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Divina Misericordia. Abril 30

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Nuestra Señora de Lujan. Mayo 8

Dia de las Madres. Mayo 9

Virgen de Fátima. Mayo 13

Nuestra Señora de la Evangelización. Mayo 14

San Isidro Labrador. Mayo 15

Solemnidad Ascensión del Señor. Mayo 18

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In memoriam: Msgr. Joseph Clement Mercier

HATTIESBURG – Msgr. Joseph Clement Mercier “Father Joe,” a native of Hattiesburg, passed away on March 20, 2023 after a long and full life of priestly ministry.

Msgr. Mercier was preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Ella Mae McGinley; five brothers, Albert Lucien, Patrick Bernard, Adrian Gabriel, Delphins Francis & Michael James; two sisters, Agnes Therese Morgan and Mary Claire Debrow. Msgr. Mercier is survived by his brother, Damian Mercier of Hattiesburg; numerous nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews; and many priestly brothers and deacons.

Msgr. Mercier graduated from Sacred Heart High School, Hattiesburg, in 1944. After a brief tour in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He began his seminary training at St. Joseph Seminary in St. Benedict, Louisiana, and then completed his formation at the North American College and Gregorian University, both in Rome, Italy. He was ordained a priest at the Church of The Twelve Apostles in Rome for the Diocese of Natchez on July 17, 1955. As a priest, Msgr. Mercier served as associate pastor of St. Mary’s parish, Jackson; Nativity Cathedral, Biloxi; St. John the Evangelist parish, Gulfport; and Sacred Heart parish, Hattiesburg. He then served as pastor of Christ the King and Holy Family parishes in Jackson; Sacred Heart parish, Pascagoula; St. John the Evangelist parish, Gulfport; and Sacred Heart parish, Dedeaux.

During his nearly 68 years of priestly ministry Msgr. Mercier served the Catholic community in many roles. He served as a teacher in three Catholic high schools in Mississippi, overseeing many parishes with attached schools, he also served Catholic students at the University of Southern Mississippi as chaplain of the Newman Club on campus and acquired the land on behalf of the diocese where St. Thomas Church and the Newman Center are today. He also served on the diocesan board of consultors, clergy council, diocesan liturgical commission, personnel board, synodal examiner, parish priest consultor for the “Mississippi Register” newspaper (now “Mississippi Catholic”) for the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson.
While at Sacred Heart parish, in Dedeaux, he was the priest director of the Cursillo movement of South Mississippi and lay retreats. After his retirement he spent many years assisting fellow priests by traveling to celebrate Mass, hear confessions and continued ministry with the Cursillo movement.

Msgr. Mercier spent his last years at The Claiborne assisted living facility in Hattiesburg where he continued to celebrate Mass for small groups in his room until his health prevented him from continuing.
A Mass of Christian burial was held at Sacred Heart Church for Msgr. Mercier, with interment at Sacred Heart Cemetery on Bonhomie Road.

Lenten meals, Stations and Penance services across the diocese

BATESVILLE St. Mary, Knights of Columbus Fish Fry on March 31 from 5-7 p.m. Cost $12/plate.
BROOKHAVEN St. Francis, Stations every Friday during Lent at 5:30 p.m. followed by a light meal.
CANTON Sacred Heart, Stations every Friday at 5:30 p.m. followed by a soup supper in the parish center (no charge). All are welcome!
CLARKSDALE St. Elizabeth, Lenten lunch and reflection on Fridays during Lent from 12-1 p.m. in McKenna Hall.
COLUMBUS Annunciation, Fish Fry in the Activity Center, after Stations every Friday during Lent at 5:30 p.m. in the chapel.
FLOWOOD St. Paul, Knights of Columbus Fish dinner every Friday after Stations at 6 p.m. Donations accepted. All are welcome.
GLUCKSTADT St. Joseph, Lenten dinner/Fish Fry on March 31 beginning at 5:30 p.m. Stations every Friday at 6 p.m. Cost: $10 per plate. Includes three strips of catfish, coleslaw, fries, hushpuppies, tea or water. Dine-in or carry out. Grilled cheese sandwiches with fries for $3.
GREENWOOD Immaculate Heart of Mary, Knights of Columbus Fish Fry, every Friday during Lent from 5-7 p.m. Cost is $12 per plate. Dine in or carry out.
HERNANDO Holy Spirit, Men’s Association fish fry on March 31 beginning at 4 p.m. – eat in or takeout.
JACKSON St. Peter Cathedral, Stations at 5:15 every Friday in Lent, followed by simple, meat-free meal in the parish center. Spanish stations at 7 p.m.
JACKSON St. Richard, Stations at 5:30 p.m. on Fridays during Lent with Knights of Columbus Fish Fry in Foley Hall following. Dine-in or carry out. Cost: $12 adults; $6 children; $40 Families of 5+ members.
MADISON St. Francis, Rosary 6 p.m., Stations 6:30 p.m. and Lenten meal 7 p.m. every Friday during Lent.
MERIDIAN St. Joseph, Stations at 6 p.m. on March 31, followed by fish fry in Kehrer Hall. Plates $10 each.
NATCHEZ St. Mary Basilica, Knights of Columbus Fish Fry, every Friday of Lent, from 5-7 p.m. in the Family Life Center. Cost: Catfish $12; Shrimp $12; Combo $14. Dinners include fries, hush puppies and coleslaw. For grilled fish, call 30 minutes ahead. Details: Darren (601) 597-2890.
OLIVE BRANCH Queen of Peace, Soup Suppers at 5:30 p.m. March 24 and 31.
OXFORD St. John, Stations in Church at 5 p.m. and Knights of Columbus Fish Fry at 5:30 in parish hall. Dine-in or take-out. Cost $10, plate includes fish, fries, hushpuppies, slaw and a drink.
PEARL St. Jude, Fish Fry following Stations every Friday during Lent at 6 p.m. Reservations required. Dinner includes catfish, fries, huspuppies, coleslaw and tea. Dine-in only. No cost, donations encouraged. Details: church office (601) 939-3181.
STARKVILLE St. Joseph, Knights of Columbus catfish dinner after Stations in the Church at 5:30 p.m. every Friday during Lent.
SOUTHAVEN Christ the King, Fish Fry at 5:30 p.m. and Stations at 7 p.m. on March 31.
TUPELO St. James, Lenten Pasta Dinner, Friday, March 31 at 5:30 p.m. in Shelton Hall. Dine-in or carry-out. Meatless spaghetti (choice of red or white sauce), salad, garlic bread and dessert. Cost: adults $9; kids $6.
VICKSBURG Knights of Columbus Fish Fry every Friday during Lent.
YAZOO CITY St. Mary, Stations and Soup, Tuesdays during Lent at 5:30 p.m.

CLARKSDALE St. Elizabeth, Reconciliation with several priests available, Thursday, March 30 from 5-7 p.m.
FLOWOOD St. Paul, Penance Service, Monday, March 27 at 6 p.m.
GREENVILLE Sacred Heart, Penance Service and Individual Confessions, Wednesday, March 29 at 6 p.m.
MAGEE St. Stephen, Penance Service, Saturday, April 1 at 4 p.m.
OXFORD St. John, Penance Service, Monday, March 27 from 5-6:30 p.m.
SHAW St. Francis, Penance Service and Individual Confessions, Monday, March 27 at 6 p.m.
STARKVILLE St. Joseph, Penance Service, Tuesday, March 28 at 6 p.m.
TUPELO St. James, Reconciliation Service, Thursday, March 30 from 5-7 p.m. in the Church.

For a list of Stations only, visit

Calendar of events


CLINTON Holy Savior, Ladies Lenten Retreat in McGing Hall on Saturday, April 1 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with Father Lincoln Dall and Carmelite Sister Anna Maria. Details: church office (601) 924-6344.
METAIRIE, La. Five-day Silent Directed Retreat, June 26 –July 2 at the Archdiocese of New Orleans Retreat Center (5500 Saint Mary Street, Metairie). Cost $500, includes room and board. Meet daily with a spiritual director, pray with scripture and spend the rest of the day in silence, prayer and rest. Register at Details: or call (225) 526-1694.

COLUMBUS Annunciation, Blood Drive, Sunday, March 26 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Bank First parking lot.
FLOWOOD St. Paul, Women’s Sports Team afternoon of bowling at Fannin Lanes, Sunday, March 26 at 2 p.m. RSVP to (601) 927-4533. Cost to bowl is $5.25 per person; shoe rental $4.
GREENVILLE St. Joseph School, Muffuletta Sale, Pick up on April 20 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tickets available at school or church office. Details: church office (662) 335-5251.
JACKSON St. Richard, Men’s Prayer Breakfast with Bishop Kopacz, Monday, April 3 at 7 a.m. in Foley Hall following Mass at 6:30 a.m. Details: contact Anthony at (601) 573-8574 or
MADISON St. Catherine’s Village, Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Group, meets fourth Wednesday of each month from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Campbell Cove building. Lunch provided. All are welcome. Details: call to RSVP (601) 856-0123 or email
SOUTHAVEN Christ the King, Blood Drive, Sunday, March 26 from 12-3 p.m. Sign up sheets in gathering space. Details: church office (662) 342-1073.
SOUTHAVEN Christ the King, Resurrection Party, Sunday, April 16 at 3 p.m. Details: church office (662) 342-1073.
TUPELO St. James, Rise Up, Monday, April 10 in Shelton Hall. Dinner at 5:30 p.m.; Scripture, testimony, worship at 6:30 p.m. A night of food, fellowship and worship. All ages welcome. Nursery will be provided. Details: church office (662) 231-0981.

BATESVILLE St. Mary, Easter Egg Hunt after 10:30 a.m. Mass on Easter Sunday. Please bring three dozen or so plastic filled Easter eggs and tape them closed.
COLUMBUS Annunciation, Easter Festival, Sunday, April 2 from 2-4 p.m. CYO teens are hosting an Easter egg hunt, games and snacks. Event open to children birth to fifth grade. Event at Annunciation School. Donations of candy are needed. Details: church office (662) 328-2927.
FLOWOOD St. Paul, Easter Egg Hunt by Knights of Columbus, following 10:30 Mass on April 2. Report to Learning Center cafeteria for instructions.
HERNANDO Holy Spirit, Easter Egg Hunt, Sunday, April 2 at 11:45 a.m. Egg hunts by age groups (0-3; 4-6; 7-10). Lunch provided and prizes awarded.
MADISON St. Francis, Easter Sunday Egg Hunt, Please drop off filled eggs in the Family Life Center collection boxes by Palm Sunday. (No nuts, peanut butter or hard candy, please.)
PEARL St. Jude, Easter Egg Hunt, Sunday, April 9 at 10 a.m.
SENATOBIA St. Gregory, Pot-luck meal and Egg Hunt after Easter Sunday Mass on April 9. Mass at 8 a.m.
YAZOO CITY St. Mary, Easter Egg Hunt, immediately following Mass on Easter Sunday. Please place candy filled eggs in the box at the back of the church.

COLUMBUS Annunciation School, Draw Down and Art Auction, Friday, April 14 at the Trotter Convention Center from 6:30-11 p.m. Adults only (21 and up). Event includes dinner and open bar. Details: email
FLOWOOD St. Paul, Men’s Retreat sponsored by the Knights of Columbus on May 20. For all men of St. Paul parish age 18 and up.
GREENVILLE Paul and Wadel Abide Memorial Golf Classic, Friday, May 12 at the Greenville Golf and Country Club. Cost: 4-person scramble $150 per golfer, includes cart fee, drink tickets and entry to social. Non-golfers cost is $60 and includes two drink tickets and entry to social. Enjoy food, drinks, door prizes and awards after golfing. Proceeds benefit St. Joseph School Scholarship Fund. Details: school office (662) 378-9711.
HERNANDO Holy Spirit, Yard Sale, Friday, May 19-20. Start saving item donations now. Donations accepted beginning May 8. Details: church office (662) 429-7851.
Holy Spirit, Vacation Bible School, June 5-8 from 6-8 p.m.
JACKSON 17th Annual Sister Thea Bowman School Draw Down, Saturday, April 29 at 6:30 p.m. in the school multi-purpose building. $5,000 Grand prize. Cost $100, second chance insurance extra $20 per ticket. Details: (601) 351-5197 or
MADISON St. Francis, Rocky Railway VBS express, June 19-22 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. All pre-K4 through fourth graders are invited. Details:
MERIDIAN St. Patrick School, Countdown scheduled for April 21. Grandprize $5,000. Cost: $100 each.
MERIDIAN Knights of Columbus State Convention, April 28-30 at the Threefoot Hotel. For more information visit:
NATCHEZ Cathedral, 39th annual Crawfish Countdown, Friday, May 5. Join us for a fun night of crawfish, ice-cold beverages, chance to win $5,000 and more.

ENGAGED ENCOUNTER WEEKENDS April 28-30 at Lake Tiak O’Khata in Lousiville; July 14-16 and Oct. 27-29 at Camp Garaywa in Clinton. Please register at
NATIONAL BLACK CATHOLIC CONGRESS GATHERING, July 20-23 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Join with other Black Catholics and those who minister to Black Catholics for a celebration of faith and culture. Details:
INDIANAPOLIS Eucharistic Congress, July 17-21, 2024. Registration is now open. See what Our Lord has in store for this next chapter for the Catholic Church in United States. Purchase tickets at Details:
INDIANAPOLIS National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC), Nov. 16-18, 2023 at the Indiana Convention Center. This distinctly Catholic three-day conference will include opportunities for spiritual growth, prayer, learning and service. For more information, visit
VOCATIONS RETREAT Come and See event for men ages 16-24 at St. Joseph Seminary College, March 31 through April 2. Details: for more information or to sign-up contact or (601) 969-4020.
WORLD YOUTH DAY: LISBON 2023 Event for young Catholics ages 16-35, though all are welcomed to attend in Lisbon, Portugal. For more information visit:

HATTIESBURG – Msgr. Joseph Mercier, a retired priest of the Diocese of Biloxi passed on Monday, March 20 at the age of 96. A recording of the Funeral Mass can be found at Msgr. Mercier will be buried at Sacred Heart Cemetery in Hattiesburg.
NEW ORLEANS – Bishop Fernand (Ferd) Joseph Cheri III, OFM, a New Orleans native who had served since 2015 as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, died March 21 at age 71 at Chateau de Notre Dame in New Orleans following a lengthy illness.
Bishop Cheri, 71, served most recently as administrator of St. Peter Claver Parish in New Orleans until kidney and heart problems forced him to step away from active ministry. He was born with one kidney and had been on dialysis three days a week for several months.
“He has been called home to the Lord,” Archbishop Gregory Aymond said. “We mourn his death and thank God for his life and ministry.”

Thousands gather at funeral Mass for LA’s Bishop O’Connell, recalled as ‘soul friend’ to all

By Tom Hoffarth
LOS ANGELES (OSV News) – Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop David G. O’Connell was remembered as a man “gripped by grace” and “at ease with movers and shakers and also with the moved and shaken” as nearly 5,000 attended a funeral Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels March 3.

The Mass was the conclusion of a three-day tribute to Bishop O’Connell, starting with a March 1 memorial Mass at St. John Vianney Church in Hacienda Heights. On March 2 at the cathedral, local Catholics said farewell to Bishop O’Connell in an all-day public viewing followed by a vigil Mass.

In his homily at the funeral Mass, Msgr. Jarlath Cunnane, Bishop O’Connell’s classmate and close friend from their seminary days in Ireland in 1971, called upon the phrase “Anam Cara,” the Celtic concept of having a friend of the soul.

“You’re blessed if you have a soul friend,” said Msgr. Cunnane, the pastor of St. Cornelius Church in Long Beach. “And I was blessed to have David. … I was better for having known David O’Connell. Many of you were too, were you not?”

The question drew a round of applause from the pews.

Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez presided over the Mass that not only filled the cathedral pews but had hundreds more standing in the aisles, ambulatories and seated on the outside plaza watching a livestream presentation.

Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez places the Book of Gospels on the casket of Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop David G. O’Connell during his funeral Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels March 3, 2023. Bishop O’Connell was fatally shot at his home in Hacienda Heights Feb. 18. (OSV News photo/Sarah Yaklic, courtesy Archdiocese of Los Angeles)

Long, yellow school buses frequently pulled up to the curb outside the cathedral to drop off more mourners. Several streamed into the Cathedral Plaza as the two-hour Mass went on, using umbrellas as shade, clutching their young children, simply wanting to be present.

Three cardinals – Roger M. Mahony, Blase J. Cupich of Chicago and Robert W. McElroy of San Diego – attended as well as 34 bishops and more than 50 priests at the altar.

Local dignitaries included LA Police Chief Michel Moore, former Los Angeles mayors Eric Garcetti and Jim Hahn, former LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn, LA District Attorney George Gascón and several other civic leaders who called Bishop O’Connell a friend over the years.
Cunnane noted that Bishop O’Connell “wasn’t just my good friend. Friendship is something he was good at. He has friends young and old, far and wide … he has friends up and down the social scale, at ease in the corridors of power and with the powerless.”

In calling him a man “gripped by grace,” Msgr. Cunnane said Bishop O’Connell was “seized by the Lord, like Jeremiah (who) said: ‘Lord, you seduced me, and I let myself be seduced; you were stronger and you triumphed.'”

“A mind and a wit always quick and sharp, but sometimes in earlier days, with an edge, by grace became levity and joyous humor, and (an) ability to affirm,” the priest added. “He was always affirming, he found the good in people and praised it. He spoke it into them.”

Msgr. Cunnane thanked Bishop O’Connell’s family members present, several who came from Ireland, “for giving us the blessing of him for all these years and all this wonderful ministry here in Los Angeles.”

Archbishop Gomez read a message from Pope Francis that concluded: “To those gathered for the Mass of Christian Burial and to all who mourn Bishop O’Connell’s loss in the sure hope of the Resurrection, the Holy Father cordially imparts his blessing as a pledge of peace and consolation in the Lord.

The archbishop added: “As we know, Bishop Dave loved and served Jesus with all his heart and all his strength, and like Jesus, he loved his brothers and sisters ‘to the end,’ with a special love for those who are often forgotten and those who live on society’s margins. … We continue to pray for his eternal repose and especially we know that he has received the eternal reward. He’s in heaven. So, let’s keep praying for him, for his family, and for all of us. And let’s start going to his intercession for our needs.”

An ensemble choir with musicians from the cathedral, several parishes and Bishop Amat High School in La Puente provided music for many still in shock about Bishop O’Connell’s death at his home in Hacienda Heights on Feb. 18 at age 69.

One of the songs sung before the Mass was the traditional Irish ballad, “Danny Boy.”

After Communion, the choir sang the Irish hymn “Lady of Knock,” to whom Bishop O’Connell had a lifelong devotion. Among the lyrics: “Golden Rose, Queen of Ireland, all my cares and troubles cease. As we kneel with love before you, Lady of Knock, my Queen of Peace.”

Various religious leaders also were present – from the Armenian Apostolic Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church, Episcopal Church, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ, Baptist Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as well as from the American Jewish Committee, the Hindu Vedanta Society, the Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, the California Sikh Council and the Baha’i faith.

David O’Connell, a nephew from Ireland who shared a name with his uncle, said in a reflection at the end of Mass that “for me and my family and everyone listening here, we all have an opportunity to pick up where he left off and carry on the example that he set. Help those that you can help. Lend an ear and listen to people. Respect each other. Be considerate and give others the benefit of the doubt. Have patience and give everyone a chance.”

He added that his uncle “liked being a comedian, but he had a day job that seemed to be going better for him. … Uncle Dave was an inspiration for our whole lives. He taught us if we have the capacity to help someone, you should do it. All he wanted to do was make things easier for everyone else, and never asked for a single thing in return.

“He never ended a phone call without telling me how proud he was of me. And I hope he knows how proud we are of him. Let those close to you know that you love them and that you are proud of them.”
Bishop O’Connell was interred in the cathedral’s mausoleum following his funeral Mass.

(Tom Hoffarth and Mike Cisneros write for Angelus, the news outlet of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Pablo Kay is editor-in-chief of Angelus.)


Through the kindness of Most Reverend Chinnabathini Bagyaiah, Bishop of Guntur; and the acceptance of Most Reverend Joseph R. Kopacz, Bishop of Jackson; Reverend Suresh Reddy Thirumalareddy, pastor of St. James the Greater Parish in Magnolia and St. Alphonsus Parish in McComb, has been incardinated into the Diocese of Jackson, effective Feb. 14, 2023.

Mary Woodward, Chancellor, Diocese of Jackson

Estudiantes de intercambio de Brazil en comunidad del Colegio Sagrado Corazón en Southaven

Por Laura Grisham

 SOUTHAVEN – La comunidad del Sagrado Corazón se despidió de sus estudiantes brasileños de intercambio durante el último fin de semana de enero. Según todos los informes, su tiempo en los Estados Unidos fue demasiado corto. Las cuatro alumnas, Alice, Joana, Luisa y Maria, junto con su maestra, Mariane, son de São Luiz en Brusque, una escuela patrocinada por los Sacerdotes del Sagrado Corazón.

Los alumnos de la Escuela del Sagrado Corazón (SHS) son amigos por correspondencia de alumnos de São Luiz desde hace varios años. Como parte de la comunidad educativa de Dehonian, los estudiantes también pueden conectarse con escuelas POSH en los Estados Unidos y en otras partes del mundo a través de Zoom en varios momentos del año.

Mientras visitaban a los estudiantes de SHS, las niñas de Brasil quedaron fascinadas por todas las cosas nuevas y diferentes, pero lo que es más importante, formaron un vínculo a través de un idioma universal compartido, amor y hermandad.

Recorrer el Museo Nacional de Derechos Civiles en Memphis fue un regalo especial para los estudiantes brasileños de intercambio en la Escuela del Sagrado Corazón en Southaven. Los estudiantes brasileños pasaron el mes de enero asistiendo a clases y vinculándose con sus amigos por correspondencia estadounidenses. Se muestran en la imagen estudiando una de las muchas exhibiciones. (Fotos por Laura Grisham)

Las niñas asistían a clases regulares los días de semana con sus contrapartes del Sagrado Corazón. Aunque muchas actividades durante el día escolar aquí y en el extranjero son similares, existen algunas diferencias sutiles. “La secuencia de las clases y la vida cotidiana en la escuela son muy diferentes a las nuestras en Brasil. Por ejemplo, no almorzamos en la escuela. Las clases terminan a las 12 p.m. La mayoría de nosotros regresamos a casa y almorzamos con nuestras familias. Ha sido una gran experiencia comer en la escuela,” dijo Luisa.

Otra diferencia que las chicas encontraron curiosa fue el cambio de clases. “En el Colégio São Luiz, en Brasil, no hacemos intercambio entre habitaciones; nos quedamos todo el período en nuestro salón de clases”, explicó Alice. “¡Es muy agradable ponerse de pie y moverse entre las aulas!”

La escuela Sagrado Corazón recibió a las niñas con los brazos abiertos. La camaradería entre los estudiantes dehonianos fue instantánea. Los estudiantes estaban particularmente entusiasmados con las cruces dehonianas en los uniformes brasileños y preguntaron si esto podría incorporarse a los uniformes del Sagrado Corazón en el futuro.

Durante su estadía de un mes, el equipo de São Luiz pudo experimentar mucho de la comunidad dehoniana de Mississippi, incluida la celebración de Misa en varias de nuestras parroquias y el recorrido por muchas de nuestras instalaciones. Pudieron reunirse con estudiantes de la escuela Holy Family, recorrer la oficina principal de Sacred Heart Southern Missions, Walls Food Pantry y el vecindario de Dehon Village. Las niñas también echaron una mano en dos distribuciones móviles de alimentos y ayudaron a servir comidas en el Garden Café. “Nos encantó ser parte de la despensa móvil de alimentos y de la cena en el Garden Café”, dijo María. “Se sintió tan bien ser parte de la comunidad y ayudar a la gente. ¡Esa es una idea que vamos a proponer en casa!”

Su tiempo en el país también estuvo lleno de todo tipo de actividades especiales, como ver las luces del zoológico de Memphis, asistir a un partido de baloncesto de la escuela secundaria local e ir a Memphis para recorrer el Museo Nacional de Derechos Civiles. A las niñas también se les presentó algo muy familiar para muchos de nosotros: un Walmart Supercenter.

Una de sus primeras excursiones fue a Graceland para celebrar el cumpleaños de Elvis Presley; El Rey del Rock n Roll habría cumplido este año 88 años. Lamentablemente, durante su estancia en nuestro país, su única hija, Lisa Marie Presley, falleció inesperadamente. Si bien a los estudiantes visitantes les hubiera encantado haber ido a su funeral, una visita temprano en la mañana a la tumba de Lisa más adelante en la semana les dio la oportunidad privada de enviar una oración y despedirse.

Los estudiantes brasileños de intercambio participaron en varias Misas y actividades religiosas, incluida la Fiesta de la Epifanía, y visitaron muchos sitios históricos y de interés en Southaven y Memphis, incluida Graceland para celebrar el cumpleaños de Elvis Presley.  Luego de su visita al Museo Nacional de los Derechos Civiles en Memphis, Tennessee, detuvieron para una foto afuera del Motel Lorraine, donde fue asesinado Martín Luther King, Jr.

Durante su estadía, los invitados brasileños pudieron degustar todo tipo de cocina, con paradas en un Waffle House, un Wendy’s y el exquisito Peabody Hotel. A lo largo del mes recibieron una gran dosis de sabor local cuando varias familias de la comunidad de la escuela del Sagrado Corazón organizaron cenas, dando la bienvenida a las niñas a sus hogares.

Cuando se les preguntó acerca de su tiempo aquí en los Estados Unidos, la respuesta de cada uno de los estudiantes de intercambio fue la misma: “¡Todo ha sido genial! Estos días aquí en Southaven estarán en nuestra memoria para siempre”.

Sin duda estas jóvenes han dejado una huella imborrable en el corazón de todos aquí. Como dijo uno de nuestros padres con tanta elocuencia: “Hay momentos en nuestras vidas en los que Dios entrega regalos especiales e inesperados justo en la puerta de tu casa. Como nunca antes había experimentado programas de intercambio, no estaba seguro de cómo funcionaría dentro de nuestro sistema escolar. ¡Me encontré con tal amor incondicional y apertura! La cultura y el lenguaje universal de bondad que trajeron estos estudiantes y maestros siempre será parte de mí. Me siento honrada y agradecida de haber conocido a tan dulces amigas… ¡y sé que no estoy sola! Dios es muy bueno y este es un ejemplo de su amor perfecto trabajando a nuestro alrededor todos los días”.

(Laura Grisham es la gerente de comunicaciones de Sacred Heart Southern Missions en Walls).

Virgen de Guadalupe, Universalidad del Evangelio Cristiano

Por Galey Holley
NEW ALBANY – El susurro suave y musical del rosario fue interrumpido solo momentáneamente por el estridente y sentido grito de “¡Vive!” mientras los feligreses hispanos de la Iglesia Católica St. Francis of Assisi en New Albany daban la bienvenida al amanecer que se acercaba.
Rezaron los Misterios Gozosos. El Santo Rosario es una bendición de la Virgen, y aunque todos los misterios describen episodios a lo largo de los evangelios, tal vez ninguno despliega más vibrantemente la vida femenina y maternal de María como lo hacen los Misterios Gozosos. Los feligreses comenzaron a las 4:30 a.m. Muchos tenían que estar en la de muebles de la fábrica a las 6 de la mañana.

NEW ALBANY – Alejandro Caballero y María Caballero posan frente a la estatua decorada de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe en la Iglesia Católica St. Francis of Assisi en New Albany en la madrugada del 12 de diciembre. (Foto de Galey Holley)

Aun así, se levantaron temprano, se pusieron al menos una prenda de vestir especial y encontraron un lugar en la pequeña iglesia, llena de gente, para arrodillarse y orar. Alejandro Caballero y su amiga María vistieron camisetas a juego con la imagen de la Virgen. Sus prendas estaban engalanadas con lentejuelas y muchas hechas a mano, con especial atención.
Muchos de los fieles, como Bernie García y su familia, cuyo patriarca, Pablo, está estudiando para ser diácono. Otros caminaron del brazo con abuelos envejecidos, envueltos en chales para protegerse del aire húmedo de la mañana. “Ave, María”, susurraban todos, persignándose con agua bendita y sin dar nunca la espalda al Santísimo Sacramento.
María, la madre de Jesús, ha sido representada de muchas maneras, la mayoría de las veces como una europea pálida y sonrojada. Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe es una imagen étnica de María, con rasgos oscuros claramente indígenas que ejemplifican la universalidad del Evangelio cristiano. En la aparición de Guadalupe, María tenía la piel oscura y hablaba en náhuatl. Su manto turquesa señalaba realeza a los indígenas; la faja negra alrededor de su cintura era su señal de embarazo. Estaba vestida de estrellas y se paró sobre la luna, signos que la conectaban a ambos. Conceptos indios de deidad y Apocalipsis 12:1. Hoy en día, la imagen de “Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe” es quizás la imagen religiosa más omnipresente en la cultura hispana, la parroquia de San Francisco de Asís demuestra a la comunidad circundante cómo llega el evangelio cristiano a través de divisiones raciales, étnicas y culturales.

PEARL – La danza Azteca de la Catedral de San Pedro hizo su primera presentación, el sábado 10 en St. Jude. (Foto de Tereza Ma)

Padre Jesu Raj Xaxier, nativo de la India, habla un inglés excelente y está aprendiendo español rápidamente. Pablo García ha sido durante mucho tiempo un líder en la comunidad hispana y ahora está haciendo un esfuerzo concentrado para mejorar su inglés. Los feligreses anglosajones e hispanos se sienten igual de cómodos en las misas de los domingos por la mañana.
Juan Diego, el hombre nativo a quien se apareció la Virgen, fue canonizado como santo en la Iglesia Católica Romana en 2002. Su manto, con la imagen de María, cuelga en la Basílica de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe cerca de la Ciudad de México en el sitio del Cerro Tepeyac. La basílica es uno de los sitios más visitados de la cristiandad, solo superada por el Vaticano en el número de peregrinos anuales.
La cultura sureña es aquella en la que las madres dan la bienvenida a los niños y sus amigos a la mesa. La abundancia de vida y alimento que se encuentra en los evangelios es el pan que nos alimenta a todos. El amor maternal de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, que los feligreses de San Francisco de Asís demuestran tan bien, es un símbolo de la vida disponible para todos nosotros a través de los sacramentos y en la unión amorosa de unos con otros.

HOUSTON – Para las festividades de la Virgen de Guadalupe, en la iglesia Inmaculado Corazón de María, la comunidad disfrutó de las presentaciones del grupo de danza de IHM y del grupo musical Sagrado Corazón de la iglesia Santa Ana de Carthage. (Foto de Danna Johnson)