JACKSON – Nineteen adults and nine young people received the Bishop John Joseph Chanche Award for service on Saturday, Feb. 24, in the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle. Bishop Joseph Kopacz distributed the awards during a special Mass. The Chanche medals, named for the first bishop of the diocese, honor those who give of themselves to their parish or faith community. The awards are presented on the weekend closest to the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, the patronal feast for the Diocese of Jackson.
Chanche Medal honorees: serve, embrace, inspire
Eddie Adkins – Gluckstadt St. Joseph
Finance Council President, RCIA team member, Knights of Columbus, member of envisioning team for Pastoral Priorities.
“Eddie is a talented businessman, but unlike most he looks at business through the eyes of service. In our council deliberations, he speaks of justice and mercy and ‘right’ before even looking at the practical business side of things.” Pam Minninger, Lay Ecclesial Minister
Joyce Brasfield Adams – Jackson Holy Family
Director of faith formation, member of Liturgy committee, liturgical minister, Ladies’ Guild member, member of strategic planning team.
“Mrs. Adams has been influential in reforming and structuring all aspects of faith formation in the parish since 1989. She is as much a leader as she is a follower. She has participated in parish, diocesan and statewide committees and is sought-after to do so.” Father Xavier Amirtham, pastor
Virginia Brown – Pearl St. Jude
Director of Religious Education, retired; founder of Why Catholic small faith group, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd advocate, coordinator of ministry to sick and shut-ins, Cursillista.
“Ginger is very joyful about living her faith. She is definitely seen as a leader in our community, who by word and action gives testimony to our faith. She has touched many lives, especially the adults, youth and children who have known her through the faith formation programs here at the parish, as well as the many families she has touched through her visits to the sick and shut-ins.” Father Lincoln Dall, pastor
Earl Joseph Gooden – Clarksdale Immaculate Conception
Finance Council, former Catholic School teacher and member of Education Board for Catholic Schools, collection counter.
“His service has continually helped to keep Immaculate Conception alive in the community. Whether it was his time as a teacher or now contributing to the life of the parish, Earl is a key reason why African Americans have had access to adequate schooling in Clarksdale, as well as access to Jesus in the Eucharist. … He is a spiritual role model who has dedicated his life to the teachings of the church, the Blessed Mother Mary and praying the Rosary.” Father Scott Thomas, pastor
Mariland and Brian Hendley – Madison St. Francis of Assisi
Catechists, RCIA team members, ChristLife team leaders, parish religious education committee, liturgical ministers, parish sports volunteers.
“Brian and Mariland love their faith, they love their family and they love their parish. They strive to live out the church’s call to a holiness of life and though they do not brag about it, nor do they seek accolades, others can certainly see their willingness to help and their love for their family and their faith.” Father Abbeenreddy Vatti, pastor
Nancy Hoang – Amory St. Helen
Religious education coordinator, ecumenical Vacation Bible school coordinator, CYO volunteer, food pantry volunteer.
“She is deeply committed to her faith and family. She works with all ages, races and religions. I see her as a true example of a Catholic woman in the Church today. Without her giving, our Church and young people would not be the same. She is creative, loving and yet knows how to handle children and youth with a mother’s strength and love.” Sister Lael Niblick, CSA, Lay Ecclesial Minister
Maureen Irby– Natchez Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Administrative assistant at both Assumption and Woodville St. Joseph Parishes, coordinator for parish Stewpot volunteers, coordinator for direct assistance, liturgical minister.
“Approximately four years ago, Maureen Irby agreed to serve in a secretarial role for St. Joseph Parish in Woodville when no suitable person could be found. She is a self-starter and carries out her work without requiring a large amount of my time. The work at St. Joseph in Woodville would not be done without her. She has been most valuable to the pastor there. She has enabled both parishes to function and have meaningful liturgies and weekly bulletins.” Father David O’Connor, pastor
Hilton Kalusche – Vicksburg St. Michael
Parish manager, former RCIA team member, liturgical minister, pastoral council member.
“It is hard to imagine where St. Michael Parish would be without Hilton Kalusche. He could easily be called the backbone of our parish. There is rarely a day that he is not involved in some activity that will benefit our parish community. Not being one to call attention to himself, Hilton works and leads by quiet example.” Helene Benson, director of religious education
Phil Lieb – Jackson St. Richard
Finance council member, parish grounds and maintenance supervisor, parish project manager.
“On a daily basis, Mr. Lieb is a constant presence here at the parish, carefully inspecting our property, documenting issues and arranging to have those issues resolved in a timely and cost-effective manner. There is no telling how much money Mr. Lieb has saved the parish and how many conflicts he has helped us avoid with his careful oversight.” Father John Bohn, pastor
Wesley Lindsay – Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle
Liturgical minister, altar server trainer, volunteers for maintenance work, oversees logistics for events.
“Wesley is a living example of a Christian. He never meets a stranger, he always has a kind greeting for everyone. He is always willing to help on any committee, event or ministry. His life is truly a “standard” for our young adult servers, they learn respect and reverence for the Eucharistic Celebration.” Father Anthony Quyet, pastor
Geraldine Matthews – Greenwood
Immaculate Heart of Mary
Parish council member, RCIA team member, liturgical minister, sacristan, prayer leader.
“Geraldine (Gerry) Matthews is and has been a faithful Catholic laywoman all of her 92 years and a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish for over eighty years. She has been devoted to the practice of her Catholic faith, demonstrating effective leadership and motivating her fellow parishioners in the practice of their faith through prayer, her own good example of service and through catechesis. She is an excellent role model for women of faith and continues, as an elder of the parish community, to find ways of service by her presence and her good works.” Father Joachim Studwell, OFM, pastor
Mary Jean Pendleton – Shelby St. Mary
Pastoral council member, chair of liturgy committee, hospitality committee member, communication committee member, fundraising chairperson, bereavement committee chairperson.
“Mary Pendleton is the linchpin of St. Mary, Shelby pastoral team. She is the most able, unselfish, joyful, energetic, caring, faith-filled, kind, humble person I have ever met. She is willing to tackle any job, volunteering her time and resources with a smile. With a heart of gold, she cares for family, friends and others with a great sense of generosity, asking nothing in return.” Jane Letchworth, parish volunteer
Wilson Patrick Roy – Batesville St. Mary
Sacristan, liturgical minister, prayer leader, Knights of Columbus member.
“Pat Roy is one of the liturgical backbones of our parish. He is a dedicated and devoted daily Mass attendee – both at St. Mary in Batesville and the mission church St. John in Sardis. His faith runs very deep. His wealth of knowledge of the Catholic Church is immense. He is the true definition of a person who knows and lives the fact that Jesus is the best and most valuable friend a person can visit with. Pat makes daily visits with our Lord in the church outside of Mass time.” Father Pradeep Thirumalareddy, pastor
Allen and Maureen Scott – Clinton Holy Savior
Parish and finance council leadership, liturgical ministers, Habitat for Humanity volunteers.
“Allen has chaired the international Pentecost gathering recognizing the ‘many nations and peoples’ in our parish and Maureen has shared her abilities as a CPA to develop and monitor the parish budget as well as participating in programs for the diocese to plan for a new payroll system.” Father Tom McGing, pastor.
Stephen and Edine Seal – Woodville St. Joseph
Liturgical ministers, ecumenical bereavement support team members, social event coordinators.
“Both Stephen and Edine have inspired fellow parishioners with their personal faith and active presence in parish activities. These have included their sacrificial presence at bereavement ministerial outreaches to the families of deceased families of the Woodville community, both Catholic and non-Catholic alike. Also, they have been most faithful, despite numerous health appointments, in coordinating parish social functions such as the annual St. Joseph Spiritual Homecoming, both in fellowship and worship, the past ten years.” Father Scott Dugas, pastor
(Editor’s note: Stephen Seal died the weekend prior to the awards ceremony, but was granted the medal posthumously.)
Richard Warren – Natchez St. Mary Basilica
Liturgical minister, Boy Scouts of America scout master, pastoral council member, Knights of Columbus member.
“Ricky Warren is a man of vision and action. He energizes and inspires others to serve as the need arises. He is currently bringing our Family Life Commission back to life. He is pleasant to all, making many feel welcome to become a part of the parish or the organization on which he serves. His gentle, kind manner exemplify what our church is.” Father David O’Connor, pastor
Dayane Arvizu, senior – Kosciusko St. Therese
Bilingual interpreter, liturgical minister, regular volunteer.
“Dayane serves as a role model for the younger children. She lectors at both Spanish and English Masses whenever needed.. She encourages her peers to participate at Mass. Dayane brings a positive attitude to our newly formed youth group.” Father Odel Medina, ST, pastor
Madelyn Olivia Bennett, senior – Gluckstadt St. Joseph
Tutor, retreat leader, confirmation sponsor, service work volunteer, youth group leader.
“In our community, Maddie has worked to keep the excitement in our Youth Ministry program alive. She encourages others who may not yet “feel it” to find joy and fun in being a Catholic teen, as well as inspires them to learn more and dig deeper in their own faith lives.” Patti Greene, youth minister
Connor Clark, senior – Vicksburg St. Michael
Altar server, CYO member, service work volunteer, counselor at special-needs camp, retreat leader.
“Connor truly takes the gospel message to heart and strives to make the world a better place by his actions and his words. We have seen Connor put others before himself many times. In today’s self-centered, me-first world, this is a very special quality for a young man.” Helene Benson, director of religious education
Cristina Marie Craig, freshman – Brookhaven St. Francis of Assisi
Religious education volunteer teacher, service work volunteer, rosary leader, liturgical minister.
“Cristina is a loving, concerned, faithful young lady. She shows concern for her friends, enemies, and strangers alike. She cares about their well-being physically as well as spiritually. She is faithful to her church and its missions and services to others … Without Cristina many of our other youth would have drifted away. She is a rock and Christ-like example to all in our parish and community.” Ange’le Bartholomew, youth minister
Haley Fisackerly, senior – Columbus Annunciation
CYO volunteer, prayer leader, parish volunteer.
“Haley lives a very Catholic life, full of prayer, service, kindness, and humility. Her involvement in the parish has always extended beyond CYO. She leads the other teens by example, I suspect sometimes without realizing she’s leading by example. She encourages her peers, is always positive, and is always outgoing and warm. She’s faithful to Sunday Mass. She’s not shy about saying she’s Catholic at a school that is not friendly to Catholics. Lastly, she is knowledgeable about her faith, and clearly has it in her heart to have a strong relationship with her Creator.” Leslie Jones, youth minister
Trey McMullan, senior – Jackson St. Richard
Tutor, youth group leader, volunteer for religious education, service work volunteer, liturgical minister, usher, retreat leader.
“Trey’s impact on our youth group does not go unnoticed. The younger teens look to him as a role model, someone they aspire to be like. Trey’s willingness to lead small group discussions, crowd breakers, games and to jump in and play with the youth when needed is an invaluable help. Trey senses where he is needed most then quietly goes and leads by example.” Amelia Rizor, youth minister
Matthew Prater, senior – Madison St. Francis of Assisi
Youth group leader, leadership council member, retreat leader, service work volunteer, liturgical minister, Eagle Scout.
“Matt has served in so many ways over the past years, it would be almost impossible to list them all. He has assisted with children’s activities such as VBS and the Advent Fair, service projects such as the adopted family project and nursing home visits. Most importantly, Matt is always aware of those who need assistance and offers to help in many small ways, such as setting up, cleaning up, opening doors, and carrying things for others, and is not afraid of hard work or physical labor. Matt seeks out ways to serve but does not seek attention. He never expects any acknowledgement or reward for his service; and it is very clear he does so because of his love for God, for others, and for the Church.” Father Jason Johnston, associate pastor
Brooke Lee Thompson, sophomore – Jackson Christ the King
Altar server trainer, leader and volunteer, active in youth ministry and religious education.
“Brooke is a person who is strong in her faith. Even though her classmates are not Catholic she is able to be a good witness of her Catholic faith. When faced with questions about her faith, rather than give a false answer, she will take the trouble to go find the correct answer. She does not miss coming to Mass and is an active participant during the Liturgy.” Deacon Denzil Lobo, ecclesial minister
Mary Rose Wolf, junior – Pearl St. Jude
Choir member, parish leadership team member, religious education volunteer, service work volunteer
“Mary Rose serves on our parish leadership team representing the youth (this takes the place of the parish council at St. Jude). She also serves in the choir and is a very loyal member. Mary Rose is in attendance at every youth event and volunteers for all of the service activities … I would say that she stands out because she so willingly serves in a variety of activities here in our parish and does so very joyfully and willingly, drawing others into those activities.” Father Lincoln Dall, pastor
(Photos by Maureen Smith and Tereza Ma)