WASHINGTON (CNS) – In a 218-211 vote Sept. 24, the U.S. House passed what opponents consider one of the most extreme abortion bills ever seen in the nation – the Women’s Health Protection Act. “This bill is far outside the American mainstream and goes far beyond Roe v Wade,” Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., co-chairman of the. Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, said in remarks ahead of the vote. “This bill constitutes an existential threat to unborn children and to the value of life itself.” H.R. 3755 codifies the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationwide. The measure establishes the legal right to abortion on demand at any stage of pregnancy in all 50 states under federal law. “This deceptively-named bill is the most extreme pro-abortion bill our nation has ever seen,” Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee, said Sept. 24. If it became law, “it would lead to the deliberate destruction of millions of unborn lives, leaving countless women with physical, emotional and spiritual scars,” he said in a statement. “As a nation built on the recognition that every human being is endowed by its Creator with the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, this bill is a complete injustice.”

Heidi Crowter, who has Down syndrome, speaks outside the High Court ahead of a case to challenge the Down syndrome abortion laws in London July 6, 2021. (CNS photo/Hannah McKay, Reuters)

WASHINGTON (CNS) – Panelists at one Sept. 27 forum during an online conference on immigration law and policy noted that the asylum process, like much else in the U.S. immigration system, is in need of its own fixes. The percentage of those who fear being returned to their country of origin has leaped in a 12-year period, from 5% in 2007 to 43% in 2019, according to Ted H. Kim, acting associate director of the Refugee, Asylum and International Operations Directorate, or RAIO, which is a division of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The period from 2016 to 2018, when Kim started working at USCIS, “saw really high numbers at the border, and 46% of those at the border consisted of family units,” he added. That does not take into account “unaccompanied children, trafficking victims, who must be transferred to HHS (Health and Human Services) custody within 72 hours,” Kim said, “or the entire system risks being backed up ,including as recently as this past year.” A statute calling for “expedited removal” of immigrants was passed in 1996, but that was “designed for a different era when we did not see these huge numbers of arrivals at the border like we do today,” Kim said at the forum, sponsored by the Catholic Legal Immigration Network and co-sponsored by the Georgetown University Law School and the Migration Policy Institute. “This has led to a backlog which is quickly approaching the program’s all-time high in the late ‘90s.” He added, “Too often, we’re on our heels in a reactive mode.”

CHICAGO (CNS) – Father Stan Jaszek, a missionary priest from Poland who is serving Native Alaskans in the Diocese of Fairbanks, has been named the recipient of Catholic Extension’s 2021-2022 Lumen Christi Award. The Lumen Christi Award, established in 1978, is the highest honor given by Catholic Extension and goes to people “who radiate and reveal the light of Christ present in the communities where they serve.” “Father Stan intuitively understands that the church can be a force of positive transformation having grown up in communist Poland and witnessing the impact of (St.) John Paul II and the Solidarity movement,” said Father Jack Wall, president of Catholic Extension. “That conviction is what took him as a missionary priest from Poland to Peru early in his priesthood, then later from post-apartheid Africa to Alaska, in the

Father Stan Jaszek, a missionary priest from Poland who is serving Native Alaskans in the Diocese of Fairbanks, Alaska, is seen in this undated photo. Catholic Extension announced Sept. 28, 2021, that Father Jaszek is the recipient of its 2021-2022 Lumen Christi Award. (CNS photo/Ash Adams, courtesy Catholic Extension)

Diocese of Fairbanks where he has faithfully served nearly two decades,” the priest said in a Sept. 28 statement. Father Jaszek currently serves the Native Alaskan villages of the remote Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region, along the coast of the Bering Sea. Out of his 19 years of missionary work in the Diocese of Fairbanks, Father Jaszek has spent 14 of them living among the Yup’ik people. He is one of just a handful of priests ministering in the Fairbanks Diocese, which geographically is the largest U.S. diocese.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – The Vatican announced that Pope Francis will formally launch the process of the Synod of Bishops with a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. The Oct. 10 Mass, which officially open the synodal process, will be preceded by a day of reflection in the synod hall, the Vatican said in a statement published Oct. 1. The Oct. 9 day of reflection, the statement said, will include “representatives of the people God, including delegates of the bishops’ conferences and related bodies, members of the Roman Curia, fraternal delegates, delegates of consecrated life and ecclesial lay movements, the youth council, etc.” According to the schedule released by the Vatican, the day of reflection will begin with a meditation followed by an address by Pope Francis. It will also feature testimonies by people present at the synod hall, including a young woman from South Africa, a bishop from South Korea, and the head of a religious community from France. Participants will also listen to video testimonies from a nun in the United States, a family in Australia and a priest in Brazil.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Death row inmates in Florida’s prisons refer to their 6-foot-by-9-foot cell as their “house,” with some having lived in their “house” for 40 years – longer than one Catholic lay chaplain said he has lived in his family home in Tallahassee. So when Dale Recinella, the lay minister, goes from cell to cell to offer pastoral care, religious education and spiritual accompaniment, “we go house to house, cell to cell, and that’s where we meet them.” These are men and women who cannot come out, “they can’t even come to the chapel,” so the church must go to them. Recinella has been serving as a Catholic correctional chaplain for inmates on death row and in solitary confinement on behalf of the Catholic bishops of Florida for decades. With just a few more months until his 70th birthday, Recinella was at the Vatican to be honored by the Pontifical Academy for Life and receive its first ever Guardian of Life Award during a special evening event Sept. 28. The academy was holding its general assembly onsite in Rome and online Sept. 27-29. Recinella told Catholic News Service Sept. 28 that, as he has moved on to “semi-retirement,” the church in Florida is working to make sure that this ministry continues “in a very vibrant and active way” by finding dedicated people to follow in his footsteps.

LONDON (CNS) – Two women who challenged the U.K. government over a law that allows abortion up to birth for disabled babies have vowed to take their case to appeal after it was dismissed by the High Court. Heidi Crowter, 26, who has Down syndrome, and Máire Lea-Wilson, whose 2-year-old son Aidan also has the condition, objected to a clause in the 1967 Abortion Act that extended the right to abortion beyond the 24-week upper limit when fetuses have disabilities. They claimed the law breached the European Convention on Human Rights because it discriminated against disabled children, and they sought to have the clause removed from the act. They made their case in a two-day hearing in July and learned Sept. 23 that their attempt had failed when the High Court ruled that the clause was not unlawful. Afterward, Crowter said she would seek permission to take the case to the Court of Appeal. “I am really upset not to win, but the fight is not over,” she said outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

MEXICO CITY (CNS) – The Mexican bishops’ migrant ministry has called on the federal government to return to a policy of “open arms” as the country experiences heavy waves of migration – most visibly with Haitians, who recently traveled the length of Mexico to the U.S. border in large numbers. “As a church, we exhort the Mexican government to abandon the militarized migratory policy and recover our tradition of a country with open arms, welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating migrants,” the ministry said in a letter marking World Day of Migrants and Refugees Sept. 26. “We call on the Mexican church, in communion with the Holy Father, to open our hearts and tear down the walls of discrimination, prejudice and the rejections of those who suffer most. We extend a hand to those walking and transiting our streets, parishes and dioceses, to the migrants fleeing repression and pain, who are in search of love and freedom that they cannot find in their countries of origin.” The church’s call for Mexico to revisit its migration policies followed the arrival of some 14,500 Haitians in Del Rio, Texas, where they camped under a bridge as they waited to be processed by U.S. border officials. Many of the migrants were returned to Mexico, some families were admitted into the United States with citations to appear at immigration offices, while planeloads of Haitians were returned to Haiti – where many had not lived for years. Many of the Haitians traveling toward the United States left after the 2010 earthquake on the island and had been working in Brazil and Chile until encountering difficulties in those countries.

Featured photo…Our Homegrown Seminarians…

FLOWOOD – On Oct. 2, Father Nick Adam was pleased to present diocesan seminarians at the 2nd annual Homegrown Harvest Seminarian Fest at St. Paul parish. The event raised funds with sponsorships, dinner, a tailgate party and a silent auction for the seminarian program. Pictured left to right: Grayson Foley, Will Foggo, Ryan Stoer, Tristan Stovall, Carlisle Beggerly and Father Nick Adam. Not pictured was Deacon Andrew Bowden who was tied up serving wine at the event. (Photo by Joanna Puddister King)

Calendar of events

PEARL St. Jude, MARIAN SERVANTS® of Jesus the Lamb of God, Preparation for Consecration to Jesus through Mary by St. Louis De Montfort. Tuesdays from 1-3 pm in the parish hall. Oct 26 through Dec 7 with consecration on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Join us as we strengthen our love for Jesus Christ with the aid of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Details: For information contact Maureen Roberts at 601-278-0423 or

CLARKSDALE Catholic Community of St. Elizabeth, Adult faith formation program “The Bible and the Sacraments, Journey Through Scripture,” Wednesdays at 6:10 p.m. in McKenna Hall. Less than eight videos remain of the 11 video series of this amazing set composed of a 30-minute video and 30-minute group discussion based upon the work of renowned Catholic theologian Dr. Scott Hahn. Details: church office (662) 624-4301.

CORINTH St. James the Less, Fall Hot Dog Roast, Sunday, Oct. 17 after 10:30 a.m. Mass. They will have chili dogs, slaw dogs, chips, drinks and dessert. Donations are appreciated. Details: church office (662) 331-5184.

GREENVILLE St. Joseph, Save the date, Parish Fair update: spaghetti dinner is planned for Tuesday, Nov. 16. They are mailing $1 raffle and spaghetti tickets. They are also selling $100 tickets in the church and school office. Details: church office (662) 335-5251.

JACKSON St. Richard School, CardinalFest 2021, Sunday, Oct. 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. They will feature live music, food, games and fun for all. There will also be activities and games for toddlers and up. Event wristbands are $15 each and include a meal (pulled pork sandwich for adults or hot dog meals for children), unlimited games, prizes, inflatables, arts and crafts, live music and one cake walk ticket. They will be selling grab and go plates of jambalaya in Foley Hall during the event. You can preorder your event wristbands or to-go plates. Details: contact Emily Blain at (601) 497-2558 or or go to their website

Bereavement Support Group: Winnie and Job, Thursday, Oct. 14 at 6:30 p.m. in Foley Hall. Gerry Gray-Lewis, bereaved mother and friend to this group will facilitate sharing from the Old Testament from the Book of Job, date BC; and a “New Testament” story by author E.P. Dutton, date 1926, titled “Winnie the Pooh.” What could they possibly have in common? Come and see, share if you are so led, and let us each offer kindness and love to one another in our time of loss. This group is for those who are hurting from losing a loved one or for those who are trying to comfort and understand the grief of a family member or friend. Please wear a mask and be conscious of Covid safety. Drinks and packaged snacks will be available. Details: Suzie Cranston (601) 573-3347 or Nancy McGhee at (601) 942-2078 or email

OLIVE BRANCH Queen of Peace, Women’s Club Bonfire, Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the Father John Young Center. Father Ardi will be bringing his guitar to sing. Bring a folding chair and join in for a fall night. Details: church office (662) 895-5007.

SOUTHAVEN Christ the King, Trivia Night, Friday, Oct. 22 at 6:30 p.m. in the parish hall. Cost: $15/person or $25/couple – limit ten to a table. Door prizes and trophies for the winning table and the best decorated table. Decorating and costumes are optional but add some fun to the night. Doors open at 3 p.m. for those wishing to decorate or socialize. Details: For more information or to reserve a spot, call or text Karin Ingram at (901) 289-0311.
Pumpkin Patch, the Knights of Columbus will be selling pumpkins again this year at the entrance of the church through Sunday, Oct. 31 from 12-7 p.m. The funds raised from this event go directly to the Knights of Columbus to support programs in their parishes. Details: church office (662) 342-1073.

STARKVILLE St. Joseph, Grief Support Group meets on the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month at 5:30 pm in the Parish Center lounge. Details: church office (662) 323-2257.

Adult Education discussing the book “Theology for Beginners” meets Sundays at 10:15 a.m. in the parish hall. Details: (662) 323-2257.

MADISON St. Francis of Assisi, Senior Bible Break meets each Wednesday at 6 p.m. at M7 Coffee House (111 North Wheatley Street, Ridgeland). Bring a Bible and a friend! Details: church office (601) 856-5556.

NATCHEZ St. Mary Basilica, “BE STILL,” Wednesday, Oct. 13 from 6-7 p.m. in the Youth Wing. There will be burritos, tacos and waters. Join us for a faith hour that includes dinner and relaxation. They watch an 3-8-minute video (sometimes shorter) and then engage in discussion. Details: church office (601) 445-5616.

Trunk or Treat, Friday, Oct. 29 from 6-8 p.m. for all little ghouls and goblins at Union Street parking lot. Details: (601) 445-5616.

OLIVE BRANCH Queen of Peace, Youth dinners will be on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. Details: church office (662) 895-5007.

Three groups hope to have a million people say rosary for life in October

By Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON – The leaders of three U.S. Catholic organizations hope to have a million people pray and promote the daily rosary during the month of October for “the end to legal abortion in America and an outpouring of support for expectant mothers,” according to their announcement on the joint effort.

The three leaders – Michael Warsaw, CEO of EWTN; Father Francis J. Hoffman, CEO of Relevant Radio; and Tim Busch, CEO of Napa Institute – launched the joint effort on their organization’s respective websites.

In the U.S. Catholic Church, October is observed as Respect Life Month and the first Sunday of the month is Respect Life Sunday, which this year was Oct. 3.

In addition, the month of October each year is dedicated to the rosary. The feast of Our Lady of the Rosary is celebrated Oct. 7.

JACKSON – The sisters at the Carmelite Monastery in South Jackson pray the Sorrowful Mysteries on Friday, June 11, 2021 for the Worldpriest Annual Global Rosary Relay. (Photo by Tereza Ma)

“With the Supreme Court of the United States taking up the Dobbs case in December that could lead to overturning Roe v. Wade, the justices will need the grace of wisdom and courage to confront the issues honestly,” said the announcement from Warsaw, Father Hoffman and Busch.

On Dec. 1, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in an appeal from Mississippi to keep its ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and supporters of the law are urging the court to reexamine its previous abortion rulings, including 1973’s Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion nationwide.

The CEOs said they hope many other Catholic organizations “will join this effort by praying and promoting the daily rosary in October for this intention, and thus mobilize millions of Americans in prayer.”

This year’s Respect Life Month, promoted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, highlights the example of St. Joseph as part of the Year of St. Joseph declared by Pope Francis.

“As the faithful protector of both Jesus and Mary,” St. Joseph is “a profound reminder of our own call to welcome, safeguard and defend God’s precious gift of human life,” said Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, who is chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

(Editor’s Note: For more information on the effort to have a million people pray the rosary, go to,, and Various resources for celebrating Respect for Life Month can be found online at

Vicksburg Catholic School reaches out to Raceland, La., school to rebuild playground destroyed by Hurricane Ida

By John Surratt The Vicksburg Post

VICKSBURG – A Raceland, La., Catholic School will be the beneficiary of fundraising efforts by Vicksburg Catholic School.

The school, with the assistance of the senior class’s September of Service Committee, is collecting money to repair the playground at St. Mary’s Nativity in Raceland. The goal is $5,000 for the project.

St. Mary’s is in Lafourche Parish in South Louisiana. It is one of 11 schools in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux, which covers Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes, part of St. Mary Parish including Morgan City, and part of Jefferson Parish that includes Grand Isle.

St. Mary’s Nativity has grades pre-K3 to eighth grade and “is a little school; a small school,” said Kimberly Cyr Domangue, a St. Aloysius alumnus who lives in Raceland and whose two children attend St. Mary’s.
When Hurricane Ida hit South Louisiana, St. Mary’s was one of the victims.

“There was damage to the back part of the school,” Domangue said. “One of the classrooms had water damage and some broken windows.”

The school’s metal awnings and the metal roof were crumpled and will have to be replaced, she said. Two oak trees fell on the playground, she said, adding that the school is connected to the church and the church had significant damage.

Soon after the storm, she said, Joan Thornton, a theology teacher at St. Aloysius and senior class sponsor called looking for a project for the seniors’ September of Service committee.

VICKSBURG – Members of the St. Aloysius senior class September of Service committee discuss fundraising proposals for a project. The committee is assisting Vicksburg Catholic School raise $5,000 for new playground equipment for St. Mary’s Nativity Catholic School in Raceland, Louisiana. The school was damaged in Hurricane Ida. (Photo by John Surratt/The Vicksburg Post)

“She knew I lived in Raceland and called to check to see if there were any schools damaged in the area from the storm,” Domangue said. “I put her in touch with Ms. (Marissa) Bagala, St. Mary’s principal.”

When she called Bagala, Thornton said, “I asked her what they needed, and she said the storm destroyed the school’s playground and she asked us to do that.”

The fundraising began when money for St. Mary’s was collected at the St. Aloysius-Brookhaven Academy football game. Thornton said money will also be collected during the St. Aloysius-Cathedral football game.

“We will have a blue jean day … in which the elementary school will participate, and other suggestions have been made for fundraising,” she said. “Hopefully between blue jean day and collecting we will get the $5,000 we need.”
Domangue has also made an effort to help raise funds.

“I reached out to our alumni group on Facebook about the drive to get the word out. We may not need it all for the playground itself; there’s a few other Catholic schools and churches that received significant damage,” she said.
She said conditions in her area remain serious south of Raceland and many people in the town remain without power and water.

“Half of Raceland is without power and some places without water, too; it’s places where the trees just ripped up the lines; they’re having to replace the waterlines. There is still a significant amount of people without power down here.”

Domangue said the water damage from the storm was from wind-driven rain.

“We did not get any water (storm surge) down here; it was from the hurricane (wind) damaging the roof and the rain coming in,” she said.

She said some unofficial wind readings for the area put gusts at 180 mph.

“This is a storm of the magnitude we have not seen before here, and it has devastated a large part of our several parishes,” said Suzanne Troxclair, Diocesan superintendent of schools. “With the challenges we have had with the COVID epidemic, we know our children’s normal at school has been very different since March of 2020, and this is a challenge on top of what we are already dealing with in our schools in terms of an outbreak of COVID.

“All of our schools have been impacted and we are just blessed for St. Aloysius to be able to support St. Mary’s Nativity in this way. The children, the faculty and the staff and the principal and the diocese are incredibly grateful for their support.”

(John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church in Vicksburg.)

Act on behalf of life

By Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz, D.D.
The fundamental truth of our faith in Jesus Christ was proclaimed in last Sunday’s first reading with the creation story from Genesis, so fitting to begin Respect Life Month in the Catholic Church throughout the United States.

From the encyclical Evangelii Vitae (The Gospel of Life) of St. John Paul II we read that God made the human person with the capacity to love and reason, and to live in relationship with the Creator. The human person, male and female, bears an indelible imprint of God, made in God’s image and likeness, the foundation of all human dignity. However, the struggle to elevate the dignity of human life over and against a culture of death, decried in Evangelii Vitae, requires courage and compassion, perseverance and encouragement. To proclaim Jesus is to proclaim life itself.

Evangelii Vitae encourages a spirit of mission because gratitude and joy at the incomparable dignity of the human person impel us to bring the Gospel of life to the hearts of all people and make it penetrate every part of society. We are therefore called to reverence and love every human person, loving our neighbors as ourselves. It is our privilege and responsibility to care for and protect human life, especially the lives of the most vulnerable among us.

At the outset of Respect Life Month we rightly direct our gaze to the foundation of life, the wellbeing of the unborn. During this year of St. Joseph, Pope Francis has brought the beloved patron of the Universal Church to the forefront as a model for righteous living. In his splendid pastoral letter, Patris Corde, (With a Father’s Heart) we hear the pope’s encouragement. Each of us can find in him “an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble.” (PC, Intro)

Joseph shows us how to say “yes” to life, despite our own fears, frailties and weaknesses. For it is Joseph who was chosen by God to guide the beginnings of the history of redemption. He was the true ‘miracle’ by which God saves the child and his mother.” (PC 5) The infant Christ “came into our world in a state of great vulnerability. He needed to be defended, protected, cared for and raised by Joseph.” (PC 5)

The humble and often hidden carpenter of Nazareth accompanied Mary in her pregnancy, assisted at the birth of the Messiah in a stable, presented Jesus in the Temple, fled with his family far from their homeland to protect them, and lovingly raised Jesus as his own son in the years to come. May we, too, be miracles in the lives of those who are most in need, especially at the beginning and end of life.

Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz

Dear St. Joseph, you who were “able to turn a problem into a possibility by trusting always in divine providence” (PC 5), help us to imitate your faithful trust and courage.”

Prayer, outreach in ministry, and advocacy on behalf of mothers and their unborn children is not only the work of the church. For example, our diocese has had a strong partnership with the State of Mississippi through our Born Free, New Beginnings program for nearly 30 years.

Catholic Charities is the guardian of this ministry which is snugly housed at the former Norbertine Priory. The promotion of life, justice and peace is well grounded in our Catholic Social teachings, but this world-view is embraced by many who belong to other faith traditions, or by those with no religious ties. Respect Life Month serves to highlight the labor of love that occurs on behalf of the unborn throughout the year.

Advocacy on behalf of the unborn will occur at the highest judicial level on Dec. 1, less than two months out, when our State’s Attorney General, Lynn Fitch, will argue the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization before the Supreme Court. It is commonly referred to as the fetal heartbeat bill that could have landmark consequences. It is a substantial document, but one that is largely readable.

Grounded in our nation’s legal tradition and rule of law it fundamentally seeks to overturn Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood and return this life issue back to the 50 states. “The Court should hold that the Act (Bill) is constitutional because it satisfies rational basis review.” Or, it is reasonable because it seeks to provide greater protection for the unborn, and authentic concern for women, and to restore integrity to the medical profession whose fundamental standard is to do no harm.

The fetal heartbeat bill is a serious step to advance protection for the unborn. Underlying all of its rationale is a profound respect for life, from the outset to the end. This vision of human life requires an ongoing conversion toward all that is true, good and beautiful about God’s creation, most notably, all of us created in the divine image. We all have had and will have our St. Joseph moments compelling us to dig deeper to discern, decide and act on behalf of life. We give thanks to all who labor on behalf of the unborn and their mothers, and for all who labor on behalf of human dignity throughout life, seeking greater justice and peace at every step on the journey.

Actuar en nombre de la vida

Por Obispo Joseph R. Kopacz, D.D.
La verdad fundamental de nuestra fe en Jesucristo fue proclamada en la primera lectura del domingo pasado con la historia de la creación del Génesis, muy apropiado para comenzar el Mes de Respeto a la Vida en la Iglesia Católica en los Estados Unidos.

En la encíclica Evangelii Vitae (El Evangelio de la Vida) de San Juan Pablo II leemos que Dios hizo al hombre con la capacidad de amar, razonar y vivir en relación con el Creador. La persona humana, hombre y mujer, lleva una huella indeleble de Dios, hecha a imagen y semejanza de Dios, fundamento de toda dignidad humana. Sin embargo, la lucha por elevar la dignidad de la vida humana por encima y en contra de una cultura de muerte, denunciada en Evangelii Vitae, requiere coraje y compasión, perseverancia y aliento. Proclamar a Jesús es proclamar la vida misma.

Obispo Joseph R. Kopacz

Evangelii Vitae anima el espíritu de misión porque la gratitud y la regocijo por la incomparable dignidad de la persona humana nos impulsan a llevar el Evangelio de la vida al corazón de todas las personas y hacer que penetre en todos los ámbitos de la sociedad. Por lo tanto, estamos llamados a reverenciar y amar a toda persona humana, amando a nuestro prójimo como a nosotros mismos. Es nuestro privilegio y responsabilidad cuidar y proteger la vida humana, especialmente la vida de los más vulnerables de entre nosotros.
Al comienzo del Mes de Respeto a la Vida, dirigimos correctamente nuestra mirada a la base de la vida, el bienestar de los no nacidos. Durante este año el Papa Francisco ha llevado a San José, amado patrón de la Iglesia Universal, a la vanguardia como el modelo para una vida recta. En su espléndida carta pastoral, Patris Corde, (Con Corazón de Padre) escuchamos el aliento del Papa. Cada uno de nosotros puede encontrar en él “un intercesor, un apoyo y un guía en tiempos de dificultades.” (–PC, Intro.)

Jose nos muestra cómo decir “sí” a la vida, a pesar de nuestros propios miedos, fragilidades y debilidades. Porque es José quien fue elegido por Dios para guiar los comienzos de la historia de la redención. Él fue el verdadero ‘milagro’ por el cual Dios salva al niño y a su madre.” (–PC, 5) El niño Cristo “vino a nuestro mundo en un estado de gran vulnerabilidad. Necesitaba ser defendido, protegido, cuidado y criado por Joseph.” (–PC, 5)

El humilde y a menudo oculto carpintero de Nazaret acompañó a María en su embarazo, asistió al nacimiento del Mesías en un establo, presentó a Jesús en el templo, huyó con su familia lejos de su tierra natal para protegerlos y crió a Jesús con amor como si fuera hijo suyo. Permita Dios que nosotros también seamos milagros en la vida de los más necesitados, especialmente al principio y final de la vida.

Querido San José, tú que supiste “convertir un problema en posibilidad confiando siempre en la divina providencia” – PC, 5 ayúdanos a imitar tu fiel confianza y valor.

La oración, el ministerio y su alcance y la defensa en nombre de las madres y sus hijos no nacidos no son solo el trabajo de la iglesia. Por ejemplo, nuestra diócesis ha tenido una fuerte asociación con el estado de Mississippi a través de nuestro programa Born Free, New Beginnings (Nacido Libre, Nuevo Comienzo) durante casi 30 años.

Caridades Católicas es el guardián de este ministerio que se encuentra cómodamente ubicado en el antiguo Priorato Norbertino. La promoción de la vida, la justicia y la paz está bien fundamentada en nuestras Enseñanzas Sociales Católicas; pero esta visión del mundo es adoptada además por muchos que pertenecen a otras tradiciones religiosas o por muchos que no tienen vínculos religiosos. El Mes del Respeto a la Vida sirve para resaltar la labor de amor, que ocurre durante todo el año, en nombre de los no nacidos.

La defensa a favor de los no nacidos ocurrirá al más alto nivel judicial en menos de dos meses, el próximo primero de diciembre, cuando la fiscal general de nuestro estado, Lynn Fitch, argumente el caso de Dobbs vs Jackson Women’s Health Organization ante la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos (SCOTUS). A este proyecto de ley se lo conoce comúnmente como la ley del latido del corazón fetal y que podría tener consecuencias históricas. Es un documento sustancial, pero muy legible.

Basado en la tradición legal y el estado de derecho de nuestra nación, este proyecto to ley busca fundamentalmente revocar Roe vs Wade y Casey vs Planned Parenthood y devolver este asunto de vida a todos los 50 estados. “El Tribunal debe sostener que la Ley (Proyecto de Ley) es constitucional porque satisface una revisión de base racional,” o que es razonable porque busca ofrecer una mayor protección para los no nacidos y una preocupación auténtica por las mujeres, y restaurar la integridad de la profesión médica, cuyo estándar fundamental es no causar daño.

El proyecto de ley del latido del corazón fetal es un paso importante para promover la protección del feto. Detrás de todos sus fundamentos se encuentra un profundo respeto por la vida, desde el principio hasta el final. Esta visión de la vida humana requiere una conversión continua hacia todo lo que es verdadero, bueno y hermoso acerca de la creación de Dios, sobre todo, todos nosotros creados a la imagen divina.

Todos hemos tenido y tendremos nuestros momentos de San José que nos obligan a profundizar para poder discernir, decidir y actuar en nombre de la vida. Damos gracias a todos los que trabajan en nombre de los no nacidos y sus madres. Y damos gracias a todos los que trabajan en nombre de la dignidad humana a lo largo de la vida, buscando una mayor justicia y paz en cada paso del camino.

Called by Name

Our 2nd Annual Homegrown Harvest Festival was certainly festive. I am so grateful for the support from across the diocese that the Department of Vocations received. We had over 30 sponsors of the event as well as many other individuals and businesses who gave in different ways to make sure that we were able to reach our fundraising goal. My deadline for this article was just 48 hours after the event and we are still tabulating our final numbers, but it looks like over $80,000 was raised to support our seminarians and our promotional events for this year.

 I was confident that this event would be a great time, and it was. It was a great time because it brought together so many stakeholders who all care about the same thing: the future of the church. This is why I wanted to have this event in the first place. There are so many ways that the People of God in Jackson generously support the church, but I do think that vocations can help to invigorate the faithful in a special way. Saturday was a testament to that.

Father Nick Adam
Father Nick Adam

I would like to thank in this space several people who made the event a success. Bishop Kopacz has been a great support to my department and has helped me a great deal simply by encouraging me to think outside the box. He is a big reason we had a successful event. The details were handled by our outstanding Diocesan Stewardship and Development Department led by Rebecca Harris and Julia Williams. Rhonda Bowden of St. Jude Pearl was the coordinator of our silent auction and did a fantastic job. The people of St. Paul Catholic Church in Flowood and their Pastor Father Gerry Hurley were so gracious to allow us to host the event at their parish. Our seminarians came up from south Louisiana to help in several different ways, and I think those in attendance really enjoyed getting to speak with them and getting to know them better.

All in all, our first in person vocations fundraiser in some time checked all the boxes I hoped it would. Most importantly, I think it was a visual reminder to all of us that God is working in the lives of young men and women in our diocese and there are many, many people who are praying that the Lord will send more laborers into the field of our parishes, schools and missions. Thank you for your support and prayers, and please continue to pray that the Lord will bring forth a fruitful, homegrown harvest of young priests to serve us in the generations to come.

When we doubt the power of prayer

By Father Ron Rolheiser, OMI

We need to pray even when that seems the most lifeless thing to do. That’s a counsel from Michael J. Buckley with which we need to challenge ourselves daily. In the face of real life, prayer can often seem like the most lifeless thing to do. What difference does prayer make?

I will pray for you! Please keep me in prayer! Know that you have my prayers! We use those expressions all the time. I suspect not a day goes by that most of us do not promise to pray for someone. However, do we really believe our prayers make a difference? Do we really believe that our prayers can stop a pandemic, ease tensions within our communities, erase centuries-long misunderstandings among various religious denominations, cure someone dying of a terminal disease, bring our children back to church, or help someone forgive us? What can prayer do in the face of our own helplessness in a situation?

Father Ron Rolheiser, OMI

Jesus said there are certain demons that can only be cast out by prayer and fasting. I suspect that we find that easier to believe literally, in terms of an evil spirit being cast out of a person, than we believe that our prayer can cast out the more earthily demons of hatred, injustice, misunderstanding, division, war, racism, nationalism, bigotry, and bodily and mental illness. These are the real demons that beset our lives and even though we ask for God’s help in prayer, we don’t often do it with a lot of confidence that our prayers will make a difference. How can they?

The long history of Judaism and Christianity has taught us that God is not in the easy habit of positively interfering in nature and human life, at least not in ways that we can see. Miracles do happen, perhaps by the millions in ways that we cannot perceive. But, if we cannot see miracles, how are they real?

Reality has different modalities. There is the empirical and there is the mystical. Both are real, though both are not equally observable as an action of God in history. If a dead body rises from its grave (the Resurrection) or if a race of people walks dry shod through the Red Sea (the Exodus) that is clearly an intervention of God in our world, but if some world leader has a change of heart and is suddenly more sympathetic to the poor, how do we know what prompted that? Likewise, for everything else for which we pray. What inspired the insight that led to the discovery of a vaccine for the pandemic? Pure chance? A touch from above? You can ask that same question vis-à-vis most anything else we pray about, from the world situation to our personal health. What is the source of an inspiration, a restoration to health, a melting of a bitterness, a change of heart, a correct decision, or a chance meeting with someone that becomes a grace for the rest of your life? Pure chance, simple luck, or a conspiracy of accidents? Or does God’s grace and guidance positively touch you because of prayer, someone else’s or your own?

Central to our faith as Christians, is the belief that we are all part of one mystical body, the Body of Christ. This is not a metaphor. This body is a living organism, just as real as a physical body. Inside of a physical body, as we know, all parts influence each other, for good and for bad. Healthy enzymes help the whole body to retain its health and unhealthy viruses work at sickening the whole body. If this is true, and it is, then there is no such thing as a truly private action. Everything we do, even in our thoughts, influences others and thus our thoughts and actions are either health-giving enzymes or harmful viruses affecting others. Our prayers are health-giving enzymes affecting the whole body, particularly the persons and events to which we direct them. This is a doctrine of faith, not wishful thinking.

Earlier in her life, Dorothy Day was cynical about Therese of Lisieux (The Little Flower) believing that her isolation in a tiny convent and her mystical “little way” (which professed that our smallest actions affect the events of the whole world) was pious naiveté. Later, as Dorothy gave herself over to symbolic actions for justice and peace that in effect seemed to change very little in real life, she adopted Therese as her patron saint. What Dorothy had come to realize through her experience was that her small and seemingly pragmatically useless actions for justice and peace, were not useless at all. Small though they were, they helped open up some space, tiny at first, which slowly grew into something larger and more influential. By slipping some tiny enzymes into the body of the world, Dorothy Day eventually helped create a little more health in the world.

Prayer is a sneaky, hidden antibiotic – needed precisely when it seems most useless.

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

Amasar la fe

Sínodo del Papa sobre sinodalidad para recopilar información de las parroquias locales

Por Fran Lavelle

“… el concepto de sinodalidad se refiere a la corresponsabilidad y a la participación de todo el Pueblo de Dios en la vida y la misión de la Iglesia.”

Si has seguido el pontificado del Papa Francisco, sabes que está profundamente arraigado en su formación jesuita. Es fundamental para la formación de un jesuita comprender el papel del discernimiento en la vida de la iglesia y de todo el pueblo de Dios.

En los últimos años, ha escrito tres documentos actuales que invitan a los fieles a reflexionar sobre el papel de la iglesia en el mundo de hoy: Christus Vivit es una exhortación apostólica “a los jóvenes y al pueblo de Dios” escrita como resumen del Sínodo sobre los jóvenes;  Fratelli Tutti, una carta encíclica sobre la fraternidad y la amistad social y Let Us Dream (Déjennos soñar), un modelo inspirado para un futuro mejor para todos, especialmente considerando el impacto devastador de la pandemia en los pobres.

En los tres documentos, el Papa se basa en la base de su profundo aprecio por el discernimiento, el acompañamiento y la escucha auténtica. Su actual llamado a un Sínodo sobre Sinodalidad: Comunión, Participación y Misión encuentra parentesco en la práctica jesuita de Ver, Actuar, Juzgar. Este proceso es un método para ver intencionalmente un problema y detenerse a reflexionar sobre él antes de actuar. Es una forma diferente de articular la descripción de prudencia de Tomás de Aquino.

Entonces, ¿qué es un Sínodo?, te preguntas.

 El Vaticano II estableció un Sínodo de Obispos, descrito en el Código de Derecho Canónico de 1983 como un grupo de obispos seleccionados de diferentes regiones del mundo que están llamados a abordar un tema en particular. Por ejemplo, se puede convocar un sínodo para considerar cuestiones relacionadas con la actividad de la iglesia en el mundo. Desde mediados de la década de 1960, cuando se estableció el Sínodo de los Obispos, se han invocado una treintena de sínodos. Muchos han pasado desapercibidos. Sin embargo, el Papa Francisco ha dado nueva vida al Sínodo de los Obispos al considerar cuestiones relativas a la iglesia joven, las familias, la Amazonía y otros temas de actualidad.

El Papa Francisco comenzó el Sínodo el fin de semana del 9 al 10 de octubre con una sesión de apertura y una Misa. El obispo Kopacz abrirá el Sínodo en la diócesis de Jackson con una Misa el domingo 24 de octubre. Fase uno del sínodo sobre sinodalidad es la fase diocesana que comienza este mes y concluirá en abril de 2022. En la fase diocesana, recopilaremos aportes de parroquias locales, movimientos laicos, instituciones religiosas, escuelas, universidades, comunidades ecuménicas y otros grupos.

 Luego, el obispo debe sintetizar esos datos en un informe de 10 páginas antes de abril de 2022 para presentarlo a la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de EE. UU. El resumen de la USCCB del trabajo del país se enviará al Vaticano. Esos resúmenes se utilizarán para ayudar a crear un documento de trabajo que será el inicio de las discusiones durante las reuniones del sínodo continental que se llevarán a cabo desde septiembre de 2022 hasta marzo de 2023.

Es fundamental para entender lo que el Sínodo está reconociendo y lo que no es. No es un proceso de planificación pastoral, ni es una sesión libre de quejas. Es una oportunidad para que el pueblo de Dios oremos juntos y nos preguntemos a nosotros mismos como individuos y dentro de la comunidad de nuestra iglesia, adónde estamos llamados en nuestro viaje juntos. Proporciona un momento en el tiempo para que la iglesia universal observe los problemas más importantes que enfrenta el pueblo santo de Dios y se pregunte cómo debemos responder al encarnar el Evangelio.

El manual de la USCCB en preparación para el sínodo describe el viaje sinodal como una experiencia de “escucha y discernimientos auténticos en el camino de convertirnos en la iglesia que Dios nos llama a ser”. Continúa afirmando que, “El Proceso sinodal es ante todo un proceso espiritual. No es un ejercicio mecánico de recopilación de datos ni una serie de reuniones y debates. La escucha sinodal está orientada al discernimiento.”

 Es nuestro papel como líderes diocesanos llamar a través de la oración y el discernimiento hacia dónde nos está guiando el Espíritu Santo.

El deseo del Papa de escuchar amablemente a todos los grupos demográficos, todas las edades, todas las personas es indicativo de su creencia de que el funcionamiento de la iglesia no es un proceso clandestino que ocurre a puerta cerrada. El Papa Francisco está pidiendo a los líderes de la iglesia que abran bien los brazos, los oídos y el corazón para escuchar la voz profética del pueblo de Dios. El cardenal Mario Grech lo dijo muy bien: “El Concilio Vaticano II enseña que el Pueblo de Dios participa en el oficio profético de Cristo. Por lo tanto, debemos escuchar al Pueblo de Dios, y esto significa salir a las iglesias locales.”

Usted puede empezar a orar por sabiduría y entendimiento. Comience a orar ahora por un fervor renovado para que los corazones y las mentes de las personas en todas partes sean conducidos de regreso al corazón y la misión de Cristo.

Cuando su parroquia se reúna para escucharse unos a otros, que se fortalezcan con el conocimiento de que su voz es importante.

(Fran Lavelle es el Director de Formación en la Fe de la Diócesis de Jackson).