Diocese announces return of #iGiveCatholic giving blitz

By Christopher Luke
JACKSON – Most parishes have a ‘honey-do’ list. Maybe there is a need for more ministry space, perhaps the parking lot could be repaved or a school could use new lab equipment. The diocesan Office of Stewardship and Development is offering a chance for parishes to tackle the fund-raising for those needs through #iGiveCatholic.
#iGiveCatholic is a 24-hour online crowdfunding effort held on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. This day is known as Giving Tuesday around the nation. On November 28th, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson will be participating in its second year with #iGiveCatholic. The national version of this campaign involves 16 total arch/dioceses and has a goal to raise $3.5 million.
#iGiveCatholic isn’t just a fund-raiser. It is an opportunity for the Catholic community to affirm its faith, share the gifts they have been given and inspire Catholics to come together as faithful stewards. It offers a chance to proclaim faith through financial and social media support.
In 2016, the campaign included the Archdiocese of New Orleans, the Dioceses of Baton Rouge, Houma-Thibodaux, Biloxi and Austin.
This year it has extended to the Archdioceses of Atlanta, Kansas City and Mobile, as well as the Dioceses of Helena, Mont.; Knoxville/Memphis, Lexington/Owensboro, Ken.; Lubbock, Tex.; and Paterson, NJ.
The goal for the Catholic Diocese of Jackson is $150,000.00. Last year, the national goal was to raise $1.5 million from the participating dioceses, but by the end of giving day 2016, donors had exceeded that by $307,311 with a total of 6,826 gifts. Participants from the Catholic Diocese of Jackson raised $96,460 online and $36,276 offline, with a total of $132,736 given by 1,019 donors.
Many of the 47 participating parishes, organizations and schools around the diocese had great results last year Twenty-two churches, 11 non profit organizations, and 14 schools were a part of #iGiveCatholic in 2016.
They found many ways to advertise their needs. The sisters at Carmelite Monastery, who created an online video to gain support, used their donations to pay for building upgrades and renovations.
Clarksdale Saint Elizabeth Parish needed a parking lot and used photos with captions, called memes, to explain their need. Father Scott Thomas even staged a fake bicycle crash in a pothole to add some humor to the effort.
Jackson Sister Thea Bowman School raised money for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) lab equipment and an interactive smart board. Their cheerleaders posted a video on social media to gain support from current parents and alumni.
Clarksdale Saint Elizabeth School’s students shared all the reasons they give Catholic in their promotion. Columbus Annunciation Catholic School and Greenville Saint Joseph School both promoted giving Catholic by making videos of students frozen in place to play off of a national trend called the mannequin challenge.
Here is how #iGive Catholic works: donors visit iGiveCatholic.org, and search for their parishes, schools, ministries and nonprofit organizations. From November 10-26, donors can schedule gifts to their favorite ministry via an advanced giving option.
Donors may also donate on the actual giving day, Tuesday November 28. The website administrators will update leaderboards all day so people can see how close each organization is to its goal. The minimum donation is $25. There is no maximum donation. The site offers users a chance to post messages on social media inviting others to give as well.
Chris Luke can answer any questions by phone at 601-960-8481 or email at christopher.luke@jacksondiocese.org.
(Christopher Luke is the coordinator for the Office of Stewardship.)

Seven schools welcome new leaders

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Seven Catholic schools in the Diocese of Jackson will start the year with new principals. Some are familiar faces, others are new to their communities. At Madison St. Joseph, Dena Kinsey moves into the role of principal after serving in the administration there for several years.
Prior to that, Kinsey taught at both St. Richard and St. Joseph. “Teaching chose me. It’s a calling that I’ve always had. I tried to ignore it, but I kept being called back. I’ve had brief stents in the public schools, but Catholic schools are where I find my family, my center,” she said.
Part of her plan for the school is to get the word out about the quality of education available through Catholic schools in Jackson. “I’m definitely a believer in servant leadership. I’m a worker, so I hope to be in the midst of everyone going about the business of helping young people grow to be better than they were. Mother McCauley (of the Sisters of Mercy) said, ‘fitting them for the world without unfitting them for heaven.’ I love that. I have full faith in the teachers at St. Joe,” Kinsey added.
Jackson St. Richard welcomed Jennifer David as principal on July 1. David was previously the principal at Meridian St. Patrick School. She also worked at Columbus Annunciation for several years. She said she is excited to work in a community where she has access to so many other Catholic schools and is looking forward to collaborating with all the other communities in the Jackson area. Her daughter will attend Madison St. Joseph High School.
Meridian St. Patrick’s new principal, Montse Kaun Frias, a native of Spain, comes to Mississippi from Mexico, where she was the principal of a school run by the Legionaries of Christ. She has also been a teacher and school counselor. “I’m glad to be in a Catholic environment because from my educational experience, teaching and promoting virtues and values is what makes a real impact in a student’s life and is what makes a teacher or school unforgettable,” Frias said. Her previous position in Mississippi was with Lamar County schools.
“I have always considered working in a school as an opportunity to contribute to making a better world. A good education provides society with constructive leaders who will live justice and love,” said Frias.
Sally Olivi has lived in Clarksdale her whole life, is an active member of St. Elizabeth parish and has been in education for decades, so when the principal at St. Elizabeth School retired she saw a great opportunity to step into the spot. “I am honored and lucky to be here,” said Olivi.
Olivi worked at a local public vocational school where she taught and then served as director for six years. She also taught at Lee Academy until it closed its elementary school at a time that coincided with the retirement of St. Elizabeth’s previous principal, Jeannie Roberts.
“Things are already set up in a good, organized way,” Olivi said of the school. “I like to have good communication and keep the children first in what we do,” she added. She is grateful to be able to now take her faith into the classrooms. “The great thing about Catholic school is that it is Christ-centered and that’s one thing I love about this school.”
When she worked at public and private schools she noted “students who graduated from St. Elizabeth were better prepared, better behaved and had better morals. That stood out to me,” said Olivi. She said the Catholic school graduates tended to get honors in their high schools. She intends to continue the strong tradition of excellence St. Elizabeth holds in the community.
“I’m really excited about this new chapter at St Elizabeth School, building off the success of recent years,” said Father Scott Thomas, pastor of St. Elizabeth Parish and canonical administrator for the school. “Mrs. Olivi brings a great love for education as well as the Catholic Church. I’m thankful to God for sending us yet another faith-filled educator for the future of Clarksdale,” he added.
Greenville St. Joseph Catholic Unit School has new leadership for both Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary and St. Joseph High schools. St. Joseph unified onto one campus last year and the new leadership hopes to continue to emphasize the theme of ‘one school.’
Steve Weis is the overall administrator and high school principal. A product of Catholic schools in Missouri, Wies comes to St. Joseph from Cleveland High School. Since 2010, Wies served as Cleveland’s athletic director and math teacher, as well as baseball and soccer coach.
Dr. Jo Anne Heisterkamp will serve as principal of Our Lady of Lourdes. Although new to the role, she has a history with the school. “Both of my children graduated from here and I was a special education teacher and academic director in the high school,” said Heisterkamp. She left to teach at Mississippi Valley State University where she was tapped to be director of student teaching.
Heisterkamp retired from that position to care for her husband, who died last year. He was an engineer who helped build the Uncle Ben’s plant in town.
“This was not on my radar. This was a call from God,” she said of the job. After Paul Artman and Michelle Gardiner announced their plans to retire from St. Joseph, a couple of friends asked Heiserkamp if she planned to apply, so she got an application and started thinking about it. “Three times God just came to me and said, ‘apply.’”
Heisterkamp said she and Weis make a great team. “We are working through it together. We truly do have the same vision. This is just awesome,” she said. She already had a good impression of the faculty at St. Joseph. “These teachers are so great here. When I had a student teacher here, her mentor teacher was just so good.”
Teamwork is already part of the culture in Greenville. “They (teachers) work together – it’s just phenomenal, the mindset of this school,” said Heisterkamp. She and Weis hope to provide a place for students to thrive. “We like a lot of structure. They (the students) need structure, even in high school,” she explained.
Norm Yvon is already putting his personal touch on his administration as principal at Cathedral High School and chief administrator of the unit school. “He wrote individual notes to each senior and left them in their lockers,” said Cara Serio, development director at Cathedral. Yvon also wrote a prayer for the school community, which he hand-delivered to teachers in their classrooms earlier this summer.
Yvon came up with the theme for the year – Positively Catholic – during the Pacific Institute’s seminar for principals in July. The workshop was offered by the Office of Catholic Education to help unify administrators from across the diocese. (See page 1 for related story.)
“We held a prayer service to kick off the year – it was absolutely beautiful,” said Serio. The staff also attended a retreat led by Joanne Waycaster with the theme “Feeding the lambs: care and tending of future shepherds.”
Serio added that Yvon is serious about his responsibilities. She said he is detail oriented and is taking time to learn the ins and outs of school operations.

Elementary schools

Annunciation – Columbus (PreK-8)
Mrs. Joni House, Principal
223 North Browder St. 39702-5236
Tel: 662-328-4479
Website www.annunciationcatholicschool.org

Holy Family – Holly Springs (PreK-8)
Ms. Clara Isom , Principal
395 N. West St. 38635-1922
Tel: 662-252-1612
Website www.hfamilyschool.org

Sacred Heart – Southaven (PreK-8)
Mrs. Bridget Martin, Principal
5150 Tchulahoma Rd. 38671
Tel: 662-349-0900
Website www.sheartschool.org

St. Francis – Greenwood (PreK-6)
Mrs. Jackie Lewis, Principal
2607 Highway 82 E 38930-5966
Tel: 662-453-9511
Website www.sfgw.org

St. Elizabeth – Clarksdale (PreK-6)
Mrs. Sally Olivi, Principal
150 Florence Ave. 38614-2720
Tel: 662-624-4239
http://www.seseagles.com/

St. Patrick – Meridian (PreK-8)
Montse Kaun Frias, Principal
2700 Davis St. 39301
Tel: 601-482-6044
Website: www.stpatrickcatholicschool.org

Unit schools

Cathedral – Natchez (PreK-12)
Mr. Norm Yvon, Chief Administrator;
High School Principal
701 Martin Luther King Jr. St. 39120-2962
Tel.: 601-442-1988Mrs. Shannon Bland, Assist Admin;
Elem. Principal
701 Martin Luther King Jr. St. 39120-2962
Tel.: 601-442-1988
Website www.cathedralgreenwave.com

St. Joseph Catholic Unit School (PreK-12)
St. Joseph High School (7-12)
Mr. Steven Wies, Chief Admin;
High School Principal
1501 VFW Rd. 38701-5841
Tel.: 662-378-9711
High School Website www.stjoeirish.com

Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary (PreK-6)
Dr. Jo Anne Heisterkamp, Assist. Admin;
Elementary School Principal
1501 VFW Rd. 38701-5841
Elem. School Website
www.ourladyoflourdesschool.org/
Elementary School Secretary: Keri Moss
Tel: 662-334-3287

Vicksburg Catholic Unit School (PreK-12)
St. Aloysius High School (7-12)
Dr. Buddy Strickland, Chief Admin;
High School Principal
1900 Grove St. 39183
Tel.: 601-636-2256 / Fax: 601-631-0430
Website www.vicksburgcatholic.org

St. Francis Xavier Elementary (PreK-6)
Mrs. Mary Arledge, Asst. Admin;
Elementary Principal
1200 Hayes St. 39183
Tel.: 601-636-4824
Website www.vicksburgcatholic.org
Elementary School Secretary: Linda McMinn

St. Joseph – Madison (7-12)
Mrs. Dena Kinsey, Principal
308 New Mannsdale Rd. 39110
Tel.: 601-898-4800
Web Page www.stjoebruins.com
Secretary: Melinda Weisenberger

St. Anthony – Madison (PreK-6)
Mr. Jim Bell, Principal
1585 Old Mannsdale Rd. 39110
Tel: 601-607-7054 / Fax: 601- 853-9687
Website www.stanthonyeagles.org

St. Richard – Jackson (PreK-6)
Mrs. Jennifer David, Principal
100 Holly Dr. 39206
Tel: 601-366-1157 / Fax: 601-366-4344
Website www.strichardschool.org
Secretary: Tammy Conrad

Sister Thea Bowman – Jackson (PreK-6)
Mrs. Shae Robinson, Principal
1217 Hattiesburg St. 39209-7411
Tel: 601-352-5441
Website www.theabowmanschool.com

Birthright adds confidential text service

By Monica Walton
FLOWOOD – Birthright of Jackson has added a new option to connect young men and women to free, non-judgemental and confidential help with an unplanned pregnancy – texting. Birthright offers guidance toward lifegiving options, so the expectant mother can make the best decision for herself and her unborn child.
Anyone can text BRJXN to 41411 and get an immediate response from a Birthright of Jackson volunteer. Birthright has been helping girls and women across the state of Mississippi since 1983, before personal mobile phones were even a thing. “We felt we needed to update the way we make ourselves available to potential clients,” said Dennis Riecke, Birthright of Jackson board president. “One of our board members suggested a texting program since that is an easy and discreet way for a young woman to reach out for help. We all agreed,” he added.
“Texting is something common to most girls in their teens and twenties which is the typical age of our Birthright clients.” Most Birthright clients have a cell phone, even those without a car or a place to live. There are more cell phones than people in the U.S. People stay connected. For a good percentage of the population, a cell phone is the only phone they own.
There is much research supporting this. According to Pew Research Center, texting is the number one way all teens get in touch with their closest friends, and 80% of people older than 65 own a cell phone and send an average of ten texts a day. (Aug 2015) In May, 2017, the U.S. Center for Disease Control reported in their National Health Information Survey NHIS, “Adults living in poverty (66.3%) and near poverty (59.0%) were more likely than higher income adults (48.5%) to be living in households with only wireless telephones [cell phones].”
Birthright volunteers noticed that people text so much, it’s no big deal when the person sitting next to you pulls out their phone to send or read a text. Others scarcely notice, and discretion is vital to the work of Birthright.
Imagine this…17-year-old Gabrielle missed her period and she is worried that she might be pregnant. She’s thinking to herself: “How can this be? It was just one night. We went a little too far. Who hasn’t done that once or twice? Surely I’m not…
What can I do? I can’t be seen buying a pregnancy test. I can’t risk taking the test at home.” Gabrielle certainly does not want to make an actual phone call asking for help. Someone might hear her say she needs a pregnancy test. She can’t even bring herself to think the word “pregnant,” much let say it out loud.
So, rather than having to speak the words, “I think I might be pregnant,” a simple text – BRJXN – to this number – 41411 – will get Gabrielle help, answers and guidance to navigate this time of uncertainty. It is available to anyone, any time.
Gabrielle texts BRJXN to 41411. A reply comes immediately, “Hey there! Text or call me at 601- 421-1818 so we can set up a time to chat and get the info you need! — BRJXN” She breathes a sigh of relief. Help is a quick text away. When she is ready, Birthright is ready. She knows someone cares and Birthright is waiting and willing to help. Simple. Discreet.
Gabrielle, and anyone else who is struggling with an unplanned pregnancy, has a direct line to get the help she needs.
No counseling is done by text, but a local Birthright volunteer will be happy to chat on the phone or set up a time to meet at the Birthright Center. Birthright offers free pregnancy testing, emotional support, and all the resources a woman needs to follow through with her pregnancy.
(Monica Walton is the executive director of Birthright of Jackson.)

History of Saltillo mission focus of new book

(Editor’s note: Msgr. Michael Flannery has penned a book, “Saltillo Mission,” detailing the history of collaboration between the Diocese of Jackson and the missions in Saltillo, Mexico. Proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit Madison St. Anthony school. Father Michael O’Brien offers the following review.)
By Father Michael O’Brien

The cover of Msgr. Michael Flannery’s book features Perpetual Help Church, the main parish for more than 30 years. While the Diocese of Jackson no longer sends pastors or youth groups to the missions, the church in Mississippi still takes up a collection and Bishop Joseph Kopacz has visited several times.

Inspired by the Second Vatican Council and the call for the “first world” to reach out to the “third world” and share their resources, Father Patrick Quinn was selected by then Bishop Joseph Brunini to open a mission for the diocese of Natchez-Jackson in Saltillo, Mexico. Msgr. Mike Flannery’s book chronicles the history of this mission since its inception in 1969 to the present day (2017). As a young priest Father Flannery spent three wonderful years (1971-1974) working with Father Quinn at the mission. His book captures the excitement, challenges, faith and creative spirit of this great mission and particularly the charisma and vision of Father Patrick Quinn. The mission in Saltillo was, in my opinion, the most significant and inspiring program ever undertaken by the Catholic community in Mississippi.
Father Patrick Quinn was truly an amazing priest. He made everyone feel special and loved. He particularly loved the poor. He loved America and especially Mississippi. He loved his native Ireland, but he laid down his life every day for the people of Saltillo, Mexico. He served as pastor of four churches in the city and approximately 50 mission churches in the surrounding mountain villages. He built 2,250 cinder block homes for poor families. He established the “Saltillo Summer Program” where high school and college youth from Mississippi and beyond were invited to spend a week at the mission. More than 20,000 youth participated in this program over a 40-year period. It was a life-changing experience for most of them as they experienced poverty, faith and the rich Mexican culture.
The mission inspired many vocations, both in Saltillo and at home in America. Father Serio Balderas from Saltillo is serving as pastor of St. Elizabeth parish in Ocean Springs. Father Quinn’s ministry continues through him in Mississippi. Many young priests from our diocese served with Father Quinn in Saltillo. They learned to speak Spanish and it has laid the foundation for our present outreach ministry to the Hispanic community in Mississippi.
Two years ago, a reporter from Saltillo, Jesus Salas Cortes wrote a book on the life of Father Quinn. Father Flannery’s book builds on this and compliments it nicely. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Father Quinn and 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the mission. Writing this book “Saltillo Mission” is a wonderful way to celebrate these occasions.
Finally, a personal story. I was at home in Ireland one summer about 30 years ago. I stopped at Father Quinn’s home in Ballaghlea, Co. Galway. Father Quinn was at the table working. I asked him later what he was doing. He told me he was writing Christmas cards (in July) to all the supporters of his mission in Saltillo. Even on his vacation in Ireland, when he should be visiting with family or playing golf, he was thinking about his poor parishioners at his mission in Mexico!
This book is filled with inspiring stories, life-changing stories, faith stories, and stories told by many of the priests and lay people who visited and worked at the mission in Saltillo, Mexico.
The book is available at the chancery office on Amite Street in Jackson, Madison St. Francis of Assisi Parish, the Carmelite Monastery gift shop on Terry Road in Jackson and Downtown Marketplace, Main Street, Yazoo City.
Father Flannery is also planning to bring the book to the Diocese of Bioxi later in the fall to offer at several parishes and the chancery office there. The cost is $15 plus shipping.
(Father Michael O’Brien is the pastor of Canton Sacred Heart Parish.)

Bishops ask for youth input for 2018 Synod

The theme for the worldwide bishops’ synod in 2018 is youth ministry. Preparations include asking young people for thier input now. The Vatican has posted a survey for young people aged 16-29. Bishop Joseph Kopacz is putting out a call for participation throughout the Diocese of Jackson. The survey is available in English, Spanish, French and Italian on the synod’s official site: youth.synod2018.va/content/synod2018/it.html and is open to any young person, regardless of faith or religious belief.

Clarksdale project aims to build, strengthen community health

By Maureen Smith
CLARKSDALE – A year ago Henry White started work on an idea to turn the unused field behind Immaculate Conception Parish into a community garden. Today, seven acres are plowed and planted. A half-acre section of that is a model garden where anyone can learn how to plant their own container or raised-bed garden. The parish has already hosted a farmer’s market, secured several grants and services from local farmers and the plan continues to evolve and expand. It was part of a larger project spearheaded by a group he calls the “Community Engagers” to make the community healthier and establish relationships with the neighbors. White is a member of the parish’s Faith in Action team. He credits Immaculate Conception and St. Elizabeth as the core partners in his effort.
“Torrential rains may have delayed spring planting, nevertheless, relationship building and identifying resources became priority number one. With the generosity of Immaculate Conception and Ladies Auxiliary as well as donations received from people like you, Community Engagers launched several programs and activities that truly embraced the ideology of our mission: “forging ideas into opportunity, sustaining neighborhoods and community through action and service,’” wrote White in an emailed update to supporters.
Partners in the effort include Bowing Flowers’ farm, Catholic Charities and Alcorn State University. Grants have come from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the Porch Society, the Kathryn Donahue Foundation and Positive Change in Mississippi.
The project began with the establishment of a grow-room in the former school, where toddlers planted seeds and watched them sprout. While the seeds germinated 130 graduating seniors created the model garden as part of a service project. They transferred some of the seedlings into the beds and containers and helped care for them. In May, the group distributed more than 2,000 seedlings to individuals, families and first-time gardeners. White said he could see a sense of pride and renewed interest as members of the entire neighborhood participated in the plan to live healthier lives and grow some of their own food.
“Community Engagers is not just a community garden but a means of providing a sustainable food source that promotes nutritional awareness and overall health and wellness for the community. Henry (White) has a holistic approach to health and wellness – and is integrating the values of inclusiveness, diversity and culture through engagement with community members,” said Dorothy Balser, who works for Catholic Charities in north Mississippi and helped found the Faith in Action Team.
On July 2, the parish hosted a First Harvest Family & Friends Farmer’s Market. Community Engagers purchased locally and regionally sourced eggs, fruits and vegetables to sell at cost. White said the group hopes to be able to sell crops from the seven acres when they are harvested, but he wanted to introduce the idea of a farmer’s market to the neighborhood. He has started paperwork to be able to accept EBT cards for people who receive government assistance. He also hopes to organize volunteer groups to glean fields donated by local farmers to add to his inventory and distribute to people in the area who may need food. He will rely on local social service agencies to identify families in need.
The group is even sprucing up the former Immaculate Conception school building, which sits in front of the field, by painting murals on the walls. The students who planted and transferred seeds this spring have completed one of the murals on the garden side and White has asked for help from other locals to paint more.
White has his eye on more grant opportunities and always welcomes volunteers. Those interested in getting involved can contact him at (443) 939-0575.

Jubilee blessings abound

Society of St. Andrew seeks volunteer gleaners

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON  – The Society of St. Andrew, also known as part of Mississippi’s gleaning network, is looking for a few good volunteers. The group connects farmers with unsold or unpicked crops to those who need food. It’s a simple concept with a complex structure behind it. Andy Lemmon is the state coordinator for the effort. He manages three groups: farmers who are willing to let volunteers glean their fields or process unwanted raw crops; volunteer groups willing to glean or clean and package food and the groups who prepare or distribute food for those who need it.

Gleaners sometimes pick or harvest crops, but may also be called to sort and package already harvested food.

Lemmon coordinated the distribution of almost three million pounds of food last year. Much of this food is crops left behind by commercial harvesting equipment. He has coordinators in different parts of the state so he can use help almost anywhere. Lemmon organizes volunteers to go pick those crops — anything from blueberries and tomatoes to turnips and sweet potatoes. He or another coordinator meets the group at 7:45 a.m. Groups usually wrap up and are back on the road by noon. Lemmon said this time frame works to beat the Mississippi heat and it’s a manageable for many of his volunteers, but he is willing to work with groups who may want to work at other times of the evening or afternoon.
Another option is processing food. Lemmon said he received several hundred pounds of blueberries last year. The farmer’s machines picked the berries, but Lemmon had to recruit volunteers to pick out the leaves and sticks and package the berries in containers for distribution. He sometimes gets pallets of sweet potatoes that need to be placed in 10-pound bags. This work can be done at a parish almost any time of day or evening.
If a group has a food pantry or feeding operation, they can often keep some or all of the food they glean. The point, Lemmon said, is to keep the food from being wasted.
Volunteers can also donate money to pay the overhead for the organization. The Society of St. Andrew supplies bags and containers for crops and has a handful of paid staff to coordinate all the work.
The group also makes an effort to help food recipients make the most of the food they get. When the society received 2,000 pumpkins from a farmer last fall, Lemmon knew they couldn’t just hand them out.


“Earlier in the year, we coordinated several hunger relief agencies, churches and schools ahead of time to assist in this ‘Pumpkin Palooza.’ We distributed pumpkins to these agencies and groups all over the greater Jackson area. The plan was for the groups to bake the pumpkins into ready-to-eat treats. St. Andrew’s Episcopal School gave a recipe packet and a pumpkin to each student’s family in the first week of November. The families were asked to bake the pumpkin using one or two of the recipes provided. The turnout was better than expected! We have had to make multiple trips to deliver baked goods from the school to the local Salvation Army,” said Lemmon.
“Families who are struggling with food insecurity typically don’t have the culinary expertise to cook a pumpkin into a healthy, delicious recipe. For those struggling families that do know how to cook pumpkins, they often lack the financial resources to purchase the necessary extras like nutmeg, pecans, etc. Those are expensive additions to any recipe but are commonplace in pumpkin-based baked goods,” he continued.
Lemmon said he welcomes workers who just want a project, but he adds that gleaning has a spiritual aspect. He had his own moment of revelation while harvesting turnips in April. “The most important lesson I “gleaned” happened while we are all seated, near the end of the morning, in a small circle. As I sat there, it hit me like a tidal wave. We were all finished gathering and were now sorting the turnip roots gleaned. I saw the relationships forming and witnessed the heart of Christ. We were gathered, in the name of Christ, for the purpose of preventing food waste and preventing hunger for the needy in our communities. Matthew 18:20 was ringing in my ears like church bells. ‘For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am with them.’ I stepped back and listened and watched as this small group of volunteers and the farmer’s family bonded over their common purpose. We were able to rescue nearly 450 pounds of turnip roots during this event. That comes out to be a little more than 1,300 servings of food for just a few hours work with a handful of volunteers. Imagine if we had more volunteers?” asked Lemmon.
Lemmon keeps a schedule of weeks when groups can glean, but also needs people who can be available to help with an unexpected donation. Any parish interested in scheduling a service project or learning more about partnering with the Society of St. Andrew can contact Lemmon at (769) 233-0887 or my email, GleanMS@EndHunger.org or check out the group’s website, www.endhunger.org.

Youth

Summer service close to home

SOUTHAVEN – Catholic Service Initiative is an annual event for the six parishes in northern Mississippi served by the priests of the Sacred Heart: St Gregory, Holy Spirit, Good Shepherd, Christ the King, Queen of Peace and St. Joseph. This year groups of teens, including a few from the neighboring Diocese of Memphis, stayed for a week at the Sacred Heart Southern Missions’ volunteer house in Walls so they could do service work. They were able to completely redo a roof for one family and begin work on a wheel chair ramp for another. The boys served one night at the Garden Cafe in Holly Springs which offers a hot meal to the working poor and homeless of the area. One of the pastors, Father Thi Pham, SCJ, was the chef for the night..  
The parishioners and Knights of Columbus of the parishes provided skilled workmen to help at the job sites, volunteer chaperones, food each night and transportation to and from the work/play sites. “CSI helps our teens realize that charity begins at home and that you do not have to travel across the country or to a foreign land in order to help. There are people in need in our own backyards,” wrote parishioner Donna Williamson.

 

WALLS –Above, left, teens from the six parishes stack new shingles on a roof they are repairing on a house. Above, Girls from the six parishes of northern Mississippi worked to help unload trailers of donations for those in need.  (Photos by Donna Williamson )

Colorful Vacation Bible School

GLUCKSTADT –The theme for St. Joseph Parish’s Vacation Bible School this year was Summertime Blast. Students learned about St. Teresa, St. Paul and Mary, Mother of the Church, while focusing on the Eucharist, the commandment to love one snother and the rosary. As part of the closing day organizers prayed a living rosary with the children. (Photos by Karen Worrell)

  

PHILADELPHIA –  Vacation Bible School for Holy Cross Parish ended in a mess for pastor Augustine Palimattam and his youth group as they made “human ice cream sundaes.” (Photo by Brett Moran)

Youth

Vacation Bible school wraps up in Vicksburg

St. Richard Vacation Bible school: mighty fortress

Madison Youth group gets drenched in summer fun

Eagle Scout completes garden

FLOWOOD – St. Joseph Catholic High School graduate and Eagle Scout, Will Foggo, helps children at the St. Paul Early Learning Center place and fill a bird bath in the garden on school grounds. Foggo designed and built the garden for his Eagle Scout Project. (Photos by Jennifer Henry)

Vatican releases survey prior to synod

By Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – To involve young people in preparations for the Synod of Bishops on youth in 2018, the Vatican has released an online questionnaire to better understand the lives, attitudes and concerns of 16- to 29-year-olds around the world.
The questionnaire – available in English, Spanish, French and Italian – can be found on the synod’s official site: youth.synod2018.va/content/synod2018/it.html and is open to any young person, regardless of faith or religious belief.
The general secretariat of the synod launched the website June 14 to share information about the October 2018 synod on “Young people, faith and vocational discernment” and to link to an online, anonymous survey asking young people about their lives and expectations.
The answers to the questionnaire, along with contributions from bishops, bishops’ conferences and other church bodies, “will provide the basis for the drafting of the ‘instrumentum laboris,'” or working document for the assembly, synod officials said in January.
Young people from all backgrounds are encouraged to take part in the questionnaire because every young person has “the right to be accompanied without exclusion,” synod officials had said.
The list of 53 mostly multiple-choice questions is divided into seven sections: general personal information; attitudes and opinions about oneself and the world; influences and relationships; life choices; religion, faith and the church; internet use; and two final, open-ended questions. The write-in questions are an invitation to describe a positive example of how the Catholic Church can “accompany young people in their choices, which give value and fulfillment in life” and to say something about oneself that hasn’t been asked in the questionnaire.
Other questions ask about living arrangements; self-image; best age to leave home and have a family; opinions about education and work; measures of success; sources of positive influence; level of confidence in public and private institutions; and political or social activism.
The section on faith looks at the importance of religion in one’s life and asks, “Who Jesus is for you?” That question provides 16 choices to choose from, including “the savior,” “an adversary to be fought,” “an invention” and “someone who loves me.” It also asks which topics – promoting peace, defending human life, evangelization, defending truth, the environment – are the most urgent for the church to address.
The Vatican’s preparation for a synod generally includes developing a questionnaire and soliciting input from bishops’ conferences, dioceses and religious orders. This is the first time the Vatican’s synod organizing body put a questionnaire online and sought direct input from the public.