Paint it Purple

MADISON – In observance of Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, the staff and residents at St. Catherine’s Village’s Campbell Cove celebrated Paint it Purple Day on Friday, Sept. 28.
Much of the day centers on fun carnival-themed games and food, including cotton candy. Employees honored all those who are living with dementia as well as those who have transitioned with a prayer service at which workers read the names of patients who have died. They ring a bell for each person. Jenzel Craft said her heart breaks with each loss.
Residents helped with an eco-friendly balloon release, a game of “Family Feud” and a fashion show. Wearing purple to show support is encouraged.
Latoya Thomas, a long-time employee, said she always makes sure her residents are having fun and appreciates the loyal, dedicated team who work at Campbell Cove. (Photos by Tereza Ma)

MADISON – St. Catherine's Village employee Sharon Watson and Valarie Winters ring a bell as they read the names of patients who died in the last year. LaToya Thomas, the social worker at Cambell Cove and Terry Jones (holding the balloons) join the prayer service.

Residents recieve balloons which will be realesed at the end of the prayer service.

MADISON – St. Catherine's Village employee Kathy Milner, who has been a nurse at St. Catherine's for four years, and Brenda Adams, a nine-year nursing veteran, watch the balloons fly away

Cotton candy maker is Mr. John Hilburn

LaToya Thomas and Terry Jones, the announcer for a game, enjoys playing games with residents.


Blue Masses honor First Responders

PEARL – St. Jude Parish offered a Blue Mass on Thursday, September 27. The parish hosted a reception after the Mass. Blue Masses are a Catholic tradition to pray for first responders. (Photos by Rhonda Bowden)

MERIDIAN – St. Patrick School held its annual Blue Mass Thursday, Sept. 27. Many first responders including policemen and EMTs in the Meridian and Lauderdale County area attended. A reception was held after the service in the Family Life Center. (Photo by Celeste Saucier)


St. Patrick students offer peace

MERIDIAN – St. Patrick School students sing a song during their Pinwheels for Peace program on Friday, Sept. 21, which is the International Day of Peace. Fourth, fifth and sixth grade students gave speeches on what peace means to them and students made pinwheels for peace which they displayed outside the school.  (Photo by Celeste Saucier)

Preparation for confirmation

MADISON – The current confirmation class at St. Francis of Assisi parish participated in the signing of the cenus during the entrance ritual for Mass on Sunday, Sept. 30. This is part of the formation process before confirmation. Pictured (l-r) Chase Crawford, Julie Clayton, Emily George, Leigh Ann Peroni, Anna Roberson, Zenowia Wendel, Taylor Smith and Michelle Glorioso. (Photos by Melissa Smalley)



Next Encuentro phase: action by parishes, dioceses on ideas, priorities

By Norma Montenegro Flynn
WASHINGTON (CNS) – A Nearly 3,000 Hispanic ministry leaders, like Dominican Sister Judith Maldonado, have gone back to their parishes and dioceses to share the ideas and fruits of the conversations that took place at the Fifth National Encuentro in Grapevine, Texas.
And as that phase of the multiyear process reached completion, the next phase is aimed at putting into practice the lessons learned and bear fruits.
“This has been like a retreat, the message that we were given at the end is like you have the Holy Spirit, you have to take it with you and you have to be saints, produce fruits of love,” said Sister Maldonado, a member of the Dominican Sisters of the Lady of the Rosary of Fatima. Her order is involved with family ministry serving parishes in Maryland and Texas.
In the next few months, the leadership team of the Fifth National Encuentro, or V Encuentro, will distribute a concluding document listing the main priorities and problems identified across 28 ministry areas; the document will assist dioceses, parishes and national structures in drafting their own pastoral plans according to their own realities and priorities.
The Encuentro’s team of accompaniment, or ENAVE, plans to continue providing support and tracking progress.
“We have achieved things that in some ways we never would have imagined would be possible,” Ken Johnson-Mondragon, V Encuentro’s director of research, told Catholic News Service. “Walls have come down, people have experienced really the joy that Pope Francis talks about.”
The V Encuentro process that began about four years ago has helped thousands of Hispanic ministry leaders engage in faith-filled dialogues among themselves and reach out to those on peripheries. Encuentro has also promoted collaborations within and across dioceses, which is known as ‘pastoral en conjunto,’ and has helped remove the “fear to speak up,” bringing the participants closer to their pastors and bishops, added Johnson-Mondragon.
The V Encuentro also identified and prepared at least 25,000 new Hispanic ministry leaders across the country, and about a third of the leaders engaged were youth and young adults. An estimated 100,000 individuals participated in the process and about 150,000 others were reached on the peripheries.
Another important gain is that the V Encuentro has captured the attention and support of the bishops nationwide. At the gathering, about 125 bishops — Hispanic and non-Hispanic — walked side by side with their diocesan delegations, and about 160 out of 178 Roman Catholic dioceses and archdioceses in the country were represented.
“The Hispanic church is asking for formation, they’re asking for support, they’re asking for direction, so it will be on the part of the bishops and pastors to provide that,” Bishop Oscar Cantu told CNS. Formerly head of the Diocese of Las Cruces, New Mexico, he is now coadjutor bishop of San Jose, California.

What mostly surprised and pleased Bishop Cantu was the size of the gathering — with over 3,000 participants — and like many others, he was energized by the optimism and drive of the attendees.
The top three recommendations that rose up in the Encuentro process are: the need to develop pastoral plans for Hispanic ministry tailored according to the needs of each parish and diocese; the need of the parish community to help strengthen families; and to hire more Hispanic young adults in paid positions of leadership.
The 28 ministry areas addressed by the V Encuentro include those that reach out to youth, young adult, college campuses, immigrants, families, people with disabilities, and the incarcerated, as well as ministries in vocations, pro-life, faith formation and catechesis, justice and peace, and even care for the environment among others.
As a word of advice from Mercy Sister Ana Maria Pineda, who has witnessed all the Encuentros, it is important to connect the previous Encuentros to the current one, while staying focused on the work at hand amid the challenges it might present. “We’re being called to a very special moment in time and we need to step up to the plate to make sure that we are on the side of the poor, on the side of those who can’t protect themselves.” Sister Pineda said.

Sorrow can lead to unity, reform

Complete circle
By George Evans

George Evans

I have struggled recently, like most of you, with the situation of clerical sex abuse and cover up in the church I love. Most thought that the zero tolerance policy adopted by the American Catholic Bishops in Dallas in 2002 had dealt effectively with the sexual abuse problem related to the Boston scandal.
Things seemed to have settled down. We were as a Church back to worship, school, good works and paying the bills.
Then came the 2018 bombshell from Washington with extraordinary facts concerning the former Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and his alleged abuses reaching seminarians and even young priests. The rumored cover up of this activity reached all the way to Rome and possibly the Pope. Cardinal McCarrick has been disciplined to a private life of prayer and repentance. The Pope has demurred from any further comment about Cardinal McCarrick. Shortly after the McCarrick episode Pennsylvania exploded with a report from its Attorney General, based on an 18 month investigation of clerical sex abuse in seven Pennsylvania dioceses.
The report found more than 1,000 child victims of 300 priests over seven decades and alleges Catholic officials constructed a
“playbook for concealing the truth.” Pope Francis responded with a letter to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics saying the church has “abandoned” its children and no effort must be spared to prevent further abuses and cover-ups.
This is the greatest scandal to hit the Catholic Church in a long, long time. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is scrambling to meaningfully respond. Significant numbers of Catholics have left the church of their birth or choice. Many others have had their trust in their leaders (bishops and priests) seriously damaged. I may be wrong, but I don’t believe the disaffection is as serious in the Diocese of Jackson as it may be elsewhere. Only time will tell.
What do we do to respond to the crisis? I think all of us – bishops, priests and laity – need to be honest about what has apparently gone on. Facts need to be acknowledged. If disclosure has not been made, now is the time to do so. Civil authorities need to be notified, if they have not been to date. If there are victims, aid must be provided to them in the form of psychological treatment and counseling assistance and even financial assistance if the situation demands it. It is my understanding the Diocese of Jackson has done these things. After all, the injury is enormous if there has been sexual abuse of a child. Jesus frequently tells us how special children are. Sexual abuse to children is not only sinful but may be criminal. Perpetrators should be held accountable be they clerical or lay. Gospel values apply to all.
If clericalism is part of the problem, as many assert, then laity should be included in whatever action is taken to resolve the problem. There are many catholic laity deeply passionate about their church with all sorts of expertise in medicine, business, law, counseling, administration, etc. who could be called on to help. It would appear to me that church leadership, being clerical could and should use the help. If clerical power is the problem or part of the problem, lay involvement should assist in the solution.
God loves our church. He knows we are hurt, embarrassed and disgusted, and rightly so. The old hymn tells us: Where Christ is, His Church is There. He will help us heal our church. We are the People of God. We must be honest, transparent, open and inclusive. If we are ready to listen to God’s voice and hear where he leads us in prayer and humility we can do what is necessary to bring our church to where it needs to be, the Body of Christ loving the Father and serving His people in need. Now is the time to join together, not to run away. Now is the time to reform the Church in action to again be the shining light on the mountain top for all to see and trust.

(George Evans is a retired pastoral minister at Jackson St. Richard Parish.)

Scripture’s place in liturgy

Spirit and truth

Father Aaron Williams

By Father Aaron Williams
Fifty-five years ago, when the Second Vatican Council promulgated the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium), there was a great move in the Church for an increased emphasis on the role of Sacred Scripture in the lives of Catholics. The Council, at that time, called for a reworking of the lectionary readings in order to allow for a wider selection of scripture to be read in the Mass. In order to meet this demand, a three-year cycle of readings was developed and a third reading was added to the Mass on Sundays and Feast days — thus allowing for a much wider exposure of Sacred Scripture to the faithful at weekend Masses.
But, I am not sure if many Catholics understand the structure of the modern lectionary. Besides simply giving us more varied readings, the new lectionary also gives a sort of systematic approach to reading the Bible, by demonstrating both the way that the New Testament is a fulfillment of the Old, and also by providing a community with a more continuous reading of various passages. So, I thought it would be helpful to give insight into this structure, as well as provide a few comments on other ways the Scriptures may be opened to us in all our liturgical gatherings.
Generally speaking, the Gospel readings of the lectionary during the three-year cycle are taken from the Gospel of Matthew (in year A), Mark (in year B), and Luke (in year C). The Gospel of John, as is tradition in the Church, is reserved to major feasts of the Church — except during the summer of year B when six weeks are devoted to the reading of the ‘Bread of Life’ discourse from John’s Gospel (as we just completed a few weeks ago).
During Ordinary Time, these passages from the Gospel are read semi-continuously. In other words, they generally flow one story to the next as laid out in the Gospels, so that if we are paying attention we will hear the full story over the thirty-four weeks of Ordinary time in the Church’s liturgical year. During this time as well, the first reading at Sunday Masses is selected to as to comment on the Gospel. In this way, the Gospel demonstrates the fulfillment of the passage chosen as the first reading. The psalm of this Mass is chosen to comment on the first reading. For this reason, when I prepare my homilies, I always read the Gospel first, then the first reading, and then the psalm.
The second reading is always a passage from an Epistle (a New Testament letter). During Ordinary Time, these passages are also read semi-continuously. That means that the second reading is selected not to comment on any other reading that day, but to simply be read from start to finish as its own separate text. This essentially means that a priest could choose for three years to focus just on the Gospel and first reading, and then for the next three years to focus on the epistles — providing a six year rotation of readings. (That’s one term as a pastor!)
In the other seasons of the year, all the readings are selected thematically in order to represent a unified expression of the mystery of that particular feast or season.
Another area where Sacred Scripture is used in the liturgy, which is less-commonly seen in parishes today, are the texts chosen as antiphons. An antiphon is a short passage of scripture which is traditionally sung at various moments of the Mass. The Roman Missal gives antiphons for each Mass at the Entrance and at Communion. The chant editions published by the Church also give antiphons at the offertory. Some parishes may read these texts at daily Mass, but they are intended to be sung — and many settings of these texts are available today from various publishers (even for free).
The benefit of these texts is that often they are chosen to comment on the particular mystery being celebrated, or to reflect the readings. In this way, they are sort of an extension of the lectionary. During Ordinary time, for example, the Communion Antiphons on Sunday are selected to comment on the Gospel passage read that day. Sometimes they are even direct excerpts in order to remind us that the presence of Christ and his works which we heard in scripture is now made manifest to us in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist.
The Entrance Antiphons are beautiful passages given to introduce the feast. Thus, on Christmas morning we hear: “A child is born for us, and a son is given to us” (Is., 9:5). Or, on Easter Sunday: “I have risen, and I am with you still, alleluia. You have laid your hand upon me, alleluia, too wonderful for me, this knowledge, alleluia, alleluia.” (cf. Ps. 139:18, 5-6).

(Father Aaron Williams is the parochial vicar at Greenville St. Joseph Parish.)

Gluckstadt festival has German roots

GLUCKSTADT – St. Joseph Parish staged the 32nd annual GermanFest on Sunday, Sept. 30, on the church grounds. The Gluckstadt community was founded in 1905 by German immigrants. Many of the descendants of the original families still attend St. Joseph. Each year, the parish hosts the GermanFest the last Sunday in September as its premire fund-raising event.

Prior to the festival, families gather to can sauerkraut using a traditional recipie. For days before they prepare sausages, bratwurst, desserts and other German delicacies to share with their neighbors. This year, participants could prove their braun in a beer stein-holding competition. Children can enjoy games and the music during the daylong event.