Parish calendar of events

SPIRITUAL ENRICHMENT
CHATAWA St. Mary of the Pines Retreat Center, Theology of the Body, a Retreat Focusing on Women, Thursday, Sept. 26, supper until Sunday, Sept. 29, lunch. Theology of the Body was written by St. Pope John Paul II and is an in-depth study of the human person. Focuses on the meaning of being women, ways of relating to men. Presenters: Becky Clements and Paula Hunter, from Southwest Louisiana. They are both experienced, certified retreat directors and leaders of groups in their Catholic Church communities. Suggested donation: $250 (private room) or $200 (shared room) Details: Sister Sue Von Bank (601) 783-0801 or retreatcenter@ssndcp.org.
GREENWOOD Locus Benedictus Retreat Center will host a Training Session for those in prayer ministry. The Retreat will be held Sept. 20-22. Presenters are Dr. Sheryl Jones and Joyce Pellegrin who have led prayer teams for many years. Cost: $100 which includes registration and meals. Details: Magdalene Abraham at (662) 299-1232.
Locus Benedictus Retreat Center offers Peer Companioning sessions for caregivers. If you are a caregiver and would like to meet with those who are experiencing a similar journey to ask questions, express concerns, or for prayer, call for an appointment. There is no cost. In addition, there is a Caregiver support group which meets Thursdays at 10 a.m. Details: Magdalene Abraham (663) 299-1232.
NEW ORLEANS, La. Our Lady of the Cenacle Retreat Center, New Testament Women as Role Models of Faith, Oct. 25-27. This retreat is intended to put retreatants in touch with New Testament women so that they may find opportunities to grow in faith. Presenter: Rev. Glenn LeCompte. Cost: $350 actual cost; $250 minimum offering. Details: Susan Halligan, shalligan@arch-no.org or (866) 937-9170.


PARISH, SCHOOL AND FAMILY EVENTS
BROOKHAVEN St. Francis, Genesis to Jesus Bible Study Fridays at 8 a.m. or Saturdays at 5 p.m. in the library. Details: Becky Corkern at (601) 757-5526 or Emily Phillips at (601) 757-0579.
GLUCKSTADT St. Joseph, Germanfest 2019, Sunday, Sept. 29, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The family-oriented event features German food and authentic German Folk music provided by the band, Polkameisters from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Advance meal tickets are $6 and meals the day of the festival will be $7. Details: church office (601) 856-2054.
HERNANDO Holy Spirit, Fall Fish Fry, Friday, Oct. 4 from 4-8 p.m. Adults $10/children $5. Proceeds go to support three charities that they help each year. Details: Sal Galtelli (662) 429-5071.
LELAND St. James, Parish Fair, Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 5 p.m. Volunteers are greatly appreciated. Details: church office (662) 686-7352.
NATCHEZ St. Mary Basilica, ChristLife Catholic Ministry for Evangelization, Sundays from 5:30-7:40 p.m. (starting with dinner) on Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27 and Nov. 3, 17, 24. A retreat day will be held after the fifth session on Saturday, Nov. 9. Sessions will be held at the O’Connor Family Life Center in the main hall. Babysitting provided. Details: church office (601) 445-5616.
SOUTHAVEN Christ the King, National Prayer Event, Let’s Life Chain America, Sunday, Oct. 6 2-3 p.m. Life Chain is not political or confrontational. Life Chain a silent prayer vigil to communicate opposition to abortion. Details: Barbara Dean (901) 486-6470 or Mary Ann (662) 429-7851 or (662) 429-0501.

BROOKHAVEN St. Francis, Genesis to Jesus Bible Study Fridays at 8 a.m. or Saturdays at 5 p.m. in the library. Details: Becky Corkern at (601) 757-5526 or Emily Phillips at (601) 757-0579.
GLUCKSTADT St. Joseph, Germanfest 2019, Sunday, Sept. 29, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The family-oriented event features German food and authentic German Folk music provided by the band, Polkameisters from Tulsa, Oklahoma. Advance meal tickets are $6 and meals the day of the festival will be $7. Details: church office (601) 856-2054.
HERNANDO Holy Spirit, Fall Fish Fry, Friday, Oct. 4 from 4-8 p.m. Adults $10/children $5. Proceeds go to support three charities that they help each year. Details: Sal Galtelli (662) 429-5071.
LELAND St. James, Parish Fair, Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 5 p.m. Volunteers are greatly appreciated. Details: church office (662) 686-7352.
NATCHEZ St. Mary Basilica, ChristLife Catholic Ministry for Evangelization, Sundays from 5:30-7:40 p.m. (starting with dinner) on Oct. 6, 13, 20, 27 and Nov. 3, 17, 24. A retreat day will be held after the fifth session on Saturday, Nov. 9. Sessions will be held at the O’Connor Family Life Center in the main hall. Babysitting provided. Details: church office (601) 445-5616.
SOUTHAVEN Christ the King, National Prayer Event, Let’s Life Chain America, Sunday, Oct. 6 2-3 p.m. Life Chain is not political or confrontational. Life Chain a silent prayer vigil to communicate opposition to abortion. Details: Barbara Dean (901) 486-6470 or Mary Ann (662) 429-7851 or (662) 429-0501.

YOUTH BRIEFS
HERNANDO Holy Spirit, Fall Fish Fry, Friday, Oct. 4 from 4-8 p.m. Adults $10/children $5. Proceeds go to support three charities that they help each year. Details: Sal Galtelli (662) 429-5071.
FLOWOOD St. Paul, Big Deal Youth Group, ages 7th thru 12th grades, meet Wednesday evenings @ 6 p.m. Details: church office (601) 992-9547.
GREENWOOD St. Francis School, Draw-Down, Friday, Oct. 4, in the School Cafeteria, beginning at 6 p.m. There will be a Silent Auction and refreshments available. Tickets are $50 each and can be purchased at the School and Parish Offices. The Grand Prize is $5,000. The prize for the 450th ticket will be for the Green Bay versus Carolina Panthers football game on Sunday, Nov. 10 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Details: school office (662) 453-9511.
St. Francis School, Fall Festival & Drawdown, Saturday, Oct. 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the school grounds. Details: school office (662) 453-9511.
HERNANDO Holy Spirit, Wednesday nights “Open Gym” for 6-12 graders in the Family Life Center from 5:50–6:30 p.m. Make plans to come and enjoy the food, fun and games. Details: (662) 429-7851.
JACKSON St. Richard Special Kids Day, Thursday, Oct. 3 at Deerfield Golf Club, Canton. You can help support them by putting with a purpose, donating your time as a volunteer, making a cash donation or donating an item for a door prize. Your support helps provide weekly groceries for their Friday Feast cooking lessons, plus textbooks and other vital materials for the classroom that fit each student’s individualized lesson plans, in addition to many other things. Details: Shannon Garner at (601) 366-2335 or garner@saintrichard.com.

Vocation

Answering the Call

Father Nick Adam

This summer Bishop Kopacz gave me the exciting assignment of Vocation Director for the Diocese of Jackson. The perennial question for anyone in vocation work is: how do we get more young people into seminaries and houses of religious formation? The answer is simple, but the execution is difficult. We must create a culture of religious vocations in our diocese. Following the call of our pastoral plan to Inspire Disciples, we priests must be on the front lines of showing our young people the joy that comes from dedicating your life to the Lord.
I, along with Director of Seminarians Father Aaron Williams, have been working this summer to make discernment of vocations more “normal.” For too long many Catholics have seen the call to discern as reserved for one or maybe two young people in our communities, when really all people should discern what state of life God is calling them to until they come to moral certitude that they are called to a given state. Most people are called to married life, but many people being asked by the Lord to consider priesthood or religious life.
The Office of Vocations has undergone a facelift that we hope will make discernment less mysterious and more accessible to the People of God. We have created a new website, www.jacksonpriests.com, to help young men more easily connect with us as they discern their vocation. This site also has information regarding women’s religious life, along with resources for various stages of religious discernment. In each issue of Mississippi Catholic, I will be providing information regarding events for young men and women sponsored by our office, as well as other opportunities to support vocations. I will also be providing my vocation promotion schedule in each issue. I invite you to email vocations@jacksondiocese.org if you want me to come to speak to your parish, youth group, high school, elementary school, etc. This is what I am here for, this is what my mission is.
On Labor Day our five seminarians joined Bishop Kopacz for Mass at St. Peter’s and an informal dinner at his residence. It is a joy to watch these young men progress in their relationship with the Lord and with His Church. Please pray for the Lord of the Harvest to call more young people into His vineyard and pray that young men and women have the courage and the support they need to answer that call.
Father Nick Adam

September Vocation Events

Wednesday, Sept. 18 – “Good Cheer” Oxford, gathering with Catholic men and women at Ole Miss.
Thursday – Saturday, Sept. 26-28 – “Nun-Run,” visiting several houses of women religious in South Louisiana.

JACKSON –(l-r) Father Aaron Williams, Deacon Cesar Sánchez, Wesley Lindsay, Father Mark Shoffner, seminarians Ryan Stoer and Carlisle Beggerly line up for procession before Mass at St. Peter Cathedral on Sunday, Sept. 1. (Photo by Berta Mexidor)
IRVING, Texas – On Aug. 12, Tristan Stovall, a young man from Philadelphia, Mississippi, entered the novitiate for the Dominican Province of St. Marin de Porres at the Priory of St. Albert the Great. The above photo is from the vestition ceremony where Stovall received the Dominican habit and took the name Brother John. (Photo courtesy of Father Aaron Williams)
JACKSON – Sister María Josefa García Alvarez, MGSpS is welcomed as the new pastoral associate at St. Therese parish on Saturday Aug. 11. Sister Josefa is a part of the Guadalupanas Missionaries of the Holy Spirit (Misioneras Guadalupanas del Espíritu Santo). The Guadalupanas Missionaries have been in Mississippi for 16 years. Sister Josefa arrived to Jackson in 2014 from the Diocese of Birmingham, Ala. Since then, she has served in Forest and as one of the coordinators of the diocesan office of Hispanic Ministry. Sister Josefa will continue serving as one of the spiritual advisers of the Christian Family Movement (Movimiento Familiar Cristiano) along with Brother Ted Daush, Father Juan Chavajay and Father Odel Medina. (l-r) Veronica Womack and Gail Clark talk with Sister Josefina Garcia during a gathering to welcome her to St. Therese parish. (Photo by Elsa Baughman)

Contact the Office of Vocations if interested – vocations@jacksondiocese.org

Visiting priest brings healing and liberation to area Hispanics

By Berta Mexidor
JACKSON – Father Dirk Kranz of the Diocese of Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico, spent three days with Hispanic families here in the Diocese of Jackson, which helped to help bring about healing and hope to those in the wake of recent immigration raids, that left many in crisis and grieving the possible separation of loved ones.
Father Kranz, better known in the Hispanic world as Father Padre Teodoro (or Padre Teo for short), is a much-sought-after speaker, evangelist and director of San Miguel Arcángel Foundation for Healing and Liberation, an apostolate of volunteer lay and professionals dedicated to ministering to both individuals and families.
The “Luz y Vida” Prayer Group of Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle in Jackson headed up by Orlando Marín and Ivan Varela extended the invitation to Father Teo, who visited Aug. 16-18 at various locations and venues. He was accompanied by Susana Godoy, a recognized therapist, who is a volunteer with the San Miguel Arcángel Foundation and a specialist, who provides therapy to support people facing day-to-day challenges.
Father Teo’s visit included meetings with diocesan leaders at the chancery and his programs included dynamic talks, question and answer sessions, prayers, Masses and anecdotes entertaining and inspiring all.
The presence of Father Teo was highly anticipated in the diocese and beyond as word spread of his arrival. According to the website Catoliscopio, Father Teo is one of 10 most popular Spanish priests, who make the most “noise” on social networks.
Father Teo, who has a doctoral of theology and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, speaks five different languages. He has faithful followers on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. On Facebook alone, he has over 400,000 followers, a testimony of his popularity and ministry of spiritual healing and liberation, apparently much desired by souls of all ages and walks of life.


Father Teo spent much time in the diocese at St. Jude Parish in Pearl. Father Lincoln Dall, St. Jude pastor and vicar general of the Diocese of Jackson, welcomed him on behalf of the diocese. As part of the day, Father Teodoro and Father Dall concelebrated Mass.
Aug. 17, Father Teo led a healing retreat with prayer at Richland Community Center in Richland. Hundreds of Hispanic Catholics from the diocese and various states turned out to participate after word spread about his visit.
Special guest on hand was Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity Father Roberto Mena. A native of Guatemala and radio host on Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) Spanish radio, Father Mena is commissioned by Pope Francis and wears the title “Missionary of Mercy.” In total, 1,000 priests from around the world are blessed with the honor and the duty to go out among the people delivering the message of God’s love and mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
During the conference, Father Mena was there offering the Sacrament of Reconciliation to all those who wanted to meet Christ and experience his forgiveness and peace in the confessional. The lines were long with people of all ages.
Father Teo’s visit concluded on Aug. 18 with time spent at the Cathedral of St. Peter. The priest’s whirl-wind visit was short, but apparently, he touched many hearts and brought spiritual healing and peace to many souls.

(Conferences, Mississippi Catholic’s interview and Q&A sessions will be available, in Spanish, on YouTube and Facebook of “Padre Teodoro”)

St. Mary Natchez youth reflections on summer service trip

Reflection By Anna Simmons
Before this year, I had never been on a plane, let alone by myself to a new place without my parents. To say I was nervous to attend Catholic Heart Work Camp (CHWC) was an understatement. Doing new things like this were way out of my comfort zone.
I had no idea what to expect and so many questions. Would the people I would be helping be friendly? Would I really be making an impact? Would I be able to connect with God in the ways I prayed for in all the days leading up to the trip? The answer was a powerful, resounding yes.
Our work in St. Croix consisted of scraping paint, priming and giving an old building a fresh coat of paint. The work was challenging but seeing the looks of pure gratitude and joy on the faces of those who would use it in the future made it worth it. Many of the locals I talked to expressed how much the hurricane shelter meant to them as only two years before Hurricane Maria destroyed the island. It left many devastated and hundreds of people were still trying to recover when we got there almost two years later! To know that helping convert a once unused building into something with a purpose made the work go by very quickly. I wish we could have stayed longer to help even more.
Groups at the camp visited neighborhoods that were still desperately trying to receive help to get over the damage caused to their homes. We were led by Freddie, a maintenance man from the church, who informed us that many of the people we were serving had only just received running water. Many of the homes had tarps for roofs and no air conditioning. Despite this, each home had gorgeous flowers and the residents greeted us with smiling faces and open arms. Needless to say, being able to interact with such a wonderful group of people left everyone with a smile and a much gratitude for what they had at home in their hearts when they left.
In the time when we were not working, we spent time in prayer at a beautiful church, making new friends from around the country and giving glory to God through small acts of kindness within group meetings and mealtimes.
The CHWC experience was inspiring and impactful to everyone. We could all agree that the week taught us patience in waiting on good things to come and to thank God for the things we take for granted. I will never forget my first CHWC trip and the people of St. Croix. The week brought me closer to God and closer to my youth group for which I am truly grateful.

(Anna Simmons is a sophomore at Cathedral High School in Natchez. She is a member of the Emerald Tide dance team, St. Mary’s CYO and volunteers in her spare time.)

Reflection By Parker Murray
My journey with Catholic Heart Work Camp (CHWC) started three years ago when my best friend, Fisher Iseminger, returned from her first CHWC and told me I needed to come on the next trip. I have attended every summer since then.
The camps are a blast; they are filled with fun activities, fun counselors and meaningful Bible lessons. But my favorite part of CHWC is the aspect of service to others. This year for CHWC, we went to St. Croix, Virgin Islands and stayed at a small school, called St. Mary’s.
While in St. Croix, our group worked at three different places. The first was a dilapidated school named St. Dunstan. We scraped and painted the outside of the school and power washed the concrete. The second place we served was a Catholic Church to paint some colorful murals. The third place we aided was a home for the disabled. Our group painted the living room and were able to meet some truly inspiring people there. Because of our large group we were able to get much needed work done very quickly at all of the work sites. This was such an amazing feeling.
After we finished working for the day, we were able to enjoy some free time. Our group of boys went down to the beach and downtown to look around and see what daily living was like. When we did not have enough time to go to the beach or get downtown, we played football and basketball with the other campers from around the U.S.
CHWH has helped me learn more about my faith, while helping others and meeting new people. I plan to continue going to CHWC for as long as I am able and, God willing, be a chaperone for my own children one day. But for now, I am looking forward to finding out where we are going next year!

(Parker Murray is a senior at Cathedral High School in Natchez. He is a member of the Greenwave football team and member of St. Mary’s CYO.)

Youth news

Back to school Masses

GREENWOOD – St. Francis of Assisi School celebrated the feast of the Assumption of the Bless Virgin Mary and the beginning of a new school year at Mass on Aug. 15. Father Cam Janas, OFM presided at the liturgy and delivered the homily with a play, in which the fifth and sixth graders took part. The question asked was “what was it like when Mary entered heaven?” (Photos courtesy of Cherrie Criss)

NATCHEZ – Cathedral school first grader Annie Maxwell and senior Olivia Waycaster walking in to the traditional Opening School Mass at St. Mary Basilica (Photos by Cara Moody Serio)

GREENVILLE – Father Tom Mullaly during the Mass of the Holy Spirit with Bishop Kopacz at St. Joseph school. (Photos by Nikki Thompson )

MADISON – St. Joseph school during the Mass of the Holy Spirit on Thursday, Aug. 29. (Photos by Terry Cassreino)

Students dash into new school year

VICKSBURG – (Above) Fifth grade students are ready to R U N at Vicksburg Catholic School’s third annual Flash Dash! (Photo by Lindsey Bradley)

Welcome freshman

NATCHEZ – On Aug. 18, 10-12 graders gathered at 6 a.m. in front of the St. Mary Basilica Family Life Center for the annual “Freshman Welcome” or “Initiation” of freshman members into the Youth group. Members load up in a bus to travel to the homes of the new freshmen to surprise them and pick them up for a special pancake breakfast prepared by parents at the Family Life Center. The seniors tie-dye special shirts for the new youth group members to wear to the breakfast after being “kidnapped.”After breakfast, students head over to 10 a.m. Mass at St. Mary Basilica. This year over 40 students participated in the event. (Photo by Carrie Lambert)

Grandparents mass

Mass was full not just grandparents, but also parents and friends. (Photos by tereza ma)

New priest to U.S. installed as pastor in diocese

By Joanna Puddister King
PORT GIBSON – On Aug. 25, a sunny summer Sunday, a new priest was installed at St. Joseph parish in Port Gibson.
Bathed in a calming blue hue from the cobalt-stained windows this unique Gothic Revival style parish was filled with a diverse group of faithful to welcome Father Anthony Claret Onyeocha.
Originally from Nigeria, Father Anthony was ordained in 2010 for the Archdiocese of Owerri in Imo State, Nigeria. By the end of his seminary training, Father Anthony received a bachelor of arts in philosophy and a degree in theology, as well.
In 2018, Father Anthony came to the U.S. to tour Mississippi and travel around the diocese. “After spending some time in Mississippi, I felt like serving the local church in the diocese,” said Father Anthony.
Upon returning to Nigeria from his time in Mississippi, he visited Archbishop Anthony John Valentine Obinna, who has served as archbishop of Owerri since March 1994, and asked to be sent on a mission to serve the Church in the Diocese of Jackson.
Subsequently, Father Anthony was approved by Bishop Jospeh Kopacz to serve the diocese and was placed at St. Joseph.
During the Rite of Installation ceremony conducted by Bishop Kopacz, Father Anthony was presented with scriptures, blessed oil, a basket, baptismal shell and Roman Missal from parishioners to officially welcome him to the parish.
At the close of Mass, parishioners celebrated Father Anthony and introduced him to some traditional southern fare: fried and baked chicken, potato salad, bacon baked beans, along with a host of casseroles and homemade desserts.
Father Anthony says, “I feel happy being the pastor of St. Joseph. … The parishioners are great, welcoming and dedicated. As their pastor, I am willing to serve spiritually, morally and pastorally.”

Christ is alive in faith leaders

By Joanna Puddister King
MADISON – More than 100 catechist and pastoral leaders from across the diocese gathered for Fall Faith Formation Day hosted at St. Francis parish on Saturday, Aug. 24. The day of information, fellowship and encouragement was centered around the theme of “Christ, Alive!” and opened with a keynote by Bishop Joseph Kopacz, who led attendants on a discussion of the foundation, framework and focus of Pope Francis’ Christus Vivit, an apostolic exhortation to young people and “the entire People of God.”
Bishop Kopacz spoke to attendants about each chapter, reviewing the rich text of Pope Francis and focusing on reaching a deeper level with youth – the heart, mind and spirit of a young person – hope. He touched on subjects raised in the document such as, joy, “God is love,” relationships with God and with others, migrants, digital environments, divisions in society and more.
Focusing on building a foundation, Bishop Kopacz said, “the love of God and seeds of the divine are planted in the young people.”
Those in attendance received a copy of Christus Vivit and Director of Faith Formation, Fran Lavelle encouraged all to “spend time with the document, … Every time we break it open there is something new that is revealed.”
“Read. Explore. Think outside the box,” encouraged Lavelle.
After the introduction to Christus Vivit, attendees could select from a number of breakout sessions dealing with catechetical issues which included, catechist certification, rethinking confirmation, intentional youth ministry, forming multicultural communities, how to talk to youth about vocations, and exploring St. Paul’s encounter with the Risen Christ.
Session leader Father Roberto Mena led a discussion entitled “Out of Many – ONE: Forming Multicultural Communities.” Father Mena gave a brief history of immigration and U.S. Catholicism and spoke about the challenges found in multicultural parishes. He told faith leaders in attendance that “Catholics need to work together to form parish communities where every person, regardless of race, ethnicity or culture, has a place at the eucharistic table.
Next year, Fall Faith Formation Day will be held on Aug. 22, 2020. The Keynote speaker will be Dr. Tim Hogan, the co-author of How to Find the Help You Need, a guide to psychotherapy and spiritual direction.

Challenges of multicultural parishes

By Father Roberto Mena, ST
MADISON – U.S. Catholicism has always included substantial cultural diversity, but more than a half century ago, when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. described Sunday morning as “the most segregated hour” of the week, Catholic parishes also operated as separate (but unequal) communities.
By the 1980s, however, in the so-called “gateway cities” where immigrants began their journey in the United States, many Catholics had begun to worship in parishes with multiple cultural groups, often known as “shared parishes.” By the 1990s, as new immigrants from Latin American and Asia settled across the nation, such parishes proliferated everywhere.
According to a 2018 study of Catholic parishes with Hispanic ministry across the United States, 43 percent of parishioners in parishes with Hispanic ministry are actually Anglo Catholics. In places like Los Angeles and Miami, up to three-fourths of parishes in a diocese hold Mass in more than one language; in Midwestern and Southern dioceses, often one-fifth to one-half of parishes do.
After decades of cultural, ethnic and racial groups sharing parishes, we might ask how things are going.
On the one hand, the number of ministries for underserved groups and the number of Catholic parishes serving multicultural congregations has steadily increased. On the other hand, research shows that most of the nation’s parishes still primarily serve white and English-speaking Catholics; a smaller percentage do the “multicultural heavy lifting.”
On the one hand, for many U.S. Catholics, journeying alongside other cultural groups has begun to feel normal. On the other hand, many nonimmigrant Catholics complain vociferously about the signs of cultural diversity in their midst, about Masses in Spanish or Vietnamese, about Day of the Dead “ofrendas” or the smell of unfamiliar food in the parish kitchen.
Political polarization and noisier forms of opposition to the presence of undocumented immigrants (most of whom are Catholic) has exacerbated these tendencies in our time. Sensitive to such divisions, church authorities sometimes downplay the overwhelming reality of demographic change, so much so that many Catholics have unrealistic ideas about the size or influence of groups other than their own.

Even where parishes have embraced the diversity of their communities, parishioners routinely avoid one another. In one parish, parishioners would park on the street just to avoid negotiating the parking lot between the English and Spanish Masses. Eventually, however, groups must negotiate the details of parish life — sharing meeting rooms, planning multicultural liturgies, even navigating the parking lot between Masses.
Societal tensions and inequalities intrude on these negotiations. People come to church carrying hurt from discrimination. They assume that difficulties, for example, in securing a job or a favorable home loan will translate into difficulties in obtaining meeting space for their ministries.
Recent immigrants often feel intimidated and powerless trying to negotiate parish life with longtime residents. Aging ethnic or racial communities, including many white Catholics, feel outnumbered and therefore aggrieved, leading them to hold on to privileges within their parishes.
Even so, not a small number of communities have found relative success in sharing parish life. Among those who do, there appear to be four factors that make a difference.
First, such parishes learn to balance the need for “safe space” for the different groups with opportunities to experience parish life together. They do not insist on quick assimilation (which is not possible anyway). Parishioners regularly pray and minister according to their own language and culture, but they also work together selling tamales or hamburgers at the parish festival.
Second, successful shared parishes work to be fair and just in the relationships between communities. In one parish, a white Knight of Columbus was the one who noted that the Christmas decorations, as beautiful as they were, were arranged by an all-Anglo committee according to Euro-American Christmas traditions; that had to change.
Third, successful shared parishes make room for people’s grief over demographic and other changes, but they do not resist change.
Finally, research on shared parishes shows that the vision and authority of the parish’s pastor makes a real difference. In one parish, for instance, the pastor worked hard to confuse people as to which group he favored. He never missed an opportunity to talk about the parish as a community of communities, and he (or his staff) would intervene when a group tried to dominate or needed more attention.
While the pastor’s role matters, research suggests that Catholics should be wary of placing too much on pastors and their authority to adjudicate multicultural tensions. Many priests are already overburdened, and Pope Francis reminds us that all the baptized have a responsibility for parish life.Especially in these more contentious times, Catholics need to work together to form parish communities where every person, regardless of race, ethnicity or culture, has a place at the eucharistic table.

(Father Roberto Mena, ST is Sacramental Minister in St. Michael, Forest and In Residence at St. Anne, Carthage.)

Youth news

Father Rusty Vincent blessed backpacks in St. Paul Parish after the 10:30 a.m. mass at St. Paul, Vicksburg on Sunday, Aug. 4 for students and teachers who were preparing for the new school year. (Photo by Sister Margaret Sue Booker)
PEARL – On Aug. 11 St. Jude parish recognized altar servers Dominic Lopez (pictured in the middle) and Hannah Chapman at 5:30 p.m. Saturday Mass and Mary Beth VanLandingham at the 11 a.m. Sunday Mass. They started serving in the third grade. All three have been a part of the Altar Server Ministry through their senior year of high school. Altar server Sian McGregor (pictured on the right) and Lopez precede future Deacon Andrew Bowden and Father Lincoln Dall.
(Photo by Tereza Ma)

Niños de parroquia se unen por el cambio

Por Joanna Puddister King
CANTON – El 11 de agosto en la histórica plaza del palacio de justicia de Cantón, pocos días después que muchos hijos de inmigrantes sintieran el temor de no volver a ver a sus padres, los niños de la parroquia del Sagrado Corazón se reunieron y rezaron por un cambio después que las redadas del miércoles 7 de agosto, del Servicio de Inmigración y Aduanas (ICE, por sus siglas en inglés), sacudieron seis comunidades de Mississippi.
Las pancartas que llevaban los niños mientras marchaban incluían mensajes de miedo y reforma. Dos chicas jóvenes llevaban un letrero que decía: “No me sentaré en silencio mientras se llevan a mis padres”. El letrero de otro joven decía: “¡La inmigración no debe ser solo para los ricos! Necesitamos un cambio “, un mensaje que resonó con Dulce Basurto-Arce, de 18 años, quien habló a los participantes desde los escalones del tribunal.
“Es muy difícil venir legalmente a los Estados Unidos”, dijo Basurto-Arce. “La mayoría de las familias que vienen aquí no pueden pagar el proceso legalmente. En la sociedad actual, volverse legal es solo para los ricos. Todos somos humanos. Todos merecemos la misma oportunidad. No debería ser un delito trabajar por una vida mejor, un futuro mejor para sus hijos, algo que no tenían en su país “.
El evento que duró aproximadamente una hora incluyó vueltas alrededor del palacio de justicia con pausas para orar, reflexionar, cantar y llamar por la unidad. La multitud de alrededor de 100 personas salieron a mostrar su apoyo y amor, algunos con sus propios letreros: “La migración es un acto de coraje”.
Para la última vuelta, Mary Hicks, una joven adulta que organizó el evento, pidió a los presentes que marcharan por el cambio y se dieran la mano con algunos de los niños a los que ahora les faltaba un padre. Al final, Hicks agradeció a la multitud por su apoyo y luego habló directamente con los niños. “…Quiero que vean a todas estas personas que no tienen idea de cómo se sienten, pero están aquí para apoyarlos bajo este sol ardiente, en este calor. Están aquí porque te aman y se preocupan por ti… ”
A través de las lágrimas, Hicks concluyó “…Y sé que hay mucho odio en el mundo, pero estas personas se preocupan por ti. Y hay muchos más que se preocupan por ti, así que debes saber que no estás solo.”

Extensión Católica anuncia ayuda

Por Catholic News Service
CHICAGO (CNS) – La organización Extensión Católica, (Catholic Extension, por su nombre en inglés) ayudará en Mississippi a familias que fueron dejadas sin su principal apoyo financiero, aquellas que perdieron el principal sostén de la familia después que el Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas de los Estados Unidos llevó a cabo redadas masivas el 7 de agosto.
La organización católica, con sede en Chicago, dijo que enviaría ayuda de inmediato, pero también comenzaría a recaudar fondos para beneficiar a los necesitados a través de su “Fondo de la Sagrada Familia”, un programa que lanzó a principios de este año para ayudar financieramente a esposos, esposas e hijos que se quedaron sin su principal sostén por razones de detención o deportación.
La ayuda será administrada por la Diócesis de Jackson. “El programa busca traer algo de estabilidad a lo que es un momento terriblemente desestabilizador para las familias”, dijo la organización en un comunicado de prensa del 8 de agosto.
Extensión Católica es el principal defensor nacional del trabajo misionero en las partes más pobres y remotas de todos los Estados Unidos..