Mayor visits Cathedral School

NATCHEZ – City of Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell shakes Scott Thompson’s hand while Layton Gray waits his turn. Cathedral School third grade students had the pleasure of a visit from the mayor of their own town. The third grade students are studying the election process. The mayor read a book and answered questions from the students. (Photo by Cara Serio)

St. Elizabeth celebrates 70th fair

CLARKSDALE – This fair has been held for the the past 70 years. (Photos by Dawn Spinks)


Blessing the bears

SOUTHAVEN – For the feast of St. Francis, Sacred Heart School’s four year olds brought their favorite stuffed animal to school. Using a paraphrase of St. Francis’ “Canticle to Brother Sun,” Sr. Margaret Sue Broker led them in praise and thanksgiving for all the animals. The class also talked about how they should care for their stuffed and real animals.

No Fair weather for fair

GREENVILLE – Students take turns at the ring toss at St. Joseph Parish Fair. Despite Hurricane Irma making her way through the Delta on Tuesday, September 12, the 103rd St. Joseph Catholic School Parish Fair went on without a missing a beat. The homemade spaghetti and meatballs were delicious as well as the homemade pastries and candy. Rain moved the games inside the gym which did not put a damper on the fun! (photo courtesy Missi Blackstock, Parish Fair Chairperson)


This is how we march for Life: video contest

The Diocese of Jackson is having a March for Life Video Contest. The videos must be a minimum of two minutes long, maximum four minutes. Judges will select winners by category. First place in each category will receive $200. One runner up for each category will receive $100.
Grab a Go Pro, cell phone or video recorder of your choosing and record the activities your parish/school participates in that promote, affirm and help create a culture of life.
Winning videos will be posted online during the month of January. Creatively recording activities from Respect for Life month is a wonderful way to demonstrate how you March for Life!
• Youth (up to eighth grade)
• High School (ninth – 12th grade. Includes parish youth groups or Catholic high schools)
The winning high school video will be presented at the Diocese of Jackson Youth Conference in February in Vicksburg!
• Parish Groups (for example: College Campus Ministry, Knights of Peter Claver, Knights of Columbus, Ladies Groups, Small Faith Communities)
How to Enter:
Submit a video demonstrating how your local community supports, endorses, advances a culture of life.
Submissions will not be accepted after December 3.
Multiple entries from one parish or school are allowed.
Note the category of your submission and email your video to:

St Richard new Special Kids facility, named for Msgr. Farrell

JACKSON – St. Richard Parish blessed a new building for its Special Kids program after the 10:30 a.m. Mass on Sunday, Sept. 24. The structure will also house the Boy Scouts.
The building is named for Msgr. Patrick Farrell, who founded the Special Kids program when he was pastor. It serves developmentally challenged students aged 13-21. The staff works with the student and his or her family to set goals based on their abilities and desires. For some, goals are academic. Others focus on life skills.
The parish hopes the new facility will allow the program to accept more students and expand into serving adults. It has a kitchen, screened porch, classroom and flexible spaces for whatever students may need. For more information on the program, contact the parish at 601-366-2335.

Pets blessed at St. Anthony

MADISON – Father Albeen Vatti, pastor of St. Francis Parish, blesses Landon Lipovetsky’s lizard at St. Anthony School on Friday, Oct. 6. The school was celebrating the feast of St. Francis. In right photo, Bishop Joseph Kopacz brought his beloved lab, Amigo, for a blessing. (Photos by Kristian Beatty)

‘O Queen of Heaven and Earth, we consecrate ourselves to you’

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Bishop Joseph Kopacz consecrated the Catholic Diocese of Jackson to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary on Sunday, Oct. 8, at the end of a 2:30 p.m. Mass at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle. The act was a very public one – Bishop Kopacz led a procession through the streets of downtown Jackson at the end of the Mass and before the consecration. Seminarians carried a statue of Mary as part of the procession and more than 100 faithful joined in. The crowd then returned to the cathedral for a litany and the prayer of consecration written by Deacon Aaron Williams.
The act marks two events, the 100th anniversary of the appearance of Our Lady at Fatima and the official liturgical launch of the Pastoral Priorities for the diocese. The bishop and his pastoral team have been working for almost two years to get the Priorities written and introduce them to the parishes. This fall, the bishop has asked the pastors to have teams in the parishes write local goals and priorities aligned with the new diocesan plan. The consecration places this work in the care of the Blessed Virgin. Deacon Williams included phrases from the new plan in the prayer of consecration. The weekend started with a rosary at the cathedral on Saturday. More than 100 faithful joined for the public rosary, led by diocesan seminarians.

People came from across the diocese to be a part of the Mass and procession. Tanya Britton, former secretary at Jackson Christ the King, retired to Tupelo several years ago, but returned to the cathedral for this event. “I wanted to be a part of honoring the Mother of Our Lord, to acknowledge her and to show my gratitude to her. Mary took me by the hand and gently drew me to the bosom of Jesus when I was so far from Him that I couldn’t imagine ever being reconciled. A mother’s love is what I needed,” said Britton.
“To see our diocese honor her in such a communal way and with such a public witness reaffirmed my love for our bishop and my local church. It was also a way for me to stay connected and remind myself we are not ever really isolated from either our local diocese or Rome. We’re all on this ‘pilgrimage’ together in a world in desperate need of a Mother’s love and guidance,” she added.
Betsy Carraway, a Carmelite Secular and member of Jackson St. Therese, said she was very encouraged by the crowd of people at both the rosary and consecration. “We needed a conversion experience. When you are Christian, you are always improving and you need these conversion experiences,” said Carraway.
Elsa Baughman, retired editor for Mississippi Católico, has had a special devotion to Mary since she was a child. She said the procession appealed to her heritage. “As a Hispanic, I loved the procession. In our culture, processions are very important. We feel like we should raise Mary up on our shoulders and take her out into our neighborhoods – or into the streets of Jackson as we did here,” she explained.
The day before the consecration, Hurricane Nate made landfall in South Mississippi. Organizers had to watch the weather and come up with contingency plans for the liturgy in case the storm brought high winds and rain to the area.“The weather was beautiful,” said Baughman. At one point, the sun shone so brightly into the cathedral, and I thought, ‘this is God, smiling at us for doing this,’” she added.

Jackson Habitat house honors Sr. Therese Jacobs

By Peggy Hampton
JACKSON – Two years ago, when Polly Hammett drove down Greenview Drive in south Jackson for the first time, she cried.
“Today, I smile,” she said.
This is due, in great part, to the hard work and commitment of Polly and many other volunteers from Catholic churches in Hinds, Madison and Rankin counties, who have given of their time and resources to help revitalize a decaying, blighted street.
The Catholic community in the metro Jackson area has played a significant role in the transformation by partnering with Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital Area on the first two houses built on the street – the Pope Francis House and the 2015 Catholic Build House – followed by the 2016 Catholic Build House and now the 2017 Catholic Build House.
The goal is two-fold — to help a local family in need of a decent, safe, affordable place to live and to transform a street filled with blighted, decaying and abandoned homes into a beautiful, safe neighborhood where working families live, grow and thrive.
Habitat has acquired 31 properties on Greenview Drive, demolished 18 derelict houses and built 13 homes on the street. The 2017 Catholic Build home is among four additional homes being built this fall. More Habitat builds are planned for 2018.
“I am tickled to see the progress made on Greenview Drive,” Polly said. “I see change, and I see hope.”
The 2017 Catholic Build Habitat House will be purchased with a no-interest mortgage by Khadijah and Xavier Ransom. Khadijah and Xavier, both 23, are a married couple with two children – Xavier Jr., 4, and younger brother Kayden, 1.
“When Xavier and I were dating and started to become serious about getting married, we began talking about and making plans to become Habitat homeowners,” said Khadijah. “Now that we have good, stable jobs and can afford a mortgage, we are thrilled to be partnered with Catholic Build on the building of our home.”
Khadijah is a licensed cosmetologist at a local salon, while Xavier is employed as a car salesman. The family of four has been living in a tiny 1-bedroom, 1-bath apartment with roof leaks, insect problems and an unreliable HVAC system. Their new Habitat home will have a modern HVAC system that is efficient and cost-effective, new energy efficient appliances, lots of space and a yard where the children can play.
The Ransoms have been working alongside of the Catholic Build volunteers in building their new home, something Catholic volunteers have been doing for many years.
Every fall, parishes in the Jackson area pool resources and volunteers to build a Habitat house for a family. This is the 32nd year for Catholic churches to partner with Habitat. Partner parishes include Flowood St. Paul, Madison St. Francis of Assisi, Clinton Holy Savior, Gluckstadt St. Joseph, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, and the following Jackson churches: St. Therese, the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle, St. Richard and Christ the King as well as St. Dominic’s Health Services.
The Catholic Build volunteers have been dedicated in their efforts throughout the years and are motivated by service and love of others.

“There is a real sense of accomplishment and community by working together to take pieces and parts of building materials and put them together to become a house,” said Allen Scott of Holy Savior.
Polly agreed, noting that a wonderful byproduct of the process is the laughter, love and good time shared by the volunteers.
“The houses we build are constructed with labor and laughter,” she said.
The 2017 Catholic Build house is built in memory of Sister Therese J. Jacobs, BVM, a pastoral minister at St. Richard Parish in Jackson from 1987-2001 and 2010-15. Sister Therese, who passed away in April, was a longtime supporter and advocate of Catholic Build and Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital Area.
“As many who knew Sister Therese have noted, she was a woman with a vivacious nature, energy and enthusiasm for her work, community, love of life, and her love of God,” said Raymond Barry, a member of St. Richard and longtime Catholic Build volunteer. “The spirit of giving and love of life and God demonstrated by the Catholic Build volunteers is a wonderful way to remember and honor Sister Therese.”
(Peggy Hampton is the Public Relations, Marketing Fundraising Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital Area.)