New museums highlight history

By Mary Woodward
JACKSON – On a recent sweltering August morning, Bishop Joseph Kopacz looked out over the construction site of the burgeoning Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum project in downtown Jackson. The two museum project has been in the works for years and now will come to fruition in time for the Magnolia State’s bicentennial in 2017.
The Museum of Mississippi History will explore the sweep of the state’s history from earliest times to the present. The adjacent Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, the nation’s first state-operated civil rights museum, will examine the struggle for civil rights and equality that changed the course of the state and the nation.
Bishop Kopacz was visiting the site as part of a presentation on the project by Katie Blount, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH), and Trey Porter, director of community relations at MDAH. Because of it’s long history of involvement in these turbulent times and its commitment to justice and reconciliation, the Diocese of Jackson is sponsoring one of the permanent exhibits in the Civil Rights Museum. During the visit, Bishop Kopacz received an in depth look at the overall project as it has progressed.
Part of the diocese’s plan of support for the project will come in the sharing of artifacts held in the diocesan archives. In terms of the Civil Rights Movement, the diocesan archives holds artifacts and correspondence ranging from documentation of Bishop R. O. Gerow’s integration of Catholic schools to his statement on the assassination of Medgar Evers to his trip to the White House in 1963 at the request of President John Kennedy. These papers reflect the church’s prominent role in seeking justice for all of Mississippi’s people. Therefore Bishop Kopacz wanted the diocese to support the museum project in order to continue that legacy.
The archives also contains papers on the development of Mississippi’s journey to statehood from the earliest times through the eyes of the Catholic faithful and ultimately their bishops. Bishop Gerow indexed and catalogued all the previous six diocesan bishops’ papers he inherited when he became bishop in 1924.
The diocesan archives gives a unique accounting of history through the growth and spread of the Catholic faith within the boundaries of the 20th state of the union. Papers and records in the archives date back to Spanish Colonial times in 1796 Natchez and travel forward through the establishment of the diocese in 1837, the Civil War, Reconstruction, the turn of the 19th century into the 20th, world wars, great floods, economic depression, the Civil Rights Movement, up to the present day. Items from these archives, gathered and maintained by Bishop Gerow and now continually updated by the diocesan chancellor’s office, will be scanned and offered to MDAH for its collections and the two museums project.
Constructed side-by-side on North Street in downtown Jackson, the two museums will share space including a lobby, auditorium, store, and classrooms. The complex is being designed by ECD — an architectural consortium composed of Eley Guild Hardy; Cooke Douglass Farr Lemons, Ltd.; and Dale Partners — in consultation with the Freelon Group.
Since construction began in December 2013, all interior floors have been completed. Work on the roof, limestone façade, and public parking garage will be completed in 2015. Phase two, interior construction, will last sixteen months. The Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum are scheduled to open in 2017 as the centerpiece of the state’s bicentennial celebration.
The Mississippi Legislature has committed $74 million in bond funds for construction and exhibits for the “2 Mississippi Museums.” The Legislature required a dollar-for-dollar match for the exhibits. The Foundation for Mississippi History and the Foundation for the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum committed to raising $16 million — $12 million for exhibits and $4 million for endowments for the museums. The Foundations are on track to meet that goal. MDAH will seek additional public funds in 2016 to complete the exhibits and furnish the building.
The Mississippi Development Authority’s Tourism Division estimates the two new museums will welcome approximately 180,000 visitors each year. These visitors will create a projected annual tourism impact of $17.1 million in tourism expenditures, 231 direct tourism jobs in the three-county region with an estimated $6.3 million payroll, and 92 indirect jobs with a $3.3 million payroll, contributing $1.2 million to the State General Fund. Even before the museums open, the Mississippi Development Authority estimates the employment and economic impact of construction to be approximately $50 million in total brick and mortar with 500 direct and 275 indirect jobs.
For more information on the project visit the MDAH website at

Spring Hill College announces fall masters offerings

By Tom Tehan
This fall Spring Hill College (SHC) is offering two classes as part of its extension program available here in the Diocese of Jackson, Christian Social Ethics: War and Peace, taught by Dr. Matthew Bagot and Theology of Sacrament taught by Dr. Joy Blaylock. These classes begin Sept. 7 and end Nov. 14.
Winter classes begin Nov. 16 and end Jan. 30, 2016. They are: Synoptic Gospels taught by Dr. Timothy Carmody and Eucharist taught by Dr. Steven Wilson.
SHC has changed its graduate programs in theology and ministry to new blended-format MTS, MPS and MA programs designed for adult students seeking a part-time graduate program that allows them to continue in their professional or family commitments and still pursue a deeper and more contemporary understanding of Christian faith. There are three masters degree options:   Master of Theological Studies (MTS – 33 credit hours), Master of Pastoral Studies (MPS – 33 credit hours), and Master of Arts in Theology (MA – 48 credit hours).
Spring Hill also offers a graduate certificate program – Certificate of Spiritual Direction (CSD) and an undergraduate certificate program with the option to be completed as an undergraduate bachelor degree – Certificate of Theological Studies (CTS). For more information visit or by email at or call 251-380-4665.
This fall I am registered for Christian Social Ethics. Upon completion of this class I will have a total of 27 credit hours. I plan on taking the class Eucharist in the winter to complete my requirements for the Certificate of Theological Studies. It has been a rewarding four years of study, reflection and developing of research papers. It has not always been easy and at times frustrating; however the rewards and the growing in faith have been well worth the effort. I’ve continued to work a full time job, balancing work, studies, family life and other various commitments.
This past spring I completed the course Synoptic Gospels taught by Dr. Timothy Carmody. This class will be taught again in the winter session.  Synoptic Gospels is the comparison of the gospels written by Matthew, Mark and Luke. The methods of study and comparison of these gospels as taught by Dr. Carmody has left me with a way to study and reflect on the gospels gaining insights that I would otherwise not have been exposed to.
SHC has two levels of courses. Level I classes are taught online with one in person class meeting on a Saturday in either Mobile or Atlanta. Level II courses are all online. The online experience allows students to structure their time as they have available. Typically the class format is as follows:
The instructor will assign the readings for the week and pose a couple of questions to be answered online and shared with the other students in the class. A threaded discussion will follow. The student will prepare a one page response to the reading assignment each week. A midterm six-eight page paper and a final paper will be required based on a question assigned by the instructor. This format varies with each instructor.
(Tom Tehan is a member of Starkville St. Joseph Parish.)

Deacon candidates advance in formation with retreat, rite of acceptance

By Maureen Smith
RAYMOND – The weekend of Aug. 7-9, six men preparing to be deacons for the Diocese of Jackson and their wives joined Bishop Joseph Kopacz and their chaplain Father Sam Messina at the Norbertine Priory of St. Moses the Black in Raymond for a retreat. On Sunday, all six men were admitted to candidacy for the diaconate, one of the last steps on their five-year-journey to ordination.
The retreat is an annual gathering meant to help the men build strong relationships with one another and their bishop and to take a break from the academic side of their preparation.
“The process of our formation – the academic part – can be kind of intense sometimes because we are doing the equivalent of a masters in theology along with our regular jobs and our lives and all that, so this is an opportunity for us once a year to step back from all that and settle down and remember why we are doing this and really focus on the ministry of being a deacon,” said John McGinley.
“We have an opportunity, first of all to bond as brothers and get to know each other, get to know the wives and also bond with the bishop. This is an opportunity for us to know him and him to know us. That’s really important because of the unique relationship between the diaconate and the bishop,” said John McGregor.
The group spent a week earlier this summer at St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana taking an intensive course on homiletics. “It was quite an adventure. We had one prepared homily going in and we were videotaped. It was humbling to sit down with the priest and go through our strengths and weaknesses,” said Ted Schreck.  The men had to prepare homilies for different occasions, including a funeral.  “We looked at the different styles of homiletics and such. I gained a great appreciation for what the priests and deacons do each and every day,” said Schreck.
He said while they were far from Mississippi, the course really brought home the kind of very personal work they will be doing when they preach. “We really concentrated on knowing who your audience was — so it was all about considering those that we left at home — the parishioners, our friends and family members, people we haven’t met yet,” he said.
McGinley said the trip was more than just an academic experience. “Fr. Anthony Quyet told me at the beginning of this, he said, ‘John you’re going to get a lot of information in the next five years, but information is not formation and you need to make that distinction and make sure that as you gain all this new information that you let it become part of who you are and let it change you.’
That week at St. Meinrad was a lot of information, but it was tremendous formation,” said McGinley. “I really felt like in some way I was different when I left there than when I got there. It was just as much a very intense class as it was a retreat. It was a week of tremendous growth. Yeah, just a beautiful week,” he added.
The Feast of St. Lawrence, one of the first deacons and martyrs for the church, fell on the weekend of the retreat and the bishop used it to speak about the ministry of the diaconate. He spoke of it as a ministry of service and reminded the men that even after they take the Sacrament of Holy Orders, they will have to maintain and nourish their Sacrament of marriage. They will continue to live their lives at work and in their parishes.
The candidates have talked a lot about that service during their fomation. “The idea of the diaconate does not deny the service that other people are doing. The laity are very active in our churches,” explained John McGregor. “I think John Paul II said that we are the service of the church sacramentalized. We are not the only ones serving in church, we are just a sign of that service,” he added.
All of the men were thankful that now retired Bishop Joseph Latino started them on their journey and that Bishop Kopacz continues to support them on the way.
Father Messina said he enjoys guiding the candidates because he values the ministry they are called to do. He said a man who believes he has a calling to the diaconate should have a couple of important qualities. “He must have a suitable prayer life and relationship with God. There must be a willingness and desire to serve God’s people.
“The Good Shepherd image is what’s needed; a Pope Francis model would be ideal. In short, a deacon is a servant after the mind and heart of Jesus who came to serve and not be served. The candidate will need the ability to proclaim and preach God’s Word. Finally, a Deacon or any minister lay or ordained primarily preaches by his or her life,” said Father Messina.
During the next several months the candidates will continue their formation, which will include a day of practicum on liturgical roles and movements of a deacon, especially at a Mass where the bishop is the celebrant. “Deacons have a very special role in the liturgy. When the local bishop is the celebrant, the presence of the deacon allows the bishop to be surrounded by all his ministers – servers, lectors, acolytes, deacons and priests,” said Mary Woodward, diocesan chancellor and director of liturgy.
“Our diocesan liturgies will be greatly enhanced by having deacons present in their traditional role. Therefore, we want them to have a sense of comfort and confidence in the sanctuary. This will assist in drawing the faithful even more into the sacred mysteries,” Woodward added.

Dominican Sisters of Springfield privileged to serve healthcare needs in Mississippi

By Sister M. Dorothea Sondgeroth, O.P.
The year of celebrating Consecrated Life concludes in February, 2016. This year coincides with the Dominican Sisters celebrating St. Dominic Hospital’s 70 years of Catholic healthcare ministry to the people in Mississippi.
In 1946 the Dominican Sisters from Springfield, Ill., were invited by Bishop Richard O. Gerow to come operate the Jackson Infirmary located in downtown Jackson on President Street, in walking distance from St. Peter the Apostle Cathedral. Nine Pioneer sisters answered the call to leave Illinois and journey to “mission territory” where they experienced a warm welcome from Bishop Gerow, the clergy and Mercy Sisters who offered them temporary living accommodations.
The lay folks offered a more skeptical welcome as they had never seen Dominican Sisters in white habits and from the North, at that! These women religious were ahead of their times in leadership as the sisters came equipped to minister in various departments as administrators, registered nurses, registered dietitians, registered pharmacists, purchasing agents, medical record librarians and laboratory technicians.
The old Jackson Infirmary was in deplorable condition so the sisters set out with the help of business leaders in the community to locate land for a new hospital. Having been denied a parcel of land by the state, an offer was made to the sisters to purchase 13 acres in north Jackson, a location that was isolated with no roads.
Trusting in God’s Providence, the sisters decided to purchase the land and soon St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital was built on what was to become Lakeland Drive. This “Beacon on the Hill” weathered the challenges of the 1960’s under the direction of the sisters who followed the motto, “The charity of Christ urges us on” and “God prospered the work of our hands.”
Soon St. Dominic’s expanded its services and today St. Dominic Health Services is the Parent Corporation for St. Dominic Hospital, the only Catholic hospital in the state, and six other subsidiaries. These subsidiaries include St. Catherine’s Village, Madison Health Services, St. Dominic Health Services Foundation, First Intermed Corporation, and Community Health Services – St. Dominic, Inc. which includes the Club, St. Dominic’s Community Health Clinic, New Directions for Over 55 and the Care-A- Van.
Besides the sisters ministering in healthcare, there were other Dominican Sisters privileged to serve in the Diocese of Jackson as teachers, pastoral associates and an assistant school superintendent. For the past 69 plus years more than 70 Dominican Sisters have been blessed and privileged to minister to the people of God in the Jackson diocese. Today there are seven Dominican Sisters ministering with 3,500 associates who are defined by our mission and driven by our passion to serve God in the Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi.
Consecrated Life truly is worthy of celebration!
(Sister Dorthea Sondgeroth, OP, is the associate executive director of St. Dominic Health Services Foundation)

Videos reveal darkness of abortion industry

By Bishop Joseph Kopacz
Over the past month the darkness of the abortion industry has been brought into the light of day in chilling and often gruesome detail. Videos portrayed the reality of abortion, the direct assault upon human life in the earliest stages, as well as the flippant and casual attitude of Planned Parenthood executives pricing the remains.
There are many who do not want to view this repulsive reality because it is hard to fathom the descent into barbarity that has occurred in sectors of our society, a fact that Saint Pope John Paul II called the Culture of Death more than 20 years ago in his encyclical, Veritatis Splendor. Others, in their fanatical support for Planned Parenthood refuse to see the truth, recalling the words of Jesus in the third chapter of Saint John. “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his or her deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”  (Jn. 3, 20-21)
In Catholic social justice teaching, the first of seven principles, given priority of place, is The Life and Dignity of the Human Person. This has been a long-standing commitment of the Catholic Church, and the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops teaches as follows:  “Human life is sacred and the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. This belief is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching. In our society, human life is under direct attack from abortion and euthanasia.”
People of reason and good faith should be able to come to a greater consensus that the destruction and selling of the unborn is a very brittle pillar for any claim for a moral vision of society. The “throwaway culture” so often deplored by Pope Francis, has once again raised its ugly head.
For many years as a theology teacher at the junior high level in several Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Scranton, I taught human development to our young adolescents. An essential component of the curriculum was to learn about fetal development and the development of unborn life, along with the inseparable link between sexuality, sexual behavior, and the conception of a new life. In the late 80’s through the mid 90’s I used the video, “The Miracle of Life” that revealed the beauty and complexity of human life from the moment of conception to natural birth. The words of Psalm 139 could have been the narration throughout this hour long production. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139,13) In the state of such awareness, the Psalmist responds with great joy. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (14)
This is the reverence for life that Elizabeth rejoiced over when the baby leapt for joy in her womb in the presence of the author of all creation residing in the womb of Mary. This is the reverence for life that the Planned Parenthood executives and physicians are mocking in the recent expose. We all pay a price when human life becomes a means to an end, in this case, profit and experimentation. In this light, is human trafficking so surprising, or is it merely the next phase of exploitation and profit? To complete the circle, at the end of the life cycle, euthanasia disposes of the weak and infirm. Should we be aghast, or acquiescent to the logic of the culture of death that is crippling our reverence for human life, the crown of God’s creation? It’s the web of life, and in the words of the poet, John Dunne, “never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”
As mentioned earlier, the Life and Dignity of the Human Person is the first principle of the Catholic Church’s social justice tradition. There are six other dimensions about which the Church is also passionate. We only have to look to the social justice work within our own diocese, past and present, to recognize these pro-life labors that give hope and new life to many who find life burdensome. But the intentional destruction of unborn human life can never be placed on the scales as inevitable collateral damage. The Church will continue to be a prophetic voice in our world, fighting the good fight and keeping the faith.
The unrelenting commitment of many in our Church and in our society on behalf of the pro-life cause for the unborn has not been in vain. Currently in the United States there are more than 3,000 pregnancy help centers that outnumber abortion clinics by six to one. This is a culture of life. I believe that one compelling reason for this trend is that modern technology has revealed the humanity of fetal life. From the moment of conception, human life is a complex wonder. In addition, medical advancements have rolled back viability outside the womb to under six months in some cases.
This is a crisis of conscience for many in our society, and pressure will be brought to bear to roll back the abortion industry that exploits women and their unborn life. The Catholic Church will be a strong voice towards this end. A critical part of this campaign for all of us is faithful prayer that is the fertile ground for conversion, and the inspiration for greater courage and creativity on behalf of those who have no voice. In the words of Saint Paul, “the Kingdom of Heaven is not about eating and drinking, but about justice, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14,17)

Sister Hemann announces retirement

FOREST – After 18 years of service in Morton and Forest, Sister Camilla Hemann is retiring from her ministries in music, hospice care and assistance to immigrants.
“I feel very sad to leave this place where I have grown in my faith and where I have worked with the different communities in both places,” said Sister Hemann Saturday, Aug. 15, during a special Mass at St. Michael Parish where she sang and played the organ.
“I have enjoyed my work here where I have served the Hispanic, American and Vietnamese communities,” she said, adding that her hospice ministry with African-Americans was very important to her too.
“When I came to the Diocese of Jackson, my work was with hospice ministry but I offered to help with music in case there was a need for it,” she added.
During her time in Scott County she helped families file and maintain immigration papers and accompanied them to the immigration office and on doctor’s visits. “I also wrote letters for them and helped them in any way I could.
“I see all my work in this area as a blessing,” she said. “It makes me sad leaving now, and sometimes I think that I should stay a little longer since I have the energy to continue my service but at the same time I feel it is time for me to go to my mother house in Dubuque,” she said.
Sister Hemann, a Sister of St. Francis of Dubuque, Iowa, was the director of the EXCEL Center in Morton for several years and recently has been a volunteer.
At 78, she says she is not retiring, just moving. She plans to find a new ministry when she gets to the motherhouse. In the meantime she is praying for someone to replace her in Forest and Morton.

Catholic Build, Pope Francis House to kick off in September

JACKSON – Habitat for Humanity’s Mississippi Capital Area Chapter will build two houses this year with help from the Catholic community – the annual Catholic Build house and a house dedicated to Pope Francis. The agency announced Tuesday, Aug. 11, that it had raised the needed pledges to get started on both projects. Catholic Build partners raised $80,000 for their regular house and another $40,000 for the Pope Francis House. An anonymous donor will match that.
The next step is organizing and feeding the volunteer teams who will build the houses. The project starts Saturday, Sept. 19. Two crews will work almost every Saturday from then until November 7. Crews work either a morning or afternoon shift while other volunteers feed the workers.
Habitat met with the Catholic Build partners on Aug. 11 to give them the good news about meeting the fundraising goal. “Most folks are going back to their churches this weekend to announce the build dates and recruit and sign up volunteers,” said Peggy Hampton, public relations director for Habitat in Jackson. A parish can send an entire work crew for a half-day or can offer individual volunteers to work with other parishes to fill all the crews needed.
The houses will be built on Greenview Street in South Jackson, but improvements won’t stop there. Habitat is inviting members of the community to a press event Wednesday, Sept. 16, at 11 a.m. on Greenview.
“At this gathering announcements will be made regarding plans for revitalizing this street. Because you play a part in our work, we wanted you to know about it first,” wrote Hampton in an invitation to the event. Greenview runs along St. Therese Church property and parish members have already been active in making improvements to the area. Other parishes involved in the effort include Flowood St. Paul, Gluckstadt St. Joseph, Jackson St. Richard and Holy Family, Madison St. Francis, the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle, St. Dominic Health Services and the Knights of Columbus.
The anonymous donor has offered to pay for half the cost of several houses across the nation for Habitat. The donor asks that the houses be dedicated to Pope Francis and that Habitat make an effort to involve young people in the project. The choir from Madison St. Joseph High School will be on hand for the Sept. 16 event and volunteer coordinators are working to raise awareness among young people about opportunities to help.
Those interested in volunteering to be on the Habitat Build teams should contact the Habitat coordinator at one of the participating parishes.

Eucharistic prayer over awakening world

By Father Ron Rolheiser, OMI
On the Feast of the Transfiguration in 1923, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin found himself alone at sunrise in the Ordos desert in China, watching the sun spread its orange and red light across the horizon.  He was deeply moved, humanly and religiously. What he most wanted to do in response was to celebrate Mass, to somehow consecrate the whole world to God. But he had no altar, no bread, and no wine. So he resolved to make the world itself his altar and what was happening in the world the bread and the wine for his Mass. Here, in paraphrase, is the prayer he prayed over the world, awakening to the sun that morning in China.
O God, since I have neither bread, nor wine, nor altar, I will raise myself beyond these symbols and make the whole earth my altar and on it will offer to you all the labors and sufferings of the world.
As the rising sun moves as a sheet of fire across the horizon the earth wakes, trembles, and begins its daily tasks. I will place on my paten, O God, the harvest to be won by this renewal of labor. Into my chalice I will pour all the sap which is to be pressed out this day from the earth’s fruits.  My paten and my chalice are the depths of a soul laid widely open to all the forces which in a moment will rise up from every corner of the earth and converge upon the Spirit.
Grant me, Lord, to remember and make mystically present all those whom the light is now awakening to this new day. As I call these to mind, I remember first those who have shared life with me: family, community, friends and colleagues.  And I remember as well, more vaguely but all-inclusively, the whole of humanity, living and dead, and, not least, the physical earth itself, as I stand before you, O God, as a piece of this earth, as that place where the earth opens and closes to you.
And so, O God, over every living thing which is to spring up, to grow, to flower, to ripen during this day, I say again the words: “This is my body.” And over every death-force which waits in readiness to corrode, to wither, to cut down, I speak again your words which express the supreme mystery of faith: “This is my blood.” On my paten, I hold all who will live this day in vitality, the young, the strong, the healthy, the joy-filled; and in my chalice, I hold all that will be crushed and broken today as that vitality draws its life. I offer you on this all-embracing altar everything that is in our world, everything that is rising and everything that is dying, and ask you to bless it.
And our communion with you will not be complete, will not be Christian, if, together with the gains which this new day brings, we do not also accept, in our own name and in the name of the world, those processes, hidden or manifest, of enfeeblement, of aging, and of death, which unceasingly consume the universe, to its salvation or its condemnation.  Lord, God, we deliver ourselves up with abandon to those fearful forces of dissolution which, we blindly believe, will this cause our narrow egos to be replaced by your divine presence. We gather into a single prayer both our delight in what we have and our thirst for what we lack.
Lord, lock us into the deepest depths of your heart; and then, holding us there, burn us, purify us, set us on fire, sublimate us, till we become utterly what you would have us to be, through the annihilation of all selfishness inside us. Amen.
For Teilhard this, of course, was not to be confused with the celebration of the Eucharist in a church, rather he saw it as a “prolongation” or “extension” of the Eucharist, where the Body and Blood of Christ becomes incarnate in a wider bread and wine, namely, in the entire physical world which manifests the mystery of God’s flesh shining through all that is.
Teilhard was an ordained, Roman Catholic, priest, covenanted by his ordination to celebrate Mass for the world, to place bread on a paten and wine in a chalice and offer them to God for the world. We too, all of us Christians, by our baptism, are made priests and, like Teilhard, are covenanted to offer Mass for the world, that is, to offer up on our own metaphorical patens and chalices, bread and wine for the world, in whatever form this might take on a given day. There are many ways of doing this, but you might want to try this: Some morning as the sun is lighting-up the horizon, let its red and golden fire enflame your heart and your empathy so as to make you stretch out your hands and pray Teilhard’s Eucharistic prayer over an awakening world.
(Oblate Father Ron Rolheiser, theologian, teacher and award-winning author, is President of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, TX.)

Offices team up to offer digital safety workshop

MADISON – Join Bishop Kopacz, the Diocesan Protection of Children Office, the Office of Catholic Schools and the Department of Faith Formation for a one-day internet safety workshop on Saturday, Oct. 3, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at St. Joseph High School.
In the ever-changing world of technology, education is important to us as good Catholics to be respectable and appropriate users of digital and social media. The workshop attendees include pastors, DRE/CRE’s, youth ministers, teachers, principals, lay ecclesial ministers, parents and catechists.  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) catechetical theme for the year is, “Safeguarding the Dignity of all Human Persons.”  What a better place to start than the internet.
The keynote speaker is Paul Sanfrancesco of Philadelphia, Pa. Sanfrancesco has a personal style and strong commitment to faith formation.  He is presently director of technology for the Owen J. Roberts School District in Pottstown, Pa. In addition to his keynote, the agenda will include a speaker from the State of Mississippi Attorney General Cybercrime Unit.
There is no registration fee or form. Send an email or call Annette Stevenson, 601-960-8470, to let her know how many people from your parish will attend. Lunch will be provided.

Catholic Charities’ October event to feature Father Jonathan Morris

Father Jonathan Morris, director of the Catholic Channel on Sirus XM Radio and well-known network news commentator, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Journey of Hope luncheon on Tuesday, Oct. 13, in downtown Jackson. Sponsors will also have the opportunity to speak with Father Morris at a meet and greet event the evening before.
Journey of Hope is one of the main fund-raising events for Catholic Charities, supporting the childrens’ programs. “We look forward to having Father Morris remind us at the Journey of Hope luncheon of what the Gospel of Jesus, particularly as expressed through Catholic social teaching, calls us to do to promote justice for our brothers and sisters in Christ,” said Father Ricardo Phipps, newly-appointed director of Catholic Charities.
“We affirm our own human dignity as well as the dignity of others when we respond to God’s call to help others and respond to their needs. That is what makes us a human family, that we respond to others’ needs. Father Jonathan offers a fresh perspective on reaching out to the underprivileged and underserved, a reminder that Catholic Charities and our supporters need so that we can continue to reach for even greater ways of serving,” he added.
Bryan Shaver, longtime supporter of Catholic Charities and vice president for sales at Insurance Consulting Group, Inc., invited Father Morris and is sponsoring the meet and greet. “I invited Father Jonathan because I listen to him every day on Sirius XM Radio Channel 129.  Whether it’s the resignation of the Pope or some other major story, Father Jonathan always shares where the Catholic Church stands on current events,” said Shaver.
“I find that he represents a voice of reason and faith. He is someone who can navigate the spin-doctors and help us find truth while being one of the most gracious talk radio hosts,” added Shaver.
Father Morris has more than one claim to fame. He was a theological advisor on the 2002 film “The Passion of the Christ,” and has appeared on Fox News, MSNBC and other networks where he gives a Catholic perspective on current events. He has written a number of books and serves as the assistant to Cardinal Timothy Dolan. Father Morris is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, but a diehard Michigan Wolverine fan. He lives in New York City where he serves in campus ministry at Columbia University.
“We are privileged to have Father Morris as a speaker. We look forward to his perspective on Catholic social teaching and how we reflect these teachings in our daily lives,” said Linda Raff, outgoing director of Catholic Charities.
The meet and greet event is set for Monday, Oct. 12, from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Old Capitol Inn, downtown Jackson. Tickets are $100 per person.
The Journey of Hope luncheon is the following day, Tuesday, Oct. 13, from noon – 1 p.m. at the Marriott in downtown Jackson. Organizers are looking for table captains for that event, which is free, but requires an invitation. Table captains can invite up to nine of friends to the luncheon to hear Father Morris and to learn more about Catholic Charities. Completed guest lists need to be returned to Catholic Charities by Sept. 10. They can be returned by fax to 601-960-8493 or by mail to 200 N. Congress St. Suite 100, Jackson, MS 39210. Catholic Charities will send the formal invitations needed for entry to each guest.
For additional information, contact Michael Thomas, 601-326-3714, or Julie O’Brien, 601-326-3758,