In memoriam: Father Pat O’Shaughnessy

BILOXI – Father Patrick “Pat” O’Shaughnessy, age 80, of Hattiesburg, and a former resident of Long Beach, passed away peacefully on April 19, 2024.

Father Pat was born on Feb. 11, 1944 in Limerick, Ireland. He was a naturally gifted athlete. In his youth he played rugby. He then went on to compete in many marathons and his greatest achievement was completing an IronMan Triathlon in Hawaii on Oct. 14, 1989, with a time of 12 hours, 53 minutes and 11 seconds. He loved all sports but had a deep passion for golf. He got a hole in one in Ballybunion.

Father Pat ministered in many different areas across Mississippi. Since his retirement, he was glad to be a part of Saint Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Long Beach.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Patrick and Margaret O’Shaughnessy; his brother, Jim O’Shaughnessy; his sister-in-law, Emma O’Shaughnessy; and an infant sister.

He is survived by numerous cousins in Ireland.

He will be mourned by Bishop Kihneman, all the Priests in Mississippi, many other Priests, and his previous parishioners who will miss him dearly and many other friends both in the United States and Ireland.
Father Pat was a native of Limerick, Ireland and completed his ecclesiastical studies at St. Patrick’s College, Thurles, County Tipperary. He was ordained to priestly ministry on June 8, 1968 at the Cathedral of the Assumption in Thurles and arrived in the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson on Aug. 27, 1968.

His first assignment was as an associate pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Pascagoula, associate pastor of St. Michael Parish, Vicksburg, and St. John Parish in Oxford while he was continuing his graduate studies at the University of Mississippi, and then he was assigned to St. Alphonsus Parish in Ocean Springs.
He served as pastor of St. Michael Parish, Biloxi, Sacred Heart Parish, Hattiesburg, St. Thomas Aquinas, Hattiesburg, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Lumberton and St. Joseph Mission, Poplarville, and he retired to St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Long Beach in 2009.

Father Pat was a gifted homilist that could get his point across in just a few words. His love for the outdoors was evident with his love of golf and bicycling. Father Pat also had a gift with children and caring for those with needs. He worked with the St. Vincent de Paul Society offering spiritual guidance to those in need. His impact on the Diocese of Biloxi will be remembered and celebrated for many years to come.

A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday, April 29, 2024, at St. Fabian Catholic Church in Hattiesburg. A second Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated in Father Pat’s homeland in Ireland on Friday, May 3, 2024. He is interred in Loughill Graveyard, Newcastle, County Limerick, Ireland.

Pastoral Reimagining: Bishop discerns future of growth and collaboration

By Joanna Puddister King
JACKSON – The year-long pastoral reimagining process undertaken by the Diocese of Jackson continues with a period of discernment by Bishop Joseph Kopacz before concluding with a pastoral letter.

Spreading across five major phases, that included establishing pastoral reimagining committees, parish assessments, reviewing data on diocesan demographics by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) and pastors, deacons and LEMs meeting; phase three just concluded with Bishop Kopacz visiting each deanery to celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving and meet with key people who worked on the pastoral reimagining process for each parish.

KOSCIUSKO – Bishop Joseph Kopacz speaks to a packed parish hall at St. Therese parish on the Pastoral Reimagining process being undertaken by the diocese. He now enters a period of discernment before releasing a pastoral letter. (Photo by Tereza Ma)

In the month of March, priests, deacons and LEMs of each deanery of the diocese were asked to discuss the responses from the reimagining process from the parishes. Some of the questions discussed were what areas they saw growth; what challenges are associated with that growth; what areas of ministry are diminishing; what are the challenges with this decline; and what areas need greater collaboration with the Chancery offices.

After deanery meetings, Bishop Kopacz traveled to each deanery for a special Mass of Thanksgiving, celebrating “Eucharist and conversation,” with those who worked on the Pastoral Reimagining process in their respective parishes. Though each gathering had varied responses, they all were asked the questions: Where do we go from here? How do we animate and foster the growing edges? How do we address the challenges?

Across each deanery many highlighted the growing Hispanic population and raised questions as to how to serve the population faithfully and effectively, a sentiment Bishop Kopacz highlighted in meeting with priests during phase two of the reimagining process.

“I’m grateful to a number of our parishes that have opened up with inviting the Hispanic population through having Mass and liturgy. It’s just amazing to see the growth.”

After assessing needs through the Reimagining process, Father Manohar Thangundla of St. Francis of Assisi parish in Brookhaven recently added a weekly Spanish Mass on Saturdays to accommodate increasing numbers of Hispanics in the area. Additionally, he began learning Vietnamese to hold a monthly Mass for that growing community, as well.

Bishop Kopacz says that almost 30 of the diocese’s 72 parishes offer Mass in Spanish.

“It’s about bringing people into the community at a deeper level, but the challenge is the literacy [of our priests.] … Becoming confident enough to offer the Mass, even if you can’t preach the homily in Spanish,” said Bishop Kopacz.

“We have priests in the diocese who are bilingual and many who are willing to learn to celebrate the sacraments, so people can have that experience.”

Raquel Thompson, director of Hispanic ministry at St. James Tupelo, said that she and the parish’s director of faith formation, Rhonda Swita, are working to band together Hispanic and White communities, with the premise – ‘we are better together.”

“She [Swita] is working to create more activities we can do as families together. … So, we’ll be one whole Catholic Church,” said Thompson.

“We are one body of Christ, and no matter what language we speak, we have to be kind, respectful and have love for each other.”

As for additional challenges and fostering growth, many of the deanery gatherings brought up the availability of activities and involvement of youth and young adults in their respective communities, with an emphasis on having adults getting their children involved in the church community.

Lauren Codding, who served on the Pastoral Reimagining committee for St. Alphonsus McComb and attended the phase three session with Bishop Kopacz for deanery two, said that during the committee’s assessment, they identified faith formation for youth and young adults as an area for improvement.

“We want to start providing faith formation to our young adult community, so that they feel welcomed, and we can build community among that age group. Our hope is that they will start bringing their children to church and we can in turn feed the children through religious education,” said Codding.

The parish also hopes to start a campus ministry program to reach young adults at McComb’s local community college.

Campus ministry is an initiative that others around the diocese voiced during Reimagining sessions to reach the young adult demographic. In a proactive response to the growing demand for more opportunities for young adults, the diocese inaugurated its Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry in 2022. This effort was in response to the Synod on Synodality process, where the diocese heard concerns on evangelization to young adults.

“This is a ministry that will continue to grow as we make additional efforts in our parishes to reach our growing edges,” said Bishop Kopacz.

Members of Deanery I gathered at St. Francis Madison on Thursday, April 11, 2024 for a Mass of Thanksgiving with Bishop Kopacz for the Pastoral Reimagining process the diocese has undertaken since Pentecost last year.

A third area discussed at many of the deanery community gatherings for the Reimagining process is the importance of a sense of community and inviting non-Catholics to learn about the church.

Several parishes mentioned during various deanery gatherings that small faith communities have been successful in encouraging lifelong friendships and a sense of strong faith. Others, like Isaac Blakemore of St. Francis Madison, who just came into the church at Easter Vigil, felt that as Catholics we need to understand our faith and have the courage to share it with the community.

As a former ordained Methodist minister, Blakemore was drawn to the Catholic Church by the sacraments. He told members of the deanery one gathering at St. Francis Madison that when he received the Eucharist for the first time, it was like someone had him in on a secret.

“One thing I think all parishes could do is … to just be proud of what the Catholic faith offers and share it,” said Blakemore. “If you do believe that indeed this is the one, true church, you ought to believe that the Holy Spirit can move even through someone that is just a layperson. You can invite someone into learning about the Catholic faith … and be willing to discuss it.”

Phase four of the Pastoral Reimagining process is currently underway with Bishop Kopacz in a season of discernment, allowing time for the drafting of a pastoral letter to the people of God in the Diocese of Jackson.

When asked about the overall Reimagining process, Bishop Kopacz explained that it unfolded in stages due to its organic nature, rooted deeply at the grassroots level.

“We asked parishes to do their best thinking, reflecting and praying,” said Bishop Kopacz. “Focusing on the specifics of their settings and how to move forward in the context of the whole diocese and with the support and encouragement of the bishop’s office and the chancery.”

He plans to keep his pastoral letter as brief as it can be, but still have it substantial enough to address key areas of growth and concern.

“I see my ministry … as to keep mining and plowing this field; and seeing what we can do and how we can assist one another to make it happen on a local level; and with and through the diocese,” says Bishop Kopacz.

Stovall set to be ordained as priest for the diocese

Deacon Tristan Stovall will be ordained to the priesthood at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle in Jackson on Saturday, May 18 at 10:30 a.m. All are invited to the ordination and to his First Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving at his home parish of Holy Cross Philadelphia on Sunday, May 19 at 10:30 a.m.

By Joanna Puddister King
JACKSON – Many celebrate their birthdays with big events, but for Deacon Tristan Stovall, his birthday this year brings about an extra special event – his ordination to the priesthood.

On May 18 at 10:30 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle in Jackson, Bishop Joseph Kopacz is set to ordain transitional Deacon Tristan Stovall to the priesthood. All are invited to attend, with a reception following.

In a recent video with Bishop Kopacz, Stovall fondly remembered the first meeting of the two in 2016 waiting in a hospital to visit a patient.
“Father Frank [Cosgrove] walks down the hall with the bishop and I’m nervous you know … I’m about to meet the bishop,” mused Stovall.
After introductions, the first question Father Cosgrove asked Stovall in front of Bishop Kopacz, was “Have you considered being a priest?”

At the time, Stovall insisted that he did not want to be a priest and wanted to be married someday.

But that initial question got Stovall thinking and he was drawn even deeper into the Catholic faith.

Stovall’s path to the priesthood began in the red clay hills of Neshoba County, where he first encountered Catholicism, being fascinated with the funeral of Pope St. John Paul II as a young boy. At the age of 15, his interest and thirst for knowledge of the Catholic faith grew when he attended Mass for the very first time at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans. After that experience the young Baptist knew then that he “had to become Catholic.” This journey ultimately led him to convert to Catholicism in 2014, where he was received into full communion with the church.

After ordination, Stovall will celebrate his first Mass as a priest at his home parish of Holy Cross in Philadelphia on Pentecost – Sunday, May 19 at 10:30 a.m.

Stovall says, “Please pray for me and I prepare for ordination and continued service to the People of God.”

(If you are interested in vocations, visit jacksondiocese.org/vocations; ask your local priest; or contact vocations director Father Nick Adam at nickadam@jacksondiocese.org.)

Catholic Schools share MAIS awards and athletic accomplishments

Art Fair – Overall winners
Painting Only Art Room – 2nd place – 5th grade: Carys Dishman (St. Elizabeth Clarksdale)
Mixed Media Art Room – 1st place – 2nd grade: Beckham Shed (St. Elizabeth Clarksdale)
Mixed Media Art Room – 2nd place – 6th grade: Conner Lunceford (St. Elizabeth Clarksdale)
Drawing Art Room – 2nd place – 2nd grade: Maddison Lenard (St. Elizabeth Clarksdale)
Drawing Art Room – 1st place – 5th grade: Gabby Jones (St. Elizabeth Clarksdale)
Drawing Art Room – 1st place – 6th grade: Ulric Henning (St. Elizabeth Clarksdale)
Printmaking Classroom – 2nd place – 1st grade: Garrett Naegele (St. Anthony Madison)
Printmaking Jr. High and High School – 2nd place: Madolyn McGaugh (St. Joseph Greenville)
Photography Jr. High and High School – 2nd place: Kent Tonos (St. Joseph Greenville)

Reading Fair – Overall Winners
Individual Fiction Character Portrayal – 2nd place – 5th grade: Anna Cooper (Cathedral Natchez)
Individual Non-Fiction Character Portrayal – 3rd place – 5th grade: Haley Burnsed (Cathedral Natchez)
Fiction Individual – 2nd place – 4th grade: Mary Hannah Amborn (Vicksburg Catholic)
Non-Fiction Individual – 1st place – 5th grade: Madeline Jex (Cathedral Natchez)

District Fair Winners
Fiction Board Winners: Anna Cooper – 1st place; and Rivers Atkins – 2nd place (Cathedral Natchez)
Fiction – Best Portrayal of Character: Anna Cooper – 2nd place; and Rivers Atkins – 3rd place
Non-Fiction Board Winners: Maddy Jex – 1st place; and Haley Burnsed – 2nd place (Cathedral Natchez)
Best Portrayal of Character Award: Maddy Jex – 1st place; and Haley Burnsed – 2nd place
2nd place overall in fiction – 4th grade: Mary Hannah Amborn (Vicksburg Catholic)
2nd place overall in fiction – 5th grade: Cash Ferrell (Vicksburg Catholic)

Spelling Bee – Overall Participants
Sophia Keith – Annunciation Columbus
Samantha Struber – Annunciation Columbus
Michael Lickteig – Sacred Heart Southaven
Caryn Jackson – St. Joseph Greenville
Estephan Choufani – St. Joseph Madison
Addison Bednar – Vicksburg Catholic School

Spelling Bee- District
1st place in 7th grade, District II – East: Samantha Struber (Annunciation Columbus)
1st place in 5th grade, District II – East: Sophia Keith (Annunciation Columbus)

Regional Science Fair
3rd Grade: (All St. Patrick Meridian)
1st place Physics – Avery Hook
1st place Organic Chemistry – David Donkor
4th place Organic Chemistry – Cayden Gray
2nd place Inorganic Chemistry – Ashton Brown
1st place Botany – London Wilson
2nd place Microbiology – Wiljann Sopa
2nd place Engineering – Dominic Meachum
1st place Animal Science – Aubre Laws

4th Grade: (All St. Patrick Meridian)
4th place Inorganic Chemistry – LaDarius Ranson
4th place Microbiology – Kyler Hill

5th Grade: (All St. Patrick Meridian)
1st place Physics – John Quedado
3rd place Physics – Katelyn Meachum
6th place Organic Chemistry – Brandon Franklin
1st Inorganic Chemistry – Aiden Walker
1st Animal Science – Micah Laurent

6th Grade: (All St. Patrick Meridian)
1st place Behavioral Science – Aiden Palmer
1st place Animal Science – Ayden Everington
2nd place Inorganic Chemistry – Madison Powell
2nd place Animal Science – Bryce Rush
2nd place Mathematics – John Martinez
2nd place Physics – Ayden Rush
2nd place Botany – Juan Pablo Garcia

Quiz Bowl
Cathedral Middle School Team A – 2nd place out of 24 teams.

Scholarship
4-Way Rotary Scholarship – Jacob Venuti (St. Joseph Greenville)

Stellar Academic Students
Julianna Jojoa-Portilla – St. Joseph Greenville
Lockard Williams – St. Joseph Madison
Parker Baroni – Cathedral Natchez
Stephen Clement – Vicksburg Catholic

Choral Ensemble Festival
Vicksburg Catholic SSA and SATB received Superior rankings

National Academic Quiz-bowl Tournament (NAQT)
Cathedral Middle School’s two teams- placed 3rd and 5th overall. One team qualified for Nationals in May.

Robotics
Vicksburg Catholic Team 456 won the Engineering Inspiration Award from NASA at the Bayou Regional Competition. Attended World Championship Competition in Houston, Texas.
Annunciation School’s Robotics Club placed 1st at Regionals.

Bughouse Chess Championship
Two teams placed 1st and one team placed 2nd from Annunciation Columbus (two person teams playing blitz style- 5-minute games)

MSCA Chess Championship:
5th place – Lydia Frauendienst and Nathanial Rush (Annunciation Columbus)

MAIS Stem Competition (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
Best Overall – Bryan Sescu (Annunciation Columbus)

Teacher Recognition
Lauren Young – Annunciation Columbus: named Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce Elementary Teacher of the Year
April Moore – Annunciation Columbus: selected to present at NCEA
April Moore – Annunciation Columbus: selected Elementary VFW Teacher of the Year
Dr. Robika Mylroie – St. Anthony Counselor- awarded the Livesay Award from her alma mater Millsaps College.

Athletics

Archery – Championship
Class 4A: 3rd place – St. Joseph Greenville
Class 6A: 5th place – St. Joseph Madison

Soccer
Boys Soccer: All Star White Team – Greg Fore (St. Joseph Madison)
Boys Soccer: All Star Blue Team – Fritz Barbour and Braylon Poindexter (St. Joseph Madison)
Girls Soccer: Futures White Team – Elaina Price (St. Joseph Madison)
Girls Soccer: Futures Red Team – Sydney Leib (St. Joseph Madison)
Girls Soccer: White All Star Team – Stella McCarthy (St. Joseph Madison)
Girls Soccer: Blue All Star Team – Campbell Miller (St. Joseph Madison)
Braylon Poindexter signed to play at Gulf Coast Community College (St. Joseph Madison)
Fritz Barbour signed to play at Northwest Community College (St. Joseph Madison)

Basketball
Girls 4A-5A-6A Basketball: All Star Blue Team – Maia Turner (St. Joseph Madison)
Boys 4A-5A-6A Basketball: All Star Blue Team – Brandon Cooley (St. Joseph Madison)
Boys 4A-5A-6A Basketball: All Star Blue Team Assistant Coach – Jonathan Albright (Cathedral Natchez)
Girls Basketball Futures Red Team – Gabby Gray (St. Joseph Madison)
Boys Basketball Futures White Team – Brandon Burkes (St. Joseph Madison)
Boys Basketball Futures Red Team – Chris Gordon (St. Joseph Madison)

Holy Family School (Holly Springs) – NMAC Girls Champions, Lady Panther Teyuana Reaves named Conference Play of the Year
Maia Turner signed to play at Tougaloo College (St. Joseph Madison)

Football
All-MAIS 3A Team: Tyler Mongomery, Eli Williamson, Victor Baker, Mikael Jones and Chris Mayfield (St. Joseph Greenville)
3A Coach of the Year: John Baker (St. Joseph Greenville)
1A-2A-3A: All Star White Team – Chris Mayfield and Tyler Mongomery (St. Joseph Greenville)
4A-5A-6A: All Star White Team – Lonnie Smith (St. Joseph Madison)
4A-5A-6A: All Star Blue Team – Cam’Ron Tanner (Cathedral Natchez) and Demariet Davis (St. Joseph Madison)

Futures Gray Team – Victor Baker (St. Joseph Greenville) and KeyShaun Coleman (St. Joseph Madison)
Futures Red Team – ZyCameron Williams and Ryan Rainer (St. Joseph Madison)

MAIS 3A Football Champions – St. Joseph Greenville

Lonnie Smith signed to play football at Copiah- Lincoln Community College (St. Joseph Madison)

Varsity Swim Meet
1st place Boys 100 yard backstroke – 9th grade: Christopher Brown (St. Joseph Madison)

Spirit Competition
School Dance Kick Varsity Small – 1st place: Vicksburg Catholic
School Cheer Non-Tumbling Varsity Small – 2nd place: St. Joseph Madison
School Dance Kick Varsity Medium – 3rd place: Cathedral Natchez
School Cheer Non-Tumbling Varsity Medium – 3rd place: Vicksburg Catholic
School Dance Pom Varsity Small – 1st place: Vicksburg Catholic

Volleyball
Futures White Team – Calese White (St. Joseph Madison)
All Stars White Team – Alyssa Leonard (St. Joeseph Madison)
All Stars Blue Team – Assistant Coach Sydney McEachem (St. Joseph Madison)

Baseball
5A District 4 Play of the Year – Tristan Fondren (Cathedral Natchez)
Josh Ingram (Cathedral Natchez) signed to play at Millsaps College and is recipient of Presidential Scholarship.
Jackson Navarro (Cathedral Natchez) signed to play at Meridian Community College.

Softball
Liza Gregg committed to play for Millsaps College.

Tennis
5A MAIS Boys Singles South State Champion – Alex Monagan

Dance:
Maddie-Claire Spence (St. Joseph Madison) – Dixie Darling at University of Southern Mississippi

Schools were asked to submit awardees for this listing by the Office of Catholic Education.

Former St. Joseph teacher to be ordained as Jesuit priest in June

By Therese Meyerhoff
ST. LOUIS – J. Michael Mohr, SJ, will be ordained a priest on Saturday, June 8, 2024, in St. Louis. Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Mohr graduated from Catholic High School in 2006 and entered the Society of Jesus in 2013. He will be ordained alongside a fellow member of the USA Central and Southern (UCS) Province of the Society of Jesus, Daniel J. Everson, SJ.

The Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop Emeritus of St. Louis, will preside at the sacred liturgy at St. Francis Xavier College Church.

Mohr and Everson are among the 19 Jesuits to be ordained in the United States, Canada and Haiti this year. All have undergone extensive and holistic training intentionally designed to equip them to serve as pastors, educators, ministers and leaders in the Catholic Church of today – and tomorrow.

Mohr was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A graduate of Catholic High School, he first began thinking about religious life thanks to the witness of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, to whom he remains grateful.

During high school and college, he spent his summers working with youth in the Navajo Nation. After graduating from Millsaps College, Mohr taught high school English at St. Joseph Catholic School in Madison, Mississippi. During those three years, the idea of serving the church as a priest and teacher became more and more attractive. He entered the Society of Jesus at the Jesuit Novitiate of St. Stanislaus Kostka in Grand Coteau, Louisiana, in August 2013, alongside Dan Everson.

Mohr studied philosophy at Saint Louis University and completed his regency at St. Louis University High School. While there, he taught English and theology, assisted with the band, and helped with pastoral ministry and retreats.

Much of Mohr’s formation was shaped by numerous international experiences of service and study, including Spanish studies in Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico; service with Indigenous communities in Guyana; pastoral work in Belize; teaching English in Vietnam to brother Jesuits; working with Jesuit Refugee Service in Uganda; and studying theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. During his three years in Rome, Michael participated in Living Stones, a young adult group focused on spiritual formation and giving faith-based art and architectural visits through different churches.

After ordination, Father Mohr will pursue a Licentiate in Sacred Theology at the Boston College Clough School of Theology and Ministry.

(The Jesuits are a Roman Catholic order of priests and brothers founded nearly 500 years ago by St. Ignatius of Loyola. With more than 15,000 priests, scholastics and brothers worldwide, they are the largest male religious order in the Catholic Church. Jesuits are widely known for their colleges, universities and high schools, but Jesuits also minister in retreat houses, parishes, hospitals and refugee camps. The USA Central and Southern (UCS) Province serves in 12 states, Puerto Rico and Belize and has approximately 350 men who serve as pastors, administrators, educators, spiritual and retreat directors and in other roles. Jesuits have served in this area of the United States and the Caribbean as early as the 16th century and continually since the restoration of the Society in 1815.)

In memoriam: Rev. Thomas Lind, SCJ

By Staff Reports
HALES CORNERS, Wis. – Originally from Minneapolis, Rev. Thomas Lind, SCJ, died on April 11, just days before his 92nd birthday. He was a member of the Sacred Heart Community in Pinellas Park, Florida. Nearly ten years earlier he had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

Father Tom completed his seminary studies at Sacred Heart Monastery (now Sacred Heart Seminary and School of Theology). He professed his first vows with the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians) in 1951 and was ordained in 1958.

His first full-time assignment was back where he started: assisting at the Sacred Heart Novitiate in Ste. Marie, Ilinois, from 1960-64. From there, he went to St. Joseph’s Indian School, where he served for 17 years. He would later return to South Dakota for a short-term assignment on the Cheyenne River Reservation from 1999-2000.

For nine years (1980-89) he was pastor of St. James Church in Corinth, Mississippi. After two years at Christ the Redeemer parish in Houston, he moved to northwest Mississippi, where he assisted with pastoral ministry from 2000-2016. Since 2016, he had been a member of the SCJ retirement community in Pinellas Park.

“He was a very sweet man,” are the words that so many used to describe Father Tom upon learning of his death.

“I enjoyed his company and his homilies,” wrote another.

“He was a holy priest, a friend… and a pretty good golfer!” said another.

In his homily, Father Vien Nguyen, SCJ, provincial superior of the US Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart, reflected on a phrase displayed prominently in Father Tom’s room: “Do what is right, seek what is good, walk humbly before the Lord,” from the prophet Micah.

“Doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God are not separate from each other; rather, they are interconnected,” said Father Vien.” They form the essence of God’s heart. Tom, I believe that having the words of the prophet Micah on your wall was not for decoration. Instead, they served as a reminder of what you wanted to achieve in your religious life as a Dehonian.

“May we too follow the footsteps of Father Leo John Dehon and have the courage to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. We hope that we too one day will be invited to the glorious banquet held on Mount Zion, never to be separated from God’s love, and be blessed for living the Beatitudes.”

The Mass of Christian Burial for Father Tom was held on Thursday, April 18, at Good Shepherd Chapel at Sacred Heart at Monastery Lake in Hales Corners, Wisconsin.

Father Sebastian’s latest book focuses on roots of our beloved prayers

By David Tisdale
GREENVILLE – To help Catholics and other Christians keep prayer from becoming mere routine, Father Sebastian Myladiyil, SVD offers in his latest book in invitation to how to better understand and contemplate our devotions to the Holy Trinity through his deep examination of their genesis.

Father Sebastian recently published Why We Pray What We Pray, described as a “spiritual journey of prayer, silence and aspiration” in which he examines the prayers Christians hold dear and recite in times of worship, gratitude, contrition, and in despair. He looks closely at the historical and theological foundations and significations of The Lord’s Prayer, Hail Mary, The Way of the Cross, The Rosary, the Mass, Lectio Divina among others, further clarifying the concepts in which they are grounded so they become even more relatable and meaningful to us.

“The more I understand the words, actions, emotions, and feelings that are attached to a particular prayer, the better it helps me to engage in it,” Father Sebastian said of Why We Pray What We Pray. “That is why I have tried to explain prayer here by looking at its meaning, historical origins, scriptural basis, and theological significance. I hope readers find these beneficial as well and come to engage in prayer in an intentional manner. “

Father Sebastian Myladiyil, SVD stands with his latest book – Why We Pray What We Pray. The book is available on Amazon or for a personalized copy, contact Father Sebastian at sebymy@hotmail.com. (Photo courtesy of Gulf Pine Catholic)

Why We Pray What We Pray invites readers to look at the whole of the narrative of The Word through the many prayers connecting us to it. In an excerpt from the book, referencing the Hail Mary, Father Sebastian writes:
“In our prayer, we make these beautiful words of Elizabeth our own. Today, we recognize Mary as the most blessed woman in history due to her faithful acceptance of God’s plan and her willingness to fulfill it perfectly.” The phrase emphasizes the lessons we can learn from Mary’s life and her response to God’s plan. It teaches us the value of faithful acceptance of God’s purpose, humility, and obedience. We are encouraged to recognize and celebrate the blessings in the lives of others, trust in God’s perfect timing, and utilize the power of prayer to seek spiritual support and guidance. In essence, Mary’s story inspires us to align our lives with God’s will, embrace His plan, and appreciate the blessings in our own lives and in the lives of those around us.”

In discussing the inspirations for his latest book, Father Sebastian says he values prayer and its power, and hopes what he is written also inspires more meditative and reflective moments. “It [prayer] is the force that guides and strengthens my life,” Father Sebastian explained. “It helps me to deepen my relationship with my God as I see those moments as special times between me and the One I love – God. It is also the glue that holds life together when things seem difficult and challenging.

“I truly experience the power of prayer when I intentionally engage in it and actively lead or participate in it. For the words of a prayer to become meaningful and the feelings to become real, I must immerse and involve myself totally in it – my body, soul, mind, and heart.”

Father Sebastian credits first his parents and a family atmosphere he says helped him value the importance of prayer, and later his educational formation in the seminary and daily service as a priest.
“The seminary formation and my life as a priest is centered around prayer and spirituality,” he further noted. “The celebration of the sacraments and other liturgical functions are powerful moments of prayer, and the greatest of such moments is the celebration of the Eucharist – the greatest form of prayer.

“As a priest, I am also blessed to be part of some of the most significant moments in the life of my parishioners as well as others in the community, such as through baptism, Holy Communion, matrimony, anointing of the sick, and funerals. These moments may be joyful or painful, and prayer has a way of enhancing those joyful moments or offering comfort to those experiencing pain and difficulties. In the period after Katrina, there were certainly moments of hope and love in action.”

The practice of deep contemplative, meditative, intentional prayer can, Father Sebastian believes, can utilize one’s heart and mind in ways we may not have previously considered.

“[Prayer] can help in getting in touch with one’s emotions and feelings and see them in the light of the Word of God,” Father Sebastian said. “One is able to get in touch with one’s deepest being when one is removed from the distractions of the world and is able to focus on the source of one’s existence – God.”

In a world marred by violence, war, chaos and social upheaval – events and conditions not new to humankind – prayer is our best defense against these forces, Father Sebastian contends.

“Every age has its own challenges, and when we face them for the first time, they might seem to be the greatest of all,” he said. “We are living in a digital age, and we think they pose certain challenges to faith. But I am sure our ancestors in the early industrial age or scientific age thought those [challenges facing them] to be the greatest challenges as well. I am not minimizing the challenges the modern world is presenting to our faith, but God is still in charge, and everything happens for a reason.”

With that philosophy in mind, Father Sebastian says he firmly believes in the words of the Apostle Paul when he said: ‘All things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8: 28), and, further noting, “When challenges mount, it only helps me to actively seek the source of my strength – God – and the process I use is prayer.”

Father Sebastian is currently serving as pastor at Sacred Heart Church in Greenville; St. Francis Church in Shaw; and Sacred Heart Church in Rosedale. A native of India, he is a member of the Society of the Divine Word (Latin – Societas Verbi Divini, SVD), also known as Divine Word Missionaries, and has been serving the SVD’s U.S. Southern Province since 1999.

He holds master’s degrees in moral theology from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, and in educational leadership and counselling from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. His other works include His Instruments; His Instruments – If God Could Use Them He Can Use Us and Blown Together – The Trials and Miracles of Katrina, along with a translation of His Instruments into Spanish, Sus Instrumentos.

(Reprinted with permission of Gulf Pine Catholic/Diocese of Biloxi)

Progress and prayers: Sister Thea Bowman’s cause update

By Mary Woodward
This past April, Holy Child Jesus Parish in Canton hosted a beautiful memorial celebration for Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman. The celebration is normally held close to Sister Thea’s anniversary of her death on March 30, but this year that fell during Holy Week and Easter liturgies.

In light of this celebration, it is a good time to give an update on Sister Thea’s cause for canonization process. Currently the diocesan phase is underway. The historical commission is delving into the writing of Sister Thea and compiling a highly structured document that will profile her piety and include a biography. This commission meets monthly with our postulator in Rome via Zoom to address any technical questions involved in the research.

The Cause for Sister Thea Bowman continues to advance. After the historial commission’s work is complete it will be sealed and presented to the postulator to deliver to the dicastery. (Photo from archives)

As part of the historical commission’s work, all of Sister Thea’s handwritten notes and outlines must be transcribed into a typed document. This process is being coordinated by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration’s archives. Dozens of student volunteers are participating in this task.

I have seen Sister Thea’s writing files, and she certainly had a unique way of recording her thoughts. Therefore, this is quite an undertaking to get all this typeset. We are most grateful to the FSPA archivist, Meg Paulino, for tackling this required part of the canonical process.

Two theological experts are reviewing her work for doctrinal surety. This will require an extensive bibliography of her works.

Witness testimonies have been taken and are being transcribed and processed. A few more witnesses will be interviewed sometime later this summer or early fall.

When all is ready, Bishop Joseph Kopacz will lead a special liturgy in which the documents in triplicate, will be sealed and presented to the postulator to deliver to the Dicastery. Once that is completed, the postulator will work with the dicastery to move the cause forward.

At a certain point, once the cause is in Rome, the Holy Father may declare the Servant of God as Venerable – showing heroic virtue. After Venerable, the next step is beatification and in order to be beatified there must be a miracle. Examination of the miracle goes through a similar canonical process as the diocesan phase. If a miracle is proven and accepted, the Servant of God is put on the schedule for an official liturgy of beatification.

The next step would be canonization and that requires a second miracle. That miracle would have to happen after the beatification. All in all, the Roman side of the process takes a long time.

During the Roman Phase, we hope to begin to create local guilds in our diocese and around the region. These guilds will help promote Sister Thea’s cause through prayer for the cause and by hosting various spiritual and educational events designed to raise awareness about the cause.

As for now, we need many prayers for the cause, especially for those involved in working through the fine details of the diocesan phase.

We also can use donations to the cause as it does have several financial costs for travel, translations, experts and administration.

Donations may be made out to the Diocese of Jackson and sent to the Chancellor’s Office, 237 E. Amite Street, Jackson, MS 39201. Make sure you mark the donation for Sister Thea’s Cause.

Or to donate online and learn more about the Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman, FSPA, visit our website at: https://www.jacksondiocese.org/thea-bowman. From this site you also may watch the wonderful documentary on her life “Going Home Like a Shooting Star” and find a link to the cause’s official site with photos and tributes to her.

Presenting a cause for canonization is one of the noblest things a diocese can undertake as an official act of the church. It is exciting to know that over the next several months we are participating in this ancient tradition and moving forward in completing the diocesan phase of this esteemed process.

(Mary Woodward is Chancellor and Archivist for the Diocese of Jackson.)

May’s Marian feasts

By OSV News
The Catholic Church has dedicated numerous feast days throughout the year to events in the life of Mary and her various titles. The following are some of the feasts of Mary in the month of May:

Feast of Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament (May 13): Mary was called Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament by St. Peter Julian Eymard in 1868. In 1905, St. Pius X granted an indulgence to those who prayed to Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament. The Vatican in 1921 designated May 13 as her feast day (but the celebration is not on the church’s universal calendar).

Feast of Our Lady of Fatima (May 13): This feast commemorates the first of six apparitions of Mary to three shepherd children at Fatima in Portugal on May 13, 1917. The feast has become a cultural celebration for Portuguese Catholics around the world and is celebrated in many parishes throughout the United States, often with a procession through the streets surrounding the church.

Feast of Mary, Help of Christians (May 24): After praying to Mary for his safe release from captivity when taken prisoner by the French, Pope Pius VII instituted this feast day in 1815. The feast venerates Mary for her intercession on behalf of those who pray to her. Many Catholics will traditionally mark this day by performing their own charitable deeds to help others in need.

Feast of the Visitation (May 31): Originally celebrated in July, the feast of the Visitation marks Luke’s Gospel account of Mary, having been told by the Angel Gabriel that she would bear the son of God, visiting her cousin Elizabeth. The feast, which originated in the 13th century, was transferred to its current date in 1969 after the feast of the Queenship of Mary, previously celebrated on May 31, was moved to Aug. 22 to follow the feast of the Assumption.

Pastoral Reimaginada: Obispo discierne futuro decrecimiento y colaboración

Por Joanna Puddister King
JACKSON – Pastoral Reimaginada fue un proceso de un año de duración, emprendido por la Diócesis de Jackson y que continúa con un período de discernimiento por parte del obispo Joseph Kopacz, antes de concluir con una carta pastoral.
Este proceso se extendió a lo largo de cinco fases principales, que incluyeron el establecimiento de comités de Reimaginación Pastoral, evaluaciones parroquiales, revisión de datos sobre demografía diocesana por parte del Centro de Investigación Aplicada en el Apostolado (CARA) y reuniones de párrocos, diáconos y LEM.
La tercera fase acaba de concluir con la visita del obispo Kopacz a cada decanato para celebrar una Misa de Acción de Gracias y para reunirse con personas claves que trabajaron en el proceso de reinvención pastoral de cada parroquia.
En el mes de marzo, se pidió a los sacerdotes, diáconos y LEM de cada decanato de la diócesis que discutieran las respuestas del proceso de Reimaginación de las parroquias.
Algunas de las preguntas discutidas fueron: ¿En qué áreas vieron crecimiento; ¿Cuáles son los desafíos asociados con ese crecimiento? ¿En qué áreas del ministerio están disminuyendo? ¿Cuáles son los desafíos de esta disminución? y ¿Qué áreas necesitan mayor colaboración con las oficinas de Cancillería?
Después de las reuniones en el decanato, el obispo Kopacz viajó a cada uno de ellos para una Misa especial de Acción de Gracias, celebrando “Eucaristía y Conversación” con quienes trabajaron en el proceso de Reimaginación Pastoral en sus respectivas parroquias. Aunque cada reunión tuvo respuestas variadas, a todos se les hicieron las preguntas: ¿Hacia dónde vamos a partir de ahora? ¿Cómo animamos y fomentamos las ventajas crecientes? ¿Cómo abordamos los desafíos?

Valencia Hall de la Sagrada Familia Natchez habla en la reunión para el proceso de Reimaginación Pastoral en el Decanato II en el Centro de Vida Familiar de St. Mary Basílica el lunes 8 de abril.

En cada decanato, muchos destacaron la creciente población hispana y plantearon preguntas sobre cómo servir a la población fiel y eficazmente, un sentimiento que el obispo Kopacz destacó en una reunión con sacerdotes durante la segunda fase del proceso de reinvención.
“Estoy agradecido con varias de nuestras parroquias que se han abierto para invitar a la población hispana a través de Misa y liturgia. Es simplemente asombroso ver el crecimiento.”
Después de evaluar las necesidades a través del proceso de Reimaginación, el padre Manohar Thangundla de la parroquia San Francisco de Asís en Brookhaven recientemente agregó una Misa en español, los sábados de cada semana, para dar cabida a un número cada vez mayor de hispanos en el área. Además, comenzó a aprender vietnamita para celebrar también una Misa mensual para esta comunidad en crecimiento.
El obispo Kopacz dice que casi 30 de las 72 parroquias de la diócesis ofrecen Misa en español.
“Se trata de acercar a la gente a la comunidad a un nivel más profundo, pero el desafío es la alfabetización [de nuestros sacerdotes]… Tener la confianza suficiente para ofrecer la Misa, incluso si no puedes predicar la homilía en español,” dijo el obispo Kopacz. “Tenemos sacerdotes en la diócesis que son bilingües y muchos que están dispuestos a aprender a celebrar los sacramentos, para que la gente pueda tener esa experiencia”.
Raquel Thompson, directora del ministerio hispano en St. James Tupelo, dijo que ella y la directora de formación en la fe de la parroquia, Rhonda Swita, están trabajando para unir a las comunidades blanca e hispana con la premisa: “estamos mejor juntos.” “Ella [Swita] está trabajando para crear más actividades que podamos hacer juntos como familias. … Entonces, seremos una Iglesia católica entera”, dijo Thompson. “Somos un cuerpo de Cristo, y no importa el idioma que hablemos, tenemos que ser amables, respetuosos y amarnos unos a otros.”

TUPELO – En reunión del Decanato V, Rachel Thompson, premio LIMEX de la Universidad Loyola New Orleans al liderazgo y directora del Ministerio Hispano de St. James, habla a sus parroquianos, una comunidad de varias generaciones e identidades culturales. (Foto de Tereza Ma)

En cuanto a desafíos adicionales y fomento del crecimiento, muchas de las reuniones del decanato mencionaron la disponibilidad de actividades y la participación de jóvenes y adultos jóvenes en sus respectivas comunidades, con énfasis en que los adultos involucren a sus hijos en la comunidad de la iglesia.
Lauren Codding, quien sirvió en el comité de Reimaginación Pastoral de St. Alphonsus McComb y asistió a la sesión de la fase tres con el obispo Kopacz para el decanato dos, dijo que, durante la evaluación del comité, identificaron la formación en la fe para jóvenes y adultos jóvenes como un área de mejora.
“Queremos comenzar a brindar formación en la fe a nuestra comunidad de jóvenes adultos, para que se sientan bienvenidos y podamos construir una comunidad entre ese grupo de edad. Nuestra esperanza es que comiencen a traer a sus hijos a la iglesia y nosotros, a su vez, podamos alimentar a los niños a través de la educación religiosa,” dijo Codding.
La parroquia también espera iniciar un programa de ministerio universitario para llegar a los adultos jóvenes en el colegio comunitario local de McComb.
El ministerio universitario es una iniciativa que otros en la diócesis expresaron durante las sesiones de Reimagining para llegar al grupo demográfico de adultos jóvenes. En una respuesta proactiva a la creciente demanda de más oportunidades para los adultos jóvenes, la diócesis inauguró su Oficina de Ministerio Universitario y de Jóvenes Adultos en 2022. Este esfuerzo fue en respuesta al proceso del Sínodo sobre la Sinodalidad, donde la diócesis escuchó inquietudes sobre la evangelización entre los jóvenes. adultos.
“Este es un ministerio que seguirá creciendo a medida que hagamos esfuerzos adicionales en nuestras parroquias para alcanzar nuestros límites en crecimiento,” dijo el obispo Kopacz.
Una tercera área discutida en muchas de las reuniones comunitarias del decanato para el proceso de Reimaginación es la importancia de un sentido de comunidad e invitar a los no católicos a aprender sobre la iglesia.
Varias parroquias mencionaron durante varias reuniones de decanato que las pequeñas comunidades de fe han logrado fomentar amistades para toda la vida y un sentido de fe fuerte. Otros, como Isaac Blakemore de St. Francis Madison, y quien acaba de ingresar a la iglesia en la Vigilia Pascual, sintieron que como católicos debemos comprender nuestra fe y tener el coraje de compartirla con la comunidad. Como exministro metodista ordenado, Blakemore se sintió atraído a la Iglesia Católica por los sacramentos. Les dijo a los miembros del decanato, reunidos en St. Francis Madison, que cuando recibió la Eucaristía por primera vez, fue como si alguien le hubiera contado un secreto.

Miembros del Decanato I se reunieron en St. Francis Madison el jueves 11 de abril de 2024 para una Misa de Acción de Gracias con el Obispo Kopacz por el proceso de Reimaginación Pastoral que la diócesis ha emprendido desde Pentecostés el año pasado. (Fotos de Joanna King)

“Una cosa que creo que todas las parroquias podrían hacer es… simplemente estar orgullosas de lo que ofrece la fe católica y compartirla,” dijo Blakemore. “Si crees que esta es la única y verdadera iglesia, debes creer que el Espíritu Santo puede moverse Puedes invitar a alguien a aprender sobre la fe católica… y estar dispuesto a discutirla”.

KOSCIUSKO – Al fondo del salón parroquial de St Therese, el obispo Joseph Kopacz se dirigió en abril 29 a una concurrida audiencia, con miembros de todas las parroquias del Decanato VI, como parte de la última reunión del proceso de Reimaginación. (Foto de Tereza Ma)

La cuarta fase del proceso de Reimaginación Pastoral está actualmente en marcha con el Obispo Kopacz en una temporada de discernimiento, dando tiempo para redactar una carta pastoral al pueblo de Dios en la Diócesis de Jackson.
Cuando se le preguntó sobre el proceso general de Reimaginación, el obispo Kopacz explicó que se desarrolló en etapas debido a su naturaleza orgánica, profundamente arraigada en el nivel de base.
“Pedimos a las parroquias que pensaran, reflexionaran y oraran lo mejor que pudieran”, dijo el obispo Kopacz.
Planea mantener su carta pastoral lo más breve posible, pero aún así tener suficiente sustancia para abordar áreas clave de crecimiento y preocupación.
“Veo mi ministerio … como seguir minando y arando este campo; y ver qué podemos hacer y cómo podemos ayudarnos unos a otros para que esto suceda a nivel local; y con y a través de la diócesis”, dice el obispo Kopacz.