Bowden hired as office manager for diocese tribunal office

By Joanna Puddister King
JACKSON – Rhonda Bowden is a name that may ring a bell to some around the diocese. In 2008, she began working at St. Jude parish in Pearl as the coordinator for liturgy and pastoral care; and her son Deacon Andrew Bowden is set to be ordained for the priesthood this summer.

Bowden says that the 13 years she spent at St. Jude was such a blessing, as she walked with families through the loss of loved ones, assisted couples planning weddings, coordinated weekend and special liturgies, helped parishioners in need and worked with RCIA participants.

Rhonda Bowden

However, the sudden loss of her dear friend and St. Jude’s faith formation director, Stacy Wolf left Bowden grief-stricken and feeling that she had lost her passion for ministry. She felt that a change was needed when God put the position for a tribunal office manager for the Diocese of Jackson in front of her.

“Despite the many twists and turns, God has proven again that His plan for me is much better than anything I could possibly dream up,” said Bowden.

“The job description was an interesting amalgamation of skills and knowledge that I had gained through my past work and ministry experience – accurate record keeping, confidentiality, good communication and organization,” said Bowden. “It tied together my interest in law (cannon versus civil), gave me an opportunity to help others with the healing that often comes with the annulment process and challenged me to learn something new.”

Bowden takes the place of long-time diocese employee, Fabvienen Taylor, who retired at the end of December 2021. “She has been so helpful in teaching me about the work of the office,” said Bowden.

After joining the tribunal office in January, Bowden says that she looks forward to working with judicial vicar, Father Jeffery Waldrep, to streamline procedures to make it easier for those seeking an annulment from the church.

“I hope that we can maintain good communication with the priests that act as advocates and offer educational information for the laity for a better understanding of the entire process.”

Bowden is married to her husband, Mark, who owns Bowden Technical Services and is set to be ordained in July to the permanent diaconate; her son, Andrew is to be ordained to the priesthood in May; and her daughter, Laura, teaches special ed at Pearl High School.