Bishop Kapacz schedule

Wednesday, Jan. 17, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Catholic Day at the Capitol
Saturday, Jan. 20, 4 p.m. – Closing Mass Pilgrimage for Life, Greenwood Locus Benedictus Retreat Center
Sunday, Jan. 21, 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. – Mass, Philadelphia Holy Cross
Thursday, Jan. 25, 8:30 – 10:30a.m. – Mass, Columbus Annunciation School
Sunday, Jan. 28, 8 a.m. – National Catholic Schools Week begins
Monday Jan. 29, 9:15 a.m. – Mass, Greenville St. Joseph
Tuesday Jan. 30, 8:15 a.m. – Mass, Jackson St. Richard
Tuesday Jan. 30, 1 p.m. – Mass, Jackson Sister Thea Bowman
Wednesday, Jan. 31, 8:15 a.m. – Mass, Madison St. Anthony
Wednesday, Jan. 31, 9:50 a.m. – Mass, Madison St. Joseph
Wednesday, Jan. 31, 1 p.m. – Mass, Vicksburg Catholic Schools

Only public events are listed on this schedule and all events are subject to change.
Please check with the local parish for further details

Featured photo . . .

Angel tree tradition spreads

YAZOO CITY – Father Paneer Arockiam, pastor of St. Mary Parish and Vay McGraw place the last angels on the parish angel tree. McGraw read about the angel tree in Mississippi Catholic in 2016 and wanted to bring the tradition to her own parish for 2017. (Photo by Diane Melton)


Parish calendar

CULLMAN, Ala., Benedictine Sisters Retreat Center, A Lenten Journey with Gerard Manley Hopkins, February 9-11. He was a Jesuit priest and poet whose life was one of rejection, loneliness and ill health. In spite of this, his strong faith in the Paschal Mystery sustained him and evoked the most powerful poetry of his time. Retreat Director: Sister Marian Davis, OSB, Ph.D. Cost: Private Room $245; Shared Room $205/person. Details: Sister Magdalena Craig, OSB, (256) 615-6114,
FORT SMITH, Ark., St. Scholastica Monastery, Seven Stages of Suffering, Tuesdays, February 22, March 1 and March 8 from 9:30 – 11 a.m. Using the book Teilhard: Seven Stages of Suffering: A Spiritual Path for Transformation by Louis M. Savary and Patricia H. Berne, this Lenten program will lead one through the seven stages with an emphasis on the positive and transformative energy of suffering. Cost: $60.00. Details: or or (479) 783-1135.
GREENWOOD, Locus Benedictus Spirituality Center, “Body, Mind, and Spirit Women’s Retreat,” Saturday, January 27, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (with 4 p.m. vigil Mass) sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Ladies Auxiliary #5267. Presenters: Michael Whelan, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and author; John Cook, exercise physiologist, and Magdalene Abraham, spiritual director. Cost: $35. Details: (662) 299-1232 or
COLLIERVILLE, Tenn., Women’s Morning of Spirituality Saturday, February 10, Church of the Incarnation, 8:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with a continental breakfast beginning at 7:15 a.m. Mass at 12:30 p.m. with Bishop Martin D. Holley, bishop of the Diocese of Memphis. Details: Hernando Holy Spirit church office (662) 429-7851.

GRENADA, St. Peter, couples’ book study at Teresa and Luther Owens’ home on Wednesday, January 24, at 6 p.m. Discussion of Climbing the Mountain by Anne, a lay apostle; Book study guides are in the back of the church. Details: church office (662) 226-2490.
Blood Drive, Sunday, January 28, after Mass. Sign up for a time online at Details: church office (662) 226-2490.
JACKSON, St. Peter Cathedral, training course for adults interested in becoming catechists in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. The course will run one Saturday a month for ten months beginning January 20 and ending December 8, excluding June and July. The Catechesis is a method of religious formation for children ages three to 12 which utilizes the educational principles of Maria Montessori. This course will be for Level I, the foundational level for children ages 3 to 6. Details: Hope Johnston (601) 969-3125 or
MADISON, St. Joseph School, Jeans, Jazz and Bruin Blues annual fundraiser, Saturday, February 3. Details: Marcie Ralston, (601) 214-9809, Bobbie Simpson, (601) 953-6365 or Tricia Harris, (601) 898-4803 or
NATCHEZ, St. Mary Basilica, book club to resume, Tuesday, January 16 at 6 p.m. Discussion of Chapters 1-8 of A Pope and a President: John Paul II, Ronald Reagan and the Extraordinary Untold Story of the 20th Century, by Paul Kengor. Details: church office (601) 445-5616.


Sister Mary Paul Francis Bailey, B.V.M.

Sister Mary Paul Francis Bailey, B.V.M., died January 1 at Marian Hall in Dubuque, Iowa at the age of 91. She entered the BVM congregation in 1947 and professed her final vows in 1955. In the Diocese of Jackson, Sister Paul Francis taught first, second and third grades and taught high school typing and shorthand at Clarksdale Immaculate Conception School. She was buried in Mount Carmel cemetery in Dubuque. Memorials may be given to the Sisters of Charity, BVM Support Fund, 1100 Carmel Drive, Dubuque, Iowa 52003 or online at



Sister Margaret Mary Flynn, O.C.D

Sister Margaret Mary Flynn, O.C.D., died January 2 at the Carmelite Monastery in Jackson at the age of 88. She was the last of seven nuns from the Carmel of St. Joseph, Clayton, Missouri, who came to Jackson in November, 1951, to establish the first and only Carmelite Monastery in the state of Mississippi. The funeral took place on January 5 at the chapel with burial following in St. Joseph Parish Cemetery in Gluckstadt.






World Marriage Day, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson and the Office of Family Ministry is pleased to announce that the diocesan World Marriage Day Celebration will be held Sunday, February 4, at 3 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle in Jackson. There will be Mass with a reception immediately following. The Mass honors all married couples, but invites those celebrating their 25th, 50th and 60th anniversaries or any significant anniversary. Please contact your parish office for registration. Details: Office of Family Ministry at 601-960-8487 or email Charlene Bearden at .

“El sacramento es un signo visible del amor que Dios tiene al mundo”

Por César Sánchez-Fermin
CANTON – El sábado 2 de diciembre, en la parroquia Sagrado Corazón, seis parejas hispanas recibieron la bendición de Dios en el Sacramento del Matrimonio. La celebración Eucarística fue presidida por el padre Raúl Ventura y concelebrada por el padre Mike O’Brien.
A las 10:00 a.m., la marcha nupcial anunció que los novios ya estaban listos para entrar a la casa de Dios y salir como marido y mujer con el compromiso de amarse y respetarse en lo próspero y en lo adverso todos los días de sus vidas.”
El padre Raúl enfatizo durante la homilía que “los sacramentos son signos visibles del infinito amor de Dios al mundo.” De la misma manera subrayó que la comunidad reunida estaba participando como testigo del compromiso que los cónyuges estaban libremente aceptando ante Dios. Al terminar la homilía inicio el rito propio del matrimonio.
Pero todo gran evento requiere preparación. Por tal motivo, las seis parejas (Oscar Félix y Estela Gabriel, Julián Marroquín y María Miranda, Trinidad Pérez y Silvia Miranda, Rene López y Candelaria Pérez, Carlos López y Olimpia García, Sergio Félix y María Isabel) en coordinación con la Señora Blanca Peralta, encargada del ministerio Hispano, y el seminarista Cesar Sánchez, llevaron a cabo una catequesis intensa profundizando en la sacramentalidad de nuestra fe. Por varios fines de semana se reunieron para la doctrina. Además tuvieron dos retiros en los cuales abordaron los sacramentos, enfocando en la confesión y matrimonio.
Damos gracias a Dios por sus abundantes bendiciones. Esta gran celebración es signo de que Dios desea darnos su gracia a través de los sacramentos. El matrimonio está dentro de la economía de la salvación. Por esta razón, seguimos invitando a aquellos que aún viven en amasiato para que le permitan a Dios bendecir su unión.

Six couples celebrate marriage in Canton ceremony

By César Sánchez
CANTON – On Saturday, December 2, after months of preparation, six couples received God’s blessing in the Sacrament of Matrimony. The community of Canton Sacred Heart Parish was honored to witness their commitments during a Mass concelebrated by Father Raúl Ventura, ST, and Father Mike O’Brien. Most of the brides and grooms hail from Guatamala.
At 10: 00 a.m., the bridal march rang as the couples entered God’s house. Family and friends from Carthage, Forest and Morton gathered to witness their commitment to love and respect each other in the good and bad times all the days of their lives.
Father Raúl emphasized with vigor and eloquence, “The sacraments are visible signs of the infinite love of God to the world.” He also stressed that the community participated as a witness of the commitment that the spouses are freely accepting before God.
The six couples are Oscar Felix and Estela Gabriel; Julián Marroquín and María Miranda; Trinidad Pérez and Silvia Miranda; Rene López and Candelaria Pérez; Carlos López and Olimpia García; Sergio Félix and María Isabel.
They prepared by meeting with the parish coordinator of Hispanic ministry, Blanca Peralta and seminarian César Sánchez, who carried out an intense catechesis deepening their faith in the sacraments. The couples reflected on the need for the Sacrament of Marriage as they met as a group during several weekends and two retreats.
After the Mass, the couples and their guests had a standing-room-only reception in the parish center.
This celebration is a sign that God wants to give us His grace through the sacraments. Marriage is within His plan of salvation. For this reason, we continue to invite those couples who have not had their unions blessed by God in the Church to seek the Sacrament of Matrimony. To begin preparations, contact the pastor in your parish.

(César Sánchez is a seminarian for the Diocese of Jackson.)

CANTON – Six Hispanic couples were married Saturday, December 2, at Sacred Heart Parish. After the Mass, the couples celebrated in the parish center. (Photo by Beth Ann Ross)

Knights donate high-tech ultrasound to crisis pregnancy center

By Gene Buglewicz
OXFORD – New life will be in clear focus in Oxford, thanks to a Knights of Columbus project. Andy Reynolds, Grand Knight, Knights of Columbus Council 10901, delivered the final check to pay for a new ultrasound machine to Rebecca Bishop, Executive Director of the Pregnancy Center, Oxford on Tuesday, November 28.
To celebrate the purchase, the Pregnancy Center located at 295 County Road 101, Oxford, will host a reception and open house December 14th at 1:00 p.m. The Baby Boutique and Clothes Closet will be available for inspection as well as the ultrasound laboratory and the new ultrasound machine.
Donated funds provided through the Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Initiative enabled the Pregnancy Center to purchase a new, high-tech $40,000 ultrasound machine. Knights from the local Council 10901, the State of Mississippi and the national office enabled the purchase.

A manufacturer’s image of the new ultrasound machine the Knights of Columbus purchased for the Pregnancy Center in Oxford.

The Pregnancy Center provides a multitude of services to clients free of charge without state or federal funds. The Center is solely supported by local churches, organizations and private citizens who believe in the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.
Earlier this year, Bishop Joseph Kopacz toured the center and got an update on the fund-raising projects underway to purchase the new equipment.
Once a client receives a positive pregnancy test at the center, and is believed to be less than 14 weeks along, the non-diagnostic ultrasound determines if the pregnancy is viable and in the uterus where it should be. A client may be able to hear her child’s heartbeat. While the older ultrasound could determine viability around five weeks, it is hoped the new technology will establish viability even earlier.
The new ultrasound is a Toshiba Xario 100/PS Platinum Ultrasound Imaging System sold by Toshiba America Medical Systems in Nashville, Tennessee. This machine replaces a 10 year-old model used by the Pregnancy Center and provides a significant advance in determining pregnancy using a ultrasound probes with a wider selection of frequencies.
The project’s benefits will spread way beyond just the Oxford area. The older ultrasound from the Pregnancy Center is being given to the Women’s Resource Pregnancy Center in Cleveland to replace their 20 year-old model.

(Gene Buglewiczi is a member of Oxford St. John Parish and the Knights of Columbus.)

Natchez pastor hopes to welcome community with Christmas outreach

NATCHEZ – Father David O’Connor, pastor of St. Mary Basilica, has announced a program called ‘Walk with us in the Christmas spirit’ for the weeks before and after Christmas. He hopes to encourage parish members, Cathedral school population and community-wide people to consciously seek the Christmas spirit.
“We assume that most people want to experience the spirit of Christmas but we also realize that life for most people gets very busy during the Christmas season,” said Father O’Connor. “By Christmas spirit we mean sharing kindness, peace, joy, encouragement, acceptance and hospitality. In addition, to a wide range of programs in our congregation that proclaim the Christmas spirit, we also ask church members to select personal ways of sharing the Christmas spirit within the congregation and with everyone they meet,” he added.

NATCHEZ – A nativity scene from the Basilica of St. Mary from 2016. The parish is launching an effort to promote Christmas spirit. (Photos by Vickie Stirek)

The December calendar at St. Mary includes a wide variety of programs: the weekly Wednesday dinners at the Family Life Center, the Alcorn choir performance on December 3, Lessons and Carols on December 10, the celebrations of feasts of St. Nicholas (December 6), St. Lucy (December 7), the Virgin of Guadalupe (December 12), and the Virgin Mary (December 8). Additional social events include Breakfast with Santa (December 2) and an open house at the Family Life Center on December 23.
“Most church programs are directed by a parish commission or the pastoral council, but this program is different. Its effectiveness will depend on every child, youth, adult and family,” said Donna Martello, program coordinator at St. Mary. “We are asking that each of these select personal ways of extending kindness, love and joy to one another and to everyone they meet. This can take many forms such as sending personal greeting and prayer cards to a number of people, giving home baked cookies, a home visit to people in the neighborhood, phone calls to individuals, or an email greeting,” she explained.
Pat Tumminello, chair of the Liturgy Commission, said they want to counter the commercialism of the season. “We are encouraging a focus on spiritual activities such as praying for/with individuals, prayer visits to St. Mary, praying the traditional noon-time prayer of the church called the Angelus, using the ‘Blue Book’ thought-for-the-day guide, use of the Advent wreath at home, a brief prayer every time a person drives by St. Mary, seeking forgiveness and forgiving others, including the church and its clergy,” Tumminello said.
“This program is designed to encourage the efforts of all Christian people to keep Christ in Christmas. We as Catholics do not want to give the impression that we have a monopoly on this. We are inviting our friends and neighbors join with us to share the spirit of Christmas,” explained Father O’Connor. “We are using name tags, yard signs, posters, banners and social media to highlight the call to walk with us in the Christmas spirit.”
For a full listing of activities and suggestions, contact St. Mary parish office at (601) 445-5616.

(Submitted by Regina Mardis on behalf of Father David O’Connor.)

St. Richard artists recognized

A pair of St. Richard School students were honored in a statewide art competition the second week of November. The Mississippi Children’s Museum (MCM) partnered with the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE), Governor Phil Bryant’s office and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) to sponsor the competition marking the 200th birthday of the state. K-12 students submitted entries in the areas of visual arts, music and poetry.
The St. Richard students were honored at the Bicentennial Celebration: Peggy Steckler, fifth grader, won first place in the K-6 poetry category, and Steele Davis, fourth grader, won first place in the K-5 Visual Arts category. “I am so proud of all of our winners”, said Jana Perry, Director of Education and Programs. “St. Richard Catholic School does a wonderful job with their students.” Jennifer David, St. Richard’s Principal, was pleased when she received the news: “We are always so proud of our students, and this is no exception. These awards are a reflection of the skills our children learn when working with the incredible staff on the St. Richard family.”

JACKSON – Peggy Steckler and Steele Davis look at Davis’ winning entry in a statewide art competition. (Photo by Jennifer David)