Seminarian Education Challenge offers brunches

By Maureen Smith
FLOWOOD – The Diocese of Jackson hosted the first Seminarian Education Challenge Mass and brunch at St. Paul Parish Saturday, Sept. 9. Dozens of people from the Jackson area attended to pray for diocesan seminarians and donate toward their education.
Bishop Joseph Kopacz used the feast of the day, St. Peter Claver, to speak about the priesthood and the value of evangelization.
Father José de Jesús Sánchez, vocation promoter, spoke about the importance of local vocations. “I look forward to the day when you tell me to go back to Mexico, because you don’t need me anymore,” he joked.
Father Brian Kaskie, director of seminarians and Mississippi native, spoke about his job and the challenge of educating future priests.
While the Knights of Columbus and their families served a three course gourmet brunch, Deacon Aaron Williams spoke about his vocational journey and how much the Mass has meant to him from the time he was a child. Deacon Nick Adam explained the Catholic Extension Seminarian Challenege. If the Diocese of Jackson can raise $100,000 by the end of the year, Extension will offer $25,000 in grant money to be used for seminary education.
Both deacons are set to be ordained to the priesthood next spring.
There are more brunches on the calendar for those who wish to contribute. The next, at Oxford St. John Parish is set for Saturday, Nov 4. Mass starts at 9 a.m., brunch follows.
Those who cannot attend a brunch can still donate. To RSVP or donate, please contact Pam McFarland at 601.960.8479 or email

Deacon Nick Adam, explained how the money donated will go farther thanks to a Catholic Extension grant.

Deacon Aaron Williams, talked about growing up at the Cathedral of St. Peter.

Melisa Muñoz, administrator of the Office of Vocations, reads at the Mass before the Seminarian Education Challenge Brunch at St. Paul Parish, Saturday, Sept. 9. (Photo by Rhonda Bowden)

Bishop Joseph Kopacz celebrated the Mass for the Seminarian Education Challenge Brunch, speaking about St. Peter Claver on his feast day. St. Paul pastor Father Gerry Hurley, at left, concelebrated. Deacons Nick Adam and Aaron Williams assisted. (Photo by Rhonda Bowden)

St. Paul Parish pulled out all the stops for the event, offering a three-course brunch to go with Mass and presentations. (Photo by Maureen Smith)

Father Brian Kaskie, above, pastor of McComb St. Alphonsus Parish, spoke about his role as director of seminarians.