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St. Vincent de Paul conferences form helping hands for Rolling Fork

By Joe Lee

JACKSON – Donovan Guilbeau, who installs power lines for Southern Electric Corporation and has seen many destructive tornadoes and hurricanes over four decades, said the EF-4 storm that ravaged the Mississippi communities of Rolling Fork and Silver City on March 24 caused the worst damage he’s ever seen.

“This reminded me of the Nagasaki bomb going off in World War II. It took my breath away,” said Guilbeau, a St. Richard parishioner is a long-time member of the St. Richard of Chichester Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society (SVDP), a national organization dedicated to feeding, clothing, and healing individuals and families in their time of need. “The damage and 26 lives lost were in a very concentrated area, and I knew we had to do something.”

Guilbeau has business associates who own property in the Rolling Fork area, and his wife has family nearby. In trying to assess what he could do to help, he turned to the St. Richard of Chichester Conference, one of five SVDP conferences in the District Council of the Diocese of Jackson (the others are St. Martin de Porres at Christ the King, St. Therese Conference, St. Joseph Conference at St. Mary Magdalene Parish in Greenville and St. Elizabeth of Hungary at Annunciation Parish in Columbus).

“I’m the St. Richard conference’s field representative for Rolling Fork and Silver City,” Guilbeau said. “Once the site was secured by the local police and the fire department, Tommy Jordan, a fellow St. Richard conference member, and I invited Carrie Robinson, president of the District of Jackson Council, to go with us.

“In this case, the news media did not blow the destruction out of proportion. I became a news reporter of sorts for SVDP, telling them what we were seeing on the ground.”

Robinson, a member of Christ the King Parish, said that all five SVDP conferences in the Jackson council eagerly came together: food and clothing was delivered from the Greenville conference, and financial assistance from the Columbus conference was provided to St. Helen’s Catholic Church in Amory to support nine families that suffered tornado damage the same weekend as the Rolling Fork storm hit.
“I ordered 875 hygiene kits from Disaster Services Corporation, which is the SVDP service arm,” Robinson said. “SVDP deployed case workers for a period of two weeks and began assisting residents of Rolling Fork and Silver City.

“The St. Richard conference donated $10,000 toward the relief efforts, which made it possible for us to serve one hot meal a day to 500-700 people for those two weeks. We also received a Rapid Response Grant from SVDP for $5,000, and a $5,000 grant from Isagenix Foundation.”

The grant money has gone toward Walmart gift cards, which have been handed out to storm victims in amounts of $25 and $50 to purchase food, clothing and other basic needs. But Dianne Clark, the Southeastern U.S. Disaster Rep for SVDP, said that one of the best things volunteers can do is listen to the victims’ stories and encourage them to talk.

“Each time you relate what you went through, it gets a little easier to talk about. Don’t keep it bottled up inside,” said Clark, who is based in Bradenton, Florida, and has seen plenty of hurricane damage in her decade-plus of SVDP service. “We’ll talk 20-30 minutes with each person to let them get things off their chests.

“It’s especially difficult if you’ve lost family members – there was one man on crutches who told us he’d just lost his mother and grandmother. Another woman said she and her husband lived in a mobile home, and her husband climbed on top of her to protect her. They survived, but the woman was horrified to find that when she looked over at the site where her sister’s mobile home was, it was gone. The sister’s body was found later, unfortunately.

First Baptist Church of Rolling Fork became a central feeding and recovery location for disaster survivors in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

“Pastor Britt Williamson was bringing in counselors to help the victims when we were there,” Clark said. “It’s so important to get children to open up as well as the adults. We give candy to them, try to get them to talk. They’re deeply impacted by what they’ve gone through.”

The inclination by so many goodhearted people once they learn of horrific storm damage is to organize drives to deliver food, clothing, supplies and even furniture. Some even hop in their cars and drive straight to the disaster site, eager to offer whatever help they can.

But despite the best of intentions, those spontaneous acts of generosity can create additional problems. Clark pointed out that when truckloads of furniture and clothing are sent at the very beginning of the recovery, there’s often nowhere to put them because homes and buildings have been destroyed.

“There’s an urge to go in and provide resources without asking,” Robinson said. “The greatest thing we can do is allow those in need to have some dignity, and say to them, ‘We are not the experts. Tell us how we can help you. What is it that you need?’”

Robinson just led a team of volunteers from the St. Richard and Christ the King conferences to Silver City on May 18 to partner with the Mississippi Department of Health and Human Services.

“DHS asked if we could help them feed the residents,” Robinson said. “They’re doing outreach for seniors and the disabled whose services – such as Meals on Wheels – were disrupted because of the storm. We purchased burgers, beans, chips and drinks to serve lunch, and we were also there to find out if there were additional needs from residents, such as those still without electricity.”

Guilbeau and SVDP volunteers all over the Jackson Council will gladly continue to help out in Rolling Fork and Silver City as long as it takes, and in whatever ways are needed – including through spiritual nourishment.

“We have a project called Home in a Box that provides furniture to homes that are being rebuilt,” he said. “The short-term need was for feeding; the long-term need is to rebuild. This is long-haul healing.”

“When we met with Pastor Williamson, he indicated that a lot of Rolling Fork residents are renters,” Robinson said. “Going forward, one of the needs will be to see how we can assist them in moving from renting to home ownership, which creates more stability in the community.

“But the most important thing we’ve done for our friends there – and the most important thing we can continue to do – is pray for them.”

To learn more about SVDP, visit svdpusa.org.

ROLLING FORK – St. Vincent de Paul conferences across the diocese work to serve the people of Rolling Fork after devastating tornado struck the community on March 24. (Photo courtesy of Carol Evans)

Diocese announces “Pastoral Reimagining” process

By Joanna Puddister King

JACKSON – The Diocese of Jackson has a new initiative that will focus on renewing and reimagining parishes across the diocese. The one-year “Pastoral Reimagining” process, that will begin on Pentecost Sunday, will focus on parishes and missions across the diocese taking a more direct and intentional look at the reality of their communities in the spirit of the Synod of Synodality in the aftermath of the pandemic.

“We are allowing the Holy Spirit to bless and guide us in our willingness to cooperate with God’s grace in a spirit of renewal,” writes Bishop Joseph Kopacz in his column for Mississippi Catholic on the reimagining process.

The theme from the process is from Ephesians, “There is one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism and one God and Father of all.” (Ephesians 4:5-6)

Thinking about the Synod process undertaken in the diocese and throughout the world, Bishop Kopacz noted that the church is at a crossroads locally and globally. With that, an extensive demographic review of the diocese will be a part of the “Pastoral Reimagining” process.

“Without a doubt [it] will enrich the local conversations,” said Bishop Kopacz.

There will be four stages of the pastoral reimagining process over the course of the year, running from Pentecost this year to Pentecost 2024.

The first stage will run from Pentecost through August 2023, with each pastor or LEM establishing a pastoral reimagining committee and having the committee view four ecclesiology video sessions and answer a series of questions designed to guide conversation on who we are as a church, says Fran Lavelle, director of faith formation for the diocese and member of the core team who will be working on the pastoral reimagining process.

The four video sessions, led by Bishop Kopacz will focus on the four marks of the church: one, holy, Catholic and apostolic; and will be available for anyone to view on the diocese website after Pentecost.
Stage two, will include each parish undertaking a parish assessment that includes the current situation at the local parish, the growing edges, the areas that are diminishing, the opportunities for collaboration with other parishes in the area, and other local realities.

With this stage, demographic information will be prepared for each parish, including sacramental data, local economic data and more, says Lavelle.

The third stage will focus on each deanery working though challenges and reviewing the growing edges and diminishing areas of ministry within the deanery.

“The goal is to gain a realistic perspective of the health and well-being of the deanery within the setting of the individual parishes,” Lavelle says.

The final two stages will include a period of discernment on reports from the six deaneries in the diocese and a pastoral letter from Bishop Kopacz, concluding with a diocesan celebration at Pentecost 2024.

“Calling upon the Holy Spirit, we pray that each parish will be encouraged, as well as challenged to be whom God calls us to be,” says Bishop Kopacz.

Late singer-activist Harry Belafonte found inspiration in life of Sister Thea Bowman

By OSV News
NEW YORK – Many are remembering how Harry Belafonte, who died April 25 in New York at age 96, was so inspired by the life and ministry of Sister Thea Bowman that he had planned to make a film about her.
In turn, the singer, actor and civil rights activist who popularized calypso music with international audiences in the 1950s, inspired others, including Chicago’s Father Michael Pfleger, senior pastor of the Faith Community of St. Sabina in Chicago, who is himself an outspoken advocate against gun violence, gangs, poverty and racism.

According to an April 25 posting on the website of The Catholic University of America in Washington, Belafonte first contacted Sister Bowman after he saw a profile of her on “60 Minutes” on CBS in 1987.
The religious sister, a noted educator and dynamic evangelist, had persuaded the TV news magazine’s lead reporter, Mike Wallace, to say, “Black is beautiful” during the primetime story on her ministry, said the university’s posting.

CANTON – Harry Belafonte visited Sister Thea Bowman at her bedside in her Canton home in 1989. Belafonte and a screenwriter conducted extensive interviews with Sister Thea and other Canton residents in preparation for a film that was never made. The Diocese of Jackson released a film on Sister Thea in fall of 2022, “Going Home Like a Shooting Star: Thea Bowman’s Journey to Sainthood.” The film is available on YouTube at https://bit.ly/SisterTheaFilm. (Photo by Fabvienen Taylor/Mississippi Catholic)

“Belafonte watched the broadcast and knew he wanted to bring her witness to hope and healing to wider audiences,” Catholic University said. “Belafonte contacted Sister Bowman to discuss his idea of a feature film about her life starring Whoopi Goldberg, both of whom she met during a visit to California.”

They first met in 1988. At the time, Belafonte was “a Hollywood icon who was widely respected for his social justice activism, so Sister Bowman trusted that he would do her life’s work justice,” Catholic University said, adding that Belafonte “went to great lengths to get personally involved in bringing her story to the big screen.”

According to the university, the Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration, who was battling the cancer that would claim her life on March 30, 1990, invited Belafonte to her home in Canton, Mississippi, and to Xavier University of Louisiana’s Institute for Black Catholic Studies, of which she was founding member, in New Orleans.
Belafonte visited both places “to speak with Sister Bowman’s friends and students to learn about her impact on their lives,” Catholic University said. “Even though she was using a wheelchair due to a battle with cancer that took her life less than two years later, he saw that nothing kept her down. They became practically inseparable, and Belafonte was seen pushing her along in her wheelchair.”

When Sister Bowman’s “condition worsened,” Belafonte “traveled to visit her at her bedside,” the university added. But the film was never made. The actor-activist’s rights expired after the project was delayed because he and her Franciscan community had different opinions on who should “have final editorial control over her portrayal” – him or her community, the university said.

Some years later, a documentary on her life and ministry was written and produced by Franciscan Sister Judith Ann Zielinski. The film was released in 2022. Sister Bowman today is a candidate for sainthood along with five other prominent Black Catholics in the U.S.

Belafonte died at his home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The cause was congestive heart failure, according to his longtime spokesman, Ken Sunshine.

Born Harold George Bellanfanti Jr. on March 1, 1927, at Lying-in Hospital in New York’s Harlem neighborhood, he was the son of immigrants from the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Jamaica. His father worked as a chef and his mother was a housekeeper.

Harry Jr. was baptized a Catholic and raised in the faith. He attended parochial school at St. Charles Borromeo in Harlem. He grew up in poverty, but spent much of his childhood living with his grandmother in Jamaica. After high school graduation, he joined the U.S. Navy and served during World War II.

He returned to New York after the war, enrolled in drama school and began performing. Belafonte first achieved fame in the 1950s with film and musical theater roles.

“Harry Belafonte was not the first Black entertainer to transcend racial boundaries, but none had made as much of a splash as he did,” The New York Times said in an April 25 obituary.

Harry Belafonte and Servant of God Thea Bowman in an undated archival photo. Balafonte met Bowman at Xavier University in 1988. (OSV News photo/courtesy Xavier University of Louisiana, Archives & Special Collections)

Belafonte is one of the few performers to have received an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony (EGOT). He won the Oscar in a noncompetitive category – in 2014, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences presented him with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. He earned his career breakthrough with the album “Calypso” (1956), which was the first million-selling LP record by a single artist.

Belafonte was best known for his recordings of “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song),” “Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora),” “Jamaica Farewell” and “Mary’s Boy Child.” He recorded and performed in many genres, including blues, folk, gospel, show tunes and American standards. He also starred in films such as “Carmen Jones” (1954), “Island in the Sun” (1957), “Odds Against Tomorrow “(1959), “Buck and the Preacher” (1972) and “Uptown Saturday Night” (1974). He made his final screen appearance in Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman” (2018).

Belafonte was a close confidant of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. He also helped organize the March on Washington in 1963.

His civil rights activism inspired Father Pfleger, the Chicago pastor and activist. In an interview with Chicago’s CBS News affiliate, Father Pfleger called Belafonte a hero and a friend who helped shape him.
“He stood in this pulpit. He stood in this church time after time after time,” Father Pfleger said about St. Sabina. “He had a major shaping of my life, and my formation of who I am today, because … I had such admiration for him.”

National Eucharistic Pilgrimage connects Catholics across U.S. to 2024 Congress

By Maria Wiering

ST. PAUL, Minn. (OSV News) – Mike Wavra thinks of the 2024 National Eucharistic Pilgrimage as “an opportunity to walk with the Lord.”

He and his wife, Cindi, both 65-year-old retirees, plan to join the pilgrimage at its northern launch point in Minnesota in May 2024, and then walk for about a week, before rejoining the pilgrims seven weeks later in Indianapolis for the 10th National Eucharistic Congress.

The Wavras are among thousands of Catholics from across the United States anticipated to participate in next year’s pilgrimage to the Congress, part of the U.S. bishops’ three-year National Eucharistic Revival that began in 2021. The pilgrimage has four routes, with one beginning in the north, south, east and west of the country.

This is the logo for the U.S. bishops’ three-year National Eucharistic Revival. The National Eucharistic Congress organizers describe the routes pilgrims will walk with the Eucharist to the NEC in 2024. The National Eucharistic Congress organizers have set the routes pilgrims will walk with the Eucharist to the NEC in 2024. (OSV News photo/courtesy USCCB)

Pilgrims traveling in the “Eucharistic caravans” on all four routes will begin their journeys with Pentecost weekend celebrations May 17-18, 2024, leaving May 19. They will all converge on Indianapolis July 16, 2024, the day before the five-day Congress opens.
The pilgrimage is an opportunity for prayer and evangelization, as well as a way to engage Catholics unable to attend the Congress, said Tim Glemkowski, the National Eucharistic Congress’ executive director.

“What the pilgrimage does is it builds us in prayerful anticipation for what God is going to do at the Congress,” he told OSV News May 5. “It’s two months of us pilgrimaging, fasting, praying, interceding, asking the Lord to renew his church, his bride, in those five days. … They’re not two different things. It’s one pilgrimage: five days of which happen in a stadium in Indianapolis, and two months of which happen across our country on the way there.”

Weekend stops in major cities will include special liturgies, Eucharistic adoration, processions and service opportunities, Glemkowski said.

The northern “Marian Route” that the Wavras plan to take begins in northern Minnesota at Lake Itasca, the headwaters of the Mississippi River. The route follows the river to St. Paul and Minneapolis, its first weekend stop. Then the route heads south to Rochester, Minnesota, and then east through La Crosse and Green Bay, Wisconsin. It continues through Milwaukee, Chicago and Notre Dame, Indiana, before arriving in Indianapolis.

The “Juan Diego Route” begins more than 1,600 miles south of Lake Itasca in Brownsville, Texas, at the U.S.-Mexico border. It will follow Texas’ eastern border through Corpus Christi and Houston, and continue through New Orleans; Mobile, Alabama; Atlanta; Nashville, Tennessee; and Louisville, Kentucky.

The “Seton Route” – named for St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first U.S.-born saint – begins in New Haven, Connecticut, and continues through New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Pittsburgh, and Steubenville, Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio.

The “Junipero Serra Route” begins in San Francisco – with hope of walking over the Golden Gate Bridge – and continues through Reno, Nevada; Salt Lake City; Denver; North Platte and Omaha, Nebraska; Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri; and St. Louis.

At more than 2,200 miles long, the Junipero Serra Route is the longest and most rigorous route. Pilgrims will use transport to cross sections of their route, but the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains are expected to be crossed on foot. In an interview with Bishop Andrew H. Cozzens of Crookston, Minnesota, for a February episode of the popular podcast “Catholic Stuff You Should Know,” co-host Father John Nepil said he wanted to walk with the Eucharist and fellow priests over Colorado’s Vail Pass, which, at 10,541 feet above sea level, is the highest elevation the pilgrimage routes will reach.

Besides the thrill of the physical challenge, “there’s always been a close connection for me between thinking of the Eucharist as the source and summit of our faith, and the ways we reflect on the Eucharistic high points as a place of transcendence, and then the way it connects to the mountains,” Father Nepil, a priest of the Archdiocese of Denver and vice rector of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, told OSV News May 8. “We just kind of jumped at that as a cool prospect of leading some people and shepherding them over that pass as we make our way.”

Modern Catholic Pilgrim, a pilgrimage nonprofit with offices in Minnesota and California, is organizing the national pilgrimage. Its founder and president, Will Peterson, connects the pilgrimage to the scriptural journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus, where two of his disciples met Jesus after the Resurrection. Luke 24 recounts how Jesus comforted them, and then revealed himself in the breaking of the bread.

The routes include important Catholic sites in the United States, such the 18th-century ministry of St. Junipero Serra in what is now California, the Philadelphia tombs of St. John Neumann and St. Katharine Drexel, and in Wisconsin, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Champion, the only approved Marian apparition in the United States.

Pictured is a monstrance from a Eucharistic Revival event at St. Joseph parish in Gluckstadt in October of 2022. The National Eucharistic Revival will include a pilgrimage after Pentecost 2024 as an opportunity to “walk with the Lord” leading up to the Eucharistic Congress in mid-July 2024 in Indianapolis. (Photo by Joanna Puddister King)

“People are going to reach an ‘Emmaus point’ at these spots along the way, and we want to support the local church,” Peterson said May 9. “That’s where it’s such a great gift to coordinate with like 65 dioceses to say, ‘How can we really highlight the great sacred sites of your diocese?’”

Each pilgrimage route is expected to have 12 “perpetual pilgrims,” young adults, including two seminarians, committed to traveling the entire route, from their launch points to Indianapolis. Each route also will include priest chaplains who will carry the Eucharist, usually in a monstrance specially designed for the pilgrimage. While some chaplains may join the entire pilgrimage route, others may join for segments of the journey, Glemkowski said.

The faithful are invited to join the pilgrimage for hours, days or weeks. Each day of the pilgrimage will begin with Mass and a Eucharistic procession with the local community before pilgrims continue the trek to their next stopping point. Pilgrims joining the Eucharistic caravans for short stretches will be responsible for arranging their own food and overnight accommodations, although some parishes along the routes may provide meals and lodging.

Parishioners of St. Bernard Parish in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, the Wavras have worked out their own logistics: They plan to take their truck with a camper and two motorized bicycles, and “hopscotch” their way along the route, taking their truck each morning to drop off their bikes at that evening’s stop, driving back, walking the pilgrimage route, and then taking their bikes to pick up their truck.

The Wavras expect the pilgrimage to include comradery with fellow Catholics and their bishop, Bishop Cozzens, whose Diocese of Crookston is home to Lake Itasca and the first stretch of the Marian Route. Bishop Cozzens is chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, which is overseeing the revival.

The pilgrimage “brings Jesus out of our churches and out into the public,” Mike Wavra told OSV News May 4. “This is just an opportunity for people to see the Jesus that we know and love.”

Wavra also expects the pilgrimage to attract interest and curiosity from non-Catholics. “They wonder what some crazy Catholics are doing, following a piece of bread,” he said. “It’s not a piece of bread, it’s the Lord himself. What an opportunity for us to share that.”

(Maria Wiering is senior writer for OSV News.)

Calendar of Events

GREENWOOD Locus Benedictus, “Inner Healing through Scripture” Retreat on Saturday, June 17 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the retreat center on 1407 Levee Road. Presenters are Dr. Sheryl Jones and Joyce Pellegrin. Details: contact (662) 299-1232.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. Catholic Charismatic Renewal Conference, July 21-22 at John Carroll Catholic High School at 300 Lakeshore Parkway held by the Diocese of Birmingham. Conference theme is “Victory in Jesus” and will feature Father James Blount, with Father Eric Gami and Teresa Ragusa, a miracle COVID survivor. Father Blount is an internationally known healing ministry priest of the Society of Our Lady of the Trinity (SOLT) of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. Registration $25 for individuals and $65 for family of three or more. All are welcome! Details: Sally Smith at (205) 983-4150 or mustardsally14@gmail.com. To register visit www.catholiccharismaticrenewal.org.

METAIRIE, La. Five-day Silent Directed Retreat, June 26 – July 2 at the Archdiocese of New Orleans Retreat Center (5500 Saint Mary Street, Metairie). Cost $500, includes room and board. Meet daily with a spiritual director, pray with scripture and spend the rest of the day in silence, prayer and rest. Register at franu.edu/retreat. Details: tyler.trahan@franu.edu or call (225) 526-1694.

COLUMBUS Annunciation, International Food Fest, Sunday, June 4 at 5 p.m. to sunset in church parking lot. All are welcome for fun, fellowship and food. Details: church office (662) 328-2927.

MERIDIAN St. Joseph, Knights of Peter Claver Food Fest, Saturday, June 3. BBQ ribs, chicken and fish plates cost $12. Slab of ribs $25 and must pre-order. Details: Contact David to order ribs at (601) 938-5757. Plate tickets can be purchased from KPC members.

OLIVE BRANCH Queen of Peace, Yard Sale, Saturday, June 10 at 8 a.m. Details: church office (662) 895-5007.

PEARL St. Jude, Pentecost International Food Fest, Saturday, May 27 following 5 p.m. Vigil Mass. Bring your favorite dish to share and join the fun as we celebrate the diversity of cultures with food. If you have a group that would like to perform a dance of your culture, contact Caytee at cderby@stjudepearl.org.

RIDGELAND Catholic Charities, Open House, Tuesday, May 23 from 4-6 p.m. Come visit the new location and learn about services provided. Address: 731 S. Pear Orchard Rd, Ste. 51 in Ridgeland. Details: call (601) 355-8634.

SOUTHAVEN Christ the King, Trivia Night, Saturday, June 10 at 7 p.m. Cost: $15/person or $25/couple. Details: call Donna to reserve a spot (662) 342-1073.

WEST POINT Immaculate Conception, Blood drive, Wednesday, May 24 from 1-7 p.m. in parish hall. Details: make an appointment by calling (662) 494-3486 or www.donors.vitalant.org, code: iccatholic. Walk-ins welcome.

CLARKSDALE St. Elizabeth, VBS, June 12-16. Launch kids on a cosmic quest where they’ll have a blast shining Jesus’ light to the world. Volunteers needed. Details: call Catelin at (662) 902-6478 if you can help.

CLEVELAND Our Lady of Victories, VBS, June 4-6 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. for ages entering Pre-K4 to sixth. Details: Sign up or volunteer, call or text Jenifer at (662) 402-7050.

FLOWOOD St. Paul, VBS, June 5-9 from 6-8 p.m. for ages 4 through sixth grade. Helpers needed. Details: Register at https://bit.ly/StPaulVBS2023.

GLUCKSTADT St. Joseph, “Win the World for Jesus!” VBS, June 5-7. Registration for children (K5-fourth graders) and youth volunteers (fifth graders on up) will begin May 7. Details: Registration forms are in the church foyer or email Karen at kworrellcre@hotmail.com.

GREENVILLE St. Joseph, VBS for grades K to fifth grades, July 16-18 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at St. Joe High School. Visit stjosephgreenville.org to register or volunteer. Details: Alyssa at (662) 820-0868.

HERNANDO Holy Spirit, VBS, June 5-8 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. for Pre-K through fifth grade. Dinner provided. Register in the Narthex. Details: Jessica at (601) 540-5301. Volunteers needed.

MADISON St. Francis, Rocky Railway VBS express, June 19-22 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. All pre-K4 through fourth graders are invited. More volunteers are needed. Register at https://bit.ly/StFrancisVBS2023. Details: mc.george@stfrancismadison.org.

MERIDIAN VBS, June 26-30. Adult volunteers needed. Details: church office (601) 693-1321.
SOUTHAVEN Christ the King, “Camping in God’s Creation” VBS for K through third grade, June 19-23 6-8 p.m. Island Luau for fourth through eighth grade, June 26-30 from 6:30-9 p.m. Details: call Donna to register at (662) 342-1073.

YAZOO CITY St. Mary, VBS, June 9-11. Details: (662) 746-1680.

JOB OPENINGS Catholic schools across the diocese have a variety of positions open from athletic directors, teachers, bookkeepers, substitutes and more. Please visit https://jacksondiocese.org/employment for an opportunity near you.

ENGAGED ENCOUNTER WEEKENDS July 14-16 and Oct. 27-29 at Camp Garaywa in Clinton. Please register at www.jacksondiocese.org/family-ministry.

INDIANAPOLIS Eucharistic Congress, July 17-21, 2024. Registration is now open. See what Our Lord has in store for this next chapter for the Catholic Church in United States. Purchase tickets at https://bit.ly/3ydav9Q. Details: EucharisticCongress.org.

INDIANAPOLIS National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC), Nov. 16-18, 2023 at the Indiana Convention Center. This distinctly Catholic three-day conference will include opportunities for spiritual growth, prayer, learning and service. For more information, visit ncyc.us.

NATIONAL BLACK CATHOLIC CONGRESS GATHERING, July 20-23 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Join with other Black Catholics and those who minister to Black Catholics for a celebration of faith and culture. Details: nbccongress.org.

WORLD YOUTH DAY: LISBON 2023 Event for young Catholics ages 16-35, though all are welcomed to attend in Lisbon, Portugal. For more information visit: https://www.lisboa2023.org/en/.

Happy Ordination Anniversary

May 7
Bishop Joseph Kopacz
(ordained priest)

May 11
Father Mark Shoffner
St. John the Evangelist, Oxford
Father Adolfo Suarez Pasillas
St. Michael, Forest

May 14
Father Panneer Selvam Arockiam
St. Mary, Yazoo City
Father Jason Johnston
St. Joseph, Starkville
Father Joseph Le
St. Francis, Aberdeen
Father Andrew Bowden
St. Richard, Jackson

May 17
Father Matthew Simmons
St. Joseph, Gluckstadt

May 23
Father Joachim Studwell, OFM
St. Francis, Greenwood
Deacon Hank Babin

May 24
Father Bob Goodyear, ST
Holy Rosary Indian Mission
Father Joseph Chau Nguyen, SVD
St. Mary, Vicksburg

May 27
Father Charles Bucciantini

May 29
Father Sam Messina
Father Hilary Brzezinski, OFM
St. Francis, Greenwood

May 31
Father Lincoln Dall
Holy Savior, Clinton
Father Rusty Vincent
St. Paul, Vicksburg
Father José de Jesus Sanchez
St. Joseph, Greenville
Father Binh Chau Nguyen
Immaculate Conception, West Point
Father Nick Adam
Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle, Jackson
Father Aaron Williams
Basilica of St. Mary, Natchez

June 1
Father Anthony Okwum, SSJ
Holy Family, Natchez & St. Anne, Fayette

June 2
Father Guy Wilson
Holy Child Jesus, Canton & Sacred Heart, Camden

June 4
Father Joe Tonos
St. Richard, Jackson
Deacon Jeff Artigues
St. Joseph, Starkville

Deacon Denzil Lobo
Christ the King, Jackson
Deacon John McGinley
St. Joseph, Starkville
Deacon John McGregor
St. Jude, Pearl
Deacon Ted Schreck
Catholic Parishes of Northwest MS

June 6
Father PJ Curley

June 7
Father Noel Prendergast
Father Kevin Slattery
St. Therese, Jackson

June 8
Father Thomas Delaney

June 9
Father Juan Chavajay
Sacred Heart, Canton

June 10
Father Robert Dore
St. Michael, Vicksburg

June 11
Msgr. Patrick Farrell
Father Thomas Lalor

June 12
Father Gerry Hurley
St. Paul, Flowood

June 13
Father Mike O’Brien
Father Mario Solorzano
St. James the Less, Corinth

June 14
Father Tom McGing
Msgr. Mike Flannery

June 15
Father David Szatkowski, SCJ
Catholic Parishes of Northwest MS

June 16
Father Jeffrey Waldrep
Annunciation, Columbus

June 18
Father Anthony Quyet

June 26
Deacon David Gruseck
Annunciation, Columbus

June 27
Father Andrew Nguyen
Immaculate Heart of Mary, Greenwood
Father Cesar Sanchez
St. James, Tupelo
Father Marco Sanchez, ST
St. Anne, Carthage & St. Therese, Kosciusko

Sisters celebrate jubilees

Sister Catheryn Kever, SSSF

Sister Cathyn Kever – 70 years
MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Sister Cathryn Kever was born in Luystown, Missouri. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Alverno College (1957) and a master’s degree from the University of Arizona (1968). In the Diocese of Jackson, Sister Cathryn taught at Sacred Heart School in Walls (1958-1960) and at Wood Junior College in Mathiston (1985-1987). She also served as pastoral associate at St. Joseph Parish in Starkville (1987-1989). Since 2017, Sister has served in the ministry of prayer and presence at Sacred Heart in Milwaukee.
Cards for Sister Cathryn may be mailed in sister’s name, Attn: U.S. Province Jubilee Committee, 1545 S. Layton Blvd., Milwaukee, WI 53215.

Sister Marilyn Winkel, CSA

Sister Marilyn Winkel, CSA – 60 years
FOND DU LAC, Wis. – When Sister Marilyn Winkel, CSA assumed her responsibilities as pastoral assistant in Meridian, Mississippi, she was known only to a few people. In November of her first year there at RCIA, Sister Marilyn briefly explained before Mass the meaning of the Rite. Then during Mass, she guided the RCIA individuals in responses and participation.

“After Mass, a parishioner with a visitor remarked that I must be a sister,” said Sister Marilyn.
“As I reflected on this comment, I felt affirmed in my ministry, along with my words and demeanor that I was recognized as a vowed woman religious. The keyboard/piano musician for the choir expressed it this way, ‘I always admired your acumen when it came to the finished product at St. Patrick’s.’”

Sister Marilyn was born in Marytown, Wisconsin. She earned a BS in elementary education from Marian University. Sister taught at St. Patrick School in Hudson, Wisconsin (1964); and Holy Family School in Bronx, New York (1969). She served as principal at Our Lady Queen of Angels School, New York (1972); St. John the Baptist School, Waunakee, Wisconsin (1984); Central City Catholic School, Milwaukee (1987); and St. Matthew/St. Lawrence, Milwaukee (1993). Additionally, she served as a volunteer and pastoral associate at St. Rose of Lima Parish in Milwaukee (1999-2010); director of religious ed at St. Patrick Parish, Bisbee, Arizona (2010); pastoral assistant and religious ed coordinator at St. Patrick and St. Joseph Parishes in Meridian, Mississippi (2013-2020); volunteer at St. Katherine Drexel Shelter and literacy program in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin (2021).

Sister Marilyn says, “Of the many years in ministry, in different areas of the country, a great blessing I received is the delight to know so many people! One comes to know them in the stories (struggles and triumphs) they share, the gift of self which they express, their participation in faith, school [and] church activities. I have come to know and appreciate people of many cultures and languages, from within the states and varous parts of the world. I am greatly enriched by all the people with whom I have shared faith and life experiences.”

Holy Week happenings

Fifth graders from several Catholic schools in the diocese attended the annual Chrism Mass on Tuesday, April 4 with Bishop Joseph Kopacz and got a chance to speak to diocesan seminarians and Sister Amelia Breton about vocations. Students also received a tour of the Cathedral of St. Peter with Chancellor Mary Woodward. (Photos by Joanna Puddister King)


PEARL – Parishioners process behind Father Jofin George on Palm Sunday at St. Jude. (Photos by Rhonda Bowden)

JACKSON – The Holy Spirit enters the Chrism at Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle. (Photo by Rhonda Bowden)

PEARL – The Paschal candle is lit at St. Jude parish by Deacon John McGregor. (Photos by Tereza Ma)