Bishop Chanche Medal 2023

JACKSON – When Bishop John Joseph Chanche arrived in the newly formed Diocese of Natchez in May of 1841, there were no Catholic Churches, only a couple of missionary priests, and his flock was far flung. He rose to the challenge and laid the foundation for the Diocese of Jackson. The diocese honors his legacy and thanks those who continue to build on his foundation with the Bishop Chanche medal for service.
This year, Bishop Joseph Kopacz gave 40 adults their awards on Saturday, March 4, at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle. The brief descriptions on these pages come from the Bishop Chanche Award nomination forms and offer a glimpse into the men and women who serve the church today.

DOROTHY ASHLEY – Holy Ghost, Jackson
Dorothy volunteers and spend her valuable time to make sure every responsibilities given to her at the parish is carried out and done smoothly. She is so well-respected that many of our parishioners have her serve as godparent to their children. – Father Nick Hien Nguyen, SVD

PAUL BROWN – Immaculate Heart of Mary, Greenwood
Paul has been our music director and organist since 2013, converting to Catholicism in 2016. He has done an amazing job organizing our choir and several concerts. He is always willing to volunteer his time and expertise for the good of the church.
Paul has such a cheerful and warm personality. He is a registered nurse, so he has compassion for others. He is always willing to help our parish and parishioners with anything they may come to him with. He is multi talented and he uses those talents to better lives of people around him. – Father Andrew Nguyen

ANGELA CANIZARO – St. Paul, Vicksburg
Angela has been a faithful volunteer for decades in the church. Though she just turned 89, she continues to be involved in numerous ministries in the parish. She sets up for daily Mass at 7 a.m. each day, is responsible for the upkeep for many things around the altar, acts as lector in the church, has been a member in past on parish council and renovation projects, and still volunteers to bring communion to the home bound as well as the parish meals on wheels program. She never sees herself as “too old” for any ministry. – Father Rusty Vincent

Wendell and Betty Cox – Holy Savior, Clinton
Wendell and Betty have contributed in so many different ways to the life of Holy Savior parish over the past 50 years, especially in the areas of music and religious education. They are always very welcoming and exemplify the spirit of the new evangelization in the church, always bringing the message of Christ’s Good News to others through their words and actions. They open their home up to small groups and invite parishioners over for holiday celebrations when they have nowhere else to go. They live out their faith in a very joyful spirit and have touched many different lives here at our parish. – Father Lincoln Dall

Kathleen Feyen – Christ the King, Jackson
Kathleen is a true witness of the Catholic faith in and outside the church. She is always willing to help in any circumstance, even if it is inconvenient. She is always smiling as she does the task ahead of her. She happily welcomes visitors. She keeps us with the lives of parishioners especially those who are sick or home bound. She is an invaluable resource to Christ the King and to the church at large. – Deacon Denzil Lobo

Baldemar Temaj Garcia – St. Anne, Carthage
For more than twenty years, Baldemar has served in our community, especially among the Guatemalan community. He has participated in almost all liturgical ministries, but above all in the social part of the community helping and organizing together with the priest any way to highlight the dignity of people as children of God. – Father Marco A. Sánchez, S.T.

Paul and Brenda Griffin – Sacred Heart, Camden
Paul and Brenda are true leaders in both the church and civic community. They initiate activities, events and programs to build up this community. As a married couple they support one another in all endeavors. They are able to see the needs in the community that they both grew up in and implement action to address them. – Father Guy Wilson, S.T.

Patricia Lorena Tejeda Ibarra Cruz – St. Mary, Batesville
Patricia’s beautiful personality is what has helped our Hispanic Community grow. She does everything she possibly can for our parish and is a real example of actions speak louder than words. She encourages all the children of families she knows to attend Sunday School and Mass. She has been asked to be a godmother and Confirmation sponsor numerous times. – Father Pradeep Thirumalareddy

Glenn and Christine Ingracia – St. James, Magnolia
Glenn and Christine are a devoted Catholic family, always taking care of others. They are truly an inspiration to all in their service to others. It is a blessing to see how they invite others to join with them to serve vibrantly in our community. – Father Suresh Thirumalareddy

Sheri Krause – St. Francis of Assisi, Madison
Sheri has been a faithful servant and founding member of St. Francis since 1984. The many ways she has been involved in in the parish cannot be counted. Sheri has been hospitality minister and greeter at the doors of our church since joining St. Francis. Her assistance alongside the Knights of Columbus at all their events and with parish functions has been constant. However, Sheri’s most endearing quality is her humility. She insists on staying in the background and out of the spotlight. She has worked at setting up, tending to, decorating, publicizing, cooking, serving others, and cleaning up at nearly every parish event since the beginning of St. Francis, yet she has never been formally acknowledged or honored, except when the KC’s named her their “KC Angel” with a t-shirt! – Father Albeenready Vatti

MICHAEL LEE – St. Michael, Vicksburg
Mike evangelizes his faith by the way he lives inside and outside of church. He takes his role as sacristan very seriously and is reliable and consistent in being present as needed to fulfill this role. Mike is always available during Mass as well as outside of Mass times to assist with any need in the church, ranging from assisting with altar servers to setting the altar or cleaning as needed. His compassion and care for others is a true example of Christian faith. – Father Robert Dore

Jaime and Herlinda Martinez – St. Martin Mission, Hazlehurst
Jaime and Herlinda are instrumental in getting the Hispanic population motivated to be a part of the church, rather than just attending Mass. They are always encouraging the people to be involved in church activities. They are always available to help with translations when needed. They both assist in educating the Hispanic people on every aspect of the Mass. They are always in attendance at weddings and Mass. Herlinda teaches classes for marriage and baptism. – Janice Stansell

Linda and Vince McGrath – St. Joseph Catholic Church, Starkville
Linda and Vince exhibit a quiet leadership. They live out their vocation to marriage together. They keep up with people in the parish community and in the wider community, they pray for them and they witness their faith to them. Together they have a heart for God’s people and display a great concern, especially for those who need prayer in any way. – Father Jason Johnston

Ed Nalker – Immaculate Conception, Raymond
Ed is the heart and soul of this parish, being the first to get there on Sunday mornings and making sure everything is in place for the parish to function. He lives out his faith in his words and his actions. Ed always has a kind word for everyone at the parish and makes sure they feel welcome.
Immaculate Conception in Raymond is a flourishing small parish that still has a strong sense of mission and identity mainly through Ed Nalker’s love and leadership in this parish. He has really made a difference here as a spiritual leader. As the pastor, I appreciate all he does and know that it makes a big difference in our parish community. – Father Lincoln Dall

Margot Orman – St. James the Less, Corinth
Margot has been in almost every ministry in the parish with love and service for our community. She is a testimony of faith, love and service in our parish. She is like the tresure of the field, our pearl of great value. – Father Mario Solorzano

Myrtle Jean Otto – Holy Child Jesus, Canton
Myrtle has been a dedicated and generous member her whole life. She has especially put her magnificent voice at the service of the parish and the wider community. She was trained by Sister Thea Bowman in what makes for good liturgy. Good Gospel music is very important in the black community. Each Sunday, her properly prepared music adds so much to the celebration. Her voice helps one to be in the presence of the Lord immediately. – Father Guy Wilson, S.T.

Randall Scott Owen and Kasey Lane Owen – St. Patrick, Meridian
This young couple take God seriously and live out their catholic life in an exemplary way. They have five children and have committed their lives to serve God in all ways possible. I can proudly point them out say that they are the best examples of Christian faith. How ever busy they are, they will have time for church and God. – Father Augustine Palimattam Poulose

Marcia Prosen – Holy Cross, Philadelphia
Marcia is a Catholic in her words and actions, serving our parish community over 18 years. She makes a huge difference in our parish and is a true companion to the poor, in addition to all in our parish community. – Father Darnis Selvanayakam

Josephine Pradia Rhymes – Immaculate Conception, Clarksdale
Being a cradle Catholic, Josephine has been exposed to the faith her entire life and it shows through her daily life and the positive impact she has on both youth and adults within the parish, the community and on the numerous committee and projects she chairs. She is definitely a standout member of the parish because she can readily make assessments that are necessary for a viable and functional parish. – Father Raju Macherla

SAMUEL RUST – St. Joseph, Gluckstadt
As a young adult, Samuel has shown exemplary service to the parish and on the diocesan level in evangelization, faith formation and service. He is a member and officer in the Knights of Columbus council, a youth ministry volunteer and catechist, and he acts as an altar server as needed. Samuel is truly committed to his Catholic faith. He exemplifies his commitment not only in the ministries he serves, but in all aspects of his work, social and prayer life. – Father Matthew Price Simmons

Sam and Jamie Sample – St. Thomas the Apostle, Lexington
Sam and Jamie have been lovingly dedicated to the people of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Lexington. They have invested their personal resources of time, talent and treasure. They animate the congregation and work together as a team to build up the small parish community. Sam serves as coordinator and oversees the temporal affairs of the church, such as, making sure that both the parish church and the parish hall (former rectory) are in good shape and are safe for the people. Jamie serves as music minister and is diligent in selecting, practicing and executing the music that is selected (she plays the guitar). They undertake this work with great love and care. – Father Joachim Studwell, OFM

Marilyn Scott – St. Therese, Kosciusko
Marilyn is a person committed to living her faith. A true example to her family and to the community. She has inspired our small community to live out our faith and welcome the migrant community. – Father Marco A. Sánchez, S.T.

Frank John and Rayetta Serio – St. Joseph, Greenville
Without their leadership, Saint Vincent would not be where it is today. At our parish school, they serve on the school board, drive kids to games, provide meals to players and cheerleaders. When our church needs anything, whether it be our youth or anyone, they are hands on and helping. They take in every new priest and seminarian like he is their own. – Father Jose Sánchez

Louis and Carolyn Shipp – St. Mary, Yazoo City
Louis and Carolyn are a model couple for Catholic life in Yazoo City. On the religious side, they serve as greeters, altar servers, lectors, religious instructors for children and adults RCIA Coordinators. On the charity side, both are very generous to help anybody in need. They volunteer to work in the Manna house to provide free meals for the needy. Their lives are exemplary as people see them involved in church activities regularly. – Father Panneer Selvam Arockiam

Andy and Gail Spinnato – St. Alphonsus, McComb
Andy and Gail are very devoted in their faith, word and deed. They are truly charitable in giving of their time, talent and treasure to the church. They are an inspiration to all – young and old. – Father Suresh Thirumalareddy

Irene Stark – St. Peter, Grenada
Irene is such a hard worker for our church and community. At our parish, she is a lector and Extraordinary Minister of Communion. Irene also takes care of liturgical preparations and our food pantry. Over the past 25 years she has been a vital part of our community. – Father Arokia Savio

Maria Tackett – Immaculate Heart of Mary, Houston
Maria is an advocate for all people in need, especially Hispanics, connecting them with different resources. She is the first Hispanic person who came to the church in Houston, in 1976. Her service at the parish and to the community are exemplary. She truly lives out one of St. Francis of Assi’s quotes: “In all time, preach the Gospel, and if it is necessary, use words.” – Danna Johnson, LEM

Olinsser and Nadya Villafranca – St. Jude, Pearl
Olinsser and Nadya are very active in service to the Hispanic community at St. Jude. Without their language skills and willingness to work as interpreters, as leaders at parents meetings, and as sacristans and community leaders at Mass, we would not be able to adequately communicate and minister to the that community. Their time and talents are freely given for the good of the Hispanic community without any renumeration. – Deacon John McGregor

Frank W. Washington – St. Joseph, Meridian
Mr. Washington is the ‘go to person’ in any circumstances. Willing to do anything for the people of God and church. He is very generous with his time and talent, serving as a link between St. Joseph and St. Patrick parishes. – Father Augustine Palimattam Poulose