Youth News

Silly science wows Sacres Heart

SOUTHAVEN – University of Mississippi science professor Dr. Breese Quinn  and some of his students wowed Sacred Heart school with demonstrations of physics and science. The students used air to levitate and direct ping-pong balls; distributed force to lay on a bed of nails and watched liquid nitrogen transform marshmallows transform into brittle frozen treats. Alex Pham, above, left, reacts to the cold. (Photos by Sister Margaret Sue Broker)

Project to grow on

CLARKSDALE – Students at St. Elizabeth School made terrariums in the 4H Cloverbuds Program after school.

Under the Sea on the stage

COLUMBUS – On April 6-7, Annunciation School middle school students performed The Little Mermaid for sold out crowds! The entire cast takes a bow at the grand finale. (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)

 

Crowning Mary

GREENVILLE – Students at St. Joseph School gathered in the outdoor prayer garden for the May Crowining. Senior Class President Allison Wise crowned Mary. (Photo by Missi Blackstock)

MERIDIAN – Matthew Wilson holds a banner while Ellie Rush places a crown of flowers on a statue of Mary during St. Patrick School’s May Crowning Mass on May 4. Ms. Pressly’s first-grade students participated in the Mass and placed flowers at Mary’s feet.(Photo by Helen Reynolds)

Matthew Wilson and Ellie Rush

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRENADA – Above, Father Aroika Savio, pastor, places rosary beads in Mary’s hands while, at right, Blaire Johnson places flowers during a Mass at St. Peter on Sunday, May 7. (Photo by Michael Liberto )

 

Leading the way on Holy Week

RIPLEY – The youth from St. Matthew Parish led stations of the cross outside during Holy week. Fourteen students participated in the hour-long devotion on the parish grounds. (Photo by Madeleine C. Hale)

Easter Egg tradtion

JACKSON – Children from pre-k through sixth grade claim prizes at the St. Richard Egg Hunt on the First Sunday of Easter. The parish’s youth groups organize the activity. (Photos by Maureen Smith)

Kudos

Trevor Muzzi

GREENVILLE – St. Joseph Catholic School Junior Trevor Muzzi has been selected to play in Omaha, Nebraska from June 17 to June 22 with the 18u UnderArmour National Baseball Team.  “At these select nationwide events, top high school talent is showcased for over 100 college coaches and professional scouts. Through this joint association, Baseball Factory’s players not only receive quality training and guidance, but also the kind of exposure essential for success at the next level (Photo courtesy of Missi Blackstock)

Obispo reflexiona sobre aniversario

Por Opisbo Joseph Kopacz
Escribo la columna de esta semana en el fin de semana del 40 aniversario de mi ordenación sacerdotal, el 7 de mayo de 1977. Durante momentos más tranquilos y mientras estoy en el altar durante las celebraciones litúrgicas, me impresiono por la gracia y la maravilla de que han pasado 40 años y el buen pastor me ha guiado a través de las interminables montañas del noreste de Pennsylvania en la Diócesis de Scranton hacia el sur profundo en la Diócesis de Jackson, Mississippi. Después de casi treinta y seis años y medio allá y cerca de tres y medio aquí, estoy feliz de estar vivo y bien, con buena memoria y gratitud, y capaz de servir con motivación y propósito.
El año 40 y los 40 días de tiempo en la Biblia representan tiempo sagrado, kairos, cuando Dios y su gente caminaron juntos (o flotaron en el tiempo de Noé) en el desenvolvimiento de la historia de la salvación. Es un tiempo de purificación, regeneración y la gozosa esperanza de algo nuevo en el horizonte. Para el cristiano, las aguas del diluvio prefiguran las aguas purificadoras del Bautismo y un período de 40 días que está estrechamente asociado con la temporada de cuaresma. Una vez en tierra el arco iris a través de las nubes era el signo del pacto entre Dios y la humanidad, y la promesa de una nueva vida. En mi breve tiempo aquí, un nuevo día ha amanecido y he conocido la vida abundante que el Buen Pastor prometió en la lectura del evangelio de este fin de semana. Además, con las ruidosas tormentas que he experimentado desde que me mudé al sur, multiplicado por 40 días y noches, podría imaginar la construcción de un arca en cada esquina.
En la experiencia del Éxodo tenemos dobles períodos de tiempo de 40 años y 40 días. Los israelitas vagaron durante 40 años en el desierto y Moisés pasó 40 días y 40 noches en el Monte Sinaí que trajeron consigo el don de los Diez Mandamientos, el corazón del Tora, y el signo y la sustancia de la evolución de la alianza entre Dios y los israelitas. \Estas tablas de piedra fueron hechas y adoptadas en los comienzos de la permanencia en el desierto y fijó el estándar para la creación de relaciones que Dios exigía de los israelitas antes de abrir la puerta a la tierra prometida a Abraham y a Sarah y a sus descendientes. Y así he reflexionado sobre los 40 años de preparación que los israelitas sufrieron, y de una manera muy real puedo saborear todas las experiencias de mi sacerdocio como pábulo para el molino que el Señor ha utilizado para fortalecer mi relación con él, y para servir ahora como el 11º obispo de Jackson. Una lección aprendida es que Dios puede redimir y transformar todas nuestras labores fieles y esfuerzos vanos para cumplir su voluntad.
Asimismo, me siento confiado trazando un paralelo entre los 40 días que Moisés pasó en el monte Sinaí y los cuarenta días que Jesús soportó en el desierto en previsión de su ministerio público con mi ministerio en la Diócesis de Jackson. Cuando Moisés bajó de la montaña él sabía que Dios, quien es misericordioso hasta la milésima generación, era un Dios fiel, y siempre estaría con ellos. El becerro de oro fue un gran bache en el camino, pero fue atravesado exitosamente. Los israelitas tenían ahora una misión y visión sagrada con prioridades pastorales claras. (Ustedes saben a dónde voy con esto.)
Del mismo modo, cuando el Espíritu Santo sacó a Jesús del desierto puso en marcha la misión sagrada de la Nueva Alianza a establecerse en su sangre, arraigada en la profecía de Isaías. “El Espíritu del Señor está sobre mí, porque él me ha ungido para predicar el evangelio a los pobres… y anunciar el año de gracia del Señor (Lucas 4:18ff). En el mismo sentido, el Espíritu Santo ha ungido y facultó al Cuerpo de Cristo en nuestra diócesis, con una renovada misión sagrada y visión de futuro que está encarnado en nuestras prioridades pastorales.
Esta es la vida de la nueva alianza en la sangre del Señor para mí mientras viajo y sirvo a través de la diócesis. Dios está renovando mi fervor cuando veo la sabiduría de nuestra visión: servir a los demás, inspirar discípulos, abrazar la diversidad en cada curva en la carretera.
Esta noche será mi 12ª de 23 celebraciones del sacramento de la confirmación y la diversidad de los dones y ministerios en la iglesia, la llamada al discipulado y el mandato de servir están vivos y bien en nuestros discípulos jóvenes. Los recién confirmados son las piedras vivas que representan la mano de obra de la fe, la esperanza y el amor, que sucede a diario en sus familias y parroquias a través de la extensión de nuestros 65 condados en el estado de Mississippi.
La visión también se realiza en nuestras escuelas y programas de formación en la fe, a través de Caridades Católicas y del Hospital St. Dominic, a través de innumerables servicios sociales y la promoción de un orden social más justo. Para mí el trabajo de planificación pastoral en el último año y medio ha permitido al Espíritu Santo llevarnos suavemente hacia adelante con mayor determinación y pasión por la obra del Evangelio en la Iglesia Católica para la salvación de todos. Nos arraiga profundamente en la Biblia y las palabras del profeta Miqueas nos vienen a la mente como una lámpara para nuestros pies. “Dios le ha mostrado, oh mortales, lo que es bueno. Y lo que el Señor exige de vosotros? Actuar con justicia, amar la misericordia y caminar humildemente con tu Dios.” (6:8).
A los 40 estoy agradecido a todos los que rezan por mí fielmente a diario en la plegaria eucarística en la Misa, a través del rosario, y en una multitud de otras maneras, porque mi celo y deseo de servir permanecen fuertes. Este es un don del Señor, el Buen Pastor, el fruto de la oración. Como nos gusta decir en estas partes, Soy bendecido. “Estoy seguro de esto, que él que comenzó en usted (nosotros) su obra buena la irá llevando a buen fin hasta el día en que Jesucristo regrese” (Fil. 1:6).

Chancery staff celebrate anniversary

JACKSON – To mark Bishop Kopacz’ 40th anniversary of priestly ordination, chancery and Catholic Charities staff gathered for Mass and a luncheon in the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle on Friday, May 5. At right, Karen Brown, the bishop’s secretary and Cindy Wood, Father Kevin Slattery’s secretary, congratulate Bishop Kopaz. Below, the staff enjoys lunch in the cathedral center. He was ordained on May 7,1977 in Scranton, Pa. (Photos by Tereza Ma)

Calendar of event

SPIRITUAL ENRICHMENT

BROOKSVILLE Dwelling Place Retreat Center, “Transitions and Transformation”, June 9-11.  Facilitators: Dr. Francis Baird, LPC, has a private counseling practice in Columbus & Starkville; Clare Van Lent, MA CSp, Dwelling Place director. Begins at 5:30 p.m. Some of the topics that will be dealt with during this retreat will be: realizing my gifts, overcoming my fears, addressing my regrets, exploring my lost dreams. This weekend will be a time to explore these issues in the light of faith. Donation $180. Details: Sheila Avery, secretary, (662) 738-5348 or www.dwellingplace.com to register online.

PARISH, SCHOOL AND FAMILY EVENTS

 BROOKHAVEN St. Francis of Assisi, “Moral Relativism: A Catholic Response”, begins the first Wednesday in June (June 7), Father Henry Shelton will facilitate a 5-part series using Formed.org in the parish library, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Details: parish office (601) 833-1799.

COLUMBUS Annunciation, Lowndes County Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen is seeking a new volunteer coordinator from Annunciation Church. Requires a small monthly time commitment every first Monday and first Wednesday. There is also a monthly board meeting on the last Tuesday of the month. Details: Leslie Jones, (541) 868-4944 or lelybee@gmail.com.

HOLLY SPRINGS St. Joseph, needed: someone to teach Spanish on Sunday after Mass. Details: call Sister Emily (662) 342-1073.

MADISON St. Francis of Assisi, Cajun Fest 2017. Sunday, May 21, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Features Cajun food, Cold drinks and live music, children’s games, raffles, General Store and plenty of opportunity to socialize in a family friendly atmosphere. Details: (601) 856-5556.

Mass of Thanksgiving in honor of Father Al Camp’s 60th Anniversary of the Priesthood, Thursday, May 25, 11 a.m. Father Camp has been a true example of how a priest must minister to a wide variety of God’s Sheep. A luncheon will follow. Details: RSVP to (601) 856-5556.     

OLIVE BRANCH Queen of Peace, Thrift Store Volunteers Needed. Queen of Peace will be responsible for the Olive Branch Thrift Store for the month of May.  The Thrift Store is located at Hacks Cross and Hwy 178.  Volunteers needed during operating hours of Tuesday: 10AM—12:30PM, Friday: Noon—4:00PM and Saturday: 10AM—2PM.  Also needed on Monday and Thursday when the store is closed to sort new donations.  Sign-up sheet in the Commons. Details: Contact Mary Bailey, (901) 489-7876.

TUTWILER, Tutwiler Community Education Center (TCEC) celebration of 25 years since completion of their current building in downtown Tutwiler, Saturday, June 17, at 5pm at TCEC. Everyone is welcome to attend the dinner and program recognizing those who helped establish the Center. Founder Sr. Maureen Delaney will be attending. Entertainment provided by the children of TCEC’s music department. Details: Make your reservation by calling Ms. Carla Ross, Ms. Lucinda Berryhill or Ms. Shelley Ricker at TCEC (662) 345-8393 or emailing  info@tutwilercenter.org before May 31.

YOUTH BRIEFS

GREENVILLE St. Joseph School Gymnasium, Mini Cheer Camp, June 5-7, 8-11 a.m. Ages 3-12 years old. Cost: $50 per participant; includes snacks and lots of fun. Benefits St. Joseph Middle School cheerleaders. Deadline for a T-shirt is May 15. Details: Ms. Perlita Dixon, (662) 378-9711.

Football camp, June 5-7, 8-11 a.m., SJCS Field House, Coach John Baker

Basketball camp, June 5-7, 12 p.m. – 3 p.m., SJCS Gymnasium, Coach James Hunter

Baseball camp, June 12-14, 8-11 a.m., SJCS Baseball Field, Coach Chris Williams

Soccer camp, June 19-21, 8-11 a.m., SJCS Practice Field, Coach Craig Mandolini

 Above four camps for Ages 5-12 years old, boys and girls. Cost: $50 per camp. Attend all 4 for $180 ($20 savings); 3 camps for $135 ($15 savings). Includes T-shirt if registered by May 15 or June 1 without T-shirt. Details: Missi Blackstock, (662) 378-9711.

Tennis Camp, May 30-June 2–The Mark Apartments, Cost: $40. 4-6 yr olds—8am-9am; 7-9 yr olds–9:15am-10:15am; 10-12 yr olds–10:30am-11:45am; 13+ yr olds–11:45am-1pm. Tennis Camp is not included in the sports camp packages. Details: Marcia Williams (870) 926-4648

JACKSON Sister Thea Bowman School, Enrollment is now underway for 2017-18 school year. Details: contact Shae Robinson at (601) 352-5441 for a packet.

MADISON St. Francis of Assisi, Hero Central Vacation Bible School. Many heroes are needed to volunteer to teach, assist, work in the kitchen, decorate, and babysit on June 19-23. Details: contact Mary Catherine at mc.george@stfrancismadison.org or (601)-856-5556 to volunteer.

MERIDIAN St. Patrick School, Pre-registration continues for the 2717-18 school year. Registration fee is $300. Details: (601) 482-6044 or to schedule a personal tour with the principal, Mrs. David.

Catholic Camp 2017 for children in NE Mississippi June 18-24 for boys and girls ages 8-11; June 25-July 1 for boys and girls ages 12-14. This is a residential, over-night camp that includes daily Mass, sports, art and opportunities to meet other Catholic children in North MS. Cost:  $100/week. Scholarships and reduced fees are available. Application deadline is June 12.  Details: call Father Tim Murphy, 662-304-0087. E-mail: catholiccampms@juno.com.

SOUTHAVEN Sacred Heart School (PreK-4 through 8th grade) is holding open enrollment for new families.  Sacred Heart is one of three national finalists for Innovations in Catholic Education for Promoting Catholic Identity.  Details: Contact principal Bridget Brotherton Martin to schedule your tour today.  Details: (662) 349-0900 or bmartin@shsm.org  

DURANT Sisters’ Memorial: A monument in memory of Sr. Margaret Held, SSSF, and Sr. Paula Merrill, SCN, will be dedicated on Saturday, May 20, 3 p.m., at Liberty Park on Northeast Depot Street and Highway 12.  All are invited to come to remember and honor these two women who followed our Lord by serving the medical needs of the people of Holmes County. Refreshments will be served. If you would like to donate, please bring snacks to share. Details:  Carolyn Riley, carolynriley56@yahoo.com  or call Father Greg Plata, (662) 392-3000.

JACKSON Belhaven University, Dr. Billy Kim International Center, Room 202, “Foundations of Faith Community Nursing” Course and Retreat, June 9-10 & 23-25. Designed to assist all faith communities to grow toward wholistic health from a global perspective. Open to registered nurses of all faith traditions. Registration closes May 26. Cost: $200, includes tuition, materials, Continuing Nursing Education contact hours and meals for all class dates. Details: Ann Elizabeth Kaiser, (601) 213-6378 or annelizabeth.kaiser@catholiccharitiesjackson.org.

 

 

 

 

 

Laying a new foundation at St. Therese

By Elsa Baughman
JACKSON – Members of St. Therese Parish are setting plans for the construction of a building to house classrooms for religious education classes and offices. Ben Mokry, president of the finance council, explained that when St. Therese School was closed in 2015, its facilities were sold to a company to open a charter school. The parish could continue to use the building until March 2018, which is now less than a year away.
Msgr. Elvin Sunds, pastor, presented one of two proposals at a recent meeting. “Now, it’s time to start planning for the future of the parish,” he said. “Let’s try to envision together where we want to be in the next five, 10 or 20 years considering our current and future needs for our children and the whole community.”
The floor plan presented to the community included 10 classrooms, offices and other facilities. Gathered in groups, the community discussed the pros and cons of the design.
The spirit of those present indicated a desire to work together for the good of the whole community. All showed enthusiasm for continuing planning for the future. At one moment, someone in the crowd shouted, “That is what makes us great,” referring to the multicultural community at St. Therese.

JACKSON – Ben Mokry, president of the St. Therese finance council, presents a building proposal at a recent parish community meeting as Msgr. Elvin Sunds looks on. (Photo by Elsa Baughman)

Nursing workshop aims to integrate faith with care

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Registered nurses have the opportunity this summer to participate in a 38-hour workshop and retreat on the concept of faith community nursing. The workshop, organized by Catholic Charities, is based on the Westberg Institute in Memphis, which specializes in faith-based community nursing. It is set for June 9-10 and June 23-25 at Belhaven University in Jackson.
Participants will learn about spirituality, holistic health and community as it relates to community nursing. “Faith community nursing provides a ‘wholistic’ blending of nursing expertise and spiritual care as professional nurses practice in congregations, faith-based organizations and other institutions as part of ministry team,” according to a flier for the event. This program is designed to help faith communities get closer to the ideal and develop community outreach opportunities.
“The training is for nurses, although I have had other individuals taking the course as well. I am working hard to provide a retreat-like setting, so we can minister to the participants as they minister to others wholistically,” explained Ann Elizabeth Kaiser, coordinator for the Catholic Charities faith-based nursing program. “I hope faith communities and other health institutions may sponsor individuals, so they may attend the event and bring knowledge and compassion to their congregations,” she added. The workshop costs $200, but scholarships are available.
Several congregations in the Diocese of Jackson have a faith-based nursing ministry. In some cases, they offer health education in their parishes, keep an eye on those in the parish who may be having health issues or sponsor health screenings for the community.
To register for the workshop or find out more about scholarships, contact Ann Elizabeth Kaiser at (601) 213-6378 or annelizabeth.kaiser@catholiccharitiesjackson.org.

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.)

Carmelite shop renovated, updated, ready for new business

JACKSON – The Carmelite gift shop on Terry Road in Jackson celebrated a grand re-opening on Saturday, April 22. The shop was relocated to the convent for a couple of months while work crews overhauled the space. Father Kevin Slattery, vicar general for the Diocese of Jackson, blessed the space and welcomed guests after Mass.
The Knights of Coulmbus from Clinton Holy Savior built two ramps, one from the outside of the store and another from the convent to the back door.

Workers removed some walls inside the buidling, a pre-Civil War house, to create more open space and either restored or replaced the wood flooring. The windows were uncovered and cleaned and the shop has new lights and new paint. The result is a much brigher, open space. The shop’s signature Fontanini nativities have their own room and the other inventory has been reorganized.
The sisters are grateful for the many years of support from the faithful and want to remind people they are open for business.

Catholic educators reminded of mission at NCEA conference

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – How do 31 educators and administrators get to the biggest gathering of Catholic educators in the nation? They ride a bus. The Office of Education for the Catholic Diocese of Jackson chartered a bus to take representatives from almost every school in the diocese to the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) conference in St. Louis April 18-20. Southaven Sacred Heart School garnered some national recognition at the conference as one of three schools nominated for an award in educational innovation (See sidebar for details).
“We were talking about how many people were going and how St. Louis was not that far away and I said, ‘we should get a bus,’” said Catherine Cook, superintendent of Catholic Schools. The offhand idea turned into a plan that saved money and allowed for some valuable networking time.
“We got to know each other. The principals are able to see each other at our meetings, but our teachers don’t always get to do that,” said Jennifer David, principal of Meridian St. Patrick School and bus rider.
“Professional development and supporting our educators is important, so we want to facilitate that in any way we can,” said Cook. The bus started in Jackson where teachers and administrators from Jackson, Madison and Meridian boarded and made a stop in Winona to pick up representatives from Greenwood, Greenville and Columbus. A second stop in Southaven allowed principals and teachers from Southaven and Holly Springs onboard. Other schools made their own travel arrangements.
David said the conference was amazing from start to finish. “It really fires you up for the mission of Catholic education. It unites us in that mission.” She said the message of the keynote speaker, Jonathan Doyle, resonated with her. “We all have different mission statements, but the mission is the same – to ensure future generations (of Catholics), to teach gospel values and to allow students to have an encounter with Christ,” she said.
Bridget Martin, principal of Southaven Sacred Heart agreed. “Overall the experience of being there with other Catholic educators is good. You can get bogged down in policy and day-to-day stuff. We need to remind ourselves of our mission,” Martin said. She commented on how each workshop kept that theme at the forefront. “For example, you might go to the data workshop, but we talked about how we are ‘data informed,’ but mission-driven,” she added.
David called teaching a vocation and said it is important to give teachers a chance to recharge. “It is no accident that God has called you to this vocation and no matter what, he will sustain you through it,” she added.
David said one of her favorite features was a lunch-and-learn with other administrators. The teachers had one as well. “They asked us what challenges we were facing today. Almost every single one of us had the same or similar answers,” David explained. The groups exchanged ideas and support for the entire session. “NCEA is going to type up all the answers and send them to all of us,” explained David.

Southaven Sacred Heart School recognized for service learning program

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Southaven Sacred Heart School brought some national recognition home from this year’s National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) convention held in St. Louis April 18-20. Sacred Heart School was one of three finalists in Innovations in Catholic Education (ICE) award presented by the magazine Today’s Catholic Teacher.
The school was nominated for its Catholic identity program. It’s a two-pronged program. “Our theme for this year was ‘mercy knows no bounds,’” explained Bridget Martin, principal. Each month, the school highlighted two things, the diversity within its own community and contributions the students can make on their own.

WALLS – Elian Munoz from Sacred Heart School works at the Sacred Heart Southern Missions food Pantry in November as part of service learning. The school was one of three recognized nationally for innovative Catholic identity programs. (Photo by Laura Grisham)

“Our 325 students represent 17 nationalities,” said Martin. Each month families from these nations get space in the school lobby to put up a display about their culture and students learn more about their neighbors. This month, Guatemala takes center stage. The second part of the identity program highlights community involvement.
The priests of Sacred Heart sponsor 13 different social service ministries in northeast Mississippi. Students learn about each one in a way appropriate to their age group. “Each month a representative from a different ministry comes to speak to them. The sixth, seventh and eighth graders will even go to the ministries to do service projects,” said Martin. At the end of the month the students have ‘denim days’ on which they can pay to wear denim and the money goes to the ministry of the month. “So we have been learning about and praying for and supporting the ministry all month,” said Martin.
“We hope that when they grow up, if they find they are in need, they will know where to go for help. We also hope that when they grow up, if they have a gift or a talent they will volunteer or donate to help their communities,” said Martin. She added that many students who go on to Catholic high schools in Memphis return to fulfill their service hours at Sacred Heart or one of the social service organizations.
This is not the only innovative program the school has offered. This year, Sacred Heart switched its fund-raiser from golf to running, but with a twist. The school offered a fun run during the school day. Different classes ran during different times of the day and were joined by parents and other community members. “The police came out at one point and ran with the kids and they loved that,” said Martin. The activities included inflatable bounce houses.
Martin promised if they topped $20,000 she would sleep on the school roof. On Tuesday, May 2, the effort had gathered $31,000 and Martin was headed up with a member of her maintenance staff to find a safe spot to ‘camp.’ “The last time I promised to do this my school had a flat roof,” she joked. The money will go toward new library furniture.