Cause for canonization for Sister Thea Bowman, FSPA, Ph.D. 1937-1990

Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz

By Bishop Joseph Kopacz
During the month of November, we bask in the glow of the Feast of All Saints, and the Commemoration of All Souls. The great Cloud of Witnesses (Hebrews 12,1), some officially canonized, most not, remind us that our citizenship is in heaven with Jesus Christ, the way and truth, the resurrection and life. From the Feast of All Saints, the vision of Saint John in the book of Revelation affords us a glimpse of eternity in “a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation, race, people and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice: Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne and from the Lamb. (Revelations 7, 9-10)
On November 13, at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops annual meeting in Baltimore, I will formally introduce the Cause for Canonization for Sister Thea Bowman, FSPA, Servant of God, an African-American, from the town of Canton, in the bosom of the Diocese of Jackson, whom we declare in faith to be a member of the Cloud of Witnesses. Much is already known about her life, but I would like to shine the light on her final six years. In 1984 Sister Thea, an only child, grieved the deaths of her beloved parents, Dr. Theon and Mary, and in the same year she was diagnosed with cancer. With the press of mortality, and understanding the severity of her disease, she courageously proclaimed that she would “live until she died.”
Indeed she did, traveling, evangelizing, teaching, singing and inspiring to the very end. In 1984 on the national scene, the Black Catholic Bishops of the United States issued a Pastoral Letter on Evangelization: “What We Have Seen and Heard.” This letter was released five years after the 1979 publication by the entire Conference of Bishops of “Brothers and Sisters to Us: Pastoral Letter Against Racism.”
In June, 1989, 10 years after the first letter against racism, and five years after the second, Sister Thea was invited to speak to the conference of bishops at Seton Hall University. Her witness, words and song on that occasion embodied so much of what was written in the earlier Pastoral Letters.
“What We Have Seen and Heard” gave thanks for the early missionaries who planted the seed of the Gospel in the African-American families and communities. In her address to the bishops Sister Thea offered her gratitude to the missionary disciples in her life. “Catholic Christians came into my community, and they helped us with education, they helped us with health care, they helped us to find our self-respect and to realize our capabilities when the world told us for so long that we were nothing and would amount to nothing. And I wanted to be a part of that effort. That’s radical Christianity, that’s radical Catholicism… I was drawn to examine and accept the Catholic faith because of the day-to-day lived witness of Catholic Christians who first loved me, then shared with me their story, their values, their beliefs, who first loved me, then invited me to share with them in community, prayer and mission. As a child I did not recognize evangelization at work in my life. I did recognize love, service, community, prayer and faith”
“What We Have Seen and Heard” reflected movingly on the gift of reconciliation, rooted in suffering, liberation and justice, that which the African-American experience can offer to the Church, to the nation and to the world. “Without justice any meaningful reconciliation is impossible. Justice safeguards the rights and delineates the responsibilities for all. A people must safeguard their own cultural identity and their own cultural values. Likewise, they must respect the cultural values of others. For this reason, sincere reconciliation builds upon mutual recognition and mutual respect. On this foundation can be erected an authentic Christian love. The Scripture testifies: ‘But now you who once were far off have become near by the Blood of Christ. For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh.’ (Ephesians 2, 13-14)
We seek justice then, because we seek reconciliation, and we seek reconciliation because by the blood of Christ we are made one. The desire of reconciliation for us is a most precious gift, because reconciliation is the fruit of liberation. Our contribution to the building up of the Church is America and in the world is to be an agent of change for both.” Toward the end of her life Sister Thea echoed the words of her brother bishops. “We unite ourselves with Christ’s redemptive work, when we reconcile, when we make peace, when we share the good news that God is in our lives, when we reflect to our brothers and sisters God’s healing, God’s forgiveness, God’s unconditional love.”
Earlier this year, Pope Francis published the Apostolic Exhortation on holiness, “Guadete et Exultate,” translated, Rejoice and Be Glad, our Lord’s own words from the Beatitudes. It illuminates the Holy Father’s previous exhortations on the Joy of the Gospel, and the Joy of Love.
Sister Thea would have called for an “Amen” or two over these exhortations. “What We Have Seen and Heard” eloquently presented the gift of joy as essential for understanding African-American spirituality, and Sister Thea magnanimously lived it. “Joy is first of all celebration. Celebration is movement and song, rhythm and feeling, color and sensation, exultation and thanksgiving. We celebrate the presence and the proclamation of the Word made Flesh. Joy is a sign of our faith and especially our hope. It is never an escape from reality.” Forever a joyful missionary disciple Sister Thea exhorts us. “Children, Mothers, Fathers, Sisters, Brothers, go! There is a song that will never be sung unless you sing it. There is a story that will never be told unless you tell it. There is a joy that will never be shared unless you bear it. Go tell the world. Go preach the Gospel. Go teach the Good News. God is. God is love. God is with us. God is in our lives.”

Seguir Adelante con Transparencia

Obispo Joseph R. Kopacz

Por Obispo Joseph Kopacz
Hace semanas participé en cuatro audiencias públicas, alrededor de la Diócesis de Jackson, en respuesta a la crisis actual después del Informe del Gran Jurado de Pensilvania y el escándalo del Cardenal Theodore McCarrick.
Estas sesiones tomaron cuatro días consecutivos, del 4 al 7 de octubre, en Tupelo, Cleveland, Madison y Natchez respectivamente, a las que asistieron alrededor de 200 feligreses.
La hermana Dorothy Heiderscheit, quien prestó servicios en la Diócesis de Jackson, en dos ocasiones diferentes durante tres décadas, facilitó las cuatro sesiones. Ella es la actual directora del Instituto Southdown, en las afueras de Toronto, Canadá. Todos los asistentes tuvieron la oportunidad de responder a tres preguntas.
1. ¿Qué sentimientos, emociones, preocupaciones le nacen en este momento? 2. ¿Cómo te mantienes como una persona de fe durante este tiempo? 3. ¿Qué te ayudará a continuar?
Siguiendo el modelo de las 17 sesiones para la Visión de la Diócesis, de hace dos años y medio, todos los participantes pudieron reflexionar y conversar con otros en sus mesas y luego compartir el fruto de sus discusiones con todos los asistentes. Creo que los participantes, aunque no tan numerosos como los 1,100 que asistieron a la consulta de la Visión de la Diócesis, representaron bien a la Diócesis de Jackson en general.
Las preguntas les dieron a cada uno la oportunidad de expresar con profundidad, de manera sincera y respetuosa, sus emociones, compartir su fe, el amor por la Iglesia y hacer preguntas específicas sobre nuestras estructuras diocesanas, políticas y protocolos, nuestro apoyo y compasión por víctimas de abuso sexual, respuesta a las denuncias de abuso en la actualidad, nuestra relación con las autoridades civiles, la voz de las mujeres y sus roles en todos los niveles de la vida diocesana, la independencia auténtica de nuestras juntas diocesanas y de quienes investigan las denuncias, la selección de candidatos para el seminario, así como la formación, transparencia y responsabilidad del seminario, el estado actual de los entornos seguros en nuestras parroquias, escuelas y ministerios, y cómo responderán los obispos en su reunión de noviembre en Baltimore, especialmente con respecto a protocolos transparentes para su propia responsabilidad.
Las sesiones duraron entre una hora y media y dos horas. La hermana Dorothy observó que “…muchos de los asistentes expresaron agradecimiento por la oportunidad de compartir preocupaciones, frustraciones e ideas con el obispo, y que sus preguntas fueran respondidas con honestidad y franqueza.”
Compartí con los asistentes que sus emociones y sus voces, clamando por el arrepentimiento, la justicia y la reconciliación desde el centro de la Iglesia Católica hasta los bordes de esta, surgen del corazón de Dios. Todos tenemos una profunda sensación de que el abuso por parte de un clérigo ordenado supera con creces el abuso sexual de un maestro, entrenador, tutor, vecino o un miembro de la familia extendida, etc.
En estos casos, tan brutal como es, una víctima a menudo puede encontrar consuelo, apoyo y esperanza en sus familias. El abuso sexual por parte del clero está más a la par con el abuso por parte de un padre porque, en ambos casos, la seguridad del hogar, en este caso la morada espiritual de uno, la Iglesia, se destruye. Es indignante porque puede destruir la relación de uno con Jesucristo y su amor salvador. De hecho, los participantes expresaron sus emociones más viscerales de ira hacia los abusadores, especialmente los depredadores, y la mala gestión y encubrimiento de algunos en la jerarquía.
Otros sentimientos fueron de vergüenza, tristeza profunda, confusión, incertidumbre sobre el futuro de la Iglesia, miedo, tristeza abrumadora, vergüenza de ser católicos, preocupación y compasión por las víctimas, sus familias y por todo el clero fiel.
Muchos de los participantes eran de mediana edad y mayores. Hubo el sentimiento compartido de que este momento es una carga pesada para los católicos de cuna, cuya confianza en la Iglesia y su liderazgo ha sido la base de sus vidas. ¿Por qué hay una preponderancia, en personas de la segunda mitad de la vida, de asistir a sesiones como estas? Por un lado, muchos jóvenes no son una parte activa interesada en la Iglesia y esto no es una prioridad.
Otro observó, en una nota positiva que las familias más jóvenes, que participan en la Iglesia, han experimentado de primera mano desde 2002 un alto nivel de seguridad, para sus niños y jóvenes, en nuestros programas y ministerios, fomentando la confianza en el compromiso de la Iglesia de proteger en ambientes seguros. Para mí, durante estas cuatro sesiones, se reforzó el hecho de que no es intrascendente discutir adecuadamente los esfuerzos de la Iglesia desde 2002, no de una manera presuntuosa sino en un contexto de transparencia y rendición de cuentas.
Los católicos mayores, que no han experimentado directamente protocolos de entorno seguro en las últimas décadas, apreciaron los efectos positivos de nuestros estándares de entorno seguro, la relación activa con el Fiscal del Distrito en cada condado, la manera independiente y oportuna de investigar y procesar las denuncias cuando llegan y, sobre todo, a nuestra divulgación y preocupación activa por todas las víctimas de abuso sexual en la Iglesia.
Los niveles más profundos de arrepentimiento, conversión, sanación y esperanza son siempre un trabajo en progreso y sabemos sin lugar a duda que el Señor Jesús está hablando en este momento a través de muchos profetas en la Iglesia y la sociedad, la mayoría de los cuales no están ordenados.
Debido a que la Iglesia es una organización mundial de más de 2000 años, el cambio puede ser terriblemente lento. Paradójicamente, debido a que la Iglesia es un organismo mundial, a veces el cambio puede suceder a un ritmo acelerado. ¿Qué evidencia hay para esto? En los 16 años y medio transcurridos desde la Carta de Dallas, nuestro compromiso con protocolos eficaces para entornos seguros ha transformado el paisaje y la cultura de la Iglesia Católica en los Estados Unidos. Todo el Cuerpo de Cristo, laicado y ordenado, ha estado girando la rueda de la transparencia y la rendición de cuentas desde 2002.
Me di cuenta, el domingo pasado en Christ the King en Southaven durante la celebración de la Confirmación, que la gran mayoría de los 74 Confimandi que celebraron el don del Espíritu Santo nacieron en 2002 o más tarde. Ellos han conocido las bendiciones de los estándares efectivos de ambiente seguro en los ministerios y programas de la Iglesia.
Comparto esta reflexión como un ejemplo de lo que puede suceder cuando los laicos y los ordenados trabajan juntos por el bien de todo el Cuerpo de Cristo, la Iglesia, especialmente en nombre de nuestros niños y jóvenes. Tengo esperanza y la confianza, no de forma ingenua, que dondequiera que la pudrición del clericalismo y la resistencia a la conversión se manifiesten en la Iglesia, la luz de Jesucristo brillará en esa oscuridad, transformando el Cuerpo de Cristo. Todos los que aman al Señor Jesús y a la Iglesia están llamados a orar y trabajar juntos para lograr este fin.

Moving forward through listening, addressing concerns

Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz

By Bishop Joseph Kopacz
A few weeks ago, I participated in four listening/dialogue sessions around the Diocese of Jackson in response to the current crisis in the aftermath of the Pennsylvania grand jury report and the Cardinal Theodore McCarrick scandal. These sessions occurred over four consecutive days, October 4-7, in Tupelo, Cleveland, Madison and Natchez with a combined total of nearly 200 concerned Catholic parishioners in attendance. Sister Dorothy Heiderscheit, who served in the Diocese of Jackson on two different occasions spanning three decades, facilitated the four sessions. She is now the Director of the Southdown Institute outside of Toronto, Canada. All in attendance were given the opportunity to respond to the following three questions.
1. What feelings, emotions, concerns surface for you at this time?
2. How do you sustain yourself as a faith filled person during this time?
3. What will help you continue to move forward?
Following the model of the 17 Envisioning Listening Sessions from two and a half years ago all participants were able to reflect quietly at table, engage in conversation, and then share the fruit of their table discussions with all in attendance. I believe that the participants, although not as numerous as the 1,100 who attended the Envisioning Listening Sessions, well represented the Diocese of Jackson as a whole. The questions gave everyone the opportunity to air in a heartfelt and respectful way the depth of their emotions, share their faith, their love for the Church, and to ask pointed questions about our diocesan structures, our polices and protocols, our support and compassion for victims of sexual abuse, our response to allegations of abuse today, our relationship with civil authorities, the voice of women and their consequential roles at all levels of diocesan life, the authentic independence of our diocesan lay boards and of those who investigate allegations, the selection of candidates for the seminary, as well as seminary formation, transparency and accountability, the current state of safe environments in our parishes, schools and ministries, and how the bishops will respond at their November meeting in Baltimore, especially regarding transparent protocols for their own accountability.
The sessions lasted between one-and-a-half and two hours, and Sister Dorothy observed, “many in attendance expressed their gratitude for having an opportunity to share concerns and frustrations and ideas with the bishop, and to have their questions answered with honesty and openness.”
I shared with the attendees that their emotions and their voices that cry out for repentance, justice and reconciliation from the center of the Catholic Church to the margins, arise from the heart of God. We all have a deep sense that abuse by an ordained cleric far surpasses the sexual abuse of a teacher, coach, trainer, neighbor or an extended family member, etc., In these instances, as brutal as it is, a victim often can find comfort, support and hope in their families. Clergy sexual abuse is more on par with the abuse by a parent because in both instances the safety and security of home, in this case one’s spiritual home, the Church, is destroyed. It’s an outrage because it can shatter one’s relationship with Jesus Christ and his saving love. Indeed, the participants expressed their visceral emotions of anger at the abusers, especially predators, and the mis-management and cover up of some in the hierarchy. Other feelings were shame, profound sorrow, confusion and uncertainty about the future of the Church, fear, overwhelming sadness, embarrassment about being Catholic, worry, compassion for the victims and families, and for all faithful clergy.
Many of the participants were midlife and older. There was a shared sentiment that this is a heavy burden for cradle Catholics whose trust in the Church and her leadership has been the foundation for their lives. Why a preponderance of attendees from the second half of life? On the one hand, many young people are not stakeholders in the Church and this is not a priority. Another observed, on a positive note, that younger families who are involved in the Church have experienced first-hand since 2002 that our ministries and programs maintain a high level of safety for their children and young people, fostering confidence in the Church’s commitment to protect within safe environments. It was reinforced for me during these four sessions that it is not inconsequential to discuss appropriately the Church’s efforts since 2002, not in a smug or matter-of-fact way, but in the context of transparency and accountability. Older Catholic who have not directly experienced safe environment protocols in recent decades were appreciative to know the positive effects of our safe environment standards, the active relationship with the District Attorney in each county, the independent and timely manner of investigating and processing allegations when they come to light, and most of all, our outreach and active concern for all victims of sexual abuse in the Church.
The deeper levels of repentance, conversion, healing and hope are always a work in progress and we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord Jesus is speaking at this time through many prophets in the Church and society, most of whom are not ordained. Because the Church is a 2,000-year-old world-wide organization, change can be painfully slow. Paradoxically, because the Church is a world-wide body, at times change can happen at an accelerated pace. What evidence is there for this? In the 16-and-a-half years since the Dallas Charter our commitment to effective protocols for safe environments have transformed the landscape and culture of the Catholic Church in the United States. The entire Body of Christ, laity and ordained, has been turning the wheel of transparency and accountability since 2002.
It occurred to me last Sunday at Southaven Christ the King during the celebration of Confirmation that the vast majority of the 74 Confimandi who celebrated the gift of the Holy Spirit were born in 2002 or later. They have known the blessings of effective safe environment standards in the Church’s ministries and programs. I share this reflection as an example of what can happen when laity and ordained work together for the good of the entire Body of Christ, the Church, especially on behalf of our children and young people. I have hope and confidence, not naively, that wherever the rot of clericalism, and the resistance to conversion festers in the Church, the light of Jesus Christ will shine in this darkness, transforming the Body of Christ. All who love the Lord Jesus and the Church are called to pray and work together to this end.

Bishop Kopacz schedule

Monday, Oct. 15-17 – Catholic Extension’s Mission Bishops’ Conference, Oak Brook, Il.
Thursday, Oct. 18, 6 p.m. – Catholic Charities, Purple Dress Run, the District lifestyle center, Jackson (see page 2 for details).
Saturday, Oct. 20, 5:15 p.m. – Mass for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, Jackson, St. Peter Cathedral.
Sunday, Oct. 21, 11 a.m. – Mass and Blessing of pieta replica, Southaven Christ the King Parish.
12:30 p.m. – Mass in Spanish, Southaven Christ the King Parish.
4 p.m. – Confirmation, Southaven Christ the King Parish.
Monday, Oct. 22, 9:45 a.m. – School Mass, Southaven, Sacred Heart.
4 p.m. – School Mass, Holly Springs, Holy Family.
Sunday, Oct. 28, 9 a.m. – Respect Life Mass and reception, Madison, St. Catherine’s Village.
Saturday, Nov. 3-4 – Mission Appeal, Waterloo, Wisconsin, Holy Family Parish.
Tuesday, Nov. 6, 5 p.m. – Catholic Foundation Annual Dinner, Jackson, Jackson Country Club.
Wenesday, Nov. 7, 6 p.m. – Mass of reparation, Cathedral and diocesan churches

Only public events are listed on this schedule and all events are subject to change.
Please check with the local parish for further details

Bishop schedule

Sunday, Sept. 30, 8:30 a.m. – Mass of installation for Father Augustine Palimattam, Meridian St. Joseph Parish.
11 a.m. – Mass of installation for Father Augustine Palimattam, Meridian St. Patrick Parish.
Thursday, Oct. 4, 11 a.m. – St. Richard Special Kids Golf Tournament, Deerfield Country Club.
Sunday, Oct. 7, 9 a.m. – Mass and picnic, Forest St. Michael Parish.
Monday, Oct. 8 – Thursday, Oct 11 – Clergy formation convocation, Northeast Conference Center, Meridian.
Sunday, Oct. 14, 12:15 p.m. – Mass, Jackson Holy Ghost Parish.
Monday, Oct. 15-17, 6 p.m. – Catholic Extension’s Mission Bishops’ Conference, Oak Brook, Il.
Thursday, Oct. 18, 6 p.m. – Catholic Charities, Purple Dress Run, the District lifestyle center, Jackson.
Saturday, Oct. 20, 5:15 p.m. – Mass for the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, Jackson, St. Peter Cathedral
Sunday, Oct. 21, 11 a.m. – Mass and Blessing of pieta replica, Southaven Christ the King
12:30 p.m. – Mass in Spanish, Southaven Christ the King
4 p.m. – Confirmation, Southaven Christ the King

Only public events are listed on this schedule and all events are subject to change.
Please check with the local parish for further details

Encuentro transformador energiza la Iglesia

Obispo Joseph R. Kopacz

Por Obispo Joseph Kopacz
Desde el Papa Francisco, con amor, a Grapevine, Texas, a aproximadamente 3,500 líderes católicos de todos los Estados Unidos. El Santo Padre alentó a los reunidos para la reunión nacional V Encuentro a “derribar muros y construir puentes…A través de este proceso de V Encuentro, usted puede promover una cultura del encuentro”, dijo el Papa Francisco. “Es una manera concreta de ir más allá de nuestras zonas de confort y buscar a aquellos que necesitan esperanza en sus vidas, especialmente los jóvenes y aquellos que están en la periferia”.
Los obispos de Estados Unidos iniciaron “Encuentro,” proceso que significa encontrarse para servir mejor a la creciente comunidad latinoamericana. El proceso continuará hasta 2020. “Para el Papa, el discipulado misionero comienza con un encuentro con Cristo”, dijo el arzobispo Christophe Pierre, nuncio apostólico de los Estados Unidos, en sus comentarios bilingües. “Nos hemos reunido para encontrar al Cristo que da sentido a nuestras vidas. Una vez que lo hayamos encontrado, lo compartiremos con quienes nos encontremos “.
En medio de la celebración, el Arzobispo García-Siller de San Antonio reconoció el dolor por el escándalo de abusos sexuales que salió a la luz en el informe del gran jurado de Pensilvania y las revelaciones sobre el arzobispo Theodore McCarrick. “Tienes razón al tener el corazón roto por las faltas de tus pastores”, dijo. “Recemos a Dios por las víctimas de los crímenes de esta crisis. Haz todo lo que puedas por las víctimas. Oren también por los perpetradores y por nosotros sus obispos “. Entonces, al momento, el arzobispo García-Siller trajo la luz y la esperanza del Evangelio. “El Espíritu Santo viene a despertarnos e inflamar nuestros corazones con un amor renovado por Dios”, dijo. “No debemos tener miedo. El Señor estará presente con nosotros. Él es el crucificado, pero él es el resucitado también “.
La Hermana de la Misericordia, Ana María Pineda, profesora asociada de la Universidad de Santa Clara y miembro fundador de la Iniciativa Teológica Hispana, compartió una reflexión sobre la historia del proyecto Encuentro, que comenzó en 1972. Encuentros posteriores en 1977 y 1985 ayudaron a la iglesia a discernir mejor sus cambios demográficos. El cuarto Encuentro, o Encuentro 2000, celebró las contribuciones de las muchas culturas que conforman la Iglesia de los Estados Unidos.
“Una vez más, Dios nos recuerda”, dijo la hermana Pineda sobre el V Encuentro, “Hoy reivindicamos nuevamente quiénes somos”. Por así decirlo “Quienes somos” es una realidad muy diferente a la de hace 46 años en el momento del primer Encuentro. La comunidad latina ha crecido y evolucionado en más de dos generaciones adicionales a través del nacimiento y la inmigración a casi el 40% de la Iglesia Católica en los Estados Unidos.
El enfoque del V Encuentro es el reconocimiento de que los latinos están llamados a asumir un mayor liderazgo en la Iglesia. Como la demografía de la Iglesia Católica en las últimas décadas se ha desplazado desde el Nordeste y el Medio Oeste hacia el Sur y el Oeste, también los descendientes de inmigrantes europeos han cedido a la inmigración de América Central y América Latina, Asia, África y las Islas del Caribe.
Desde la conclusión del Concilio Vaticano II en 1965, los laicos en virtud del llamado universal a la santidad en el Bautismo y su vocación de ejercer el ministerio en el Cuerpo de Cristo han adoptado la misión y los ministerios de la Iglesia que una vez fueron casi dominio exclusivo del ordenado y el religioso. La presencia creciente de católicos latinos y católicos asiáticos, en este momento en la Iglesia de los Estados Unidos, inevitablemente transformará la tez del liderazgo en el futuro. El V Encuentro trata de hacer esta transformación más intencional.
A pesar de las sombras que oscurecen la misión y visión de la Iglesia, Encuentro estuvo marcado por una alegría generalizada, considerable ánimo (espíritu), amor entusiasta por el Señor y la Santísima Madre, y el-sigue adelante-, esperanza para el futuro.
La oración de la mañana y la tarde, y especialmente la Misa, se celebraron con reverencia en el fuego del Espíritu Santo. Nuestros delegados de la Diócesis de Jackson estuvieron completamente involucrados en todos los procedimientos y muchos en el frente interno estuvieron presentes en oración y espíritu.
Nuestro compromiso y nuestra colaboración con el ministerio hispano a lo largo y ancho de nuestra Diócesis es notable. Esta no es solo mi humilde opinión. Este año, Extensión Católica (Catholic Extension, por su nombre en inglés) ha seleccionado a nuestro ministerio hispano como uno de sus finalistas para el premio Lumen Christi, que se otorga anualmente a un destinatario en una Diócesis Misionera, por su trabajo ejemplar al servicio del Evangelio. Con San Pablo en su carta a los Filipenses, podemos regocijarnos en el Señor, siempre y que el Señor, que ha comenzado el buen trabajo en nosotros, lo lleve a su cumplimiento en el día de Cristo Jesús.

Transformative encounter means to energize church

Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz

By Bishop Joseph Kopacz
From Pope Francis, with love, to Grapevine, Texas to an estimated 3,500 Catholic Leaders from throughout the United States. The Holy Father encouraged those gathered for the V Encuentro national gathering to “tear down walls and build bridges.” “Through this V Encuentro process, you can promote a culture of encounter,” Pope Francis said. “It is a concrete way to move beyond our comfort zones and look for those who need hope in their lives, especially young people and those who are on the peripheries.”
The U.S. bishops initiated the Encuentro, which means “Encounter,” to better serve the growing Latin American community. The process will continue through 2020. “For the pope, missionary discipleship begins with an encounter with Christ,” Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States, said in his bilingual remarks. “We have come together to encounter the Christ that gives meaning to our lives. Once we have encountered him, we will share him with those we encounter.”
Amid the celebration, Archbishop García-Siller of San Antonio acknowledged the sexual abuse scandal brought to light by the Pennsylvania grand jury report and revelations about Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. “You are right to be broken-hearted by the faults of your shepherds,” he said. “Let us pray to God for the victims of the crimes of this crisis. Do all you can for the victims. Pray also for the perpetrators and for us your bishops.”
Then he brought the light and hope of the Gospel to the moment. “The Holy Spirit comes to wake us up and inflame our hearts with a renewed love for God,” he said. “We must not be afraid. The Lord will be present with us. He is the crucified one, but he is the risen one, too.”
Sister of Mercy Ana María Pineda, an associate professor at Santa Clara University and a founding member of the Hispanic Theological Initiative, shared a reflection on the history of the Encuentro project, which began in 1972. Subsequent Encuentros in 1977 and 1985 helped the church better discern its changing demographics. The fourth Encuentro or Encuentro 2000, celebrated the contributions of the many cultures that make up the U.S. Church. “Once again God remembers us,” Sister Pineda said of the V Encuentro. “Today we once again claim who we are.”
“Who we are,” so to speak, is a far different reality from 46 years ago at the time of the first Encuentro.
The Latino community has grown and evolved over two additional generations through birth and immigration to nearly 40 percent of the Catholic Church in the United States. The focus of the V Encuentro is the recognition that Latinos are called to assume greater leadership in the Church. As the demographics of the Catholic Church in recent decades has shifted from the Northeast and the Midwest to the South and the West, so too have the descendants of European immigrants yielded to immigration from Central and Latin America, Asia, Africa and the Islands of the Caribbean.
Since the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council in 1965 the laity by virtue of the universal call to holiness in Baptism and their vocation to exercise ministry in the Body of Christ, has embraced the mission and ministries of the Church that were once the nearly exclusive domain of the ordained and religious. The burgeoning presence of Latino Catholics and Asian Catholics at this moment in the Church of the United States will inevitably transform the complexion of leadership going forward. The V Encuentro is about making this transformation more intentional.
In spite of the shadows that obscure the Church’s mission and vision, The Encuentro was marked by widespread joy, considerable animo (spirit), enthusiastic love for the Lord and the Blessed Mother and hope for the future (sigue adelante). Morning and evening prayer and especially the Mass, were celebrated with reverence in the fire of the Holy Spirit. Our delegates from the Diocese of Jackson were fully engaged in all of the proceedings and many on the home front were present in prayer and spirit. Our commitment to and our collaboration with the Hispanic ministry throughout our Diocese is remarkable.
This is not just my humble opinion. This year Catholic Extension has selected our Hispanic ministry as one of their four finalists for the Lumen Christi award which is bestowed annually to a recipient in a mission ds iocese for exemplary work in service of the Gospel. With Saint Paul in his letter to the Philippians, we can rejoice in the Lord, always and may the Lord who has begun the good work in us bring it to fulfillment on the day of Christ Jesus.

Bishop schedule

Tuesday, Sept. 18, 9:30 a.m. – Day of Dialog, Catholic Committee of the South, St. Dominic Toulouse Center.
Thursday, Sept. 13-23 – National V Encuentro, Grapevine, Texas.
Wednesday, Sept. 26, 5:30 p.m. – Parish Supper and RCIA class, McComb St. Alphonsus Parish.
Friday, Sept. 28, 6:30 p.m. – Invocation at Homecoming Football game, Madison St. Joseph School.
Sunday, Sept. 30, 8:30 a.m. – Mass of installation for Father Augustine Palimattam, Meridian St. Joseph Parish.
11 a.m. – Mass of installation for Father Augustine Palimattam, Meridian St. Patrick Parish.
Thursday, Oct. 4, 11 a.m. – St. Richard Special Kids Golf Tournament, Deerfield Country Club.
Sunday, Oct. 4, 9 a.m. – Mass, Forest St. Michael Parish.
Monday, Oct. 5- Thursday, Oct 11 – Clergy formation convocation, Northeast Conference Center, Meridian.

Only public events are listed on this schedule and all events are subject to change.
Please check with the local parish for further details

Corazón de la Iglesia: palabra, adoración, comunidad, servicio

Obispo Joseph R. Kopacz

Por Obispo Joseph Kopacz
El anuncio del Evangelio de Marcos, proclamado el domingo 9 de septiembre, de la curación del hombre que sufría de sordera, acompañada por un impedimento del habla, revela la misión del Señor Jesús y de la Iglesia. “El Verbo se hizo carne y vivió entre nosotros” (Prólogo del Evangelio de San Juan). En este milagro único, la humanidad y la divinidad de Jesús brillan. En resumen, Jesús respondió a la súplica de la multitud bulliciosa al separarse con el hombre para lograr su cura. Jesús tocó sus oídos y escupiendo, tocó su lengua y mirando al cielo, gimió y dijo: “que sean abiertos”. En ese momento el cielo y la tierra estaban en armonía y la curación física conducía a alabanzas de gratitud que no podían ser silenciadas.
Desde el principio, la misión de la Iglesia, con la mente y el corazón de Jesucristo y en el poder del Espíritu Santo, trajo su mensaje salvador a todos los que tenían oídos para escuchar. De la carta de Santiago, también de las escrituras del último fin de semana, escuchamos que las divisiones surgieron al principio en la incipiente comunidad cristiana. A los ricos se les dio un tratamiento de primera clase y los pobres se quedaron en los márgenes de la comunidad reunida. Inmediatamente, el Espíritu de Dios convenció e iluminó a los discípulos para cambiar su forma de pensar y actuar. En virtud de la sangre salvadora del Señor que une a los que están lejos y los que están cerca (Efesios), todos los bautizados tienen igual dignidad alrededor de la mesa del Señor, ricos y pobres, judíos y griegos, hombres y mujeres, esclavos y libres (Gálatas) Los primeros cristianos aprendieron rápidamente en Jerusalén, cuando recordamos los Hechos de los Apóstoles, que la orden de los diáconos se estableció por Diakonia – servicio amoroso – para satisfacer las necesidades crecientes de la comunidad de Jerusalén. La acción del Señor en la Última Cena, cuando lavó los pies de sus discípulos, fomentó la visión de los primeros cristianos quienes se cuidaban unos a otros de una manera totalmente desconocida en el Imperio Romano. En contraste con la cultura brutal del primer siglo, el cristianismo y los primeros cristianos fueron cálidos, acogedores, amables y generosos y la cultura cristiana primitiva fue profundamente personal. Extendieron el toque salvador y sanador del Señor sin costo para muchos al margen de la sociedad
La palabra, el culto, la comunidad y el servicio marcaron a estos primeros cristianos y, de hecho, se abrieron los oídos para escuchar la Palabra salvadora, las bocas se unieron en alabanza y las manos en servicio amoroso. Con el tiempo, a los diáconos se les confió la administración de los recursos materiales de la Iglesia, y el rapaz Imperio Romano pensó que podría enriquecer sus arcas confiscando la propiedad y la riqueza de los cristianos. A mediados del siglo III, el Diácono Lawrence, quien en su martirio se convirtió en el patrón de Roma, recibió la orden de entregar la riqueza de la Iglesia al gobernador. Reunió a los pobres, a los cojos, a los ciegos, a los leprosos, etc. y los exhibió ante el gobernador, anunciando que éstos eran la riqueza y la fortuna de la Iglesia. Esto no lo impresionó y martirizaron a Lawrence sobre un carbón ardiente. De maneras creativas, en diferentes momentos y escenarios mundiales, la Iglesia ha encarnado la misión de Jesucristo de tocar el mundo con la curación, la esperanza y una nueva vida en el Reino de Dios.
El viernes 7 de septiembre por la noche, Jim Caveizel hizo una aparición especial en Jackson en nombre de Caridades Católicas (Catholic Charities, por su nombre en inglés) e inspiró a todos por su profundo compromiso con el Señor y su fe católica. Comenzó su presentación con un clip de la Madre Teresa en el discurso de aceptación del Premio Nobel de la Paz en 1977. La piedra angular de su inspirador discurso fue que nunca habrá paz mientras el aborto haga estragos a la vida en el útero. Eso hizo que más de unos pocos en el público se sintieran incómodos en esa ocasión, pero Santa Teresa de Calcuta no se disculpó porque la dignidad de la vida está en todas las etapas. Ella capturó la imaginación de todo el mundo cuando se adentró en la suciedad y la miseria de los peores barrios de Calcuta, India. Cada día que se despertaba, trabajaba con los olvidados, con los más pobres entre los pobres, las víctimas del HIV, y los cuidaba como si fuera el mismo Jesús. A partir de esta introducción, Jim Caveizel resaltó el trabajo de Caridades Católicas como un ejemplo vivo que respira lo que significa pertenecer a Jesucristo y aceptar su misión. Escuchar y seguir el llamado del Señor, observó Caveizel, puede tener un gran costo, pero ¿de qué sirve ganar todo el mundo y perder el alma? Cuando el Señor nos toca, entendemos los versículos finales de las escrituras del último domingo de la carta de Santiago, “somos llamados a ser ricos en fe, herederos del Reino, que Dios prometió a los que lo aman”. Durante estos días de angustia por muchas víctimas de abuso sexual y sus familias, y por aquellos que aman a la Iglesia, que nuestras oraciones gimientes dirigidas al cielo y nuestras acciones de servicio amoroso abran los corazones y las mentes de todos los que sufren y reciban la curación del Señor, la esperanza y la paz.

Heart of the Church: word, worship, community, service

Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz

By Bishop Joseph Kopacz
The proclamation from the Gospel of Mark of the healing of the man who suffered from deafness and an accompanying speech impediment, the one proclaimed on Sunday, Sept. 9, reveals the mission of the Lord Jesus and of the Church. “The Word became flesh and dwells among us.” (Prologue of Saint John’s Gospel) In this unique miracle, the humanity and divinity of Jesus shine forth. In summary, Jesus responded to the plea of the raucous crowd by going apart with the man to accomplish the cure. Jesus touched his ears, and spitting, touched his tongue and looking up to heaven he groaned and said, “be opened.” In that moment heaven and earth were in harmony and the physical healing led to praise and gratitude that could not be silenced.
From the beginning, the mission of the Church, with the mind and heart of Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, brought his saving message to all who had ears to hear. From the letter of Saint James, also from last weekend’s scripture, we hear that divisions emerged at the outset in the fledging Christian community. The rich were given first class treatment and the poor were left to stand on the margins of the gathered community. Immediately the Spirit of God convicted and enlightened the disciples to change their manner of thinking and acting. By virtue of the saving blood of the Lord who unites those who are far off and those who are near (Ephesians), all of the baptized have equal dignity around the table of the Lord, rich and poor, Jew and Greek, male and female, slave and free. (Galatians)
The early Christians learned quickly in Jerusalem when we recall in the Acts of the Apostles that the order of deacons was established for Diakonia, loving service, to meet the growing needs of the Jerusalem community. The action of the Lord at the Last Supper when he washed his disciples feet fostered the vision for the early Christians who cared for one another in a manner totally unheard of in the Roman Empire. In contrast to the brutal culture of the first century, Christianity and the first Christians were warm, inviting, kind and generous, and early Christian culture was deeply personal. They extended the saving and healing touch of the Lord without cost to many on the margins of society.
Word, worship, community and service marked these early Christians, and indeed, ears were opened to hear the saving Word, and mouths followed in praise, and hands in loving service. Over time, the deacons were entrusted with the administration of the Church’s material resources, and the rapacious Roman Empire thought that they could enrich their coffers by confiscating the property and wealth of the Christians. In the middle of the third century, Deacon Lawrence, who in his martyrdom became the patron of Rome, was ordered to cough up the Church’s wealth to the governor. He gathered up the poor, the lame, the blind the leprous, etc. and paraded them before the governor announcing that these are the Church’s wealth and fortune. Not amused, they martyred Lawrence over a hot coals. In creative ways in different times and in worldwide settings, the Church has embodied the mission of Jesus Christ to touch the world with healing, hope and new life in the Kingdom of God.
On Friday evening, Sep. 7, Jim Caveizel made a cameo appearance in Jackson on behalf of Catholic Charities and inspired all with his deep commitment to the Lord and his Catholic faith. He began his presentation with a clip from Mother Teresa’s acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977. The cornerstone of her inspiring speech was that there will never be peace as long as abortion ravages life in the womb. That made more than a few in the audience uncomfortable on that occasion but she was unapologetic about the dignity of life at all stages. She captured the imagination of the whole world when she went into the filth and squalor of the worst neighborhoods of Calcutta, India. Each day she woke up, she worked with the forgotten ones, the poorest of the poor, the HIV victims, and cared for them as if there were Jesus himself.
From this intro, Jim Caveizel affirmed the work of Catholic Charities as a living and breathing example of what it means to belong to Jesus Christ and to embrace his mission. Hearing and following the call of the Lord, Caveizel noted, can come at great cost, but what good is it to gain the whole world and to lose one’s soul. When the Lord touches us, we understand the closing verses of last Sunday’s Scripture from the letter of James, “we are called to be rich in faith, heirs of the Kingdom, that God promised to those who love him.”
During these days of anguish for many victims of sexual abuse and their families, and for those who love the Church, may our groaning prayers directed to heaven, and our actions of loving service, open the hearts and minds of all who are suffer with the Lord’s healing, hope and peace.