Parish calendar

SPIRITUAL ENRICHMENT
BROOKSVILLE The Dwelling Place, An Advent Overnight – the Good and Perfect Gift, December 7-8. Beginning Friday, December 7, at 6:30 p.m. until Saturday, December 8, at 4 p.m. GIve yourself or a friend the gift of a day to celebrate the Christ Child. Spiritual Director: Clare Van Lent, MA CSp., Director. Donation: $100. Details: (662) 738-5348 or email dwellpl@gmail.com for more information.
CHATAWA St. Mary of the Pines Retreat Center, A Lenten Day of Reflection, God’s Love and Mercy. Saturday, February 17, 2019, 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Presenter: Sister Dorez Mehrtens, SSND. Cost: Suggested donation: $40, includes lunch. Details: Sister Sue Von Bank (601) 783-0801 retreatcenter@ssndcp.org

PARISH, SCHOOL AND FAMILY EVENTS
AMORY St. Helen, Grandparents’ Day Mass and Children’s Play, Sunday, December 16 at 11 a.m. Details: church office (662) 256-8392.
JACKSON Advent Lessons and Carols service at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle, Tuesday, December 4, at 6:30 pm. A reception will follow in the Parish Center. Details: (601) 969-3125.
Candlelight Remembrance Celebration sponsored by the St. Richard Bereavement Support Group, Thursday, December 13, at 6:30 p.m. in Foley Hall. There will be a discussion of various ways to honor our deceased loved ones followed by a brief candle-lit prayer service. A social time of wine and refreshments follows the service. Please RSVP so we will know how many to plan for. Details: Linda Lalor (601) 853-8840, Suzie Cranston (601) 982-5464 or Nancy McGhee (601) 942-2078, or email ncmcghee@bellsouth.net.
MADISON St. Francis of Assisi, “The Catholic Stuff You Should Know” adult education class will be showing “The Wild Goose,” Sunday mornings at 9:15 – 10:15 a.m. in the Family Life Center lounge. Details: church office (601) 856-5556.

NATCHEZ St. Mary Basilica, Alcorn State University Christmas Concert presented by the Natchez Festival of Music, Sunday December 2, at 7 p.m. Open to the public and no cost to attend. Details: church office (601) 445-5616.
SOUTHAVEN Christ the King, Advent/Christmas Concert, Sunday, December 2, at 4 p.m. followed by dinner. Details: church office (662) 342-1073

YOUTH BRIEFS
COLUMBUS Annunciation School, Christmas Extravaganza, Thursday, December 13, 6:30 p.m. at Mississippi University for Women Rent Auditorium. Details: school office (662) 328-4479.
GREENVILLE St. Joseph School, Band Concert, Tuesday, December 11, at 6 p.m. Details: school office (662) 378-9711.
Our Lady of Lourdes School, Christmas Program “Special Delivery,” Tuesday, December 18, matinee and evening performances. Details: school office (662) 334-3287.
HERNANDO Holy Spirit, “How the Grinch Gave Christmas Back” Young People’s Christmas program, Sunday, December 9, at 6 p.m. Details: Barbara Smith at (662) 233-4833 or (901) 413-8102.
JACKSON St. Richard School, Save the Date, Krewe de Cardinal, Friday, March 1, 2019, at The Railroad District, Jackson. Creole Cuisine, Live Music and Premium Auction. Details: school office (601) 366-1157, Wendi Shearer wshearer@strichardschool.org or www.strichardschool.org.
MADISON St. Francis of Assisi, Boys’ Church Basketball Winter league for 7/8 grade, 9/10 grade and 11/12 grade teams. Registration and money due by November 28. Details: amy.lipovetsky@stfrancismadison.org or (601) 856-5556.
NATCHEZ St. Mary Basilica, Pancake Breakfast with Santa, Saturday, December 8 from 8:30 – 10:30 a.m. at the O’Connor Family Life Center, 613 Main Street. Cost: $10 per person. Details: Carrie Lambert at stmaryyouth@cableone.net or (601) 445-5616.

SAVE THE DATE
“A Guide for Grievers” Through a partnership between Catholic Charities’ Parish Health Care Ministry and the Catholic Diocese of Jackson’s Office of Family Ministry, Bob Willis; artist, author, sculptor and grief specialist from Oklahoma City will present half-day workshops and discussions on grief, and how to adapt to loss. Workshops will be offered at the following locations/times: Hernando Holy Spirit, Wednesday, November 28, 9:30-1:30 p.m.; Indianola Immaculate Conception, November 28, 5:30-9 p.m.; Starkville St. Joseph, Thursday, November 29, 12:30 – 5 p.m.; Gluckstadt St. Joseph, Friday, November 30, 12 – 4 p.m. Details: Sister Pat Clemen, Coordinator of Parish Health Ministry at (601) 213-6378, or sisterpat.clemen@ccjackson.org or Charlene Bearden, Coordinator of Family Ministry at 601-960-8487, or charlene.bearden@jacksondiocese.org. Ministry at 601-960-8487.
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: Karen Harrison at (601) 397-7879 to submit a prayer request.

Obispos aprueban abrir causa de santidad de Hermana Thea

Por Mark Pattison
BALTIMORE (CNS) – Los obispos de los Estados Unidos dieron su consentimiento al esfuerzo de canonización lanzado por la Diócesis de Jackson, Mississippi. para la hermana Thea Bowman. La aprobación, en una votación por voz, llegó el tercer día de su reunión general de otoño en Baltimore. La “consulta canónica” con el cuerpo de los obispos de los Estados Unidos es un paso en el proceso de la Iglesia Católica para declarar a una persona santa.


La hermana Bowman, nativa de Mississippi y la única miembro afroamericana de su orden, las Franciscanas de la Adoración Perpetua con sede en Wisconsin, fue una oradora, evangelizadora y cantante ampliamente conocida, hasta que murió de cáncer en 1990 a los 52 años. Ella hizo una presentación en la reunión de primavera de los obispos de Estados Unidos en 1989, que conmovió a algunos prelados hasta las lágrimas.
“Los fieles de la Diócesis de Jackson y mucho más allá de ella” han pedido que comience su proceso de canonización, dijo el obispo Joseph R. Kopacz, de Jackson, quien se convirtió en obispo de la diócesis en 2014. “Incluso mucho antes de que yo llegara a Jackson, las peticiones estaban llegando “explicó.
La hermana Bowman, dijo el obispo Kopacz, era “una embajadora de Jesucristo y un apóstol de la reconciliación”, y agregó que “estuvo cantando, enseñando e inspirando hasta el final”. El obispo Kopacz rociaba generosamente sus comentarios con citas de la hermana Bowman.
La hermana Bowman fue pionera en casi todos los roles: la primera hermana religiosa afroamericana de Canton, Mississippi; primera en dirigir una oficina de conciencia intercultural; y la primera mujer afroamericana en dirigirse a la Conferencia de Obispos Católicos de los Estados Unidos.
La música era especialmente importante para ella. Ella llevó su mensaje a todo el país, hablando en reuniones y convenciones de la iglesia, haciendo 100 compromisos de conferencias por año, pero el cáncer la retrasó.
El cardenal de Boston Sean P. O’Malley, que fue obispo de la Diócesis de St. Thomas en las Islas Vírgenes de los Estados Unidos de 1985 a 1992, dijo el 14 de noviembre que los católicos de su ex diócesis “realmente veneran a la hermana Thea y realmente me alegro de ver que esto se ha hecho realidad “.
El padre redentorista Maurice Nutt, al observar el vigésimo aniversario de la muerte de la hermana Bowman en 2010, dijo que cree que la difunta monja es una santa. Aunque no está oficialmente canonizada, “la hermana Thea está canonizada en los corazones de todos los que la conocieron y la amaron”, dijo.

Todos los Santos y Fieles Difuntos

Por Berta Del Carmen Mexidor
CORINTH y JACKSON – El día de Todos los Santos fue celebrado en Corinth con una misa oficiada por el padre Mario Solórzano el día primero de noviembre. Al día siguiente, el 2 de noviembre en la parroquia de St. Therese en Jackson, el grupo de jóvenes de la parroquia celebró el día de los Fieles Difuntos con un altar. Monseñor Elvin Sunds y las Hermanas Guadalupanas del Espíritu Santo, María Elena Méndez y María Josefa García, los acompañaron en la víspera, día de todos los Santos.
La vida eterna es la recompensa por el bien hecho en la vida. La muerte es un acto que acerca a la verdad de la fe.
La Iglesia Católica celebra primero a todos los que murieron, después de dedicar su vida al servicio de los demás- la comunidad amplia y que aún después de muertos continúan su trabajo de asistencia desde el altar de Todos los Santos. A ellos la muerte los coronó con el título más alto: SANTO.

JACKSON – (i-d) Los jóvenes Guillermo S. Montoya y Ramiro Ginez contemplando el altar y el joven Joel Andrés Montoya explicándole a la niña Jaslene Castillo. (Foto por Rosalinda Montoya)

Después de ellos viene la celebración de los que murieron en la fe de la resurrección, siguiendo el ejemplo de los santos y con la esperanza de un día encontrarse con su Creador. Los fieles difuntos se recuerdan en cada familia y grupo de amigos, esa pequeña comunidad en la que vivieron, sirvieron y dejaron un legado, válido para recordar en cada uno de los corazones de los que los conocieron, y digno para contar a las generaciones nuevas que no tuvieron el placer de su compañía.
Luis Rosales, miembro de la comunidad, y el grupo de catequistas de St. James de Less en Corinth tratan de enseñar cada año a los niños de la parroquia sobre la vida de los Santos y a la vez mantener la tradición de recordar la vida de estos de una forma especial. En la celebración participaron los niños de la catequesis, quienes representaron a varios santos.

CORINTH – Los niños Mili Rosales, Carlos Acaña, Yuridia Luna, Mia Francisco, Ariel Mejía, Judith Mejía, Leonardo, Francisco del Ángel y Kimberly Santamaría acompañan al padre Solórzano. (Foto por Luis Rosales )

Cada católico tiene uno o más santos afines, alguien al que tratan de imitar o que sirve de amparo y mediador ante Dios en momentos de duda y turbulencia de la vida. Este año cada niño escogió un santo en particular y se vistió acorde a él o ella. Santos como San José, Santa Rita, Santa Mónica, San Francisco de Asís fueron algunos de los representados. No faltaron además la personificación de la Santísima Virgen María, un sacerdote y un ángel. “Parte de nuestra cultura es celebrar el día de los santos” dice Rosales. En la celebración de este año contribuyeron además los catequistas María Cano, María Del Ángel, Devani Ocaña, Magali Heredia, Suemi Rodríguez, Teresita Peña, Yolanda Salinas, Tomas Lara, Saily Salinas, Mariana García y Roberto Santamaria
Joel Montoya de la parroquia de St. Therese in Jackson cuenta que es originario de Tampico, Tamaulipas y quiere que los jóvenes conozcan esta tradición popular. En la presentación del altar participaron los integrantes del grupo de jóvenes de la parroquia de Santa Teresa: Diana Vox, Viviana Martínez, Guillermo Montoya, Juan Sebastián, Juan Diego Chacón y Yovanis Duarte.
En el altar se mostraron algunas fotos de seres queridos de familias hispanas y estadounidenses. Se adornó con las típicas flores de muerto, Zempaspuchitl or Cempaspuchitl (Marigold) y el típico pan de muerto, que ahora se puede comprar en una tienda mexicana. Se adornó además con calaveras de papel representando a cada difunto. La tradición mexicana prepara calaveras de azúcar que los niños comen al final de la celebración, porque al final, la muerte es dulce porque acerca a Dios.

Declaración diocesana sobre investigación financiera

JACKSON – Agentes federales cumplieron órdenes de registro e incautación de documentos, en la oficina de la cancillería y en la parroquia St. Joseph en Starkville, el miércoles 7 de noviembre. Su investigación se centra en las actividades financieras del padre Lenin Vargas. Hasta el momento de esta declaración no se han presentado cargos.
El sábado 10 de noviembre y el domingo 11 de noviembre, el Padre Jeffrey Waldrep compartió la siguiente declaración con los feligreses de St. Joseph en Starkville y la Misión Corpus Christi en Macon:
“…A principios de esta semana, el gobierno inició una investigación de la administración financiera de Saint Joseph en Starkville. La parroquia de Saint Joseph y la diócesis de Jackson están cooperando con la investigación. En espera de la resolución de la investigación, el padre Lenin Vargas no participará en ningún ministerio público y ha sido destituido de toda administración financiera y pastoral. Mientras tanto, el Padre Jeffrey Waldrep, pastor de la parroquia Anunciation en Columbus, servirá como administrador y el Padre Rusty Vincent será responsable de todo el ministerio pastoral en St. Joseph, Starkville y Corpus Christi, en Macon. El continuo bienestar espiritual y financiero de la Parroquia St. Joseph y la Misión Corpus Christi es de suma importancia, y continuaremos ayudándoles a lograr una administración fiscal sólida de todos sus recursos. Oremos con confianza para que el Señor Jesús nos guíe en este difícil momento de conmoción e incertidumbre…”
Después de recibir quejas, el obispo Joseph Kopacz ordenó una auditoría contable interna de las finanzas de la parroquia de Starkville. Después de la auditoría que el personal del Obispo Kopacz realizó, la Diócesis impuso restricciones fiscales a los gastos del padre Vargas. Se descubrió que el mismo estaba violando la política diocesana con respecto a la solicitud de donaciones caritativas y se le exigió que detuviera estas actividades y no realizara más sus planificadas recaudaciones caritativas sin informar primero a la Diócesis. La ley federal, Ley de Transferencia y Responsabilidad del Seguro de Salud, más conocida como HIPPA, por sus siglas en inglés, nos prohíbe discutir la condición médica del Padre Vargas- no solo cuando nos enteramos de la misma, sino también durante el período al que se hace mención en la declaración jurada. De hecho, la ley HIPPA continúa atándonos hoy en día en el que no podemos admitir ni negar nada relacionado con la condición médica del padre Vargas.
Le pedimos que ore por todos los involucrados mientras continuamos trabajando hacia una solución.

Sinceramente suyo en Cristo,
+ Joseph R. Kopacz
Obispo de Jackson

Msgr. Sunds celebrates ‘aventure’ of priesthood

By Elsa Baughman
JACKSON – Msgr. Elvin Sunds, pastor of St. Therese Parish, celebrated his 45 years of ordination to the priesthood with a Mass of Thanksgiving on Sunday, Nov. 11. See photos from this event in this month’s Mississippi Catolico and online at mississippicatholic.com. Msgr. Sunds said during all these years he has been blessed by countless people in each of the 11 parishes where we has served as pastor or associate pastor, including Biloxi Sacred Heart Parish, 1973-75, right after being ordained in 1973.
During his homily he compared his years of priesthood with an adventure he had years ago while hiking with a friend in a national park where they were a bit disoriented at times with all the twists and turns they encountered before reaching the top of the mountain and observing that marvelous view.
“A day like this and celebrating this anniversary is like being at the top of that mountain and looking back and seeing all the twists and turns in my life,” he said. “Yes, I can see where the Lord was leading me. Yes, it was worth it. And yes, at times I had doubts. But I know the Lord was leading me in the right path,” he added.
A boy from Iowa, who jokingly said after all these years in Mississippi he is still working in his southern accent.

He came to Mississippi in 1967, invited by Michael Raff, who asked him to come and see life in this state which was in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement. “I saw what the Catholic Church was doing to help, making a difference, and how the priests were really involved in the community and I said to myself, ‘that is why the Lord is calling me here,”’ he said.
So he stayed in the Diocese of Jackson during his last year of college and then continued his studies in the seminary and was ordained August 5, 1973.
At Catholic Charities he served as associate director in 1975; as acting director from 1978-79 and director from 1979-1994.
He served as Vicar General/Chancellor and Moderator of the Curia in Jackson from 2005-2015.
He feels honored and gives thanks to have served with four bishops, Bishop Joseph Brunini, who ordained him; and Bishops William Houck, Joseph Latino and Joseph Kopacz.

Meeting examines school culture

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Principals from all the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Jackson had a two-day meeting Nov. 13-14 in Jackson. The gathering focused on the upcoming system-wide AdvanceEd accreditation. Principals discussed the culture of their schools, which is an important factor in the accreditation process.
A couple of principals brought presentations so they could share best practices with their colleagues.
Bridget Martin of Southaven Sacred Heart School spoke about using data to improve teaching and learning outcomes. Kimberly Burkley from Natchez Cathedral’s elementary school demonstrated how she conducts observations and Joni House from Columbus Annunciation spoke about how she fosters her school’s culture through day-to-day practices and activities including a prayer circle for teachers and staff.
The principals also learned about how personality types impact communication. Wynde Fitts, senior associate dean of students at the University of Southern Mississippi, gave the participants a personality test and demonstrated how their personality traits could impact how they interact with people who had different traits.

Catholic Foundation meeting focuses on growth

JACKSON – On Tuesday, November 6, The Catholic Foundation of the Catholic Diocese of Jackson held its annual membership meeting along with the Board of Directors meeting at the Country Club of Jackson.
“I often get asked what is the mission of The Catholic Foundation? Quite simply The Foundation helps parishioners with planned giving opportunities that include starting a trust, charitable gift annuities, donor advised funds, or help with estate planning. We help parishioners leave a legacy to their parish, school, seminarian education or other ministry that is important to them,” said Rebecca Harris, Executive Director.
Members join the board of directors, priests and anyone interested in learning more about The Foundation at the annual dinner. Since the Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 separate from the diocese the bylaws require the director to present an annual audit. During the board of directors meeting Lefoldt & Co, presented this year’s audit. “We are excited to let everyone know that our investments grew as well as our annual contributions. For a detailed audit report please go to the diocesan website click on giving and click on learn more under the Foundation. There under resources we have a copy of our fiscal year 2018 audit,” explained Harris.
Following the board meeting the annual membership dinner took place at which Foundation leaders present the Good Samaritan Award. The Good Samaritan Award – established in 2002 and named after Bishop William Houck in honor of his giving spirit – is given to a donor who gives their time, talent and treasure. This year the award went to Jim and Christine Hackl.
According to Joe Rice Jr., Catholic Foundation board of directors president, “The Hackls were chosen because of their recent gift to The Foundation. The Albert James and Christine Magruder Hackl Family Trust was established to assist the poor and marginalized in our diocese.” Rebecca Harris told the story of receiving a phone call last Thanksgiving from the Hackls. They wanted to start a trust with The Catholic Foundation. “When I returned the phone call, I had no idea what kind of donation this would be; in the course of our conversation the Hackls stated that they wanted to start a trust for the poor of our diocese and they would be sending $1 million. I was blown away when I heard their story,” said Harris at the meeting. “I was surprised to hear that the Hackls are not part of our diocese and have not lived here for over sixty-five years,” she continued. Harris asked why the Jackson diocese, Christine Hackle replied, “We want to make a gift where our lives together started. We were married in 1950 at the Cathedral of St. Peter. I was a Magruder and my family came to Jackson from Ireland. We were one of the first five Catholic families in the Jackson area. So, Jackson has always been very important in my life.”
Unfortunately, Jim Hackl passed away on May 12, 2018. “Before Jim passed away, I went to visit the Hackls. They were such a welcoming couple, I immediately felt like I was part of their family,” said Harris. When Harris notified Christine Hackl that she would be receiving the award she was so honored. Christine Hackl immediately responded, “The church has done more for me than I have done for the church.”
Following the award presentation, Harris gave the membership a presentation on the good works of The Foundation, which hit many milestones this year. The Foundation currently manages assets in excess of $30 million and in the fiscal year 2018 saw a $4.7 million growth that can be contributed equally between contributions and investment growth. For the first time since 1973, the Catholic Foundation will distribute to the beneficiaries of the 372 managed trusts more than $1 million. “This is a great milestone for our Foundation that has been years in the making and a tremendous reflection on our supporters and benefactors,” said Joe Rice Jr.
The Foundation manages 37 of the 372 trusts specifically for charitable purposes. Parishes, schools, Catholic Charities and other organizations under the auspices of the diocese can submit a grant proposal. This year 24 grants were awarded that totaled more than $72,000. Harris said, “It is our hope that these 37 trusts will continue to grow. There are so many great projects presented through the grant process each year, my hope is that we can grow these trusts so that we can distribute $100,000.”
Harris also reported on the annual Bishop’s Cup golf tournament. This was the 36th annual golf tournament and the Bishop’s cup raised more than $35,000. Each year the Bishop’s Cup committee establishes a new charitable works grant and this year they established the Rev. Patrick Noonan Memorial Trust. Father Noonan was both a big supporter of the Foundation and he played in the annual in the Bishop’s Cup. This trust raised $6,700 that will now support grant projects around the diocese.
“The board of directors would like to thank our supporters and benefactors who have helped further our mission. We are committed to preserving and growing the assets entrusted to the Foundation. Our goal is to remain focused on the growth of the trust funds, to the individuals who started these funds, as well as to our beneficiaries who rely on the distributions each year. Our staff is always here to answer your questions on planned giving,” concluded Harris.

Bishop Kopacz tells court Plowshares action is rooted in Catholic teaching

By Dennis Sadowski
WASHINGTON (CNS) – The seven Catholic peacemakers who entered a naval base to symbolically dismantle nuclear weapons-armed submarines acted from the primacy of conscience rooted in their faith, the bishop of Jackson, Mississippi, told a Georgia court.
Testifying as an expert witness on behalf of the Kings Bay Plowshares activists, Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz said their actions were consistent with long-standing Catholic teaching about the sinfulness of nuclear weapons.
The bishop took the stand during a Nov. 7 hearing before Magistrate Judge Benjamin Cheesbro of the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Georgia. The hearing was scheduled to present evidence explaining why the seven longtime activists entered Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay April 4.
The defendants include Elizabeth McAlister, 78, of Baltimore; Jesuit Father Steve Kelly, 69, of the Bay Area in California; Carmen Trotta, 55, of New York City; Clare Grady, 50, of Ithaca, New York; Martha Hennessy, 62, of New York, granddaughter of Catholic Worker co-founder Dorothy Day; Mark Colville, 55, of New Haven, Connecticut; and Patrick O’Neill, 61, of Garner, North Carolina.
The defendants are seeking to have federal charges of conspiracy, trespass, and destruction and depredation of property dismissed under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. They have argued in court filings that their action is protected under the law.
The seven entered the submarine base, the East Coast home of the Trident nuclear submarine, and during approximately two hours placed crime scene tape and spilled blood at different locales while posting an “indictment” charging the military with crimes against peace, citing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The Navy’s fleet of Trident submarines carries about half of the U.S. active strategic nuclear warheads, according to military experts.
Bishop Kopacz cited the U.S. Catholic bishops’ 1983 pastoral letter on peace and nuclear weapons, “The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response,” during his testimony.
He said the document allowed for the temporary possession of nuclear weapons only as a step toward disarmament, and that after more than 30 years that goal has not been achieved.
He described the seven as a “spiritual special ops team” working to make a change.
A day prior to his testimony, Bishop Kopacz told Catholic News Service he was supportive of such actions to rid the world of nuclear weapons although he would find it difficult to take such a step himself.
“I believe in what they do. I believe what they’ve done is a courageous witness and very prophetic,” he said.
The court also heard from Jeannine Hill Fletcher, professor of theology at Fordham University. She discussed papal encyclicals and the documents from the Second Vatican Council that “condemn” the use of nuclear weapons. She also addressed why actions of conscience, such as those of the defendants, are important in modern-day society.
Grady told CNS Nov. 8 that on the stand she explained her family’s background and the long history of work for peace and justice extending from their Catholic faith.
Protesting nuclear weapons, she said she told the court, was a natural extension of her faith practice and that her conscience guided her to act for peace.
“For me there’s a geography to our faith, and what I experienced in that courtroom was a Catholic revival because of our choice to act in a certain geography, the geography of the courtroom and all that is the Gospel. You could feel the energy from all of that,” she said of the hearing.
Father Kelly, who remained jailed, testified that the actions of the group amounted to preaching God’s word that nuclear weapons are “sinful.” He said the world faced a crisis because of the presence of such weapons.
Near the end of the daylong hearing, federal prosecutors called the commanding officer of the naval base to the stand. Capt. Brian Lepine described the importance of maintaining tight security at the base and the danger posed by anyone illegal entering the base perimeter.
After more than eight hours of testimony, Cheesbro said the hearing would be continued on a date still to be determined.

(Follow Sadowski on Twitter: @DennisSadowski)

Bishops give go-ahead to diocese’s Sister Thea Bowman sainthood effort

By Mark Pattison
BALTIMORE (CNS) – The U.S. bishops gave their assent to the canonization effort launched for Sister Thea Bowman by the Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi.
The assent, on a voice vote, came Nov. 14, the third day of their fall general meeting in Baltimore. The “canonical consultation” with the body of U.S. bishops is a step in the Catholic Church’s process toward declaring a person a saint.
Sister Bowman, a Mississippi native and the only African-American member of her order, the Wisconsin-based Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, was a widely known speaker, evangelizer and singer until she died of cancer in 1990 at age 52. She even made a presentation at the U.S. bishops’ spring meeting in 1989, moving some prelates to tears.
“The faithful in, and well beyond, the Diocese of Jackson,” have asked for her canonization process to begin, said Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz of Jackson, who became bishop of the diocese in 2014. “Even well before I arrived in Jackson, the requests were coming in.”
Sister Bowman, Bishop Kopacz said, was “an ambassador of Jesus Christ and an apostle of reconciliation,” adding she was “singing, teaching and inspiring until the very end.”
He noted that “the church embraced Sister Thea from her early years, but there were times when she felt like a motherless child.” It never deterred her, though, Bishop Kopacz said. “We pray that Sister Thea’s voice will be a beacon of hope” to victims of clergy sexual abuse.
Bishop Kopacz liberally sprinkled his remarks with quotes from Sister Bowman.
“We unite ourselves with Christ’s redemptive work when we make peace, when we share the good news of God within our hearts,” she once said. “We celebrate the presence and proclamation of the word made flesh. It is never an escape from reality,” she also said.
At another point, Sister Bowman told her audience, “Go! There is a song that will never be sung unless you sing it. … Go tell the world, go preach the Gospel, go tell the good news.”
Sister Bowman was a trailblazer in almost every role: first African-American religious sister from Canton, Mississippi; the first to head an office of intercultural awareness; and the first African-American woman to address the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Sister Bowman led the Jackson Diocese’s Office of Intercultural Awareness, taught at several Catholic high schools and colleges, and was a faculty member of the Institute of Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University in New Orleans.
She took her message across the nation, speaking at church gatherings and conventions, making 100 speaking engagements a year, but spreading cancer slowed her. Music was especially important to her. She would gather or bring a choir with her and often burst into song during her presentations.
In addition to her writings, her music also resulted in two recordings, “Sister Thea: Songs of My People” and “Round the Glory Manger: Christmas Songs and Spirituals.”
When Sister Bowman spoke at the U.S. bishops’ meeting in June 1989, less than a year before her death from bone cancer and confined to a wheelchair, she was blunt. She told the bishops that people had told her black expressions of music and worship were “un-Catholic.”
Sister Bowman disputed that notion, pointing out that the church universal included people of all races and cultures and she challenged the bishops to find ways to consult those of other cultures when making decisions. She told them they were obligated to better understand and integrate not just black Catholics, but people of all cultural backgrounds.
Catholic News Service reported that her remarks “brought tears to the eyes of many bishops and observers.” She also sang to them and, at the end, had them all link hands and join her in singing “We Shall Overcome.”
Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, who served as bishop of the Diocese of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands from 1985 to 1992, said Nov. 14 that Catholics in his former diocese “really revere Sister Thea and I’m really glad to see this coming to fruition.”
By the mid-1990s, Catholic schools in Jackson, Mississippi, Gary, Indiana, East St. Louis, Illinois, and Port Arthur, Texas, opened bearing Sister Bowman’s name.
She also was the focus of books, including 1993’s “Thea Bowman: Shooting Star – Selected Writings and Speeches,” 2008’s “This Little Light: Lessons in Living From Sister Thea Bowman,” and 2010’s “Thea’s Song: The Life of Thea Bowman.”
Redemptorist Father Maurice Nutt, observing the 20th anniversary of Sister Bowman’s death in 2010, said he believes the late nun is a saint. Though not officially canonized, “Sister Thea is canonized in the hearts of all who knew and loved her,” he said.

(Coverage of the planned Nov. 18 Mass at the Cathedral will appear in the next edition.)

Standards for bishop accountability discussed at USCCB meeting

(Editor’s Note: This issue contains coverage of the key issues discussed at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ fall meeting in Baltimore.)
By Mark Pattison
BALTIMORE – A series of standards of episcopal accountability for bishops was formally unveiled Nov. 13 at the fall general meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore, but with the proposed standards not going to be voted on, interest in discussing them during the meeting’s public session Nov. 14 was low.

Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz of Jackson, Miss., speaks about the sainthood cause of Sister Thea Bowman Nov. 14 at the fall general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore. (CNS photo/Bob Roller) See BISHOPS-THEA-BOWMAN-CAUSE Nov. 14, 2018.

The Vatican’s intervention, announced when the USCCB meeting began Nov. 12, asked that the bishops not approve any elements of their proposals to strength its policies on clergy sex abuse until they can be reviewed for their conformity to canon law and after the February meeting at the Vatican for presidents of bishops’ conferences worldwide.
“In our dioceses, there already exist codes of conduct,” said Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, Nov. 13. “In light of that, the focus became on how to build additional policy and best practices to hold ourselves accountable.”
Bishop Steven R. Biegler of the statewide Diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming, was the only bishop to offer any commentary on the proposed standards.
Bishop Biegler said he had experienced parishioners and members of law enforcement and the legal community who have been “very critical of me,” adding they sense “favoritism toward the person who’s in power … which then shuns the victims.”
He added, “It’s not a theory that I have, it’s an experience I have. It’s a dynamic that if we don’t address it someplace …,” Bishop Biegler said, his voice trailing. “For reform in the church, it needs to be more than canon law. For reform in our lives as bishops, it needs to be more than canon law.”
The bishop, whose amendments were not accepted by the committee, noted the contradictory sense of responsibility. “I feel that we’ve failed to work with our co-responsibility with the laypeople,” yet “the bishop at the end of the day has to steer the ship,” he said. “We cannot dismiss ourselves of that responsibility.”
Cardinal Tobin told Bishop Biegler, “I thought that your content could distract from the other content in the draft,” but “I will take it home with me and read it for my own spiritual life.”
There are seven standards, which deal with: diocesan and eparchial codes of conduct; protection of children and young people; sexual misconduct with an adult by a bishop; sexual harassment of an adult by a bishop; responding to allegations of sexual abuse of minors, or of sexual misconduct with or harassment of adults by priests or deacons; reporting and resolving complaints against bishops; and further commitments to ensure integrity.
There also is an acknowledgment for each bishop to sign, according to a copy of the proposed standards obtained by Catholic News Service.
“As a bishop, I am called to imitate Christ, the Good Shepherd, as closely as possible – especially his humility. I am called to be in the midst of my people as one who serves,” it says. “Therefore, it is my solemn pledge to follow these Standards of Episcopal Conduct and to explore continually and engage additional means that will protect the people of God and allow the Gospel to be preached with integrity.”
The acknowledgment concludes: “I ask that all the faithful hold me to this pledge and to pray for me.”
“Power, prestige and honors cannot be the desires of a bishop; rather, he must do what is right and what will lead others to salvation,” the proposed standards say. “The effects of the abuse of power, especially in sexual matters, have come more and more to light. We acknowledge that some bishops have failed to stop such abuse, or to respond properly to such claims, by what they have done or failed to do.”
“In our codes of conduct, if not already clearly stated, we will make clear that the code applies to the bishop of the diocese or eparchy,” the proposed standards say.
It adds, “The principles and standards of the ‘Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People’ apply to bishops as well as to priests and deacons.”
The standards commit bishops to “continue to reach out to the victims/survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their families in support of their spiritual and emotional well-being. Realizing that we might not always be the best suited to offer such care, we will make every effort to help victims/survivors find the care and healing they need.”
Sexual misconduct with an adult by a bishop, the proposed document says, “is gravely sinful; it could also be a canonical or civil crime. … sins against the Sixth Commandment strike at the very dignity of a person and have absolutely no place in the life of a minister, most especially one who is a bishop.
“There can be no ‘double life,’ no ‘special circumstances,’ no ‘secret life’ that frees a bishop from practicing chastity. The bishop is called to chastity and continence,” it adds. Bishops would pledge to “set and maintain appropriate emotional and sexual boundaries in all our relationships – professional and personal.”
Similarly, “sexual harassment by a bishop is completely incompatible with his role as a servant for Christ and others, as well as the basic respect and dignity one person owes another,” the proposed standards say. “We will not engage in sexual harassment of any person. “We will not tolerate the sexual harassment of any person by others serving the church.”
In the realm of abuse allegations, it says, “Every bishop has the moral duty to see that people are protected and treated justly by those who minister in the name of the church.”
When it comes to reporting and resolving complaints about bishops, it says, “If a bishop is accused of the sexual abuse of a minor, the accused bishop is obliged to inform the apostolic nuncio. If a bishop has been named in a civil or criminal complaint regarding sexual misconduct with or harassment of an adult, he is likewise obliged to inform the apostolic directly.” This would also apply if he becomes aware of sexual misconduct or harassment by another bishop.
“The bishops will engage in regular periodic training in the best practices of management and human resources,” the standards say.
When it comes to proposing priest candidates for the office of bishop,” it adds, “we bishops will recommit ourselves to the highest standards by recommending only priests who are truly suitable for the episcopacy.”
Should the standards come up for a vote, they would require a yes vote from two-thirds of USCCB membership.