Youth news

Students prepare backpack blessings for neighbors

CLARKSDALE – St. Elizabeth students Kimber Wilkinson, Rivers Rico, and Kalyn Matthews with Liz Brewer in the background, pack food and other items into backpacks to be given to those who may go hungry once school lets out for the weekends or summer.
The backpack project is headed up by Liz Brewer, a parishioner of St. Elizabeth and volunteer at the school. (photo by Dawn Spinks)

Students take virtual field trip

VICKSBURG – Vicksburg Catholic School recently completed the first installation of a Virtual Reality Lab. Vicksburg Catholic School is the second school in the state to make this big step forward in technology in education. Seniors Elise Piazza, Mattie Derivaux and Sarah Jane Pierce took the headsets out for a spin during the program introduction. (Photo by Kristi Smith)

Storms offer opportunity for service

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – A group of students from the University of Portland stepped in to help Jackson area residents trying to fight back flood waters on Saturday, May 11. The group is on a regional tour of sites significant to the Civil Rights Movement. They contacted the Diocese of Jackson to see if there were any service projects they could do while they were in town.
Paul Byrne, facilities manager for the diocese, had set up an outdoor project for them which involved painting. When storms rolled in the week before, he thought the students were going to get a day off. “That’s when I heard an announcement on the radio about sand and bags being available at the City of Jackson’s impound lot. I thought that might be a good way for the students to help people right now,” he said.
Twelve students and their two moderators went to the distribution site and filled and loaded sandbags into vehicles for a couple of hours. People facing rising waters could pick them up for their homes and businesses throughout the day. “I was a little worried on Friday, but it all worked out and those students worked hard,” Byrne added.
This is the second year for a group from the Catholic university to take this tour, which includes stops in Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas. (Photos by Paul Byrne)

Race for education

By Laura Grisham
The third annual Sacred Heart School Race For Education Day was held Friday, May 10. Students, teachers and parents came together to show their school spirit in this unique fundraiser by running laps around the school in exchange for sponsorship by family and friends. Prizes were given out in each homeroom for most laps run in an hour. DJ Rockin’ Robin once again kept the crowd moving with great music and dance contests. Volunteers made sure that hungry bellies were fed and the Koha Ice Truck provided frosty treats to cool off the runners.
This event continues to be a tremendous success, raising $35,205 so far. Principal Bridget Martin said that the final total would rise, as there continues to be a flood of sponsorship envelopes arriving daily. With the funds raised over the previous two years, the school has been able to replace bleachers in the gym and refurbish the school library. This year monies will fund new technology with the purchase of more Surface Pros and a Surface Pro Cart. (Photos by Laura Grisham)

Father Dall appointed Vicar, Callahan to lead Temporal Affairs

Father Kevin Slattery

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Bishop Joseph Kopacz made three critical chancery personnel announcements on Monday, May 20. Father Lincoln Dall is appointed Vicar General for the Diocese of Jackson, effective July 1. He will remain pastor at Pearl St. Jude Parish. Father Kevin Slattery is appointed Canonical Consultant for the Vicar General. He will remain sacramental minister for Gluckstadt St. Joseph Parish. Carolyn Callahan has accepted the position of Director of Temporal Affairs for the Diocese of Jackson, effective immediately.
Father Lincoln had been acting Director of Temporal Affairs while a search committee looked for a new leader. He will remain connected to that office as a priest liaison to the Office of Temporal Affairs.
Bishop Kopacz made the announcement about Fathers Lincoln and Slattery in a letter to chancery staff. “We have developed a good team over the past few months and I feel we can utilize our many talents and various roles to assist Father Lincoln as he takes on this new responsibility. I ask you to keep both Father Lincoln and Father Kevin in your prayers and I ask for your prayers as well. Thank you for your commitment to the Diocese of Jackson,” wrote the bishop. He commended Father Slattery on his many years of service to the diocese and on his willingness to serve as Vicar.
Callahan is no stranger to diocesan work, having acted as Controller, Internal Auditor and Coordinator of Special Projects for the diocese, Director of Finance for St. Joseph Catholic School in Madison, and as an accounting support person for all Catholic Schools. “The diversity of this work makes Carolyn well suited to know the in and outs of how the Diocese, parishes and schools operate. Carolyn is a natural problem solver and will work to streamline processes, create greater transparency and employ best practices in accounting and finance,” said Bishop Kopacz.

Carolyn Callahan

Callahan brings to the position more than 30 years of accounting experience. Her work within the Church has given her many opportunities to get to know priests, deacons, lay ecclesial ministers, principals, business managers and bookkeepers. She and her husband Danny have two adult sons, Christopher and Stephen. They are parishioners at Gluckstadt St. Joseph Parish.
Father Lincoln was born in Chicago and grew up as a teenager in Orange County, California, the oldest of four siblings. He started his career in accounting and finance. “I worked as a CPA in an auditing firms in both North Carolina and California for 6 years. I was also a comptroller for a company in the retail industry for a year,” he explained.
The timing of this assignment is providential as Father Lincoln is completing an advanced degree from Catholic University that will serve him well in his new role.
“The Masters of Science in Ecclesial Administration and Management is a professional degree that prepares clergy for effective and efficient parish and diocesan leadership. The program’s goal is to take inspiration from the proven best practices established in the secular business environment and assist the clergy in applying these practices on a parish and diocesan level in order to manage day-to-day administrative responsibilities and to best respond to particular challenges and difficulties that might arise. Course content emphasizes various aspects of fundraising, the transparent management of financial resources, the organization and management of employees, and effective communication strategies with the dual aims of promoting faithful stewardship and fostering growth through evangelization.” explained Father Lincoln.

Father Lincoln Dall

Father Lincoln became Catholic in 1992 at the Easter Vigil and immediately became a missionary. “I did not realize that my auditing and accounting background would be such a valuable resource for me as a missionary and as a priest,” he said. In fact, he said he tried to put aside his accounting experience when he became a missionary, but his skills were needed.
In addition to work with a food bank and soup kitchen as well as a healing center for in Canada, he worked extensively in Central and South America. “I was a lay missionary with the Comboni Missionaries in Borbón, Ecuador in a rain forest jungle,” said Father Lincoln. .
He is looking forward to continuing to work closely with Callahan on diocesan administration. “Carolyn and I have been working a lot with policies and procedures and structure and very defined – what people’s areas are,” he said. “I am very team-oriented, and I really want to emphasize that and work with the key people in a very team-oriented way and empower them in their ministries and our positions.”
Father Lincoln was ordained in 2008. He has served at Jackson St. Richard, Yazoo City St. Mary, Belzoni All Saints and Tupelo St. James.
“I am really humbled at getting this appointment. It is a surprise- nothing I expected. I need a lot of prayers from people and I will give it my best,” said Father Lincoln.

Q&A: Father Adolfo Suarez-Pasillas

I lived in Pabellon de Arteaga, Aguascalientes, Mexico until I was 11. I have six siblings, three brothers and three sisters, I am the youngest.

Home parish: In Mexico, Jesus Nazareno in Jesus Maria, Aguascalientes. Over here, Our Lady of Victories in Cleveland 

Favorite Saints and why?
St. Augustine, St. John Bosco, St. Francis de Sales, St. Therese of Calcutta, St. John Marie Vianney, St. Francis of Assisi, St. John Paul II. I think I like them because of their deep love for God and for the people, their closeness to the people of God and their care for them made a great impact in my life.
Do you have a favorite devotion, religious image or prayer and why?
Our Lady of Guadalupe, first because I am a Mexican and second because I know that she has accompanied me right from the beginning of my Christian life, since the parish where I was baptized was named after her. My devotion to her began even before I meet Christ. When I was probably around 6 years old, I used to take my grandma’s Bible – which I could not read – but I used to look at the pictures in it and right at the beginning of this Bible was the story of the apparition of Our Lady … The picture that stayed in my mind was the one where she cured uncle Bernardino, in it there is Our Lady, uncle Bernardino, a skeleton and an angel defeating it.

Who vested you at ordination and why?
Father Kent Bowlds, because besides Father Matthew Simmons, he has been my biggest supporter together with Our Lady of Victories Parish since I came here.

In what parishes have you served?
St. Francis of Assisi in Brookhaven, St. Mary in Batesville, St. Therese in Jackson, and at least ten parishes in the Diocese of Morelia.
Can you tell me a little about your vocation story ?
The first time I can remember that priesthood came to my mind was when I was around 6 years old. It was a Sunday, I was walking with my cousin’s wife Concha and I remember telling her that I wanted to become a priest. She asked me why then I said to her, because all priests go to heaven. I was scared because the day before our catechist taught us about hell and heaven. The way she depicted hell to us was so shocking that I decided to become a priest in order to escape from it.
The second time was when I was around 16 years old. I was heartbroken for my family situation. My parents separated …and my mother moved away. Two of my aunts from my mom’s side, insisted I live with them. My grandma was a woman who was in love with our blessed Lord. She constantly insisted all her children and grandchildren go to confession and receive Holy Communion.
My aunts introduced me to the life of prayer which I had forgotten during my teenage years. At the beginning I thought they were crazy, asking me to go and give thanks in front of what for me was nothing. To please them, I just began talking to the Lord as if he really existed. Later they invited me to participate in the Mass by reading on Sundays. … I met my pastor whose name was Tirso Sanchez Cruz … who inspired me because even when he was an old priest he seemed to never get tired. He was tireless disciple of the Lord, joyful man, and full of energy. These characteristics made me wonder where all that energy and happiness come from.
I experienced a year of consolation from the Lord. That year, attending Mass after Mass was a taste of heaven. One Sunday I spend the entire day helping Mass after Mass and there were six Masses at that time and I did not experience boredom, it was one of the happiest days of my life …
Time passed I began to work and get busy and I forgot about the seminary. I had to work to pay rent, bills, and food and contribute to the house. I began to hang out with friends and forget about God but I was not happy. … Finally, trying to get away from the noises of the city and society, I decided to come to the United States … to look for a quiet place to meditate and to find the reason for my sadness. … I spent hours and hours in front of the Blessed Sacrament asking the Lord for answers and strength. He listened to my prayers and took away from me a depression which I had been suffering since I remember … When my depression was gone, I told to the Lord, now I am ready to follow you …. But I think it was not my time yet …
I had an accident in a truck I did not own, so had to pay for it and for the other car and for the penalty fee. I had to wait until I finish paying to think about going to the seminary. That time was useful because I came down from heaven and set once again my foot on earth.
Can you share something about yourself people may not know?
That some of my friends have inviting me to join their dioceses because there are more benefits but I have rejected their invitation because from the beginning of my vocation I have asked God to serve the poor and he heard my petition and he has sent me to serve in one of the poorest dioceses in the United States. I am planning to serve in this diocese at least until retirement and I thank you for your support and prayers.
What advice do you have for those discerning a vocation?
Do not be afraid, come and see, “taste and see the goodness of the Lord.” There is not boss like him; he will fulfill your heart’s desires. Seminary life is not like you think, we pray, we play, we live, we enjoy, we love, we laugh, we learn, we are transformed by Christ. Come and see and if this is not your vocation you are free to leave. But be sure that your life will not be the same because spending a period of time with the Lord will change your life.

Is there one part of priesthood in particular you are looking forward to?
Celebrating the sacraments of course, especially the sacrament of reconciliation and Eucharist because those sacraments I believe are the ones that can bring people closer to God. I also look forward to serve in this diocese because I have seen the need we have of priests.
What are you looking forward to about your first parish assignment?
I am looking forward to establishing a good relationship with both the pastor and the community. I am looking forward to the new experiences that God has reserved for me in that parish.

Q&A: Father Mark Shoffner

“I was born in King’s Daughters Hospital in Greenville, Mississippi on the Feast of Our Lady of Victory(the Rosary). In the same hospital as Jim Henson who created Kermit the Frog. I was born into a family heritage composed of German, French, English, Sicilian, Mexican, Scotch-Irish and Choctaw. With ancestors ranging from Native Americans, to German indentured servants immigrating to the colonies in the 1740’s, to a 20th century Mexican immigrant, my family covers all of what makes America.
I am the first son of my parents, both whom are the oldest of their siblings, and I have one brother who is ten years younger than me. I grew up attending Mass at St. Joseph Parish in Greenville and attended Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School and then St. Joseph High School until my family moved to Fort Walton Beach, Forida, where I spent the last three years of high school at Choctawhatchee High School in Ft. Walton. I graduated in 2005, started college and then moved back to Greenville where I would attend college at Mississippi Delta Community College. I graduated from nursing school at MDCC as a Registered Nurse in 2010 and worked at Delta Regional Medical Center in the Cardiovascular ICU until entering seminary for the diocese.”

Home parish:
St. Joseph, Greenville.

Favorite Saints and why?
St. Augustine, because he was not perfect and he had a past which Christ Jesus rescued him from certain destruction. He is a good model for those who give themselves to God and work it out each day with hope.
Mother Mary, she is so loving and helpful to all of her children, making herself known to us all throughout the ages in our local circumstances. She is eternally glorifying God by pointing us towards her Son and reminding us of Christ Jesus’ love for us. St. Benedict, devoted and well-ordered. He founded monasticism which has given the world so much and his brother monks gave me so much to me in my time at St. Joseph Seminary College which is run by Benedictine monks.
St Patrick has always been inspiring as he was a missionary, he overcame so much, and he was so beloved by the Irish priests in my parish who loved me so much and gave me such good examples. He found ordinary ways of teaching great mysteries to those whom he ministered, something I´ve taken a cue from.
St. Mark, my confirmation saint who I picked because I thought I was being lazy. He was an evangelist, he ministered in the Nile Delta city of Alexandria. He stayed close to St. Peter and wrote what he heard. His Gospel shows in great brevity and hurriedness the Lord’s desire to cast out demons with the presence of the Word Incarnate. I hope to preach and heal with this closeness to the Lord and the Church.

Do you have a favorite devotion, religious image or prayer and why?
I am mesmerized by the icon of Our Lady of Bethlehem which I was able to see firsthand when I visited the Holy Land last year. She is so beautifully adorned, wife and mother, watching over her children. Pray for peace in the Holy Land and for persecuted Christians.
I love to move between the Sacred Heart and Good Shepherd image of our Lord as he guides me and gives me the greatest example of what I am to be.
I ponder the wounds of Jesus’ feet, and the place where his side was pierced. I reverence these wounds of Our Lord and I pray with them very regularly.

Who vested you at ordination and why?
Msgr. Patrick Farrell, who was my first parish priest and who baptized me as a baby. I loved him so dearly when I was growing up. I used to process out with him and I wanted to be the first to hug him on Sunday mornings. I want to thank him for his priestly ministry by having him vest me. There is a part of the baptismal rite where the minister speaks to the child and claims him or her for Christ our Savior with a sign of the cross, an eternal action upon a soul. As he claimed me for Christ Jesus and clothed me in the white baptismal garment of salvation, I see it most proper that he should further vest me in the garments of the priesthood of Jesus Christ.

Do you have any hobbies?
I like to cook. Baking, grilling, working a stovetop, I enjoy it all. I enjoy seeing the enjoyment of those for whom I cook for. I’ve played golf since I was two, I enjoy my annual dove hunt with my good friends, and I really enjoy gardening. Planting things, digging up stuff, stoppin on the roadside to dig up heirloom plants from old homesites, I love good dirt, really because I’m from The Delta.

In what parishes have you served?
Our Lady of Victories, Cleveland; St. Joseph Starkville, and St. Dominic Hospital.
Can you tell me a little about your vocation story?
I’d thought about priesthood since third grade and been encouraged by teachers, priests, sisters and parishioners. It was always in my head through elementary, high school, and college despite me not actively pursuing it.
I was working one night in the hospital on an elderly man and I thought of St. Mother Teresa and Father Richard Ho Lung. I’d seen the work of his order on EWTN. I had a profound thought of, ‘What is their motivation for doing their work,’ which was much like my own in the hospital? I worked up the courage to reach out to Father Kent Bowlds who met with me regularly for about a year to help me see where the Lord was leading me. The motivation I was looking for that night in the hospital, it was Love. The love and mercy God has for us all and how we are called to be his hands and feet to bring that love to all people
Can you share something about yourself people may not know?
I was my high school mascot, and I taught myself how to sew in order to make my costume.
I also carry a shovel and green boots in my car, so that nothing will stop me from bad weather or an interesting plant on the roadside.
What advice do you have for those discerning a vocation?
Talk to someone! Prayer is more than essential and there are people who need you. Religious sisters, Brothers, Priests, Deacons, there are people in our parishes who need you and Mississippi needs the witness of good Catholic Priests to bring the Gospel to the world through Christ in the sacraments.

Is there one part of priesthood in particular you are looking forward to?
What are you looking forward to about your first parish assignment?
It›s going to be exciting to say the Mass for people and lead them to God. I›m also looking forward to blessing people and the things that pertain to their lives (fields, homes, etc.). I am particularly excited about the Sacrament of Reconciliation, bringing people back to God who loves them despite their faults and desires to be with them in every aspect of their lives. The loving and merciful heart of God, poured out for us through Confession is what I’m looking forward to.

Mercy Sisters honored for founding role in Delta healthcare initiative

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Mercy Sisters Patricia Parker and Robyn Huser were honored by the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Nursing on Friday, May 10, as part of National Nurses Week. The pair hatched an idea almost 20 years ago to outfit a bus as a mobile clinic and take it into the Delta to serve children with no access to healthcare.
They raised the money and the Mercy Delta Express started to roll from school to school. The Sisters partnered with the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s School of Nursing to staff the bus and give students experience working with those in need and the program took off from there.
The Sisters said they got the idea from two very different sources. “It all started with a homeless boy in Jackson telling us ‘y’all need to do something in the Delta, and I’m going to give you some money!’ We told him we would not take any money from our clients,” laughed Sister Robyn.
The more specific form the help should take came from a federal report on poverty in the region. “Sister Robyn and I, years ago, read the Delta Commission Report and we felt like we needed to do something in the Delta – we were working in Jackson at the time,” Sister Patricia explained. “We were able to raise funds and provide the Mercy Delta Express. Doctor Peggy Hewlett, who was the associate dean, said ‘let me help you,’ and that’s how we got started with the school of nursing. They took over and have been so supportive. We have had a number of our Mercys from Vicksburg who were volunteers for a number of years,” she added.

JACKSON – Sister Robyn Huser and Sister Patricia Parker listen as Dr. Mary Stewart, interim dean of the School of Nursing reads a proclamation in their honor at the University of Mississippi School of Nursing. (Photo by Maureen Smith)

“I remember talking with one of the Mercy Delta Express Sisters a couple of years ago when I went on a bus tour with Marian Wright Edelman into the Mississippi Delta to explore poverty and child hunger. I was blown away with her knowledge and absolute feel for the community she served. She loved that community and I believe the feeling was so, so mutual,” said Ruth Cummins, who works in the communications office for the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Today the School of Nursing staffs in-school clinics and the bus only goes to health fairs. The program is now the “Coordinated Healthcare through an authentic model of partnership” or CHAMP program. It started in Sharkey and Issaquena Counties with the bus. Current partners include the South Delta School District, Ripley Blackwell Head Start, Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi, Smiles Across America, Hope and Comfort, Kotex Corporation, Sharkey/Issaquena Health Network, and numerous churches, according to school of nursing public relations representative Kate Royals. In an email to Mississippi Catholic she added “The overall goal of this work is to improve health outcomes for Mississippians in urban Jackson and the Mississippi Delta, while educating the next generation of interprofessional health care providers, including nurses and advanced practice nurses in partnership with physicians, dentists, social workers, occupational therapists and pharmacists.”
In addition to healthcare, the project also offers wellness education and operates in Ripley Blackwell Head Start, South Delta Elementary, and South Delta Middle School and offers the Delta Teen Wellness Project at South Delta High School.
The School of Nursing presented Sisters Patricia and Robyn with a plaque and school representatives spoke about their inspirational leadership in getting the project started. The staff provided a spread of food and sweets for a reception following the ceremony.
“We are very humbled and we feel that the University School of Nursing did not give themselves the credit because we could never have done this on our own. We are just so grateful for all of them,” said Sister Patricia.
Sister Robyn added that they continue to be amazed at the impact one simple idea continues to have “It’s kind of an awesome thing. Both Patricia and I feel like when you start something you just do it and you don’t think anything about it and when something like this (honor) happens you think- ‘we did it!’”

New outlook: Carmelites get new windows

JACKSON – On Sunday, February 24 and Saturday April 6, volunteer Knights of Columbus from Flowood St. Paul Parish replaced 22 windows in the Carmelite Monastery convent. Another two dozen window replacements are in the works.
The old metal single-pane hand-crank models, original to the monastery built in the late 1940s, were replaced with energy efficient double-paned windows.

Knights of Columbus replace the windows for the Carmelites. (Photo courtesy of Carmelites.)

To date new windows have been installed in the living quarters on the second floor. Old windows framed in steel had to be pried from the eight-inch thick brick structure, and new ones installed and caulked with silicone. Replacement involved the use of a lift to facilitate installation on the second floor.
The new vinyl windows were supplied by Creative Windows and Doors Inc. of Madison,.The Sisters said the staff was very helpful in selecting the best and most economic window design and was often on site to aid in installations.
The Knights participating in the window project are Jeff Johnson, Larry Moeller, Chuck Smith, Al Chapman, Pete Canizaro, Jose Lopez, Dan Cado, Ed Mueller, Toan Hoang and Brian Maier.. This is one of many projects undertaken by Knights of Columbus councils throughout the Jackson area to make repairs and improvements to the monastery, gift shop and grounds.

School Sisters celebrate their call to serve

By Maureen Smith
CHATAWA – Four School Sisters of Notre Dame marked a combined 265 years of consecrated life at St. Mary of the Pines on Thursday, May 10. The community gathered for a Mass and a meal on the grounds of the retirement facility at the edge of the Mississippi-Louisiana border. Bishop Joseph Kopacz celebrated the Mass.
Sister Teresa Martin Caronia, a native of New Orleans, made her first profession on July 28, 1944, 75 years ago. She worked throughout the Southeast, mostly as a teacher and school administrator. She was delighted to participate in the jubilee Mass, singing every song. During the homily Bishop Kopacz asked the Sisters to share a little something about an assignment or ministry that was special to them. Sister Caronia said she treasured preparing children for their First Holy Communion.

CHATAWA – Bishop Joseph Kopacz asks the School Sisters of Notre Dame jubilarians for reflections on their many ministries during a Mass to honor their years of service. (L-r) Sisters Teresa Martin Caronia, Herman Marie Siebenmorgen, Goria Marie Foret and Rose Ann Bacak. (Photo by Maureen Smith)

Sister Herman Marie Siebenmorgen left her family farm in Morrison Bluff, Arkansas, 70 years ago to join the School Sisters of Notre Dame. She tried just about everything to delay her vocation, asking for sign after sign that she should go, but the Blessed Mother got the last word. “Before that, I said ‘if this (event) happens, I know God is calling me.’ And it happened, but I said, ‘I am going to try something harder.’ And it happened. I said ‘if I see the Blessed Mother or Jesus then I will go. That’s it, that’s all.’ I was in bed sleeping, towards morning. All of a sudden I felt a breeze coming over me. Someone was standing by my bed. It was the Blessed Mother – I saw here from here up. I was looking at her. She was looking at me just smiling. She didn’t say anything. Just smiling. I said ‘I can’t back out now.’”
Sister Herman was the third of 12 children and 92 first cousins. Eleven of the women went into religious life. Most became Benedictines. Sister Herman’s older sister tried to convince her to join the Benedictines as well. “I said, no, I’m going to Mary. Benedict is OK, I like Mary. We are German. The prayer my mother said every day is in German. I say it every day. It’s all about how Mary will get me to heaven,” she explained. Sister worked in schools in Texas, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. She now serves in a ministry of prayer and presence.
Sister Rose Ann Bacak made her first profession in July of 1959 in St. Louis. She came from Kerrville, Texas, and served in the Dioceses of Jackson and Dallas teaching business classes and doing administrative work. She taught at both Jackson St. Mary school and the Notre Dame Education Center in Canton. She said every Notre Dame community will host a house jubilee for the Sisters in residence. “We do this every year for our sisters, no matter where they are — try to come together in one place. In July, we have a big celebration that includes a lot more Sisters. We just enjoy each other doing our thing and it’s kind of hard sometimes to accept the gratitude people feel for you,” she said. She works in the archives and finance office in Chatawa.
Sister Gloria Maria Foret, celebrating 61 years of profession, taught at McComb St. Alphonsus school in the Jackson diocese as well as serving at schools in Texas, Louisiana and Alabama. Sister Gloria is still teaching by going to Osyka a couple days a week to work with students who need some extra support in their studies.
She reflected on how each post changed how she ministered, especially the time she spent in Ghana, Africa. “Even though many of them were very poor they had so much to give and it was a wonderful place to me,” she said. “It helped me think and evaluate things from my own culture – like we are always rushing and keeping things ‘on time.’ And they are not like that – when they get there- that’s the time it’s supposed to be. They are so relaxed and into what’s happening and they are so ready to do things for others,” Sister Gloria added.
The whole community renewed their vows during the Mass and enjoyed a meal planned by the jubilarians.

Bishop ordains Father Shoffner, Father Suarez-Pasillas

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – The Diocese of Jackson gained two new priests on Saturday, May 11 – one a native Mississippian and another from Mexico. Both have a devotion to the Blessed Mother and although both considered the priesthood as boys, both waited until after they had worked out in the world before they entered the seminary.
Father Mark Shoffner was working as a nurse in a cardiac unit when he finally realized that he did want to pursue the priesthood. But first, he wanted to take a sort-of pilgrimage. He told his mother about his plan on his next visit home. “It was January, 2012. He sat down to the supper table. I was making supper, and he said ‘I came home to tell you something – I am about to quit my job and travel around Europe for three months with just a backpack and then I am going to go to the seminary and become a priest,’” said Eva Shoffner.
His journey through the seminary started that fall and his family was thrilled to attend the ordination. “I am so excited. We have just been anticipating this time for a long time – seven years now – and we are just thrilled that the Lord choose our son to become a priest. He has always had a great faith in God and has always had such reverence. He has always greeted each day looking for something good. He is always grateful for all things. I believe he will be a good priest,” said his mother.
Father Adolfo Suarez-Pasillas lived in Mexico and the United States, searching for his true vocation. He said his family was devoted and constantly exposed him to prayer and sacraments, but it took a long time for him to respond to God’s love. His family told Mississippi Catholic that when he was very young, he would make play altars with sticks and flowers. His mother and aunts believe the seeds of his vocation were already starting to take root.
He went through a deep depression before he finally opened his heart and started to work towards the priesthood. Father Suarez-Pasillas could have gone to any number of dioceses, but chose the Diocese of Jackson because he wanted to serve in a place where he could be with the poor and marginalized and where the church needed him most.
The night before the ordination, the candidates, diocesan seminarians, Chancellor Mary Woodward and liaison to the seminarians Father Aaron Williams gathered for a rehearsal. The mood was joyful. Bishop Joseph Kopacz joked with the men as they walked through each part of the rite – the presentation, the litany, oath of fidelity, laying on of hands, vesting, anointing with chrism, receiving the chalice and paten and, finally, standing at the altar for consecration as priests of the church.
The Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle was standing-room-only full for the Mass of Ordination. Several days of bad weather cleared Saturday morning, leaving conditions breezy, but the sun peeked through by the time Mass started. Priests from across the diocese came to celebrate as well as Bishop Emeritus Joseph Latino.
Sister Magdalena Carrillo, Monsignor, read the first reading in Spanish from the Acts of the Apostles – Paul’s instructions for the presbyters to watch over their flock, keeping them safe from wolves and liars. Sister Dorothea Sondgeroth, OP, proclaimed the second reading from Ephesians in which St. Paul urges ministers to be humble and gentle and to unify the church. Deacon Andrew Rudmann chanted the gospel, a reading from John 17 about Jesus giving the word to his apostles and sending them out into the world.
At the conclusion of the Mass, all the priests sang Salve Regina in Latin, a tradition at many diocesan liturgies. As the new priests exited the church, their seminary classmates waited to greet them with cheers and hugs.
The next stop was Jackson St. Richard Parish where a team of volunteers and caterers, led by Berta Mexidor, had arranged a reception honoring the Mississippi and Mexican roots of the ordinands. Magnolias and mariachi music made for a merry reception. The priests offered first blessings while guests snacked on tamales, Delta-inspired stuffed grape leaves and a variety of other foods.
Father Suarez-Pasillas offered his first Mass of Thanksgiving that very afternoon at Jackson St. Therese Parish while Father Shoffner traveled to his home parish of Greenville St. Joseph for a Sunday Mass.

Pastoral Assignments

Father Jason Johnston, appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Starkville and Corpus Christi Mission, Macon, effective July 1, 2019
Father Joseph Le, appointed Pastor of St. Francis Parish, Aberdeen and Sacramental Minister of St. Helen Parish, Amory, effective July 1, 2019
Father Raju Macherla, appointed Pastor of St. Elizabeth and Immaculate Conception Parishes, Clarksdale, effective July 1, 2019
Father Manohar Reddy Thanugundla, appointed Pastor of St. Francis Parish, Brookhaven, effective July 1, 2019
Father Scott Thomas, appointed Pastor of St. Mary Basilica and Assumption Parishes, Natchez, effective July 1, 2019
Father Antony Chakkalakkal, appointed Chaplain, St. Dominic Hospital, effective July 1, 2019
Father Juan Chavajay, appointed Administrator of St. Therese Parish, Jackson, effective June 20, 2019
Father Joseph Dyer, appointed Sacramental Minister of Christ the King Parish, Jackson, effective June 21, 2019
Father Jeremy Tobin, OPraem, appointed Sacramental Minister of St. Stephen Parish, Magee, effective June 21, 2019

Retiring or leaving diocese
Msgr. Elvin Sunds, retiring from active parish ministry effective June 16, 2019;
Father David O’Connor, retiring from active parish ministry effective June 30, 2019;
Abbot Tom DeWane, OPraem, returning to St. Norbert Abbey, DePere, Wisconsin, after many years of dedicated service to the Diocese of Jackson, effective June 2019;
Father Faustin Misakabo, OPraem, leaving diocese after many years of dedicated service to the Diocese of Jackson, effective June 2019.

Knights celebrate “In Solidarity with our Church”

JACKSON – The Mississippi Knights of Columbus held their annual convention in Jackson the last weekend of April with the theme “In solidarity with our Church.” The gathering gives the knights a chance to share ideas, receive training and recognize those councils and individuals who have offered exemplary service. Mississippi Knights raised more than $85,000 to support seminarians and pro-life initiatives this year. More than 300 people attended.
All photos are from the Mass Bishop Louis Kihneman of the Diocese of Biloxi celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle on Saturday, April 27.
Here are some highlights of those honored during the convention:
Knight of the Year: Norman J. Cantrelle – Most Holy Trinity Council 11995 in Pass Christian
Sir Knights of the Year: Sir Knight David Fisher, Assembly 554 Jackson and Sir Knight Stephen D’Angelo, Assembly 3625 Pass Christian.
Assembly of the Year: Bishop Gerow Assembly 554 – Jackson
Worthy Marshal of the Year: Sir Knight Craig Harrell, Worthy Marshal District 8
Family of the Year: Willie B. Jones Family -Most Holy Trinity Council 11995 in Pass Christian
Best Faith Program: Council 848; Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle Council; Jackson for the Refund Support Vocation Program (RSVP)
Best Family Program: Council 1522; Pere Le Duc Council; Bay St. Louis for the Our Lady of the Gulf Parish Picnic
Best Community Program: Council 898; Vicksburg Council for Meals on Wheels for the Homebound
Best Life Program: Council 10901; St. John Council; Oxford for BBQ Dinner Fundraiser for Pregnancy Center
Best Vocations Programs: Jackson Diocese – Council 848; Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle Council; Jackson for work with Carmelite Sisters and Monastery
Biloxi Diocese: Council 16433; St. Clare Council; Waveland for Cycle to Saints.