St. Joe journalism program receives 33 awards


MADISON – St. Joseph  School’s journalism program took home 33 Scholastic Press Association awards for The Bear Facts; The Shield, the school yearbook; and The Josephian, the school literary magazine. The awards included 16 first-place finishes in competition against 1A-3A schools statewide. Sophomore Jack H. was named sports writer of the year, teacher Terry C. was named newspaper adviser of the year, and the student newspaper was named best in state. (Photo by Terry Cassreino)

Artist donates to drawdown

Brother McGrath donated this painting of Sr. Thea Bowman to her namesake school while here for a visit. (Photo by Fabvienen Taylor)

JACKSON – Brother Mickey McGrath presented four workshops for different groups around the diocese during a visit the week of April 6. First, he led a workshop at the diocesan school principals’ retreat where administrators drew mandalas using different symbols and then talked about the meaning of each.

Then he joined 90 people, 45 at Madison St. Francis of Assisi School and another 45 the next day at Tupelo St. James Parish to present a Lenten retreat called “Cloud of Witnesses,” where they talked about saints and holy people in the church.

Before he left, Brother McGrath gave a workshop to the students, staff and faculty at Jackson Sister Thea Bowman School and donated one of his paintings of Sister Thea to the school for the drawdown, which is set for Saturday, April 26, at 6:30 p.m. For information on the drawdown, call the school, 601-352-5441.

Uniting wellness of mind, body, spirit

By Maureen Smith
A Catholic Charities ministry has been working with the Mississippi Department of Health and the Mississippi-Louisiana chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to spread a faith community nursing program across the Diocese of Jackson. Catholic Charities used a grant from both organizations to pay to train faith community nurses near Natchez and Brookhaven this year. In return, the nurses hosted cancer awareness and healthy living presentations at parishes and churches in their areas, but that was just the beginning.

NATCHEZ – Holy Family parishioners meet with Faith Community Nurse Cathy Dale to talk about cervical cancer awareness. Dale is one of a number of nurses across the diocese trained to bring a holistic approach to health and wellness to parishes and communities. (Photo submitted by Cathy Dale)

At Natchez Holy Family Parish, a group began to gather after the 8 a.m. Sunday Mass to hear Cathy Dale and Irma Moore speak about different kinds of cancer, healthy eating and more. Dale says the group continues to meet and share regularly.

Faith community nursing is not a strictly medical enterprise. “When I went to nursing school there was an emphasis on ‘wholistics,’ with a w, nursing – mind, body, soul,” said Dale. She and nurse Alice Methvein, who is a faith community nurse in Brookhaven, both explained that the program is an effort to bring back that holistic approach.
While some faith community nurses may provide services such as blood pressure checks, they are really there to minister to the community in a different way. “We make it easier for a patient to find out where to go. We are not supposed to be diagnostic or invasive, but we can be a resource and offer referrals,” said Methvein.

Ann Elizabeth Kaiser, who heads the Office of Health Ministry for Catholic Charities is the one who brought the program to the diocese. Her office is funded through a grant from the St. Dominic Health Foundation.
Each of the faith community nurses went through four days of training through the International Parish Nurse Resource Center. They learned about models for healthy living and how to introduce them into their faith communities.

Dale said this practice harkens back to when nurses were able to really connect with patients about everything going on in their lives. “When I went into home health there was a considerable amount of teaching that went on. You got the opportunity to tell patients that their outlook on life is important, and their relationship with their doctors are important,” said Methvein. She said that kind of education and one-on-one contact can help both doctors and patients.  She and her group started last summer and are working with their parish to strengthen and expand their ministry.

Methvein has started working with the youth group in her parish because she wants the young people to know who she is and that they can use her as a resource. Healthy living should start early in life and includes learning how to deal with stress and other issues young adults are facing. She said she likes to sit in the back of the church so she can see everyone. Sometimes just being aware of the people around you will provide clues about someone who is going through a tough time.

Dale agreed. She said just getting to know a group will sometimes help someone open up about a worry. “Especially in an aging population so often symptoms sneak in, ‘so what’s a little fatigue?’ they might think. You have to ask, ‘how much fatigue, is it stopping you from your normal activities, things like that,” she explained. Seeing people week after week might also prompt a nurse to notice a change in someone and encourage them to seek the help they might not realize they can get.

“We went to the (training) program and we got inspired. We have a number of programs we want to implement,” Methvein explained. She said a breast cancer seminar was well attended and a prostate cancer presentation was so good, the men asked to have it again so they could get more people to attend.

Kaiser said many parishes have the seeds of faith community nursing without even realizing it. They may have a walking group, an exercise class or a support group who are talking about the health of a whole person. Nurses trained through this program are not meant to replace these ministries, but can integrate them into a model for overall healthy living and strengthen them. “Holistic encompasses the whole person. When individuals become stronger within the congregation it makes stronger communities,” she said.
Kaiser and a handful of the other nurses in the program are now trained as faith community nursing instructors. They plan to offer training for new groups in July. Any parish or nurse interested in attending should contact Ann Elizabeth Kaiser at

Kudos: science honors across the diocese

JACKSON/GREENVILLE – Catholic schools from across the state got to show off their science programs at  regional science fairs in March.
One overall regional winner came from Vicksburg Catholic. Sixth-grader Coleman V. (right) won for zoology and best of show for his mosquito experiment. Jackson Sister Thea Bowman, St. Richard, Madison St. Anthony and Vicksburg Catholic all also sent students to their regional science fairs.

Thirteen Natchez Cathedral Elementary students earned honors at the regional fair, including fifth-grader Ryan S. who placed third overall.
Thirty-two Greenville St. Joseph students placed in the annual Regional Science fair held in Greenville in March. Two dozen of those advanced to the state competition. The fair allows students to showcase their interest in major scientific areas such as behavioral and social sciences, biochemistry, botany, chemistry, earth, space and environmental science, physics, medicine and health, microbiology, engineering and zoology.

Youth Briefs

GLUCKSTADT – St. Joseph Parish youth are selling raffle tickets for chances to win a $100 Kroger gift card.  Tickets are one for $2, three for $5 or 10  for $10.  The drawing will be held on May 4 following the youth Mass.  All proceeds benefit the Summer Youth Trip.
– Youth are encouraged to sign up by April 27 for the summer trip. This trip is a celebration for the confirmation groups from the past two years, however, all participating ninth-12th grade members of the youth group are invited to attend. To sign up call 601-540-7635, or email

TUPELO – St. James, applications for the new St. James Ladies’ Club Scholarship are available. Deadline is April 25.
–  All children and youth from preK-12th grade are invited to participate in designing a T-shirt for the parish’s 100 anniversary. All entries must be turned into the church office. Father Lincoln Dall, pastor, asked that designers use tthe Scallop of St. James on the shirts.

GREENVILLE – Students in Greenville are celebrating several athletic achievements. Reya Heyak represented St. Joseph School as a Lindy Callahan Scholar Athlete. The Lindy Callahan program recognizes students who excel in both athletics and academics. Each of the 284 recipients receives a $1,500 scholarship to the school of their choice. Heyak plays both soccer and tennis. She and the other winners were honored at a banquet in Jackson April 3.
– The Our Lady of Lourdes Archery Team came in second place in the North State Mississippi Archery Competition. The St. Joseph High School Archery team qualified and will compete in the State Tournament as well.

MADISON – St. Francis of Assisi Parish Yahweh’s Youth and Faithful Followers are encouraged to register for “Celebrate the Word” camping trip in Hot Springs, Ark., on June 13-15. Cost is $150. Registration deadline is April 30. Parent drivers and chaperones are needed. Details: Abbey Schuhmann, 601-856-5556.

SOUTHAVEN – Sacred Heart School will host guest speaker Detective Brandon Rushing of the Southaven Police Department for parents of students in grades six-eight on Tuesday, April 22, at 6:30 p.m. in the school gym.  All parents of the parish are invited. Rushing will talk about internet safety, parent responsibility and liability as well as tips on monitoring children’s internet use.
– The school will host a Trivia Night on Friday, April 25, beginning at 6 p.m. Teams may have eight players per team. The cost per person is $10. Bring a team for a night of fun and fellowship while supporting the Sacred Heart School Knowledge Bowl Team.  Details: Jonathon Miller at

Steve Azar Delta Soul Celebrity Golf Charity Event set for June 5-7

GREENVILLE – The third annual Steve Azar Delta Soul Celebrity Golf and Charity Event will be held in Greenville, on June 5-7.
Celebrities scheduled to participate this year are NHL Hall of Famer Grant Fuhr, Major league baseball great Reggie Smith, Superbowl winning quarterback Jim McMahon, former NFL tight end Wesley Walls; saxophonist Branford Marsalis; actors Grant Show, Chris Rich, and Richard Karn; Mark Bryan and Dean Felber of Hootie and the Blowfish; former LPGA star Kris Tschetter; Ray Lloyd AKA The Glacier, and supermodel Kim Alexis to name a few.

 Steve Azar speaks at last year event which raised $170,000 and benefited among others, St. Joseph Schools. This year’s event is set for June 5-7. (Photo courtesy of Steve Azar St. Cecilia Foundation)

Steve Azar speaks at last year event which raised $170,000 and benefited among others, St. Joseph Schools. This year’s event is set for June 5-7. (Photo courtesy of Steve Azar St. Cecilia Foundation)

All proceeds from the event benefit the Steve Azar St. Cecilia Foundation (SASCF). Last year’s three day event raised $170,000 with its first year bringing in $110,000. The beneficiaries for the 2013 event were the Greenville Arts Council, St. Joseph Schools, Delta State University and the Delta Music Institute, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Washington County, Delta 180, Delta Children’s Museum, DeSoto Family Theatre, Camp Looking Glass, Delta Center Stage and Delta Symphony.

This year’s event promises to be even larger as word is spreading about the Delta’s hospitality and great food. The Delta Soul has garnered the attention of publications such as Golf Digest and Country Weekly. Event founder Steve Azar stated, “The Delta Soul has received national recognition recently; it has been good to have our Delta featured on the ‘big stage.’ We are looking forward to another year of celebration and giving back.”

The Schedule of Events includes a private celebrity dinner, Thursday, June 5, at Doe’s Eat Place followed by a stop at Walnut Street Blues Bar. The Celebrity Cup Challenge kicks things off on Friday, June 6 with the “Big Night Party” and auction following Friday evening. Both events are scheduled to be held at the Greenville Golf and Country Club. Saturday morning the golf tournament begins at the Greenville Golf and Country Club immediately followed by a Delta catfish fry (location TBD). Harlow’s Casino & Resort will rock with the Steve Azar and Friends Jam on Saturday night.

For more information on becoming a sponsor or purchasing tickets, visit or contact or



  • BOONEVILLE St. Francis, Holy Hour on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27, with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament from 3 – 4 p.m. and the praying of the Divine Mercy chaplet and the Divine Mercy Litany of Praise.
  • CLARKSDALE St. Elizabeth Parish Mission, April 28-30, at 6:30 p.m. A light meal will be served before the session. Father Steve Kimmons, SJ, will speak about the Mass.
  • COLUMBUS Annunciation Parish, Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27, at 2:30 p.m. praying of the Chaplet of Mercy and a short explanation about the devotion.
  • CORINTH St. James, new adult Bible class on Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. entitled “A Well Built  Faith” using the book of the same name by Joe Poprocki.
  • GREENWOOD Immaculate Heart of Mary,  feast of Divine Mercy celebration Sunday, April 27, at 3 p.m.
  • JACKSON Holy Ghost Parish, two Masses on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 27, at 9:45 a.m. and at 3 p.m.
  • – At 2 p.m. there will be a Holy Hour consisting of prayer, singing of the Divine Mercy Chaplet and Benediction. Details: Dorothy Ashley, 601-259-0885.
  • JACKSON Cathedral of St. Peter, Divine Mercy Chaplet in Spanish after the 2 p.m. Mass.
  • OXFORD St. John, study of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius using Father Raymond Gawronski book, “A Closer Walk with Christ,” Sundays  in the community room between the 8:30 and 11 a.m. Masses.
  • OLIVE BRANCH Queen of Peace Parish, Divine Mercy Hour of prayer on Sunday, April 27, from 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. The Knights of Columbus will provide refreshments. Details: Mary Jerkins, 662-895-5844.
  • PEARL St. Jude Parish, “Living the Eucharist” retreat Sunday, May 18, beginning at 12:30 p.m. with a meal followed by reflection and prayer session. Activities will be offered for ages three years – adult.
  • TUPELO St. James Parish music director, Lynn McGrath, will present an extended Easter prelude on the organ before the 10:30 a.m. Easter Sunday Mass.


  • CHATAWA The Dwelling Place drawdown Luau, Friday, May 9, at Lee Home in Columbus from 7 -10 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by Joe St. John and Larry Priest. Tickets are $100 and admit two. Grand prize – $2500. Tickets can be purchased through PayPal at Details: 662-738-5348.
  • JACKSON Sister Thea Bowman School, annual drawdown, Saturday, April 26, at 6:30 p.m. $100 tickets for a chance at $10,000. Details: 601-352-5441.
  • MERIDIAN St. Patrick School Countdown, Friday, May 2, at the Knights of Columbus Hall, Hwy 19 N. Tickets are $100.00 (portions of tickets may be purchased). First prize is $5,000; 2nd prize is $2,500; and 3rd prize is $1,000. The first ticket drawn wins $500 and every 25th ticket following the next ticket wins $100. Only 300 tickets are sold. Tickets are available at the parish office, the school office, and Scott McGee, 601-934-4908.
  • NATCHEZ Cathedral School Crawfish Countdown Saturday, April 26. Details: 601-445-9844.
  • OLIVE BRANCH Queen of Peace Parish 12th annual fund-raising golf tournament on Sunday, April 27, at 1 p.m. at Wedgewood Golfers’ Course. Dinner is included. Details:, 662-895-5007.
  • OXFORD St. John Parish drawdown on Friday, May 16. Organizers are soliciting donations for the silent auction and the wine pull. Details: Mark Hodge, 662-607-0706,


  • GLUCKSTADT St. Joseph, traditional Easter reception at 9:15 a.m. in the parish hall. Parishioners are asked to bring fruit, baked goods, finger sandwiches and goodies of all kinds.
  • GREENVILLE Sacred Heart Parish reception for the youth from Maine on Easter Sunday morning. The youth will work in Mound Bayou with the Sisters of Mercy.
  • JACKSON Holy Ghost Parish Ladies of the Knights of St. Peter Claver Court #171 Spring Fling, Saturday, April 25, from 8 p.m. – 12 a.m. at the Regency Hotel and Conference Center, 400 Greymont Avenue. Door prizes and a cash bar will be available. Details: Lady Knight Willie McKinney, 601-362-9444.
  • MOUND BAYOU St. Gabriel Mercy Center, Annual Night To Remember, Saturday, April 26, at 5 p.m. Tickets for the dinner and entertainment are $25. Community persons being honored include RSMs Sisters Rita Killian, Sister Cleo Heinrich, and retiring executive director, Sister Donald Mary. Purchase tickets by April 21 online, or call 662-741-3255.
  • PEARL St. Jude Parish family ice cream sundae party on Wednesday, April 30, at 6:30 p.m. in the parish Hall. The entrance to the party is a complete golden ticket.
  • TUPELO St. James Happy Hearts closing luncheon/get-together for this year (until Sept) Friday, May 9, after the 12:10 p.m. Mass. Participants will meet in Shelton Hall to play bunko and celebrate birthdays.


  • HERNANDO Sacred Heart Southern Missions Thrift Store, 95 E. Commerce Street, is accepting Spring/Summer clothing and jackets for children and adults. Proceeds go towards purchasing food at their food pantries. Donations accepted during business hours at the store, or 24/7 at the donation drop on premises. Shopping hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Details: 662-429-6290.

Below are the dates for the 2014 Confirmations. Bishop Joseph Kopacz will be conferring the sacrament in nine locations this year.

  • Deanery I: Sunday, May 4 – 5 p.m. – Vicksburg St. Michael Parish
    – Tuesday, May 13 – 6 p.m. – Madison St. Francis of Assisi Parish
    – Thursday, May 15 – 6 p.m. – Jackson St. Richard Parish
  • Deanery II: Saturday, May 24 – 5 pm. – Brookhaven St. Francis of Assisi Parish
  • Deanery III: Saturday, May 17 – 11 a.m. – Greenwood Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish
  • Deanery IV: Sunday, May 18 – 5 p.m. – Cleveland Our Lady of Victories Parish
  • Deanery IV: Sunday, Oct. 26 – 5 p.m. – Southaven Christ the King Parish
  • Deanery V: Saturday, May 3 – 11 a.m. – Tupelo St. James Parish
  • Deanery VI: Saturday, May 10 – 11 a.m. – Meridian St. Patrick Parish

Easter egg hunts

  • BOONEVILLE St. Francis, Sunday, April 20, after the 9 a.m. Mass.
  • CLARKSDALE St. Elizabeth, Sunday, April 20, at 3 p.m.
  •  GLUCKSTADT St. Joseph, Easter Sunday, April 20, at 9:15 a.m. – toddlers to age nine.
  • GREENVILLE Sacred Heart, Sunday, April 20, after the 9 a.m. Mass for children 12 and under.
  • GREENWOOD Immaculate Heart of Mary after the 9 a.m. Easter Sunday Mass on the green beside the church for three-year-olds through third grade.
  • MADISON St. Francis, Sunday, April 27, after the 10:30 a.m. Mass for toddlers – fourth-graders.
  •  NATCHEZ St. Mary Basilica, Saturday, April 19, at 10 a.m. in Memorial Park for KCYO and at Family Life Center for younger children. Donuts at the Family Life Center from 9 – 10 a.m.
  • PEARL St. Jude, Sunday, April 20, at 9:45 a.m.
  • SOUTHAVEN Christ the King, Saturday, April 26, at 10 a.m.
  • YAZOO CITY St. Mary, Saturday, April 26, at 11 a.m.


Liturgies express unfathomable

By Bishop Joseph Kopacz
How is it possible to give form to the unfathomable riches of God’s saving love for us in Jesus Christ?  Our best efforts are merely to grasp at it, as Saint Paul writes on behalf of the early church in his letter to the Philippians: “Although he was in the form of God, he did not deem equality with God, but rather took the form of a slave, something to be grasped.”
This great mystery takes shape in the Body of Christ, the Church, through Worship and Word, in Community and Service, in our efforts on behalf of justice and peace in our world.
The dimension of worship is most sublime during these days of Holy Week and with celebration of Easter as we strive to know the Lord in the cross and resurrection. The season of Lent, begun with ashes, gathers itself nearly forty days later around the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.

We know this as Palm Sunday, a feast near and dear to many Catholics, and rightly so.  Holding our palms, we stand as sentries, faithful witnesses to Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, professing that we have already died with him through our baptism into his death and resurrection.

This year the Gospel of Matthew is proclaimed, the one who has priority of place as the first among the four Gospels, and the 27 books in the New Testament. The reading of the Lord’s Passion is the defining moment of the Word of God on Palm Sunday, oh that long Gospel passage, as we relive and reimagine the height and depth, length and breath of God’s passionate love for us.

We are grasped by God in the compelling narrative of the Last Supper, the foundation of the Eucharist, the agony in the garden, the trial and torture, the denial and betrayal, the death on the Cross, and the faithful disciples at the foot of the Cross, witnessing the final agonizing breath, and the blood poured out for the salvation of all, indeed something to be grasped.

On Holy Thursday morning Lent officially ends, and the Church prepares to give form to God’s undying love for us in the most inspiring liturgies of the Church year which we call the Sacred Triduum. The Holy Oils that were blessed earlier in Holy Week at the Chrism Mass by the bishop of each diocese are featured in procession during the Holy Thursday Liturgy.  The Oil of Catechumens, or the Salvation, marks the heart of every person to be baptized.

The Oil of Chrism which seals our life in Jesus Christ after Baptism, confirms us in the Holy Spirit at Confirmation, sets apart a newly ordained priest and bishop, and blesses the altar of sacrifice, is distributed to all parishes to sanctify the faithful. Lastly, the Oil of the Sick is carried forward which the Church will use during the Sacrament of Anointing as a sign of hope and healing for those suffering from illness of body, mind, and spirit.
At the heart of the Holy Thursday Liturgy are the Lord’s words of institution “take and eat for this is my body; take and drink for this is my blood; do this in memory of me.” In John’s gospel these words of the Lord are inextricably linked with his actions in the washing of the Apostles’ feet.

As he poured out his love for us in his passion and death, the bloodless sacrifice of the Eucharist, so we too are called to loving service, and to know the inseparable bond that our service, suffering and sacrifice have with His. This is distinctly true for priests and bishops who have been set apart to serve the Lord at the altar, and the Body of Christ daily in the Church for the salvation of all.

After the majestic Eucharistic procession at the end of the Holy Thursday Liturgy, the Church enters into adoration in preparation for the stark commemoration of the Lord’s passion and death.  Scripture, Veneration of the Cross and Holy Communion mark the Good Friday Liturgy with the cross as the centerpiece of a bare sanctuary.

Embellishment of the liturgical space has no place when grasping at the death of the Son of God. At the end of the Good Friday service the ministers of the Liturgy strip bare the sanctuary, and the Church enters into a somber silence in the face of death. The Mass, the great Eucharistic prayer, cannot be celebrated prior to the Easter Vigil of the Lord’s resurrection.

Grasping at the power of the Lord’s resurrection, the Easter Vigil Liturgy, affectionately known as “that really long Mass,” breaks upon the scene. Fire, candles illuminating the darkness, a bold proclamation of the Exultet, all combine to scatter the darkness of gloom and death.

God’s saving Word is proclaimed, and alleluias shatter the silence of the tomb. Catechumens come forward to be baptized, and they and the candidates receive full initiation through Confirmation and Eucharist. All renew their promises of baptism and the church rejoices in communion with Jesus Christ, something to be grasped.
Easter Sunday is a day of great joy in light of the Lord’s resurrection, and all the faithful renew their promises of baptism, the culmination of the Lenten journey. It is the beginning of the Easter Octave and Season.

The Octave will be eight days, a veritable Easter Day to savor this moment, and the season will be fifty, a time to marvel at the power and presence of the risen Lord in our lives, and his call in our lives to be witnesses to the unfathomable riches of God’s undying love for us, something to be grasped.
May you and your family enjoy a joyful and happy Easter season.