Pope: Lead people to certainty of Gospel

By Cindy Wooden
ROME (CNS) – In an age that often seems to be a “carnival of worldly curiosity,” Christians are called to lead people to the solid ground of the Gospel like St. Dominic did, Pope Francis said.
“We are moving in a so-called ‘liquid society,’ which is without fixed points, scattered, deprived of solid and stable reference points, a culture of the ephemeral, of the use-and-dispose,” the pope told members of the Dominican order.
At Rome’s Basilica of St. John Lateran, the pope celebrated Mass Jan. 21 with the Order of Preachers, founded 800 years ago, and with women religious and lay people who trace their spirituality to St. Dominic.
In his homily, Pope Francis reflected on St. Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy and its description of proclaiming the Gospel at a time when people were “always seeking new teachers, myths, different doctrines and ideologies.”
The situation today is even more exaggerated, the pope said, because of “the seduction of subjective relativism.”
The response must be to attract people to the unchanging truth of faith in God and in the Gospel, he told the Dominicans.
When a Christian gives glory to God through his or her actions and words, Pope Francis said, people will notice and ask, “Why does that person act that way?”
The Gospel calls Christians to be salt of the earth and light for the world, he said. “Woe to a church that loses its flavor. Woe to a priest, a consecrated person, a congregation that loses its flavor.”
St. Dominic, he said, was “full of the light and salt of Christ” and preached the Gospel with “the word and his life,” helping many men and women “not become lost in the carnival of worldly curiosity,” but experience “the taste of sound doctrine, the taste of the Gospel and become, in turn, light and salt, artisans of good works.”
Closing the celebrations of the Dominicans’ 800th anniversary, the Mass came at the end of a five-day Congress on mission to examine the situations in which Dominicans are called to preach, to promote cooperation across the different Dominican branches and evaluate where the order’s missionary outreach needs strengthening.
Dominican Father Vivian Boland, vicar of the master of the order, told Catholic News Service Jan. 17 that in almost any situation of difficulty or challenge, “there are Dominicans somewhere in the world trying to respond to those questions.”
Pope Francis, he said, is an example for members of the order in helping others not just through their words, but also with concrete action.
(Contributing to this story was Junno Arocho Esteves at the Vatican.)

National Migration Week offers opportunity for encounter, faith sharing

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VARDAMAN/PONTOTOC - Dancers present samples of their culture during a night of encounter.

VARDAMAN/PONTOTOC – Dancers present samples of their culture during a night of encounter.

By Danna Johnson

VARDAMAN – National Migration Week 2017 was a great opportunity to bring people together. The Migrant Support Center of Catholic Charities, Tupelo, St. James Parish, and the Family Life Center in Vardaman, joined efforts to create a culture of encounter, following the theme Pope Francis inspired for the week.
The observance started at St. James with an Epiphany celebration followed by the documentary “The Invisibles.” More than 100 people attended. Participants were invited to tell their stories and share challenges as immigrants in Mississippi. The conclusion of this first-day event was that “migration is an act of hope.”
The following days, Amelia McGowan, immigration lawyer for Catholic Charities, and director of the Migrant Support Center, offered workshops and free legal clinics in the communities of Corinth, Ripley and Vardaman. Many families traveled from different parts of the deanery to work with her.
Pontotoc St. Christopher Parish celebrated Mass commemorating National Migration Week. Pastor Father Tim Murphy concelebrated with Father Octavio Escovar, visiting from Mexico. He invited all to reflect on Psalm 104: “The Lord remembers his covenants forever.”
On Friday, January 13, the night of cultural encounter was hosted in Vardaman. Nancy Sanchez, cultural specialist for the Migrant Support Center and a team of volunteers of Family Life Center made this first-ever gathering possible. There were demonstrations, food and dancing from various countries including Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Colombia and India.
Liza May and Sandra Lucious, both natives of Vardaman, opened the night with “Amazing Grace” and gave a presentation of their cultures: Southern and Vardaman.
“This is something to build on” said Northeast Catholic Charities Board president. Nearly 150 people of different cultures in Northeast Mississippi gathered under one roof to celebrate that what we have in common is our diversity.
Sister Gabriela Ramirez from Catholic Charities of Birmingham, Ala., closed the week with a presentation asking the question: Can we develop an inclusive culture?
“This was a powerful topic for awareness and education, and we will find the opportunity to do it again in this year,” said Dorothy Balser, director of community and social outreach ministries for Catholic Charities. Sister Ramirez closed her program by all to pray: “Father, that all of them may be one, as we are one” (Jn. 17, 21).
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops celebrates National Migration Week every January to honor those who leave their homes seeking better lives.
(Danna Johnson is the head of the Family Life Center in Vardaman.)

Go: Celebrating 35 years of catechetical formation

KENNER, LA, - Bishop Kopacz, center, celebrated the closing Mass for the conference with diocesan priests Father Arokia Savio, right of the bishop, pastor of Grenada St. Peter Parish, and Father Paneer Arockiam, pastor of Yazoo City St. Mary Parish. Two local deacons assisted. (Photo by Rhonda Bowden)

KENNER, LA, – Bishop Kopacz, center, celebrated the closing Mass for the conference with diocesan priests Father Arokia Savio, right of the bishop, pastor of Grenada St. Peter Parish, and Father Paneer Arockiam, pastor of Yazoo City St. Mary Parish. Two local deacons assisted. (Photo by Rhonda Bowden)

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Hundreds of delegates from Southhaven to Natchez descended on Kenner, La., to participate in the recent Gulf Coast Faith Formation Conference. More than 1,200 participants from Region V, in which this diocese is located, came for all or part of the three-day conference. The diocesan delegation included Bishop Kopacz, who celebrated the closing Mass on Saturday.
In its 35th year, the conference was previously known as the Hofinger Conference, named for Fr. Johannes Hofinger, S.J., a world-renowned missionary, evangelizer, teacher, and catechetical leader. “This year’s theme, ‘Prayer: Our Faith Prayed and Lived,’ reminded us of our need for prayer and to experience prayer in new ways. There really was a little bit of something for everyone as the topics covered were quite varied,” explained Fran Lavelle, director of the department of Faith Formation for the Diocese of Jackson and one of the conference organizers.
“In addition to the areas one would expect, topics like ministry for special needs and the elderly were covered. A track for liturgy was also provided as well as a track for those working with high school students,” she added.
Members of her team and diocesan representatives, including Will Jemison, coordinator for Black Catholic ministry for the diocese, Abbey Schuhmann, coordinator for Youth Ministry, Catherine Cook, Superintendent of Catholic Schools and Karla Luke, coordinator for operations for the schools, also attended.
In addition to the keynote speakers and breakout sessions, participants had access to exhibits and liturgies. “One of my favorites was a beautiful exhibit on icons and their use in personal and communal prayer. It was a great feature,” said Lavelle.
Lori Arreola agreed. She was a first-time attendee from Grenada St. Peter Parish. “I liked the transforming of icons for catechesis and prayer workshop because it takes me to a closer intimate relationship with the Lord as well as deeper understanding level,” she explained.

Fathers Aroika and Savio, pictured at the closing Mass, brought people from their parishes to the conference. (Photo by Rhonda Bowden)

Fathers Arockiam and Savio, pictured at the closing Mass, brought people from their parishes to the conference. (Photo by Rhonda Bowden)

Father Aroika Savio, pastor of Grenada St. Peter Parish has attended several of these conferences, but none of his catechetical staff had the opportunity until this year when a delegation of six went with him. Rosa Buzzarde, took the Liturgy track. She said she learned how to write the prayers of the faithful to include all people. She also learned about new rites of ceremony for weddings that have additions and exclusions written into them.
Annette Tipton, took the family evangelization and spirituality track. “I learned about the need for Spiritual Coaches in our parishes and how to accompany people in their faith walk,” she said. She added that she enjoyed not just the academic and logistical side, but got a lot from the spiritual offerings. “In a different venue, Dr. Brant Pitre of Gray, La, powerfully taught a deeper understanding of Lectio Divina – keeping a dialogue with Christ in prayer,” said Tipton.
Nancy Oswalt also attended the lectio breakout. “I learned about Lectio Divina, scripture and prayer and how important it is to our faith, and then some ways to actually pray and have a conversation with Christ. For the youth I now have some new ways to lead ‘guided prayer’ and modeling prayer,” she said.
Father Savio said he values conferences such as this one. “I wanted my people to see how other parishes are celebrating liturgy, offering catechesis and doing other things,” he said.
This was the first year the faith formation directors in this region took a lead role in both content and logitics for the conference.
“For several years the conference was planned by a professional meeting planner. We were given the opportunity last year to continue with an outside planner or taking on the role as a region,” said Lavelle. “With more input from the region felt we are able to address our local needs better.”
The diocesan directors for the region have already begun planning for next year’s conference. “It has been a learning experience that paid off,” Lavelle added.
As the faith formation directors plan the next conference, they would like to use feedback from this year. Those who attended the conference should submit an evaluation online at www.go4th.faith. “We want to hear from you so we can continue to provide a first rate Conference,” said Lavelle.

The team from Pearl St. Jude Parish enjoyed the vendor area where attendees could look at the latest in church supplies and catechetical material.

The team from Pearl St. Jude Parish enjoyed the vendor area where attendees could look at the latest in church supplies and catechetical material.

Deliver Me volunteer seeks driver for supplemental food boxes

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Neil Rhodes is looking for a few willing volunteers to help with a once-a-month ministry to low-income elderly residents in Jackson.
During the first week of each month, Rhodes spends a couple hours each day delivering boxes of food to residents in senior living facilities. He’s been doing it for 10 years and delivers as many as 500 boxes each month, according to Deliver Me, the non-profit, nondenominational agency that coordinates the packaging and client list.
In the beginning, Rhodes was a member of a team of four men, including the late Ken Artigues and Pete Foret, both Catholic. Now it’s just Rhodes and C.T. Dexter.
“It started with Kenny Artigues. We went to high school together at St. Stanislaus in Bay St. Louis. He called and talked to me about working for Gleaners, picking extra crops. When I retired in 2007 I started delivering the boxes through Deliver Me,” he said.
He says he still loves the work, but he is slowing down and could use extra hands.
“Deliver Me has been around for quite some time,” said Joyce Ainsworth, one of the service coordinators. “The mission is focused offering supportive services to low-income people older than 65 who live alone at home or in a senior living facility,” she added. The agency offers groceries, help with applying for benefits and utility assistance, eye glasses, hearing tests and hearing aids. They also run a clothing closet and provide blankets, heaters and linens to people who need them.

JACKSON – Neil Rhodes chats with Betty Carlyn as he drops off supplemental food boxes at a senior living community in Jackson.  He hopes to recruit more drivers for the monthly ministry. (Photo by Tereza Ma.)

JACKSON – Neil Rhodes chats with Betty Carlyn as he drops off supplemental food boxes at a senior living community in Jackson. He hopes to recruit more drivers for the monthly ministry. (Photo by Tereza Ma.)

In addition to the grocery deliveries, Deliver Me works with Mississippi Food Network (MFN) to provide Commodity Supplement Food Program boxes. These are what Rhodes delivers. They include nonperishable items as well as a block of cheese every month.
Rhodes sets a delivery schedule, MFN and Deliver Me pack the boxes and he drives all over town dropping them off. “It’s something I truly enjoy doing, I truly do, and I think other people would like it too,” he said.
On a recent Tuesday morning, Rhodes and Dexter loaded dozens of boxes headed for an apartment complex near St. Dominic’s Hospital in Jackson. The boxes are large moving boxes full of canned items so the men use a dolly to cart them through the halls. They spend a few minutes visiting with each resident and try to make sure everyone is doing well.
“Neil has been a true blessing to us. A real, true blessing,” said Ainsworth. “He serves on the board and continues to work. “We see real need out there,” said Ainsworth. “Many people just can’t get out to even pick up food or come to our office,” she added.
Anyone interested in volunteering for the effort can call Rhodes at (601) 906-3516 or contact the office at Deliver Me at (601) 354-4646.

la Virgen de Guadalupe ‘Este es un día de alegría y fe’

JACKSON – En Mississippi, así como en casi todos los Estados Unidos y los países latinoamericanos, la devoción a la Virgen de Guadalupe continua extendiéndose a medida que los fieles van conociendo mejor su historia y la alegría y la fe del pueblo mexicano por su patrona.
Su fiesta ha sido reconocida desde que en Roma en el año 1754 el Papa Benedicto XIV declaró que el 12 de diciembre se celebrara una misa especial en su honor.
En 1945 el Papa Pio XII designó a la Virgen de Guadalupe “Emperadora” de las Américas. El siguiente año el papa le dio la distinción de Patrona de las Américas y en 1988 la celebración liturgica en los Estados Unidos fue elevada como fiesta en todas las dióceses del país.
En la Diócesis de Jackson los fieles comienzan a preparar su celebración a finales de noviembr

JACKSON – Jesüs Galindo, representing Juan Diego, presents the flowers to Bishop Joseph Kopacz at the beginning of the celebration at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle. (Photo by Elsa Baughman)

JACKSON – Jesüs Galindo, representing Juan Diego, presents the flowers to Bishop Joseph Kopacz at the beginning of the celebration at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle. (Photo by Elsa Baughman)

e con rosarios en diferentes hogares y en algunas de las parroquias le preparan un altar con su imagen y flores.
Este diciembre dos parroquias celebraron por primera vez su fiesta, la Parroquia Sagrada Familia en Jackson y la Parroquia San Francisco de Asís en Madison en la cual el Padre Albeenreddt Vatti, párroco, Msgr. Michael Flannery y el Padre Jason Johnston celebraron la misa que comenzó con una procesión.
El grupo de danzas Aztecas de la Catedral de San Pedro y el de la Parroquia Santa Teresa en Jackson además de danzar en sus parroquias también se presentaron en Carthage y en Madison.
En la Catedral de San Pedro el mensaje del Obispo Joseph Kopacz durante la homilia fue que este era un día de alegría y fe, exclamando, “¡Que viva María! porque le dijo “Sí” a Dios cuando le pidió que fuera la madre de su hijo” y a Jesús Galindo, cuando le presentó las flores que traía en su tilma en las escaleras de la catedral, le dijo, “Qué Dios te bendiga por ser el mensajero de su madre”.

CARTHAGE – Los miembros del grupo musical de la Parroquia Santa Ana hacen la oración del inicio de la misa el sábado 10 de diciembre. La celebración incluyó mañanitas, procesión y un agazajo. La comunidad disfrutó de los bailes presentados por el grupo de danzas Aztecas de la Parroquia Santa Teresa en Jackson. (Foto de la Hermana María Elena Méndez)

CARTHAGE – Los miembros del grupo musical de la Parroquia Santa Ana hacen la oración del inicio de la misa el sábado 10 de diciembre. La celebración incluyó mañanitas, procesión y un agazajo. La comunidad disfrutó de los bailes presentados por el grupo de danzas Aztecas de la Parroquia Santa Teresa en Jackson. (Foto de la Hermana María Elena Méndez)

MORTON – Miembros de una familia de Morton rezan el rosario en honor a la Virgen de Guadalupe. La comunidad se reunió en los hogares de varias familias para rezar los rosarios. (Foto de la Hermana María Elena Méndez)

MORTON – Miembros de una familia de Morton rezan el rosario en honor a la Virgen de Guadalupe. La comunidad se reunió en los hogares de varias familias para rezar los rosarios. (Foto de la Hermana María Elena Méndez)

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Jackson St. Therese and Holy Family parishes joined together for a celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The dancers from St. Therese brought their gifts to Holy Family.

Jackson St. Therese and Holy Family parishes joined together for a celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The dancers from St. Therese brought their gifts to Holy Family.

MADISON – Pilar Terrazas (left) and Michelle McLean carry the banner with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe in procession toward St. Francis of Assisi while the congregation sings Sunday, Dec. 11. This is the first time the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe has been celebrated at the parish. Fathers Albeenreddy Vatti, pastor, Jason Johnston and Msgr. Michael Flannery celebrated the Eucharist at 7 p.m.

MADISON – Pilar Terrazas (left) and Michelle McLean carry the banner with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe in procession toward St. Francis of Assisi while the congregation sings Sunday, Dec. 11. This is the first time the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe has been celebrated at the parish. Fathers Albeenreddy Vatti, pastor, Jason Johnston and Msgr. Michael Flannery celebrated the Eucharist at 7 p.m.

Participants in the Guadalupe Procession wait for the bishop outside the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle.

Participants in the Guadalupe Procession wait for the bishop outside the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle.

CARTHAGE – Members of St. Anne Parish band process around the church’s grounds playing songs to the Virgin of Guadalupe during her feast celebration Saturday, Dec. 10, at 9 a.m. Mass was celebrated after the procession. (Photo by Sister María Elena Méndez)

CARTHAGE – Members of St. Anne Parish band process around the church’s grounds playing songs to the Virgin of Guadalupe during her feast celebration Saturday, Dec. 10, at 9 a.m. Mass was celebrated after the procession. (Photo by Sister María Elena Méndez)

PONTOTOC – Angela Moreno le reza a la Virgen de Guadalupe junto con su hija Naidelin Vázquez en la Iglesia San Cristobal el domingo 11 de diciembre. (Foto de Dana Johnson)

PONTOTOC – Angela Moreno le reza a la Virgen de Guadalupe junto con su hija Naidelin Vázquez en la Iglesia San Cristobal el domingo 11 de diciembre. (Foto de Dana Johnson)

PONTOTOC – St. Christopher Parish Matachines dancing group honored our Lady of Guadalupe with their performance during the Mass and celebration

PONTOTOC – St. Christopher Parish Matachines dancing group honored our Lady of Guadalupe with their performance during the Mass and celebration

BOONEVILLE – St. Francis of Assisi Parish children gather in front of a newly blessed image of Our Lady of Guadalupe to adorn it with roses Sunday, Dec. 11, during the celebration of her feast day. After Mass parishioners enjoyed a feast of Mexican food and other items during a potluck dinner. (Photo by Sheila Przesmicki)

BOONEVILLE – St. Francis of Assisi Parish children gather in front of a newly blessed image of Our Lady of Guadalupe to adorn it with roses Sunday, Dec. 11, during the celebration of her feast day. After Mass parishioners enjoyed a feast of Mexican food and other items during a potluck dinner. (Photo by Sheila Przesmicki)

JACKSON – Jesüs Galindo, representing Juan Diego, presents the flowers to Bishop Joseph Kopacz at the beginning of the celebration at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle. (Photo by Elsa Baughman)

JACKSON – Jesüs Galindo, representing Juan Diego, presents the flowers to Bishop Joseph Kopacz at the beginning of the celebration at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle. (Photo by Elsa Baughman)

JACKSON – Members of St. Peter Parish, accompanied by Father Anthony Quyet (center) walk around the downtown area in procession praying the rosary Sunday, Dec. 11, for the celebration  of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. (Photo by Elsa Baughman)

JACKSON – Members of St. Peter Parish, accompanied by Father Anthony Quyet (center) walk around the downtown area in procession praying the rosary Sunday, Dec. 11, for the celebration of the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. (Photo by Elsa Baughman)

Pope names Texas Msgr. Bishop of Biloxi, accepts Bishop Morin’s resignation

BILOXI — Pope Francis named Msgr. Louis Kihneman III, 64, as Bishop of the Diocese of Biloxi, and accepted the resignation of Bishop Roger Morin, 75, from the pastoral governance of that diocese on Friday, Dec. 16. Msgr. Kihneman is a priest of the Diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas, and currently serves as vicar general.msgr-louis-kihneman-iii
He will be installed at a Mass at the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin in Biloxi on Feb. 17, 2017, at 2:30 p.m..
Msgr. Kihneman III, was born on Feb. 17, 1952, in Lafayette, Louisiana. He holds a bachelor of arts degree and master degrees in religious education and theology from the University of St. Thomas, Houston. He attended St. Mary’s Seminary, Houston, and was ordained as a priest of the Diocese of Corpus Christi on Nov. 18, 1977.
“I would like to personally welcome Monsignor Louis Kihneman to Mississippi and wish him all the best as he makes the transition to the episcopacy. He brings with him a wealth of experience, having served in many churches in the Gulf South as well as in Mexico. I will keep him in my prayers and I look forward to serving with him in the Magnolia state for many years to come,” said Bishop Joseph Kopacz of Jackson. “I would also like to thank Bishop Roger Morin for his many years of devoted service and wish him a peaceful and prayerful retirement.”
Assignments after ordination included, parochial vicar at San Isidro Labrador Church, Arteaga, Mexico, 1977; St. Anthony of Padua Church, Robstown, Texas, 1978; Christ the King parish, Corpus Christi, 1980; Saints Cyril and Methodius Church, Corpus Christi, 1981. Pastor, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Alice, 1983; diocesan director of vocations and seminarians, 1986-1993; director, St. John Vianney House of Studies, 1986-1993; director of Christian leadership vocations, 1986-1993; pastor, Sacred Heart Church, Rockport, 1993-2011; vicar general, 2010-present; pastor, St. Philip Church, Corpus Christi, 2014 – present.
Other assignments include marriage tribunal advocate, diocesan director of religious education, priest personnel board, associate vicar for clergy, presbyteral council member and as chancellor.
Bishop Roger P. Morin was born on March 7, 1941, in Lowell, Massachusetts. He was ordained a priest on April 15, 1971; he was appointed auxiliary bishop of New Orleans on February 11, 2003, and ordained a bishop on April 22, 2003. He was appointed bishop of Biloxi on Feb. 23, 2009.
The Diocese of Biloxi, originally part of the Diocese of Jackson, comprises 9,653 square miles in the state of Mississippi. It has a total population of 818,801 people of which 57,912 or seven percent, are Catholic.

Charities saves money, improves services with new headquarters

By Elsa Baughman
JACKSON – Beginning Jan. 1, 2017, Catholic Charities’ offices will be moving to a pair of adjacent buildings  in Jackson. The administrative, finance and development offices are being moved to 850 E. River Place and the offices for the Therapeutic Foster Care and adoption will be in the facility next door, 840 E. River Place.
The new offices have easy access from Interstate 55 using the Fortification Street exit and have a lot more parking spaces than the current facility in downtown Jackson.
Bishop Joseph Kopacz said that he and all the senior staff and program directors “are of one mind that the new location will better serve our staff and clients in the years ahead.” He noted the office space layout for each program is a better arrangement, giving each program its own access and privacy.

An exterior shot of the new Catholic Charities headquarters.

An exterior shot of the new Catholic Charities headquarters.

“The cost savings for the five-year lease will help to stabilize the finances immediately for Catholic Charities,” he said, adding that  the new sites represent a savings of $70,000 to $110,000 a year. “There are 160 employees in the organization and the new personnel director has been a very positive influence,” he said. He believes the new location and strengthened morale will benefit the recruitment of a new executive director. That search will start in the first quarter of the new year.
Shamir Lee and Dianne Williams, who work at the Therapeutic Foster Care division of children’s services, are excited about the new office space. “The space is bigger, so we will have a lot of more room to store materials and the best thing is that we each have our own office space,” said Lee who was unpacking her office on Dec. 7 along with Williams. Both are also happy that the kitchen is bigger than the one in the downtown building.
Renee Tanner, administrative assistant at the Therapeutic Foster Care division, thinks her work is going to be more efficient now that they will have space to conduct private

Amy Turner, director of Childrens' Services, and Rena' Tanner, administrative assistant in Therapeutic Foster Care, set up their new offices at Catholic Charities' new headquarters on River Place in Jackson. (Photo by Elsa Baughman)

Amy Turner, director of Childrens’ Services, and Rena’ Tanner, administrative assistant in Therapeutic Foster Care, set up their new offices at Catholic Charities’ new headquarters on River Place in Jackson. (Photo by Elsa Baughman)

meetings with their clients other than their own offices. “In this building we will have an area where we can have family meeting without interruptions,” she said, adding that there will have more privacy to discuss issues pertaining to their personal cases.
Bishop Kopacz said that parking will be much better and eliminates yet another additional cost. At the downtown facility, the agency had to rent parking from a contractor. The building itself did not have the spaces needed. Michael Thomas, development director, mentioned that parking as one of the greatest advantages of the new location.
The office move is not the only one in the works for Catholic Charities. The Domestic Violence Shelter has purchased a building in a new location and will relocate when renovations are complete.
The shelter provides secure housing, day care for children, life skills training and legal resources for women and children who wish to leave an abusive situation. Staff has been looking for a new location for more than a year. They are continuing to provide services during the transition to the new facility.
(Editor’s note: The Catholic Charities Annual report is inserted in this edition of Mississippi Catholic)

Baughman bids farewell, honored for 20 years of service

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Mississippi Catholic says goodbye this month to one of its most loyal and longest-standing employees, Elsa Baughman, editor of Mississippi Catolico. elsa-baughman-2016
Baughman celebrated her 20th anniversary with the Chancery earlier this year. She was hired part-time in 1996 as the office manager for the paper, but that soon changed. In the fall of 1997, Baughman helped put together the first edition of the paper in Spanish.
Then, it was called Mensajero, which loosely translates to ‘the message.’ The effort was supported through a grant from the Catholic Foundation and only published once-a-quarter.
Baughman, a native of Venezuela, was perfect for the role as shepherd of the new venture. She holds a master of communication and taught Spanish, making her bilingual in both speech and print. She is a co-founder of the Mississippi Hispanic Association.
Baughman helped bring the first Spanish Masses to the Diocese of Jackson and continues to be an advocate for the Hispanic community here.
She moved to the Magnolia state to study at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg where she met her husband, Brian. The two raised two daughters and are now enjoying a pair of grandchildren.
Mississippi Catholic will continue to publish a Spanish language insert once a month, but will now depend on freelance and parishioner submissions for content. Baughman will continue to be a freelance member of this team.
On a personal note, I will miss her boundless energy and creativity. She was a great help to me when I first arrived in this office and was not quite sure what I had gotten myself into. I hope you will join me in wishing her a long and adventurous retirement.
(Maureen Smith is the Communications Director for the Catholic Diocese of Jackson.)

Charities’ office offers National Migration Week celebrations

By Amelia McGowan
VARDAMAN – The Northeast Mississippi office of Catholic Charities of Jackson is preparing for its third annual National Migration Week celebration, “Creating a Culture of Encounter,” which will take place in locations throughout northeastern Mississippi during Jan. 8-14, 2017. The events will include Eucharistic celebrations, cultural expressions and legal workshops conducted by Catholic Charities’ Migrant Support Center.
With this celebration, the Diocese of Jackson joins dioceses throughout the country in reflecting upon the circumstances confronting migrants in the country, including immigrants, refugees, children and victims and survivors of violent crimes and human trafficking.  The theme for National Migration Week 2017 draws attention to Pope Francis’ call to create a culture of encounter, and in doing so to look beyond our own needs and wants to those of others around us.
In the homily given at his first Pentecost as pope, he emphasized the importance of encounter in the Christian faith: “For me this word is very important. Encounter with others. Why? Because faith is an encounter with Jesus, and we must do what Jesus does: encounter others.”
While Mississippi’s immigrant population is not as large as more populous states, it is growing rapidly. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that Mississippi’s foreign-born population rose from 0.8 percent of the total statewide population in 1990, to 1.4 percent in 2000, and to 2.1 percent in 2013.
The kickoff for National Migration Week is Sunday, January 8, at Tupelo St. James with a bilingual screening of the film “The Invisibles” from 2:30-4:30 p.m.
On Tuesday, Jan. 10, I will provide an immigration workshop and legal consultations at Ripley St. Matthew Parish from 6 – 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11, will feature Eucharistic celebrations commemorating National Migration Week throughout the area. I will provide a second immigration workshop at Corinth St. James Parish on Thursday, Jan. 12, from 6 – 8 p.m.
The week concludes with a Night of Cultural Expression on Friday, Jan. 13, from 6 – 8 p.m. at a location to be determined, and a closing ceremony at St. James Parish on Saturday, Jan. 14, which will feature Sister Gabriela Ramirez from Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Birmingham, Ala., from 3 – 4:30 p.m.
All are welcome to join in the National Migration Week festivities as we celebrate the diversity of our towns and parishes. For more information about the week’s events call 662-682-9992.

(Amelia McGowan is the Program Director and an Immigration Attorney for Catholic Charities’ Migrant Support Center.)

Deacon Miller brings Mississippi connection to MLK celebration

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Deacon Art Miller of the Archdiocese of Hartford, Conn., is the homilist for this year’s diocesan Martin Luther King, Jr., memorial celebration and Mass, sponsored by the Office of Black Catholic Ministry, set for Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017, at 2 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle.
miller-art-staff106Deacon Miller believes in thoughtful action, not just words. “The whole idea of celebrating Dr. King’s birthday is celebrating peace and justice and righteousness,” said Deacon Miller. “The prophet Micah said ‘do justice,’ he didn’t say form a committee,” he added.
He is a nationally known revivalist, preacher and radio host. He calls on people to embrace what he calls radical love. He has been active in the Black Lives Matter movement and is the former head of the Office of Black Catholic Ministries in his home diocese.
“Deacon Art is an everyday kind of guy who leverages his life experiences to make the Gospel relevant and impactful to all, regardless of their knowledge of scripture. Considering the times we are living in, his message will leave you wanting to improve your relationship with God,” said Will Jemison, coordinator for the Office of Black Catholic Ministry.
Deacon Miller said most Catholics need a reminder to take what they get out of Mass and put it into practice in their daily lives. “Do you know what I wish we said at the end of Mass? ‘The Mass has ended, now the work begins,’” he said. He calls Mass just the start of the conversation with God.  “We need to apply what we do Sunday morning to the rest of the week,” he explained.
“Deacon Art Miller is not only an engaging speaker, he is also an effective motivator. He genuinely has walked the walk, not just talked the talk,” said Fran Lavelle, director of Faith Formation for the Diocese of Jackson. “He gently calls us to our most noble calling, that of Catholic Christian disciple and does in an affirming way,” she continued.
Deacon Miller has a long-standing connection to Mississippi. He was a friend of Emmitt Till, the 14-year-old Chicago native who was beaten and lynched in Mississippi 50 years ago. Deacon Miller wrote a book, “The Journey to Chatham,” about the impact the killing had on his community hundreds of miles away. He said it woke him up to what the Civil Rights Movement was all about. “It was personal. It no longer became a faded black and white picture in a history book,” he said.
Deacon Miller went on to become an activist for justice and racial reconciliation. Mississippi plays an important role in that effort. “The borders of Mississippi are the U.S. borders in terms of who we are as a people,” he said. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Deacon Miller spent time in Bay St. Louis helping people clean out and repair their homes. “When someone you love dies, you have a kind of joyous sorrow. That’s my relationship with Mississippi.”
In addition to speaking at the MLK celebration, Deacon Miller plans to visit several schools in the diocese.
All are welcome at the event, but larger groups should notify the Office of Black Catholic Ministry, 601- 949-6935.