis for the first time at this very kids day event during the past two years.

Soon after instuction, all the students watched as the ladies on the pro-circuit competed. They then moved to an hour of on-court instruction provided by both pro circuit players and local tennis pros. From there the enjoyed lunch at the club while hearing from a local speaker.

The tournament consists of pro-am play as well as Catholic Charities events, dinners and luncheons every day. Money from this tournaments goes to children’s programs at Charities. This year’s winner was Barbara Haas from Austria.

Bishop Joseph Kopacz congratulates the singles winner, Barbara Haas from Austria. (Photos submitted by Julie O’Brien)

Easter Vigil, Cathedral of St. Peter 2017

Palm Sunday Cathedral St. Peter, 2017

Chrism Mass St. Peter Cathedral April 11, 2017

Abbey Youth Fest returns

By Abbey Schuhmann

COVINGTON, La., – On Saturday, March 25, more than 300 teens and adult leaders from around the Diocese of Jackson traveled to St. Joseph Abbey and Seminary College in Covington, La., for the 2017 Abbey Youth Festival (AYF). The 16th annual festival fell on the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord and this year’s theme was “Be It Done Unto Me.”

The seminarians at St. Joseph Seminary College play a vital role in the production of AYF including our own, Andrew Bowden, Hayden Schmitt, and Tristan Stovall. The festival has grown over the years and now hosts around 250 groups from all across the south with more than 4,500 participants coming together each year for a day-long event to experience music, prayer, catechesis, fellowship and fun.

With the torrential rain and devastating floods that affected the Covington-area last spring, the 2016 festival was cancelled for the first time in its history. While this year’s forecast was not ideal for an outdoor event, accommodations were made and the program continued.

The teens and adults from our diocese remained optimistic and weathered the storm throughout the day determined to experience all the festival has to offer. The program featured keynote presentations from Katie Prejean McGrady, Stephanie Grey and David Calavitta. Dave Moore and The Josh Blakesley Band entertained the crowd with awesome music. Each speaker shared thoughts regarding the theme, “Be It Done Unto Me,” on how we all have a call to serve the Lord, how do we discern that call in our daily lives and how can we live as faithful sons and daughters of our Lord.

Participants have the opportunity throughout the day to visit different vendor booths including religious orders and communities from all around the country. Groups also have the opportunity to tour the beautiful Abbey church on campus. The event focuses on evangelization and faith formation through vocational discernment, prayer, and catechesis.

The entire event ends with Mass and candlelight adoration; often times the highlight of the event for most participants. This year the Mass was celebrated by Bishop Shelton J. Fabre of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux and the homilist was Father Joshua Johnson of the Diocese of Baton Rouge. Father Johnson challenged the teens to become fully alive in Jesus Christ. He gave witness to this through his own, personal vocation story as well as stories that he shared that have impacted him throughout the years.

He suggested the teens follow “The 5 W’s” in order to help them enter into a deeper relationship with Christ.1. When will you pray and spend time with the Lord? 2. Where will you pray? 3. What will you do? Read scripture, attend adoration, spend time with the Blessed Sacrament after mass – were just a few of his suggestions. 4. Who will be your accountability partner? 5. Why are you going to do this? To become fully alive in Christ.

It was no doubt a wet and soggy day for our group, however; the weather did not dampen our experience with Abbey Youth Festival 2017. This event is an excellent opportunity for our teens to see the bigger church and fellowship with other young Catholics. This was the 7th year for our diocese to sponsor a trip to the Abbey Youth Festival. Make plans to participate in the 2018 event scheduled for Saturday, March 17th!

(For more information visit www.abbeyyouthfest.com or contact Abbey Schuhmann in the Office of Youth Ministry – 601-949-6934 or Abbey.Schuhmann@jacksondiocese.org)

“Boss Baby” amusing, but flimsy offering for families

By John Muldering

NEW YORK (CNS) – Fans of Stewie Griffin, the “enfant terrible” of Fox-TV’s “Family Guy,” will know in advance just what effect the folks behind “The Boss Baby” (Fox) are aiming for with their incongruously mature title character.

Mother, voiced by Lisa Kudrow, Boss Baby, voiced by Alec Baldwin, and father, voiced by Jimmy Kimmel, appear in the animated movie "Boss Baby." The Catholic News Service classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. (CNS photo/DreamWorks) See MOVIE-REVIEW-BOSS-BABY-(EMBARGOED) March 28, 2017.

Mother, voiced by Lisa Kudrow, Boss Baby, voiced by Alec Baldwin, and father, voiced by Jimmy Kimmel, appear in the animated movie “Boss Baby.” The Catholic News Service classification is A-I — general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. (CNS photo/DreamWorks) See MOVIE-REVIEW-BOSS-BABY-(EMBARGOED) March 28, 2017.

Whether the filmmakers have managed to create a similarly memorable prodigy is, however, another question.

In fact, considered overall, this animated take on the trauma of acquiring a younger sibling can best be described as amusing but flimsy. On the upside, objectionable elements are sufficiently few that all but the very youngest family members can safely enjoy the fleeting fun.

As narrator Tobey Maguire informs us, 7-year-old only child Tim (voice of Miles Bakshi) is a contented lad. He enjoys the undivided attention of his hard-working but solicitous parents (voices of Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow), so life is good.

Until, that is, the arrival of the eponymous — and otherwise unnamed – infant (voice of Alec Baldwin) whose disruptive presence promptly turns Tim’s well-ordered world upside down. Resentful of the newcomer, Tim is also suspicious of such peculiarities as the fact that his brother arrived as the sole passenger in a taxi and that he wears a business suit.

A little investigation proves that this is, indeed, no ordinary babe in arms. Endowed with an adult personality and the ability to speak, he also has a corporate agenda to pursue.

As a representative of the company that manufactures infants, Boss Baby is out to thwart the multiply named Francis Francis (voiced by Steve Buscemi), the head honcho of a pet marketing conglomerate. Francis, we learn, has developed a puppy so irresistible that no one will want to have children once the pooch becomes available. It’s up to Boss Baby to prevent the product launch of this heart-hogging animal.

All of this is explained with the aid of pie charts showing cuddly dogs eating into the market for youngsters, a satiric point that can be seen as vaguely pro-life.

But a darker tone – in line with the movie industry’s disdain for all other forms of profit making endeavor – is introduced as Boss Baby schemes shamelessly and callously threatens Tim with the loss of their parents’ affection. (Once further exposition reveals that success will mean Boss Baby’s permanent return to headquarters, however, Tim becomes his willing collaborator.)

Beyond gentle domestic discord and the caricaturing of executives, a more pressing concern for real-life moms and dads may be the repetition in the dialogue of the question, “Where do babies come from?” The answer is always, of course, a whimsical one, though a whispered exchange between Tim and Boss Baby, inaudible to the audience, briefly hints at the true explanation before both agree in rejecting it.

Along with some silly potty and anatomical gags – this is not a movie for those averse to the sight of an animated newborn’s bottom – that’s about all there is to worry about in director Tom McGrath’s ephemeral adaptation of Marla Frazee’s 2010 picture book.

As for Stewie, he’s unlikely to eat his heart out over the debut of his big-screen rival.

The film contains some slapstick violence, mild scatological humor and a religiously themed but not irreverent joke. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I – general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG – parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

Thea’s Turn to be staged in Canton

CANTON – The life of Canton native Sister Thea Bowman comes to life on stage in her hometown thanks to a performance of “Thea’s Turn” on Saturday, April 22, at 7:00 p.m. at the Canton High School Auditorium. The project has been declared an official state bicentennial project.

“Thea’s Turn” has strong ties to Canton beyond just Sister Thea’s upbringing. The play’s author, Mary Queen Donnelly, knew the title character while the two grew up in Canton. Canton native, Dr. Mark Henderson, chair of the department of speech, communication and theatre at Jackson State University, serves as executive director. The cast and crew include members of the nationally acclaimed MADDRAMA, an award winning drama troupe under his direction.

The play tells the story of Sister Thea Bowman from her childhood as Bertha Bowman through her conversion to Catholicism and vocation to religious life all the way to the discovery of cancer and her death. The scenes include periods from the late 1940’s through late 1989. Flonzie Brown-Wright, a classmate and playmate of Bertha (Sister Thea), saw the play in Madison during the summer of 2015 and thought it should be staged in Canton. She enlisted the help of Jana Padgett-Dear, executive director of the Canton Convention and Visitors Bureau. Padgett-Dear immediately agreed because in part, it continues her personal commitment to increase the awareness of Sister Thea’s life.

During the spring and summer of 2016, she spent endless hours working with Brown-Wright to update the large display of Sister Thea’s artifacts displayed at the Multicultural Center in town. Incidentally, Padgett-Dear never met Thea, but has been inspired by what she has read and heard about her.

The play attempts to capture the essence of Thea’s struggle of what it meant to be black and Catholic” and her ultimate decision to reconcile Bertha, the great- granddaughter of a slave, and her African American culture with that of the all- white, traditional culture of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse, Wis., where she was Sister Thea.

The play gives the viewer a broader understanding of the complexities of the multifaceted Thea. Donnelly used music to portray different periods of Thea’s life. Being a singer, Spirituals and Gospel songs allowed Bertha to remain connected to her southern heritage, while her appreciation for traditional Latin chant and church music gave her the opportunity to remain true to her beliefs as a Catholic sister.

The advisory committee for this production includes a number of people who knew Thea personally during their days at Holy Child Jesus School and Church, either as classmates, students, priests, parishioners, or members of the Thea Bowman Choir.

“Thea’s Turn” first premiered in New Orleans, LA and later in Madison, MS.

Readings continue as far away as New York City.

This official bicentennial project was made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities through support from the Mississippi Development Authority.

To reserve seating and for more information contact: jana@cantontourism.com or call (601) 859-1307.

(Story submitted by Flonzie Brown-Wright)