Lady Julian of Norwich, lesson of hope

Reflections on Life
By Melvin Arrington
The acclaimed English mystic known to us as Lady or Dame Julian (or Juliana) of Norwich (c. 1342-1416) was, in all likelihood, a Benedictine nun whose birth name has been lost to history. Lady Julian lived during the 14th century, an age that historian Barbara Tuchman in her study A Distant Mirror characterized as “calamitous.” Those were indeed dark and perilous times besieged by plague, wars, pogroms, famines and schism. Yet, despite all the societal upheavals and her own personal tribulations, Julian remained surprisingly upbeat and hopeful.

In 1373 she became deathly ill, a condition she had actually prayed for in an effort to become united with Christ in suffering. On May 8 of that year, while near death, Julian received 16 visions (or “showings”) of Our Lord, beginning with the Crown of Thorns. Although claiming to be a “simple unlettered creature” (probably a reference to not knowing Latin), she wrote, not long after her recovery, a volume of meditations based on these visions. This work, Revelations of Divine Love, now considered a classic of Western spirituality, is also noteworthy for being the first book in English authored by a woman.

Julian produced two versions of the Revelations, both written in Middle English: the “short text,” containing 25 chapters, composed shortly after receiving the “showings,” and the “long text,” consisting of 86 chapters, written over a period of twenty years. The latter offered a more detailed account as a way of explaining and clarifying the meaning of the visions.

Following her brush with death, she withdrew from the world and lived the remainder of her life as an anchorite or, to use the feminine form, anchoress, an urban recluse, confined to a small, cell-like room attached or “anchored” to the outer wall of the Church of St. Julian in Norwich, England – the same church by whose name we know her today. She spent those last years meditating on the 16 revelations and offering spiritual advice to all who came to seek her council.

I first became interested in the life and writings of this holy woman last fall while recovering from a life-threatening illness. Unlike Julian’s infirmity, which she had asked God for, mine was thrust upon me. I remember the emergency room physician telling me, “Well, it looks like you’re going to survive.” What? Wait a minute! Survive? My situation couldn’t be that grave! But it was, and as I soon learned, I was facing several months of medication therapy and recovery time. Later in that conversation the doctor remarked that he couldn’t figure out how I had made it to the hospital alive. Here’s my explanation: God must have intervened on my behalf and performed a miracle because He had something more for me to do. Miracles do happen, and when they occur, it’s for a reason.

To the modern-day observer the fact that Julian would pray for an illness that would cause terrible suffering and bring her to the door of death is beyond perplexing. Was this unusual petition made in an effort to purge some mortal sin? We don’t know. But clearly, she believed that through her agony she could draw nearer to Jesus. As for me, my ordeal brought me closer to Our Lord in a way I had never known before and gave me a renewed sense of hope. He can truly bring forth good from a bad situation. (Romans 8:28)

According to the Catechism, by the theological virtue of hope “we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit.” (1817) Furthermore, this virtue “keeps man from discouragement; it sustains him during times of abandonment; it opens up his heart in expectation of eternal beatitude.” (1818) The Catechism adds that hope “affords us joy even under trial.” (1820) During Julian’s close encounter with death she could claim this joy because of the reassuring words Our Lord had spoken to her, the same words we remember her by today: “I am able to make all things well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”

Although sometimes referred to with the title “Saint” or “Blessed,” this remarkable English mystic was never officially canonized or beatified. Nevertheless, the church commemorates her on May 13; in addition, the Catechism (313) cites her as an authority. The important lessons she can teach us may be summarized as follows: we all have a cross we must bear, and no matter the weight of that cross, no matter the trials and tribulations we face, the severity of the affliction or the intensity of the pain we have to endure – in short, no matter how bad it gets – “All shall be well.” As Archbishop Sheen says, “We need never fear the outcome of the battle of life; we need never ask whether we will win or lose. Why, we have already won, only the news has not yet leaked out!”

Lady Julian of Norwich was able to proclaim “all shall be well” because she could see the big picture. Her hope was based not just on this life but also on a longing for union with God and a desire to spend all eternity with Him in the world to come. If we have this same hope, we can experience a similar joy and peace that no one can take away.

Fear of missing out

By Father Ron Rolheiser, OMI
It’s hard for a child to have to go to bed in the middle of an evening when the rest of the family is still celebrating. Nobody wants to go to bed while everyone else is still up. No one wants to miss out on life.

Remember how as a child, tired and unable to keep your eyes open, you still struggled against anyone who would try to put you to bed. Exhausted or not, you didn’t want to miss anything. You didn’t want to leave and go to sleep while so much life was going on.

Father Ron Rolheiser, OMI

We never really outgrow that. That resistance is congenital and still haunts us on our deathbeds.

One of our more painful anxieties is triggered by a sense that we are forever missing out on something. This is also one of our major fears about dying. For most people, the heaviness and darkness of dying come not so much from a fear of what they might meet in the next life, judgment and punishment, but from a fear of annihilation.

Moreover, the fear here is not so much that their personal identity will be snuffed out (though that is a real fear) but rather that they will be taken away from all the life of which they have been part. The sadness lies in the having to let go, in knowing that life will now go on without us, of being taken off to bed while the party continues. And, this is deep inside us, so deep, that we find it difficult to imagine how the world can even go on without us.

However, this is not a sign that there is something wrong with us, some neurosis that needs fixing or some moral or religious issue that needs attention. It’s the human condition, pure and simple, and God is the architect of that. In short, we’re built to be part of a fabric, not single threads content in their isolation.

I was twenty-three years old when I watched my dad die in a hospital room. He was still young, sixty-two years old, and ideally should have had a number of years still ahead of him. But he was dying, he knew it, and despite a faith that gave him some comfort, was deeply sad about it. What he struggled with in his dying was not with some fear of the afterlife or some amends he still needed to make in this life. None of that. There was no unfinished business with God, nor religious and moral issues still to mend. Nor were there unhealthy fears of the afterlife. His only unfinished business had to do with this life, and what he would now miss out on in terms of (figuratively) being put to bed early while the party was still going on. In addition, for him, the party was in full swing.

His adult children were just beginning to establish their lives and give him grandchildren, and the younger half of his family were actively preparing to enter into their adult lives. He wasn’t going to be around to see how all of this turned out and he wasn’t going to be around to see most of his grandchildren. More important still, he had a wife, a soulmate, whom he would be leaving. It wasn’t a good evening to be sent to bed early.

Beyond all this, he still had his own siblings, neighbors, friends, a parish, civic involvements, sports teams and countless other life-giving connections, and he was aware, not without huge heartache, that these were all about to end, at least on this side of eternity.

Why shouldn’t he have been sad? Indeed, why shouldn’t any of us be sad whenever we are facing a death of any kind, when we are being put to bed while the rest of life is still going on?

We are constitutively communitarian. As God himself said when he created the human family, it is not good for anyone to be alone. We are meant to be part of a family and a community, part of the fabric of life, and a fabric is made up of multiple threads. Thus, it’s understandably saddening whenever our single, fragile, lonely thread is being pulled away from the rest of the fabric. No wonder little children don’t want to be put to bed while everyone else is still carrying on with the evening.

Moreover, this isn’t just true for the sadness we experience when we face our deaths. The same dynamic is operative whenever we undergo the various mini deaths that beset us as we age, lose our health, retire, get fired from jobs, lose people we love, lose marriages, are geographically dislocated, or in any other way are pushed out of the mainstream of life towards the margins.
So, it can be helpful to know that nothing is wrong here. Dying is hard. Letting go is hard. Being pushed aside is hard. Disappearing from life is particularly hard. That’s why little children don’t like being put to bed.

(Oblate Father Ron Rolheiser is a theologian, teacher and award-winning author. He can be contacted through his website

Pope tells Russian patriarch they are not ‘clerics of the state’

By Carol Glatz
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Warning that the Russian Orthodox patriarch should not “turn himself into Putin’s altar boy,” Pope Francis also said he would like to go to Moscow to meet Vladimir Putin in an attempt to end the conflict in Ukraine.

The pope reiterated that he would not be going to Kyiv “for now,” but “I first must go to Moscow, I must first meet Putin,” he said in an interview with the Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, published May 3. Vatican News also published most of the interview.

Pope Francis said he sent a message through Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, “20 days after the war” started, to be delivered to Putin telling him, “I was ready to go to Moscow.”

“We still have not had a response, and we are still being persistent, even though I am afraid Putin may not be able to and may not want to have this meeting right now,” the pope said. “I am doing what I can. If Putin were to open the door. …”

“But so much brutality, how do you not try to stop it? We saw the same thing with Rwanda,” he said, referring to the genocide against members of the Tutsi minority ethnic group in 1994, when at least 500,000 people were killed in about 100 days.

Pope Francis also provided more details about a video call he had with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow in mid-March. “I spoke with Kirill for 40 minutes via Zoom. He spent the first 20 minutes holding a piece of paper reading all the reasons for the war.”

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and Pope Francis pose for photos at the beginning of their meeting at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana in this Feb. 12, 2016, file photo. In an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, published May 3, 2022, Pope Francis warned that the Russian Orthodox patriarch should not “turn himself into Putin’s altar boy.” He also said he would like to go to Moscow to meet Vladimir Putin in an attempt to end the conflict in Ukraine. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

“I listened to him, and I told him, ‘I don’t know anything about this. Brother, we are not clerics of the state, we cannot use the language of politics, but of Jesus. We are shepherds of the same holy people of God. That is why we must seek the path of peace, to cease the blast of weapons,’” he said.
“The patriarch cannot turn himself into Putin’s altar boy,” he said.

The meeting that had been planned between the pope and patriarch in Jerusalem June 14, and has since been canceled, had nothing to do with the conflict in Ukraine, the pope said. But even the patriarch now sees that any kind of meeting of theirs could send “an ambiguous sign.”

Patriarch Kirill has been an outspoken supporter of Putin’s war on Ukraine, and the Vatican’s diplomatic team believed such a meeting could lead to “much confusion,” Pope Francis had told La Nación, the Argentine newspaper, in an April 21 interview.

When Russia invaded Ukraine Feb. 24, the pope called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, he told Corriere della Sera.

“Instead, I didn’t call Putin. I had heard from him in December for my birthday, but this time, no, I didn’t call him,” he said. He explained that he preferred to make a more “clear gesture that the whole world could see and that is why I went to the Russian ambassador” to the Holy See, Aleksandr Avdeyev, Feb. 25.

He said he asked the ambassador “that they explain, (and) I told him, ‘Please, stop this.’”
The pope said the conflict is not just affecting the Donbas region, but there is also “Crimea, it is Odesa – it is taking away the port of the Black Sea from Ukraine, it is everything. I am a pessimist, but we must do everything possible so that the war can end.”

“There is not enough will for peace. The war is terrible, and we have to shout out” against it, he said.

Called by name

Mother’s Day snuck up on me I must admit, it feels like we are usually well into the double-digit days of May before we set aside a day to honor Mom. I’m sitting here at my desk remembering the many lessons my mom taught me, at home, at school and in the church. My mother was my elementary school principal. I attended St. Benedict School in Elberta, Alabama where Claudia Adam was the principal from 1995-2005. It’s not every kid who can say that his mom literally ‘taught him.’

Father Nick Adam remembers his mother, Claudia Adam (on right) on Mother’s Day. She was a huge impact on him and her courageous witness helped him to say yes to God’s call.

Because mom was a Catholic School teacher, she had plenty to do with the life of the parish. St. Bartholomew Parish sits right across the street from St. Benedict, and my mom cared deeply about enriching the faith of all the students under her care. With the help of handymen in the community she converted an old storage room into a very nice chapel on the school campus, and she never missed an opportunity to talk to us students about the importance of Mass and other devotions that we took part in like Stations of the Cross during Lent. I still remember that we would sing the parts of the Stabat Mater in Latin, we sounded like angels, except for being out of tune! My mother’s example was a huge reason that I became a priest. I saw her life of service, and it spoke to me.

So, this is my encouragement to all you moms out there who have sons that are the apple of your eye. Please encourage them if you see priestly gifts in them. I know it can be frightening and different for your child to choose a road less traveled but take Mary’s example to heart. Mary had one child, and that child was miraculously conceived. Mary had a choice, and she said yes. And that yes blessed not just her family, not just her people, not just her country, not just the world, but the universe. That ‘yes’ brought Jesus into the world. God could have done it another way, but he allowed a free choice to bring Jesus into the created order. Your ‘yes’ can bless the universe as well. Your ‘yes’ can help Jesus be made sacramentally present in a parish that doesn’t have a resident priest right now. And we don’t just need more priests, we need more good priests. We need good men from good families who could serve their community and the world doing anything because they are so talented, but they choose to serve the church because they were called to this vocation, and they were nurtured and encouraged by their family to be generous with their gifts for the salvation of souls.

Father Nick Adam
Father Nick Adam

Moms have a lot to do with a good man choosing to serve the church as a diocesan priest, and they can also have a lot to do with steering a man away from that call. I know it is scary, but I promise to do my best to walk with you and your family on the journey. I am so grateful to the mothers of our current seminarians who, like Mary, said yes. And their yes will lead to Jesus being made present in the sacraments for decades to come. In your charity, please say a prayer for my mom, who died in 2014. I miss her, but her example of humble service still inspires me, and even though she died before I was ordained, her courageous witness helped me to say yes to the Lord when the time came. Blessings to all moms and mother figures!
– Father Nick Adam

If you are interested in learning more about religious orders or vocations to the priesthood and religious life, please email

In memoriam: Sister Mary Jane Herlik, OP

SINSINAWA, Wis. – Sister Mary Jane Herlik, OP, died April 4, 2022, at Bayfront Health, St. Petersburg, Florida. Her religious name was Sister Querin. The funeral Mass was held at the Dominican motherhouse, Sinsinawa, April 29, followed by burial in the Motherhouse Cemetery.

Sister Mary Jane made her first profession as a Dominican Sister of Sinsinawa Aug. 5, 1950, and her perpetual profession Aug. 5, 1953. She taught for 30 years and was co-principal for two years. Sister Mary Jane served as pastoral minister for 10 years and in the HIV/AIDS ministry for 16 years. She noticed in the early 1980s that medical personnel and clergy were afraid to enter hospital rooms of those dying of AIDS, so she responded to their needs, saying, “I felt I was being called to minister to those dying with AIDS.” (Tampa Bay Times) Sister Mary Jane advised people to “squeeze some joy out of every day, live with a grateful heart, and always trust in a loving God.” (The Link) She served in Illinois, Wisconsin, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida.

In the Diocese of Jackson, Sister Mary Jane served as AIDS ministry coordinator at Sacred Heart Southern Missions in Walls from 1993-1996.

Sister Mary Jane was born Dec. 20, 1930, in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the daughter of Querin and Jenni (Heimerl) Herlik. Her parents and a sister, Rose Ann Hunsader, preceded her in death. She is survived by a sister, Rosalyn Simonar; a brother, Querin ”Quin” Herlik; nieces; nephews; and her Dominican Sisters with whom she shared 71 years of religious life.
Memorials may be made to the Sinsinawa Dominicans, 585 County Road Z, Sinsinawa, WI, 53824-9701 or at online.

Repeat broadcasts of the wake and funeral for Sister Mary Jane are available online at Click on the “on demand” tab.

Calendar of events

FLOWOOD St. Paul, Homecoming outdoor celebration, Saturday, June 4, Mass at 4:30 p.m., food and fellowship follow. Celebration will take place on the hill behind the church. Details: church office (601) 992-9547.

HERNANDO Holy Spirit, Memorial Day Boston Butt Sale, Last day to order is Monday, May 23. Pick-up day is Friday, May 27. Details: see a member of the men’s association after Mass or call Sal Galtelli 429-5071.

MADISON St. Francis, Parish Family Picnic, Sunday, May 22 after 10:30 a.m. Mass. Picnic is full of activities for children, along with food and fellowship for all. Details: church office (601) 856-5556.

MERIDIAN St. Patrick and St. Joseph communities, Pentecost Mass and picnic, June 5. Celebration will be held at the East Bank at Okatibbee Lake in Collinsville at 10 a.m. Details: church office (601) 693-1321.

OLIVE BRANCH Queen of Peace, Knights of Columbus Spaghetti Fundraiser, Sunday, May 22 after Mass. Dine in or carry out. $8 per plate; $25 per family; $2 smoked sausage ($1 half); $10 quart gravy and $5 quart slaw. Details: church office (662) 895-5007.

Queen of Peace, Knights of Columbus Indoor Yard Sale, Saturday, June 4 at 8 a.m. Details: Leonard Temple (901) 606-1959.

PONTOTOC St. Christopher Catholic Friendship Camp, ages 7-11, June 12-18; and ages 12-14, June 19-25. Details: Heidi Stephens or
WEST POINT Immaculate Conception, Blood Drive, Wednesday, May 25 from 1-7 p.m. in Parish Hall. Details: Register at or call (877) 258-4825. Blood drive code: iccatholic.

CLARKSDALE St. Elizabeth, VBS 2022, Monumental: Celebrating God’s Greatness, June 20-24 at St. Elizabeth School. Details: Catelin Britt (662) 902-6478.

OLIVE BRANCH VBS for 6th-8th grades, Wednesday June 15 from 6-9 p.m. VBS for K-5th grade, June 20-24, 9 a.m. till 12 p.m., volunteers are needed. Details: Kelly Murguia (662) 216-9896.

HERNANDO Holy Spirit, VBS June 13-17 from 6:15-8 p.m. Look for table in the Narthex with registration forms. Details: church office (662) 429-7851.

NATCHEZ St. Mary Basilica, VBS, July 11-15, Evening hours. More information to be announced soon.

PEARL St. Jude, Family Style VBS Wednesday evenings, June 8, 15, 22 and 29 starts at 6:30 p.m. following Mass. Join us family style for a picnic supper, Bible story, Saint of the week and games. Crafts will be take home. All activities will be outdoors, weather permitting. Registration coming soon. Details: church office (601) 939-3181.

MADISON St. Francis, VBS 2022: The Jesus Expedition, June 20-24 for all children going into Pre-K4 through fourth grades. Registration will begin in May if enough volunteers sign up to assist with the camp. Details: Mary Catherine at

MERIDIAN St. Patrick, Vacation Bible School, July 18-22. More information coming soon.

SEARCH RETREAT July 22-24 at Camp Wesley Pines in Gallman. Also accepting staff applications. This retreat is open to those who are just completing their sophomore, junior or senior year of high school. Graduating seniors will have priority registration. Registration deadline is June 12. Details: or

CATHOLIC SCHOOLS Catholic schools across the diocese have a variety of positions open from principals to substitutes. Please visit for an opportunity near you.

DIOCESE The Department of Faith Formation in the Diocese of Jackson is looking for a full-time Coordinator of the Office of Young Adults and Campus Ministry. The coordinator supervises and participates in the diocesan efforts for ministry to and with young adults, college students, youth and the various staff and volunteers who assist with these ministries from the parishes and schools. The successful candidate will be a collaborative member of a dynamic formation team. Please contact if you have questions. Please send a cover letter and resume to by June 3 to be considered.

Leaked draft of Supreme Court opinion indicates overturn of Roe decision

By Carol Zimmermann
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court appears set to overturn its Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion for nearly 50 years, according to a leaked initial draft of a court opinion obtained by Politico and published online the evening of May 2.

Just minutes after the leak was published, reactions were fast and furious on social media, and barricades were erected around the Supreme Court. Many people gathered at the court in protest and some, including students from The Catholic University of America, were there to pray the rosary.

The draft opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, said Roe “was egregiously wrong from the start” and that “Roe and Casey must be overruled.” Casey v. Planned Parenthood is the 1992 decision that affirmed Roe.

Lights burn inside U.S. Supreme Court offices in Washington May 2, 2022, after the leak of a draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito preparing for a majority of the court to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision later this year. (CNS photo/Jonathan Ernst, Reuters)

Alito’s opinion said the court’s 1973 Roe decision had exceptionally weak reasoning “and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division,” he wrote.

He also said abortion policies should be determined on the state level. 

Politico’s report says Alito’s opinion is supported by Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett and that Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan were working on dissents. It was not clear how Chief Justice John Roberts planned to vote.
The 98-page draft, which includes a 31-page appendix of historical state abortion laws, is an opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – a case about Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy with the potential to also overturn Roe.

The fact that the opinion was leaked also caused significant reaction, because this is unprecedented in the court’s recent history, especially with such a big case.

A May 3 statement by the Supreme Court verified that the draft opinion reported on “is authentic” but that it “does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.”

Roberts, in his own statement, emphasized the significance of the leaked document, which he said was a “singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the Court and the community of public servants who work here.”

He also said that if this action was “intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed. The work of the Court will not be affected in any way.” He said he has directed the Marshal of the Court to launch an investigation into the source of the leak.

Politico acknowledged that “deliberations on controversial cases have in the past been fluid. Justices can and sometimes do change their votes as draft opinions circulate and major decisions can be subject to multiple drafts and vote-trading, sometimes until just days before a decision is unveiled.”

“The court’s holding will not be final until it is published, likely in the next two months,” it added.
But that does not stop the firestorm of speculation and discussion.

A tweet from scotusblog, which reports on the Supreme Court, said: “It’s impossible to overstate the earthquake this will cause inside the Court, in terms of the destruction of trust among the Justices and staff. This leak is the gravest, most unforgivable sin.”

Pro-life groups praised the court’s potential decision but some also questioned the motivation behind the leak and wondered if the court was being manipulated by this action.

A May 2 tweet by Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, said her organization would “not be providing comment on an official decision of #scotus possible leak until a decision is officially announced.”

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr., a Catholic, is seen during a group portrait session at the Supreme Court in Washington Nov. 30, 2018. (CNS photo/Jim Young, Reuters)

“We also believe that given the leak the court should issue a ruling as soon as possible. This leak was meant to corrupt the process. It is heartbreaking that some abortion advocates will stoop to any level to intimidate the court no matter what the consequences,” she added.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, also expressed some skepticism but also praise for the potential decision.

“If the draft opinion made public tonight is the final opinion of the court, we wholeheartedly applaud the decision,” she said in a statement adding: “If Roe is indeed overturned, our job will be to build consensus for the strongest protections possible for unborn children and women in every legislature.”

Those on the other side of the issue were similarly taken aback by the leak but also by the potential impact of the decision if it ultimately echoes the draft opinion.

American Civil Liberties Union tweeted: “If the Supreme Court does indeed issue a majority opinion along the lines of the leaked draft authored by Justice Alito, the shift in the tectonic plates of abortion rights will be as significant as any opinion the Court has ever issued.”

And Planned Parenthood said in a May 2 tweet: “Let’s be clear: This is a draft opinion. It’s outrageous, it’s unprecedented, but it is not final.”

During oral arguments in this case last December, a majority of the justices indicate that they would uphold Mississippi’s abortion ban after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which was struck down by a federal District Court in Mississippi in 2018 and upheld a year later by the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

A 15-week ban is not a “dramatic departure from viability,” Roberts said.

The point of viability – when a fetus is said to be able to survive on its own – was key to the discussion because the Supreme Court has consistently ruled that states cannot restrict abortion before 24 weeks or when a fetus is said to be able to survive on its own.

In the draft opinion, Alito said Roe’s viability distinction “makes no sense.”

If this draft is adopted by the court, it means a ruling in favor of the Mississippi abortion ban. If it goes further to overturn Roe, there would be stricter limits to abortion in parts of the U.S., particularly the South and Midwest, with several states set to immediately impose broad abortion bans.

(Contributing to this report was Kurt Jensen.)

Las asignaciones abren la puerta a una “nueva vida” para los pastores

Por Obispo Joseph R. Kopacz, D.D.
Con la imagen del Buen Pastor ante nosotros y con su voz resonando en nuestros corazones y mentes, al centro del tiempo Pascual, encomendemos los sacerdotes de nuestra diócesis a nuestro crucificado y resucitado Señor, aquellos que se esfuerzan por seguir sus pasos, especialmente aquellos que anticipan cambios en el tiempo que se avecina.

En particular, pedimos la bendición de Dios sobre el Diácono Andrew Bowden, a quien ordenare al sacerdocio de Jesucristo para la Diócesis de Jackson, este sábado 14 de mayo en nuestra Catedral de San Pedro Apóstol.

Obispo Joseph R. Kopacz

Durante el último fin de semana del cuarto domingo de Pascua, que siempre está dedicado al Buen Pastor, una cohorte de nuestros sacerdotes se dirigió a sus congregaciones para informarles que serían transferidos, para pastorear otros rebaños que necesitan un pastor ya sea por jubilaciones o salidas en la Diócesis de Jackson.
Algunos están empacando y mudándose físicamente en una variedad de períodos de tiempo, mientras que otros permanecen en su lugar pero se esfuerzan generosamente para pastorear comunidades parroquiales adicionales. Como muchos saben, los cambios significativos en la vida no son fáciles y requieren mucho tiempo y energía.

El fin de semana pasado, con la imagen del Buen Pastor ante mí, reflexioné sobre las transiciones, durante los últimos 45 años, en mi vida como sacerdote y pude recordar los sentimientos que me atravesaron durante los cambios de asignación, incluso después de muchos años.

Hay un morir que ocurre, con cada cambio de lo que era, también con un sacerdote cuando deja una parroquia, donde conoce a muchos por su nombre y cuyas voces resuenan con los recuerdos de las experiencias pastorales del nacimiento y la muerte, y cada etapa intermedia. Lo desconocido que aguarda puede evocar sentimientos de ansiedad e incertidumbre.

Recuerdo un cambio en una asignación en la que la gente me dio una gran despedida una noche y a la mañana siguiente, el monaguillo de la Misa en la nueva parroquia me miró con curiosidad y me preguntó: “¿Cuál es tu nombre, por favor?” Sonreí interiormente en ese momento y dije: “sí, es un nuevo día.”

Es el ciclo de morir y resucitar que experimentamos en la muerte y resurrección del Buen Pastor. Para el sacerdote trasladado puede haber duelo en la separación y sin embargo un cambio de destino parroquial abre la puerta a una nueva vida en el pastoreo de las personas, familias y comunidades de fe que el Señor nos confía.

Con cada “dejarse llevar” y partir, aguarda una nueva vida. Aún así, no es fácil y lleva tiempo que todos se adapten, el nuevo pastor y la gente, para establecer relaciones de confianza, respeto y amor.

Que nuestra oración se eleve al cielo por todos nuestros sacerdotes a quienes el Señor llama para ser buenos pastores.

San Pedro exhortaba a los líderes pastorales de su época con las siguientes palabras: “Cuiden de las ovejas de Dios que han sido puestas a su cargo; háganlo de buena voluntad, como Dios quiere, y no forzadamente ni por ambición de dinero, sino de buena gana.” (1 Pedro 5:2)

En cualquier parroquia y circunstancia que nuestros sacerdotes y líderes pastorales nos encontremos, que podamos servir con el corazón y la mente de Jesucristo.

La voz del Señor es para todos los bautizados.

Assignments open door to ‘new life’ for shepherds

May our prayer rise up to
heaven for all of our priests whom the Lord calls to serve as
good shepherds.

By Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz, D.D.
With the image of the Good Shepherd before us in the center of the Easter season, and with his voice resounding in our hearts and minds, let us commend to our crucified and risen Lord the priests of our diocese who strive to follow in his footsteps, especially those who are anticipating changes in the time ahead.

In particular, we ask God’s blessing upon Deacon Andrew Bowden whom I will be ordaining to the priesthood of Jesus Christ for the Diocese of Jackson this Saturday, May 14 at our Cathedral of Saint Peter the Apostle.

Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz

Over last weekend on the fourth Sunday of Easter which is always dedicated to the Good Shepherd, a cohort of our priests addressed their congregations to inform them that they would be transferred to shepherd other flocks in the Diocese of Jackson who are in need of a pastor due to retirements or departures.

Some are packing up and physically leaving after assorted lengths of time, while others are remaining in place but are generously stretching themselves to shepherd additional parish communities. As many know, significant changes in life are not easy and require considerable time and energy.

Last weekend with the image of the Good Shepherd before me I reflected upon the transitions in my life as a priest over the past 45 years and could recall the feelings that coursed through me during assignment changes, even after many years.

There is a dying that occurs with every change to what was, and so too with a priest when he leaves one parish where he knows many by name and whose voices echo with the memories of pastoral experiences of birth and death, and every stage in between. The unknown that awaits can evoke anxious feelings and uncertainty.

I remember one change in assignment where the people gave me a great send-off one evening, and on the next morning the altar server at Mass in the new parish looked at me curiously and asked, “and what’s your name again?” I smiled inwardly in that moment and said, “yes, it’s a new day.”

It is the cycle of dying and rising that we experience in the death and resurrection of the Good Shepherd. For the transferred priest there could be grieving in the separation, and yet a change in a parochial assignment opens the door to new life in the shepherding of individuals, families and communities of faith whom the Lord entrusts to us.

With each “letting-go” and departure new life awaits. Still, it is not easy, and it takes time for everyone to adjust, the new pastor and people, in order to establish relationships of trust, respect and love.
May our prayer rise up to heaven for all of our priests whom the Lord calls to serve as good shepherds.
St. Peter exhorted the pastoral leaders of his day with the following words: “Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly — not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.” (1Peter 5:2)

In whatever parish and circumstances our priests and pastoral leaders find ourselves, may we serve with the heart and mind of Jesus Christ.

The voice of the Lord is for all of the baptized.

Click here for list of pastoral assignments

Faith, fortitude, martyrdom, miracles: Pope will recognize 10 new saints

By Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – After a long pandemic pause, Pope Francis is scheduled to celebrate a Mass May 15 for the canonization of 10 men and women: five from Italy, three from France, one from India and one from the Netherlands.

The 10, listed in the order the Congregation for Saints’ Causes lists them, are:
– Blessed Devasahayam Pillai, an Indian layman and father who was born to an upper-caste Hindu family in 1712 and converted to Christianity in 1745. The Vatican said his refusal to participate in Hindu ceremonies and his preaching about “the equality of all people,” denying the Hindu caste system, led to his arrest, torture and his death in 1752.

– Blessed César de Bus, the France-born founder of the Fathers of Christian Doctrine, a religious congregation dedicated to education, pastoral ministry and catechesis. Born in 1544, he enjoyed life and parties until he had a conversion experience in his early 30s and began dedicating his life to prayer and helping the poor. Ordained to the priesthood in 1582, he was a pioneer in educating the laity in the faith, using illustrations he painted himself and songs and poetry he wrote. He died in 1607.

– Blessed Luigi Maria Palazzolo, an Italian priest and founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Poor. Born in 1827, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1850. The Vatican biography said, “At that time there was an abundance of clergy and, like the majority of priests from wealthy families who stayed at home and generously dedicated themselves to good works, Don Luigi chose to devote himself to young people” at an oratory in a poor neighborhood. He opened a school that offered evening classes in reading and writing to men and boys before opening a separate oratory for girls and founding the Sisters of the Poor to run it.

– Blessed Giustino Maria Russolillo, an Italian who, on the day of his ordination to the priesthood in 1913, vowed to establish a religious order dedicated to promoting vocations to the priesthood and religious life, but his first attempt was stopped by his bishop. Eventually, though, he founded the Society of Divine Vocations for men and the Vocationist Sisters.

– Blessed Charles de Foucauld was born in Strasbourg, France, in 1858. He strayed from the faith during his adolescence, but during a trip to Morocco, he saw how devoted Muslims were to their faith, which inspired him to return to the church and, eventually, to join the Trappists. After living in monasteries in France and in Syria, he sought an even more austere life as a hermit. Ordained to the priesthood in 1901, he lived among the poor and finally settled in Tamanrasset, Algeria. In 1916, he was killed by a band of marauders. His writings inspired the foundation, after his death, of the Little Brothers of Jesus and the Little Sisters of Jesus.

– Blessed Anna Maria Rubatto, founder of the order now known as the Capuchin Sisters of Mother Rubatto, was born in Carmagnola, Italy, in 1844 and died in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1904.
The miracle accepted in her cause involved the healing in March 2000 in Colonia, Uruguay, of a young man suffering from “cranio-encephalic trauma with severe subarachnoid hemorrhage, severe coma, endocranial hypertension and diffuse axonal damage,” the Congregation for Saints’ Causes said.

– Blessed Maria Domenica Mantovani, co-founder and first superior general of the Little Sisters of the Holy Family. Born in 1862 in Castelletto di Brenzone, Italy, she dedicated her life to serving the poor and needy as well as assisting the sick and the elderly. She died in 1934.

The miracle in her case involved the healing in 2011 of a 12-year-old girl in Argentina who, during a medical procedure, suffered convulsions, cardiac arrest and respiratory failure. Touched with a relic of Blessed Mantovani and supported by the prayers of her family, the girl was extubated two days later and went on to recover, the Vatican said.

– Blessed Titus Brandsma was born in Oegeklooster, Netherlands, in 1881 and entered the Carmelites in 1898. Ordained in 1905, he was sent to Rome for further studies and, while there, became a correspondent for several Dutch newspapers and magazines. When he returned home, he founded the magazine Karmelrozen and, in 1935, was named chaplain to the Dutch Catholic journalists’ association. During World War II, he was arrested and sent to Dachau for treason after defending Jews and encouraging Catholic newspapers not to print Nazi propaganda. He was killed with a lethal injection in 1942 at the age of 61 and cremated at the camp.

The miracle in his cause involved Carmelite Father Michael Driscoll, former pastor of St. Jude Church in Boca Raton, Florida, who is now 80 years old. In 2004 he had been diagnosed with severe, stage 4, metastatic melanoma and began praying to Blessed Titus and putting a relic of the martyr’s clothing on his head and neck. When the medical board of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes looked at the case, the Vatican said, “of the disease, which was particularly malignant and invasive, there was no longer any trace, even after more than 15 years.”

– Blessed Marie Rivier, a Frenchwoman who founded the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary in 1796 during the time of the French Revolution, when many Catholic convents were closed and religious activities were outlawed. She was born in 1768 and died in 1838.

– Blessed Carolina Santocanale, also known as Blessed Mary of Jesus, an Italian nun born in 1852, who founded the Congregation of the Capuchin Sisters of the Immaculate of Lourdes. She died in Palermo in 1923.

Follow Wooden on Twitter: @Cindy_Wooden