Holy Hour for vocations

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – On a rainy, cold Thursday, Dec. 20, diocesan seminarians and a small group of faithful gathered in the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle for a Holy Hour for Vocations. Father Aaron Williams, diocesan liaison to the seminarians, coordinated the event. It included prayers for the priests and seminarians of the diocese as well as prayers for more priestly vocations. Deacon Mark Shoffner offered a brief reflection on the readings. The hour closed with Benediction.
Bishop Joseph Kopacz said he was pleased with the event and believes it will build momentum in years to come. All of the seminarians were on break from their studies. The diocese currently has eight men studying for the priesthood.


Mississippi Catholic 2019 Publication Schedule

The staff at Mississippi Catholic is looking forward to a busy and productive 2019 As always, we invite participation from faithful from across the diocese. Please submit your stories, photos and events so we can include them in the paper.
The publication schedule for 2019 follows.

Friday, Jan. 25
Friday, Feb. 8
Friday, Feb. 22
Friday, March 8
Friday, March 22
Friday, April 12
Friday, April 26
Friday, May 10
Friday, May 24
Friday, June 14
Friday, June 28

Friday, July 12
Friday, July 26
Friday, Aug. 9
Friday, Aug 23
Friday, Sept. 13
Friday, Sept 27
Friday, Oct. 11
Friday, Oct. 25
Friday, Nov. 8
Friday, Nov. 22
Friday, Dec. 13
Friday, Dec. 27

Look for special sections this year marking Catholic Schools Week, two priestly ordinations, graduations and the sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation.
Send submissions to editor@mississippicatholic.com. Send information three to four weeks before or within one week after an event. Ads are due one week prior to publication. Visit the paper online at www.mississippicatholic.com.
The staff here at Mississippi Catholic would like to thank you, our readers, for your prayer and support and wish you a blessed New Year.

Diocese of Jackson 2019 Special Collections

Throughout the year the faithful are asked to contribute to their parishes through a weekly collection to help cover the cost of operations and support ministries. Sometimes, the parish will take up a second collection with a specific purpose. Many of these are national collections coordinated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). These national collections offer an opportunity to help our neighbors in the light of the Gospel. The national collections are a powerful expression of this community. Our contributions help people across the street and around the world, people who struggle to practice the faith, people who live in great need.
Some of these collections are strictly local and will be distributed within the diocese. For additional resources and information about each collection, visit https://jacksondiocese.org/catholic-life/second-collections/.

*February 2 & 3 – Catholic Service Appeal
March 9 & 10 – Black & Indian Mission
March 30 & 31 – Catholic Relief Service
April 18 – Rice Bowl
April 19 – Good Friday Holy Land
*April 20 & 21 – Education of Future Priests
May 4 &5 – Catholic Home Mission
June 1 & 2 – Catholic Communication
June 29 & 30 – Peter’s Pence
September 7 & 8 – Extension Society
October 19 & 20 – World Mission Sunday
*November 2 & 3 – Diocesan Missions
December 7 & 8 – Support of Retired Religious

* local collection

Grief expert offers comfort, practical tips

By Charlene Bearden
JACKSON – Through a partnership between Catholic Charities’ Parish Health Ministry and the Catholic Diocese of Jackson’s Office of Family Ministry, Bob Willis, artist, author, sculptor and grief specialist from Oklahoma presented a series of half-day workshops and discussions on grief, and how to adapt to loss. The program was a Diocesan event that was also supported by St. Dominic Hospital.
The workshops were presented November 28 – 30, 2018 at Hernando Holy Spirit Parish, Indianola Immaculate Conception Parish, Starkville St. Joseph Parish Gluckstadt St. Joseph Parish.

HERNANDO – Bob Willis, at right, scuplts a broken heart during a grief workshop at Holy Spirit Parish. (photo by Charlene Bearden)

Sister Pat Clemen, Coordinator of Parish Health Ministry at Catholic Charities, and Charlene Bearden, Coordinator of the Office of Family Ministry for the Diocese of Jackson, planned and organized the workshops for anyone experiencing loss of any kind, including the death of a loved one, divorce, loss of job, pet, security, trust, dreams, hopes loss of good health or any grief they were experiencing. Also, three Continuing Education (CE) contact hours were earned by nurses and social workers who attended. In addition, organizers hoped the opportunity would inspire people to receive proper training to help start a grief support group.
Sister Clemen and Bearden agreed, Bob Willis “provided information and tools to help individuals to mourn, or to express the pain of loss” in a healthy manner. Participants offered very positive comments. Their names are withheld out of respect for their privacy.
“As a volunteer with the Alzheimer’s support group and at Baptist DeSoto Hospital, I can use the information/tools presented. Also, in my own grief, said one attendee at Holy Spirit who didn’t want to leave her name.
“I felt that everything he said was spoken only to me and my feelings. Thank you so much for presenting such a heartwarming talk. May God bless you,” added an Immaculate Conception attendee.
Someone from Starkville offered this reflection: “Powerful and amazing presentation. I’m blessed to be here!”
“A really wonderful presentation—not only because of really helpful information and tools, but because of the love it was with,” stated one of the people who came to Gluckstadt.
As he sculpts a broken heart in clay, Bob shares information on grief, loss, and caregiving. He relates the grief process to faith and invites people to reconnect with the suffering Jesus.

(Charlene Bearden is the Coordinatorfor the Office of Family Ministry)

Scholarships benefit Catholic college students

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Every year the Diocese of Jackson awards a pair of scholarships to students studying at Catholic colleges and universities. This year Patti Greene, youth minister at Gluckstadt St. Joseph Parish, will receive the Stella Schmidt Scholarship while Nicole Becker, member of Tupelo St. James Parish, will receive the Bishop Brunini Memorial Scholarship.
“What a blessing it is to be able to provide scholarship assistance to students studying at Catholic colleges and universities,” said Fran Lavelle, director of faith formation for the Diocese of Jackson. “The Bishop Brunini Memorial Scholarship goes to an undergraduate student at any Catholic college or university. Any undergraduate can apply as there are no restrictions to field of study,” Lavelle continued.
Becker is studying mathematics at St. Mary’s and engineering at Notre Dame. “It was so apparent from her essays that she is dedicated to her Catholic faith. The love she expressed for serving God and his holy people was palatable,” said Lavelle. While Becker is a sophomore at St. Mary, this is her first year at Notre Dame. She is hardly intimidated by going to two schools at once or by the rigor of her studies. The best part of school for her – the growth of her faith life.
“I went to a non-denominational Christian high school. I loved Bible study and being able to talk about faith, but I wanted to learn more about my Catholic faith,” said Becker. Each dorm at Notre Dame offers a different Mass for students. The Masses sometimes have themes or traditions such as waffles or milkshakes after Mass. “I love the milkshake Mass at 10 p.m. on Thursday nights. There are about 80 people in a chapel built for 50. People are sitting on the floor and the music is great and the priest is so welcoming and great,” she explained. The dorm offers milkshakes after the Mass, but the main attractions, according to Becker are the community atmosphere and the dynamic priest. Becker hopes to attend Mass in every dorm before she graduates.
“All my hard work is paying off for me both academically and in my faith. To be honored or recognized as a woman of faith (through the scholarship) means a lot to me,” said Becker. She does not yet know what she wants to do when she graduates, but knows she wants to serve others with her life.
The Stella Schmidt Memorial Scholarship is for graduate students enrolled at Spring Hill College studying to earn a masters degree in Theological or Pastoral Studies. “Patti Greene exemplifies the role of life-long learner. She has a thirst and drive to keep growing as a youth minister to better serve her students. She sets a high standard for the quality of ministry she provides,” said Lavelle.
Greene believes getting her certification as a catechist is important to her ministry so as she completed the diocesan courses and attended professional developments and retreats, she came to realize the value of continuing on to Spring Hill for the masters. “It was the obvious next step as far as my personal formation goes,” she said. The program has helped her grow both academically and in her faith life. “I am learning so many things I can pass along to the students in my parish,” said Greene. “I would not be able to do this without support from the diocese and the staff in the Office of Faith Formation,” she added.
Both scholarships come from trusts administered by the Catholic Foundation. Executive Director Rebecca Harris said this is a tangible way donors can see how their support builds up the church in Mississippi. “Each year the Catholic Foundation is pleased that a student in our diocese can receive a scholarship from the Brunini Catholic College Scholarship Trust to attend a Catholic college of their choice. Mr. and Mrs. Arthur H. Schmidt Jr. also established the Stella Schmidt Memorial Trust for tuition assistance for advanced studies of religious education at Spring Hill. We are so pleased that the Foundation can be part of helping students with these scholarship programs,” said Harris.
The scholarships are available annually. Applications will be posted again next fall. For additional information about applying, contact Fran Lavelle at fran.lavelle@jacksondiocese.org. For information about starting or supporting a trust, contact Rebecca Harris at rebecca.harris@jacksondiocese.org.

Obituary for Sister Mary Ann Grausam, SLW

Sister Mary Ann Grausam

CHICAGO – Sister of the Living Word Mary Ann Grausam died December 5 in Chicago.
Born in New Ulm, Minnesota in 1940, Sister Mary Ann made her final vows in 1967. She joined the Sisters of the Living Word in 1975. She taught in schools in Iowa and Michigan, and served as a pastoral minister in Michigan, Mississippi, and Illinois. She was the Novice Director for the SLW for 14 years.
In the Diocese of Jackson, she was a pastoral associate at Carthage St. Anne from 1992–1994, at Canton Sacred Heart from 1992–2001, and at Holy Child Jesus from 1992–2001. She was a Social Service Minster at Sacred Heart Southern Missions in Holly Springs from 2002–2003 and Director of RCIA at St. Joseph in Holly Springs from 2012–2013. She also was a homeless shelter volunteer from 2012–2013, and in prayer ministry in Holly Springs from 2013–2015.
Her funeral Mass was December 8 at St Martha in Morton Grove, Illinois.
Sister Mary Ann is survived by her sisters Patricia (Steve) Burdick and Nanette (Robert) Helgeson; her brothers Robert (Nancy) Grausam, Michael (Kathleen) Grausam, Tom (late Theresa) Grausam, John (Evie) Grausam and James (Sandra) Grausam and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews.

Obituary for Sister Mary Joan Mike

Sister Mary Joan

NEW ORLEANS – Sister Mary Joan (aka Sister Mary Jo) Mike, the long-time principal of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Elementary School, passed away on January 2, at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans after a second battle with cancer. Sister Mary Jo was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on November 30, 1951.
She was preceded in death by her parents, William and Agnes Mike.
Sister Mary Jo is survived by her sibling sister, Judi Berger; her nieces and nephews; and her dearest friends, Margy and Dale Van Lerberghe of Port Clinton, Ohio.
Sister Mary Jo came to the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, Ohio, from her Presentation Parish in St. Paul in 1970. She made her First Profession of religious vows in 1972 and her Final Profession in 1975. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the former Mary Manse College in Toledo and her Master’s from the University of Detroit. She taught in schools in Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and Louisiana and served as principal in Ohio and Mississippi. She served on the Sylvanian Franciscan Health Board for several years. She also held leadership positions in the Diocese of Biloxi where she was the beloved Principal of Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) Elementary school for 27 years. Sister Mary Jo mentored several generations of children in Biloxi and beyond.
Attesting to her superior work in education, Sister Mary Jo received the highly acclaimed Principal of the Year Award given by the National Catholic Education Association in 2015 held at their annual convention in Orlando. That same year, Sister Mary Jo served as a liaison to the Holy See in a symposium held for Catholic Education throughout the world.
She was awarded for her 25 years of service at Nativity BVM Elementary School in 2017 with a plaque and a ticket to the Saints/Viking opening game (being an avid football fan). Not only did Sister Mary Jo excel in leadership in our Catholic Schools, she was a valuable community leader in Biloxi highly respected for her willing cooperation with the City. Sister Mary Jo came to the assistance of the City of Biloxi in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when she opened her school to the City’s first responders, whose facilities were heavily damaged and turned it into a “M.A.S.H. unit.” By her cooperation, the City’s firemen and policemen operated out of the school in the immediate days following the catastrophe. Despite the chaos, and amidst damaged buildings, Sister Mary Jo managed the school’s reopening for regular classes within only a few weeks after the storm.
Sister Mary Jo was an outstanding school principal. She helped develop Nativity BVM Elementary school as a premier Catholic elementary school excelling in academics, child health, sports, robotics, and faith. She was instrumental in developing the only Special Education component within the Catholic School System in the Diocese of Biloxi. Over the years, she built up a highly qualified and stable staff of teachers which the school enjoys even to this day.
To know Sister Mary Jo was to know someone who loved her vocation as a religious Sister and educator. She loved her God, her religious community, her students, co-workers and the many families she served. Her sense of humor, her ready smile, her bravery under duress (cancer and hurricanes) are just some of the characteristics of Sister Mary Jo Mike that will be dearly missed by the Sisters in her community, her sister, her family as well as the beloved people of Nativity BVM Mary Parish in Biloxi.
A visitation for Sister Mary Jo was held at the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Thursday evening, January 3. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Friday, January 4. Sr. Mary Jo will be sent to Sylvania, Ohio for interment in Porta Coeli Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, Sister Mary Jo requested that donations be made to The Nativity School Foundation. The proceeds from this perpetual foundation go directly to tuition reduction of the parents of school children. Donations should be mailed to Nativity School Foundation, P.O. Box 453, Biloxi, MS 39533-0453.

Diocesan Catholic Day at Capitol seeks restorative justice

By Sue Allen
STARKVILLE – On Wednesday, February 27, Catholic Charities Office of Parish Social Ministry will again host a Catholic Day at the Capitol in Jackson. This day is an opportunity for Catholics to interact with their legislators as well as learn about key topics of interest from the perspective of Catholic Social Teaching. The topic this year is reform aimed at restorative justice – especially in the criminal justice system. The diocesan Faith in Action Team (FIAT) works for months to organize this event annually.
Laws in the United States and here in Mississippi follow the traditional legal system inherited in part from English common law, which is adversarial and retributive in nature. That is, when a lawsuit is filed or a crime is thought to have been committed, a victim, through his lawyer, brings charges of wrongdoing against an offender, who, usually with the help of his lawyer, makes a defense. The two sides present their cases before a neutral judge and/or jury which makes a determination as to guilt. If found guilty, the offender is sentenced to an appropriate punishment. In Retributive Justice, punishment, retribution or retaliation is considered morally justifiable if the punishment is proportional to the offense. Even in this system, factors such as criminal intent, and competence are supposed to be taken into consideration. The mentally ill, intellectually disabled and children are not to be subject to punishment, although compensation of victims is still sought. Under a retributive system, individuals found to be guilty are required to be punished, to “pay their debt to society,” usually by “doing time” in facilities in which inhumane conditions exacerbate the problem, at great expense to society and which are ineffective as a deterrent to crime.
Restorative justice follows the model presented in the gospel and is more focused on restoring the community, and individual relationships to where they were before a crime was committed. In a restorative justice system, the truth about what happened and who is responsible is still sought. But the search for truth does not end there. Restoration of the health, wellbeing and/or material possessions of the victim – a relief of the victim’s spiritual and emotional suffering is sought, but not in a way which diminishes the dignity of the offender, who is helped to return to a condition of wholeness, holiness and reconciled participation in the community when that is possible. Christians are commanded to deal with injury, real or perceived, in ways that are loving, and non-judgmental, that is with forgiveness and mercy. And so real opportunities to ask for forgiveness and to be forgiven are provided when possible. This is truly a way to see and implement justice according to Gospel principles. It is also an approach to justice which happens to result in a number of other positive outcomes such as a reduction is recidivism, a reduction in the the overwhelming cost of running overcrowded prisons, finding and addressing the root causes of crime, and the of strengthening of families and communities as a whole.
Catholic Day at the Capitol will cover several aspects of this topic: prison reform, re-entry, ending the the death penalty and how to practice restorative justice in families, parishes and communities. Speakers include John Koufos, national director of reentry initiatives for Right on Crime and Haley M. Brown, Oktibbeha County prosecutor and law professor at Mississippi State University. The day starts at 9 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle and wraps up with networking at 3 p.m. It will include Mass and lunch as well as a visit to the capitol building. Registration will be available soon on the Catholic Charities of Jackson website. Look for more detail on the topic of restorative justice in upcoming editions of Mississippi Catholic.

(Sue Allen is the coordinator for the Office of Parish Social Ministries for Catholic Charities of Jackson.)

Calendar of events


Assisi Prayer Chain, The power of prayer is available to all those in need through the Assisi Prayer Chain. Details: (601) 937-5943 or (601) 214-3093 between 5-7 p.m.
BROOKSVILLE The Dwelling Place, Feel the need to get away for one or several days of solitude and self-care? The Dwelling Place is a place of hospitality and prayer open to people of all Christian traditions. Treat yourself to an overnight, a weekend or longer to let God in. It can be a life-changing experience. They have everything you need – a beautiful quiet setting, a lovely chapel, library and good food! No stress! Just rest in the Lord. Details: (662) 738-5348 or email dwellpl@gmail.com for more information.
CHATAWA St. Mary of the Pines Retreat Center, “The Lenten Journey: A Couple’s Response to Christ’s Call” for married couples, Friday, March 8, through Sunday, March 10. Begins Friday at 4 p.m. until Sunday morning. Presenters: Lloyd and Jan Tate, both trained spiritual directors of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Suggested donation: $360 per couple. Details: Sr. Sue Von Bank (601) 783-0801 retreatcenter@ssndcp.org.
Saturday, March 9, A Lenten Day of Reflection – Chosen, Blessed, Broken and Shared, 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. The Eucharist is the very pattern of our lives. Listen to the wisdom of Pope Francis as he calls us all to be sent in holiness. Presenter: Christine Ingrassia, who is a lay minister, graduate of Loyola Institute for Ministry and spiritual director. Suggested donation: $40, includes lunch. Details: Sister Sue Von Bank (601) 783-0801 retreatcenter@ssndcp.org.
CULLMAN, Ala., Benedictine Sisters Retreat Center, Hildegard of Bingen: A Woman for Our Times, February 1-3. Explore the life and gifts of Hildegard of Bingen, a Benedictine visionary, artist, composer and physician who lived in the 1100s. Will include reflection on many of her visions, using her remarkable paintings and writings. Retreat Director: Sister Mary McGehee, OSB. Cost: $245; Shared room $205 per person. Details: (256) 734-8302, retreats@shmon.org or www.shmon.org.
VICKSBURG Prayer Ministry, The Mercy Associates are a group of lay men and women who work with the Sisters of Mercy to further the charism of mercy in our parishes and community. The group of 20 women is committed to pray for each intention several times each day for seven days. All prayer requests are held in complete confidentiality. Details: Contact Mercy Associate, Karen Harrison at (601) 397-7879 to submit a prayer request.


CLARKSDALE Catholic Community of St. Elizabeth, 2019 Beginner Italian Language Class starts Thursday, January 17, at 6 p.m. at Delta State Ewing Hall. The class fee is $40 for the eight-week course. Professors Franco and Matteo Zengaro will teach the class. This is sponsored by the Italian American Cultural Society of the Delta. Details: contact David Malatesta at malatesta565@yahoo.com or the church office (662) 624-4301.
CLEVELAND Our Lady of Victories, “Awaken Our Hearts” Parish Mission by Father Joe Sica, January 27-30. The mission kicks off with a Family Concert featuring Matt Daniels on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. Mission talks will be Monday through Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Sunday through Wednesdays there will be a meal served in the Parish Center at 5:30 p.m. Details: church office (662) 846-6273 or visit www.faithonfiremissions.org.
Spaghetti Supper, Thursday, February 7. Details: church office (662) 846-6273.
GLUCKSTADT St. Joseph, January 27-29 Parish Mission by Jon Leonetti, author of the book, “The Art of Getting Over Yourself and Why You will Be Happier when you do” about discovering the freedom Christ offers by way of his life and love. Details: parish office (601) 856-2054.
GRENADA, St. Peter, Lifeline Screening, Thursday, February 7. They are offering this preventive health event. Five screenings will be offered that scan for potential health problems. There are three ways to register for this event and to receive a $10 discount off any package priced about $129. Details: 1-888-653-6441 or visit http://lifelinescreening.com/communitycircle or text the word circle to 797979 or the church office (662) 226-2490.
JACKSON St. Richard, Renewal Weekend by Gus Lloyd Friday, January 25, from 7-8 p.m. and Saturday, January 26, from 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Gus is a national radio host, author, speaker and host of “Seize the Day” on Sirius XM’s The Catholic Channel. There is no charge, but registration is helpful for meal planning. A love offering will be collected. Details: church office (601) 366-2335 or www.saintrichard.com.


CLARKSDALE Catholic Community of St. Elizabeth, Bible Adventure for Pre-4 through 2nd graders meets Sundays from 9:40-10:20 a.m. in the daycare room at St Elizabeth School. Details: church office (662) 624-4301
JACKSON St. Richard School Krewe de Cardinal, Friday, March 1, 7-11 p.m. at the Railroad District. Mardi Gras party with silent and live auction, live music and Creole Cusine. Tickets are $100 per couple. Details: www.strichardschool.org or (601) 366-1157.
Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship, St. Richard Parish gym. Saturday, Jan. 19 10:30 a.m. Open to boys and girls age 9-14. Participants do not have to attend St. Richard. Competition is free. Details: Rusty Haydel, (601) 953-9711.
MADISON St. Joseph School, “Jeans, Jazz and Bruin Blues,” Annual Draw Down, Saturday, February 23, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $130 and admit two adults; second chance insurance may be added for $20. Each ticket includes a chance to win $10,000. Scholarship opportunities available. Details: school office (601) 898-4800, tharris@stjoebruins.comor www.stjoebruins.com.


World Marriage Day, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson and the Office of Family Ministry is pleased to announce that the diocesan World Marriage Day Celebration will be held Sunday, February 24, at 3 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle in Jackson. There will be Mass with a reception immediately following. The Mass honors all married couples, but invites those celebrating their 25th, 50th and 60th anniversaries or any significant anniversary. Please contact your parish office for registration details. : For additional information, or questions, please call the Office of Family Ministry at 601-960-8487 or email Charlene Bearden at charlene.bearden@jacksondiocese.org .