Graduating students

MERIDIAN –The Catholic ommunities of St. Patrick and St. Joseph honored 14 graduates at the annual Baccalaureate Mass on Sunday, May 6. Each graduate received a Catholic Bible, a personal note and they along with their families were treated to lunch afterwards in the St. Patrick Family Life Center. (Photo by John Harwell)

COLUMBUS - Annunication staff join the rest of the student body to wave good-bye to the eighth graders as they leave campus on the last day of school, Thursday, May 24th. (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)

JACKSON – At left, Deacon Nick Adam shakes Gracie Hamilton’s hand at the St. Richard sixth grade recognition Mass on Friday, May 25. Teacher Sarah Sistrunk looks on. (Photo by Dave Vowell)

NATCHEZ – Holy Family Kindergarten graduate Robert Terrell leading the graduates in the pledge of Allegiance before their ceremony. (Photo by Valencia Hall)

MADISON – Graduating St. Anthony sixth-grader JJ Tice receives congratulations from principal James Bell at the St. Anthony Mass to honor outgoing students held at St. Francis of Assisi Church. (Photo by Dave Vowell)

NATCHEZ – Cathedral Principal Norm Yvon sings to seniors before they walk the halls in their caps and gowns. During this tradition, students from pre-k through high school line the halls to cheer for the graduating students. (Photo by Cara Serio)

Snapshot reveals character of Class of 2018

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – The Diocese of Jackson’s Catholic High Schools awarded 169 diplomas during the week of May 21-26. These communities of faith, knowledge and service demonstrate their mission in each of their graduating classes.
The Catholic schools class of 2018 will claim $6,371,932 in scholarship money at colleges and universities across the nation including the Citadel, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy, the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Rice University in Texas, Rhodes, Spring Hill College and, of course, all three Mississippi universities.
Catholic schools earned state championship wins in football, tennis, swimming, cheer and baseball this year. The senior class logged a combined 11,320 hours of service participating in unique projects.
When students and administrators at Cathedral heard that the shelves were bare at Stewpot in Natchez, they got creative with the “Hem in the Headmaster Food Drive.”
“They were in major need of large canned goods. Cathedral Headmaster Norman Yvon encouraged students PreK 3 – 12th grade to bring canned goods and challenged them to “hem” in his office with as many canned goods as possible – and they did,” wrote counselor Jana Slay in an email to Mississippi Catholic. Cathedral students delivered three truckloads of canned goods to the Stewpot which overflowed the shelves.
Madison St. Joseph Students took a stand for children in need of medical care with their BruinThon, a fundraiser for Batson Children’s Hospital. “We stand for eight hours at the event in order to ‘stand for those who can’t,’ reminding ourselves of the blessing of our quality of life and reminding the children of the hospital that they are not forgotten,” said organizer Kathryn Sckiets. The effort raised more than $12,000 in one night.
The entire graduating class from Vicksburg Catholic’s St. Aloysius School volunteered together at the Good Shepherd Center.
Greenville St. Joseph students helped one of their own throughout the year. Aries Cotton, a St. Joseph eighth-grader and brother of senior Reggie Cotton, was diagnosed with Leukemia in October 2017. His classmates have supported his family throughout his diagnosis and treatment with different events, culminating with the “Color me Cured” 5-K color run. Seniors, Carsen Mansour Olivia DeAngelo, Sarah Hayek, Brice Johnson, Sarah Tonos, Erica Keller, Rebecca Jones and JoQuez Sanders came together to help plan the event, held May 31. All proceeds went to the Cotton family.
This edition is dedicated to the top students from the class of 2018, including students from all Catholic schools and one Catholic student from Indianola Academy.

For Valedictorian and Salutatorian profile click here: GRAD PAPER 2018



Two ordained as priests

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Father Nick Adam and Father Aaron Williams were ordained to the priesthood on the Feast of the Visitation, Thursday, May 31, at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle. Both are local vocations. Father Williams grew up at the Cathedral and graduated from Jackson St. Richard and Madison St. Joseph schools. While Father Adam grew up out of state, he first felt the call to the priesthood while working in Meridian so he calls St. Patrick and St. Joseph his home parishes.
At the ordination Bishop Joseph Kopacz announced that Father Adam has been assigned as parochial vicar at Jackson St. Richard Parish and Father Williams has been assigned as parochial vicar at Greenville St. Joseph Parish. Father Williams will also teach at St. Joseph School.
Both men also celebrated their first Masses of Thanksgiving the following day. Father Williams celebrated a votive Mass of the Sacred Heart at 12:05 Friday at the Cathedral while Father Adam celebrated his Mass at 6 p.m. at St. Richard Parish.
Mark Shoffner is set to be ordained a transitional deacon on the day this paper is delivered to homes, Friday, June 9, at his home parish of Greenville St. Joseph. Deacon Adolfo Suarez Pasillas was ordained in Mexico earlier this year. Deacon Shoffner will serve his transitional year at Gluckstadt St. Joseph Parish while Deacon Pasillas will serve at Jackson St. Therese Parish.
Full coverage of all four of this year’s ordinations will appear in the next edition of Mississippi Catholic, set to publish Friday, June 29.
In Bishop column you can read the bishop’s ordination homily or click here.

Mother’s Day

OXFORD – Tara Luber, Director of the Parish School of Religion, for St. John the Evangelist Parish, receives a red rose on Mother’s Day, from Peter Sukarnick, a member of the Knights of Columbus Council 10901. This annual event conducted by the Knights of Columbus Councils throughout the United States, carries on a tradition to honor mothers on a special day. (Photo, Gene Buglewicz)

Parish calendar

FORT SMITH, Ark, St. Scholastica Monastery, July 19 – 22, Standing in the Presence: The Benedictine Way for Everyone. Presenter: Sister Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB. The focus will be Benedictine Spirituality as a pathway for spiritual growth. Cost: $300 Lodging and meals are included. Deadline for registration is July 5. Details: or or (479) 783-1135.
GREENWOOD Locus Benedictus Spirituality Center, Empowered by Love Growth in the Spirit Retreat, Friday, June 15, 6 p.m. to Saturday, June 16. Ending with Mass at 4 p.m. Cost: $50. Details: (662) 299-1232 or
KENNER, La, The Catholic Charismatic Renewal of New Orleans (CCRNO) will sponsor its annual Day of Refreshment for Women on Saturday, June 23, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Kenner, in the school gym. The theme is “We Walk by Faith, Not by Sight.” Cost is $30 and includes lunch. Details: (504) 828-1368 or register online at by Wednesday, June 20, noon to order lunch.

CLEVELAND Our Lady of Victories, Gospel of Mark four-week Bible study, beginning Monday, June 25, at 5:30 p.m. Presenter: Jim Tomek. Details: Jim Tomek at (662) 846-7136 or
JACKSON St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Save the Date, Level II Training for Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. Classes are: August 11, September 8, October 6, November 2-3, December 1, January 4-5, February 1-2, March 2, April 6 and May 4. Cost: $675, which includes course materials, lunch, snacks and certification by the National Association of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, USA. A non-refundable deposit of $100 is due by August 1. Details: Rachel Misenar, or 601-573-3689
St. Peter Cathedral, Bethlehem Nativity Olive Wood carvings and religious item sale, June 30-July 1. Purchases will help the Catholic Community in Palestine. Details: (601) 969-3125.
St. Richard Bereavement Support Group, Tursday, June 14, at 6:30 p.m. Sister Pat Clemen speaks on the difference between mourning and grief and the “Tear Soup” recipe for healing grief. Details: Nancy McGhee 601-942-2078 or email
LELAND St. James is interested in starting CCD classes. Volunteers are needed to teach, starting in September. Details: Call the rectory at (662) 686-7352.
NATCHEZ Compassion Care Hospice, Suite A, 113 Jefferson Davis Blvd, Grief and Loss Support Group, Monday, June 11 (2nd Monday of the month). Details: (609) 518-6814 or St. Mary Basilica (601) 445-5616.
Grace United Methodist Church, 2 Fatherland Road, Miss Lou Support Group for those grieving loss due to suicide. Meets on Thursdays, June 7 and June 21 at 6:30 p.m. Details: Jana and Pete Mills, (601) 431-4818.
CLEVELAND Our Lady of Victories, Takeout smoked chicken dinner, Friday, June 29. The Knights of Columbus are pre-selling tickets to raise money for the annual Relay for Life. Details: Michael Lott, Grand Knight (662) 588-6163.
VICKSBURG St. Paul, KAIROS Men’s Weekend at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl, September 27-30. Team members meet once a week for seven weeks in preparation for the weekend. The first team meeting is Thursday, August 9. Details: Any man interested in participating, contact Frank Vollor at (601) 638-8686.

COLUMBUS Annunciation, CYO activities, Saturday, June 23, Movie Night at Malco Theaters, Disney’s Incredibles 2, time TBD. Cost: $10. Also, Saturday, July 14, Bowling at GT Lanes. time TBD. Cost: $8 per person and Laser Tag $8 per person per game. For updates on these events, follow on Instagram@annuciationcyoteens. Details: or church office (662) 328-2927.
MADISON, St. Francis of Assisi, Castaway Creative Arts Camp for fifth and sixth graders, June 18-22, 9 a.m. – noon. An assistant camp director is needed. Details: (601) 856-5556.
Jr. Bruin Baseball Camp on June 19-21 for boys in Pre-K through rising seventh grades at D.M. Howie Field from 9 a.m. to noon. Cost is $100.00 per camper. The Bruin coaching staff and players will be on hand to teach the fundamentals of baseball. This camp is for beginners, as well as the most experienced players. Walk-ups will be welcome. Details: Coach Gerard McCall at
NATCHEZ St. Mary Basilica, Summer Choir Camp, July 16-20, 9-11:30 a.m. Let your child learn the joy of song in the context of children’s choir. Students also will complete a visual arts project and serve as music ministers for the 5 p.m. Vigil Mass on Saturday, July 21. Cost: $25 per child. Details: Register online at or email church office (601) 939-3181

Seminarian Summer Assignment 2018

Carlisle Beggerly is assigned to the chancery offices.
Andrew Bowden and Ryan Stoer are assigned to Camp Friendship in Pontotoc.
Andrew Nguyen is assigned to he Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle in Jackson and will minister at St. Dominic Hospital.
Cesar Sanchez is assigned to Canton Sacred Heart Parish and will minister at St. Dominic Hospital.
Tristan Stovall is assigned to Clarksdale St. Elizabeth Parish.

Celebrando las ordenaciones

Obispo Joseph Kopacz

Por Obispo Joseph Kopacz
Homilia de la ordenación del Diácono Nick Adam y Deacon Aaron Williams el 31 de mayo de 2018, la Visitación
“Hijos mios ustedes van a ser ahora avanzados a la orden del presbiterado. Deben aplicar sus energías en la tarea de enseñar en el nombre de Cristo, el jefe maestro. Mediten sobre la ley de Dios: crean lo que lean, enseñen lo que creen, y pongan en práctica lo que enseñan. Dejen que la doctrina que enseñan sea alimento puro para el pueblo de Dios. De la misma manera deben llevar a cabo su misión de santificar en el poder de Cristo. En el memorial de la muerte y resurrección del Señor, hagan todos los esfuerzos posibles para morir al pecado y caminar en la vida nueva de Cristo. Cuando bauticen traerán a mujeres y hombres al pueblo de Dios. En el sacramento de la penitencia perdonarán los pecados en nombre de Cristo y de la Iglesia. Con el aceite santo aliviarán y consolarán a los enfermos. Orecer alabanza y gracias a Dios durante todo el día, orando, no sólo por el pueblo de Dios, sino por el mundo entero. Recuerden siempre el ejemplo del Buen Pastor, que no vino para ser servido, sino para servir y para buscar y rescatar a quienes estaban perdidos”.
* Desde el rito de la ordenación
Permítanos acompañar a María e Isabel mientras se encuentran la una a la otra en uno de los momentos más alegres en toda la Escritura. Las generaciones se encuentran cuando una mujer de edad bendice a las más jóvenes.
Decir que están entusiasmadas está muy lejos de la realidad. Son dos mujeres que el Espíritu Santo ha abrazado, y están en fuego por Dios. Han aceptado el plan de Dios en sus vidas y están liberadas. María está con todos aquellos que son llamados cuando están muy joven y Elizabeth con los llamados después que han pasado su juventud. Cantan hoy por todas los grandes mujeres olvidadas que han convertido a la eternidad a tiempo.
En este drama divino de salvación, pasamos a los diáconos Aaron y Nick que han aceptado la invitación del Señor Jesús a ser discípulos, amigos y sacerdotes de Jesucristo, sacerdotes de la Nueva Alianza para la Diócesis de Jackson en nuestros días. Como María, su “sí” a la llamada del Señor fue moldeada en sus familias a lo largo de muchos años, de muchas maneras ordinarias. Le agradecemos a sus familias por construir fuertes cimientos sobre los que construir. Como María e Isabel, han adaptado sus vidas con el plan de Dios para ellos, y poniendo un poco de nerviosismo aparte, proclaman la grandeza de Dios, y se regocijan en Dios su Salvador. Llamados por su nombre hemos afirmado su rotundo sí a estar aquí. Están deseoso de servir en la Iglesia para la salvación de todos. Su deseo de entrar en acción es como el caballo, Justificar, que ganó el Derby de Kentucky y el Preakness y pronto va a salir fuera de la puerta en el Belmont. El entusiasmo, la energía y el celo son los signos de una auténtica vocación, haciendo de la vida algo hermoso por Dios, como la madre Teresa solía decir.
Pero como sabemos, no siempre es 75 grados y humedad baja. A veces el índice de calor es más de 100, y sentimos el peso de nuestras responsabilidades. Nuestra primera lectura es una de las muchas que hay en las Escrituras que narra la historia del Antiguo Testamento sin ilusión. Moisés estaba al borde con los Israelitas deambulando en el insoportable calor del desierto sintiendo la enorme carga de sus responsabilidades. “¿Concebí a estas personas que me diste, o las parí? Son demasiado pesadas para mí para cargarlas”.
Una sincera oración que resuena en el corazón de cualquiera de nuestras vidas, a veces. De una manera profunda, Moisés anticipa la cruz y el poder de Dios trabajando. Las intenciones de Dios a través de la cruz y la resurrección de su Hijo es que las bendiciones son para sobrepasar las cargas, y que las cargas pueden incluso ser un trampolín para una vida mejor, que tomemos nuestras dificultades y alegrías y oremos por ellas y para nosotros, obispos y sacerdotes, que vivamos el prototipo de Moisés y los setenta ancianos en colaboración y comunión el uno con el otro y con Dios, compartiendo mutuamente los gozos y las cargas.
Para que Dios se propone, a través de la cruz y de la resurrección de su Hijo, que las bendiciones son para sobrepasar las cargas, y que las cargas pueden incluso ser un trampolín para una mayor vida útil, que nos tomamos nuestras dificultades y las alegrías de la oración, y para nosotros, Obispos y sacerdotes, que vivimos el prototipo de Moisés y los setenta ancianos en colaboración y comunión el uno con el otro y con Dios, compartiendo mutuamente los gozos y las cargas.
La segunda lectura, tomada de la carta de san Pablo a los Romanos, retrata los ritmos del Evangelio para un discípulo, incluyendo a los ministros ordenados, infundido con la gracia de Dios: un sincero amor-odio del mal-sosteniendo la buena disposición para servir con celo, no haraganes, fervientes-gozosos perseverantes con generosa hospitalidad, -bendiciéndose el uno al otro como el ejemplo de María y Elisabeth– acompañando a la gente en la alegría y en el dolor, humildes y sabios con sabiduría evangélica. Estas virtudes permiten al ordenado atender a las cosas de Cristo, tener su mente y corazón. Su cultivo nos fortalecerá en nuestras vocaciones para servir al Señor con alegría, incluso en el calor del día.
Sabemos que cada uno de los misterios del rosario: gozosos, dolorosos, gloriosos y luminosos desbordan con vida divina. En el encuentro de la Visitación con Elizabeth, María de Nazaret, Nuestra Señora de la prontitud, simboliza la Iglesia que está pronta a ir donde sea necesario, a servir y a acompañar al pueblo de Dios en nuestras familias, y con el prójimo y el extraño por igual.
María e Elizabeth bailando juntas por el nacimiento de sus hijos, ejemplifican la Iglesia la cual da reverencia a la vida y a la dignidad de la persona humana en todas sus etapas, evidente en las obras de misericordia espirituales y corporales, y en nuestro compromiso con la justicia social.
Proclamando la grandeza del Señor y regocijándose en Dios su Salvador representa la Iglesia que celebra con alegría los sagrados misterios, especialmente en la Eucaristía, la fuente de vida y resurrección del Señor, esta sagrada comida sacrificial en la que celebramos la misericordia de Dios y recibimos la fuerza para el camino en la Palabra y en el sacramento.
Con corazones llenos del amor de Dios acompañamos con alegría al diácono Aarón y al diácono Nick al ofrecer sus vidas en el Rito de la ordenación a abrazar el sacerdocio de Jesucristo.