Sacred Heart School alum to head Sacred Heart Southern Missions

By Laura Grisham

WALLS – Priests of the Sacred Heart, Inc. dba Sacred Heart Southern Missions (SHSM), announced that Timothy Courts has been named as president and chief executive officer. Father Jack Kurps, SCJ, who has been president and CEO for 36 years, will continue on as spiritual director of the organization.

Father Jack Kurps announced his decision to step back as President and CEO to staff last Friday at a prayer service and luncheon in celebration of the 100th anniversary of ministry the Priests of the Sacred Heart in the United States.

Courts began as Sacred Heart Southern Missions president and CEO on May 1, 2023 and is uniquely qualified for his new role. He attended Sacred Heart School in Walls, Mississippi, before attending Southaven High School. Before earning a Bachelors of Business Administration, Management Information Systems at the University of Memphis in September of 1993, he worked part-time at SHSM as a maintenance helper before transferring to computer assistant in March of 1992. He rose to information systems manager in 1995, director of management information systems in 1999 and transferred to director of operations in 2003.

WALLS – Timothy Courts was named president and chief executive officer of Sacred Heart Southern Mission (SHSM) on Monday, May 1. Courts is committed to breaking the cycle of poverty, as the organization serves families across northern Mississippi. (Photo courtesy of Sacred Heart Southern Missions)

Courts resigned in 2004 and began working at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital before moving to Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare in 2007 to become the micro applications implementation manager before being promoted to director of information security. He left Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare and returned to SHSM as director of finance in February of 2015. In his role as director of finance he oversaw the finance, information system, human resources and facilities departments. He was promoted to executive director of corporate services in November of 2022.
Courts also earned a Masters of Business Administration from the Executive MBA program at the University of Memphis and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant in both Mississippi and Tennessee.
Courts said: “I am honored and humbled to have been appointed to lead Sacred Heart Southern Missions. I have been affiliated with the organization my whole life and believe in its mission and that of the Priests of the Sacred Heart. I look forward to working with the SHSM team to break the cycle of poverty, as we serve the thousands of financially struggling individuals and families across northern Mississippi who depend on us and the tens of thousands of donors across the United States who support our mission.”

Provincial Superior of the Priests of the Sacred Heart US Province Father Vien Nguyen, SCJ, said to the SHSM staff, “With the approval of the Provincial Council of the US Province and the approval of the Sacred Heart Southern Missions board of directors, I appoint Tim Courts as president and CEO of Sacred Heart Southern Missions. With this appointment, Tim will collaborate with you and with the Priests of the Sacred Heart, and the Diocese of Jackson to carry out the mission of church, the mission of the Priests of the Sacred Heart and the mission of Sacred Heart Southern Missions.”

“On behalf of the Priests of the Sacred Heart and the board of directors of Sacred Heart Southern Missions,” Father Nguyen continued, “I would also like to thank Rev. Jack Kurps’ ministry to carry on the Dehonian mission in northern Mississippi and for his love and dedication to the people and the staff.”

Father Jack became executive director of SHSM in 1987. “As I look back on 36 years of ministry here in Mississippi, there is much that has been accomplished,” he said. “Our HIV/AIDS ministry began in the early 90s when a diagnosis was a death sentence. The program continues to serve a very important need with all the stigma that is often associated with the disease. Our Dehon Village and the Dehon Learning Center provides affordable housing and adult life skill development. Our food pantry has become a major program and serves a tremendous need. Our volunteer program matches the desire of individuals to give of themselves with people who need help and our volunteer housing makes it possible for groups to come from around the country to assist others. Merging Sacred Heart League back into Sacred Heart Southern Missions removed some of the duplication of efforts and made us a stronger organization.
I will take credit for some ideas – but often my contribution was to green light the ideas and suggestions of others. SHSM is blessed with a dedicated staff. I look forward to continuing to be part of SHSM and I will assist Tim in any way he asks. With Tim, SHSM is in good hands. SHSM is in his blood.”

Since 1942, Sacred Heart Southern Missions (SHSM) with the help of generous volunteers and donors, has been helping those living in poverty experience God’s love and mercy through food, clothing, housing, education, spiritual enrichment and other assistance.

From their humble beginnings, with one priest in one church in one small town, they have grown to include six parishes, two Catholic elementary schools, eight social services offices, housing, a thrift store and food pantries serving thousands of people each year.
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