By Elsa Baughman
JACKSON – Msgr. Elvin Sunds, pastor of St. Therese Parish, celebrated his 45 years of ordination to the priesthood with a Mass of Thanksgiving on Sunday, Nov. 11. See photos from this event in this month’s Mississippi Catolico and online at mississippicatholic.com. Msgr. Sunds said during all these years he has been blessed by countless people in each of the 11 parishes where we has served as pastor or associate pastor, including Biloxi Sacred Heart Parish, 1973-75, right after being ordained in 1973.
During his homily he compared his years of priesthood with an adventure he had years ago while hiking with a friend in a national park where they were a bit disoriented at times with all the twists and turns they encountered before reaching the top of the mountain and observing that marvelous view.
“A day like this and celebrating this anniversary is like being at the top of that mountain and looking back and seeing all the twists and turns in my life,” he said. “Yes, I can see where the Lord was leading me. Yes, it was worth it. And yes, at times I had doubts. But I know the Lord was leading me in the right path,” he added.
A boy from Iowa, who jokingly said after all these years in Mississippi he is still working in his southern accent.
He came to Mississippi in 1967, invited by Michael Raff, who asked him to come and see life in this state which was in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement. “I saw what the Catholic Church was doing to help, making a difference, and how the priests were really involved in the community and I said to myself, ‘that is why the Lord is calling me here,”’ he said.
So he stayed in the Diocese of Jackson during his last year of college and then continued his studies in the seminary and was ordained August 5, 1973.
At Catholic Charities he served as associate director in 1975; as acting director from 1978-79 and director from 1979-1994.
He served as Vicar General/Chancellor and Moderator of the Curia in Jackson from 2005-2015.
He feels honored and gives thanks to have served with four bishops, Bishop Joseph Brunini, who ordained him; and Bishops William Houck, Joseph Latino and Joseph Kopacz.