Calendar of events

SPIRITUAL ENRICHMENT
COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. Women’s Morning of Spirituality, Saturday, May 14 at the Catholic Church of the Incarnation. Program begins at 7:15 a.m. with breakfast and ends with Mass at 12:15 with Most Rev. J. Terry Steib. Details: Register at http://womensmorning.com.

PARISH, FAMILY AND SCHOOL EVENTS
FLOWOOD LifeWalk for Center for Pregnancy Choices, May 7 at 8 a.m. at the Flowood Nature Park. Non-competitive one mile run/walk. Visit www.cpcmetrofriends.org/lifewalk for more information.

GREENVILLE St. Joseph, Paul and Wadel Abide Memorial Golf Classic, Friday, May 13 with 1 p.m. tee time at the Greenville Golf and Country Club. Following golfing is dinner with beverages. Teams will consist of 4-man scrambles. Sponsorships available. Details: Bonda Abide at (662) 931-0490.

St. Joseph School, Calling St. Joe class of 2002, it’s your 20th reunion. Please update your mailing address, email and phone number to receive all reunion details with Leslie Anderson at leslieabideanderson@gmail.com.

HERNANDO Holy Spirit, 2022 Yard Sale, Friday/Saturday, May 13-14. Items will fill every inch of the Family Life Center. Details: LaRae Walgenbach at (901) 486-0225 if you have questions or would like to volunteer.
JACKSON St. Richard Men’s Club, Flight to the Finish 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run will be held at the school/church campus on Saturday, May 7. Details: call (601) 366-1157.

JACKSON Birthright Mom’s Day Baby Shower, May 7 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Holy Family parish. Birthright is celebrating expectant mothers by giving away 100 baby gift bags. All are welcome to learn about the ways Birthright provides hope, friendship and support to women who are pregnant or think they may be pregnant. Details: email birthrightofjackson@gmail.com.

MADISON St. Francis, Parish Family Picnic, Sunday, May 22 after 10:30 a.m. Mass. Picnic is full of activities for children, along with food and fellowship for all. Details: church office (601) 856-5556.

St. Francis, Floyd Q. Doolittle Golf Classic at Whisper Lake Country Club on Saturday, May 14, with all proceeds going directly to seminarian education. In addition to playing the course, compete in a putting contest and a closest-to-the-pin event. Also enjoy lunch and supper prepared by the Knights of Columbus Council 9543 at St. Francis, and you may win a door prize! Details: Art Ring at (601) 559-8581 or somerville3817@gmail.com if you’d like to play, sponsor or volunteer at the tournament.

NATCHEZ Cathedral School, 38th Annual Crawfish Countdown Saturday, May 7, 6-10 p.m. Live music by 90 Degrees West. Tickets $120 each and $30 for second chance insurance. Details: more information and tickets available at cathedralgreenwave.com.

Ireland Trip with Father O’Connor, September 7-15, 2022. Beauty and culture around every corner on this 8-night Wild Atlantic Tour of Ireland. With its leisurely pace of 4-nights Galway, 3-nights Donegal, ending in a beautiful castle, this tour is a true gem. For more information visit https://caragrouptravel.com/tour-of-ireland-with-father-o-connor-2022/

SOUTHAVEN Christ the King, Trivia Night on Friday, May 6 at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $15/person or $25/couple. You can purchase a sub sandwich or bring your own food and drink. Door prizes available. Details: Karin at (901) 289-0311.

JOB OPENINGS
JOB OPENINGS Catholic schools across the diocese have a variety of positions open from principals to substitutes. Please visit https://schools.jacksondiocese.org/education-overview/employment/ for an opportunity near you.

SAVE THE DATE
CLARKSDALE St. Elizabeth, VBS 2022: Celebrating God’s Greatness, June 20-24. Details: Catelin Britt (662) 902-6478.

OLIVE BRANCH Knights of Columbus, Spaghetti Fundraiser, Sunday, May 22, 2022 after Mass. Dine in or carry out. $8 per plate, $25 per family, $2 smoked sausage ($1 half), $10 quart gravy and $5 quart slaw. Details: church office (662) 895-5007.

JACKSON St. Richard, VBS 2022, June 6-9. Online registration open May 1-10. No registrations will be accepted after May 10. Details: church office (601) 366-2335.

JACKSON Priestly Ordination of Deacon Andrew Bowden, Saturday, May 14 at 10:30 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle.

MADISON St. Francis, VBS 2022, June 20-24 for all children going into Pre-K4 through fourth grades. Registration will begin in May if enough volunteers sign up to assist with the camp. Details: Mary Catherine at mc.george@stfrancismadison.org.

PONTOTOC St. Christopher Catholic Friendship Camp, ages 7-11, June 12-18; and ages 12-14, June 19-25. Details: Heidi Stephens campsm@juno.com or https://www.campfriendshipmississippi.com.

Declaración Diocesana sobre sentencia penal de Paul West

JACKSON – Paul West fue maestro y director de la Escuela St. Francis en Greenwood, Mississippi, desde julio de 1993 hasta octubre de 1998.

La Diócesis de Jackson cooperó plenamente con el Estado de Mississippi en la reciente condena penal de Paul West, incluyendo la prestación de testimonios de antecedentes en su juicio para lista diocesana de clérigos que han sido acusados de manera creíble de abuso sexual de menores. La lista se proporcionó por primera vez al fiscal general del estado de Mississippi en 2002, que luego se actualizó y se hizo pública en marzo de 2019.

La Diócesis informó la acusación inicial contra Paul West al Departamento de Servicios Humanos y al Departamento de Policía de Greenwood en 1998 e informó las acusaciones posteriores al Fiscal de Distrito del Condado de Leflore en 2018. West fue destituido del ministerio después de la denuncia original de 1998.

La Diócesis de Jackson está comprometida con la protección de los niños. La mala conducta sexual por parte del personal de la Iglesia viola la dignidad humana y la misión de la Iglesia.

La Diócesis ha dedicado una cantidad considerable de tiempo y recursos para garantizar que los niños atendidos por la Iglesia no estén en riesgo de abuso sexual por parte del personal de la Iglesia.

Durante los últimos treinta años, la Diócesis de Jackson ha desarrollado e implementado un programa de ambiente seguro. La Diócesis ha publicado normas de conducta para sus sacerdotes y diáconos, así como para empleados diocesanos, voluntarios y cualquier otro personal de la Iglesia en puestos de confianza que tenga contacto regular con niños y jóvenes.

A partir de 1986, la Diócesis implementó una política y un procedimiento por escrito con respecto a la denuncia y el manejo de reclamos por conducta sexual inapropiada. La política se actualizó en 1994 con la adición de un Comité Diocesano de Revisión de Aptitud y nuevamente en 2002 para que reflejara los mandatos de la Carta Episcopal.

Sínodo: Audiencia Pública de Obispo Kopacz con feligreses

Por Berta Mexidor y Joanna King
JACKSON – Católicos Hispanos y angloparlantes han compartido con el Obispo Joseph Kopacz sus opiniones y esperanzas en el cambio para bien de toda la comunidad y la Iglesia. El Obispo Kopacz participó en diez sesiones de escucha, desde el 21 de marzo al 19 de abril, a través de toda la diócesis para recibir las sugerencias de soluciones a varios de los cambios y retos de la Iglesia para el futuro.

Las cuatro audiencias públicas con la comunidad Hispana fueron conducidas por el diácono permanente Carlos A. Solá, de St .James Tupelo. El diácono Sola tiene 31 años al servicio del pueblo Santo de Dios y comenzó a servir en la parroquia de St. James Tupelo en noviembre 2021.

Las audiencias públicas regionales son el paso posterior a las discusiones en cada parroquia de los objetivos del Sínodo de la Sinodalidad, propuesto por el Papa Francisco, para responder a interrogantes que tienen los católicos alrededor del mundo. Los puntos que resumen todas las intervenciones en las parroquias y que fueron analizados en las audiencias públicas regionales son tres:

FOREST– Fredy Orozco, líder en la comunidad de Forest por más de diez años, reparte el material con los puntos a debatir en audiencia pública el 24 de marzo en el salón de St. Michael. (Foto de Berta Mexidor)

— Sanación y Unidad
— Formación de Adultos para la Evangelización
— Educación: Niños y Jóvenes

Al recoger todas estas impresiones, el Obispo someterá un informe Diocesano a la Conferencia de Obispos de Estados Unidos (USCCB), que elaborará un resumen nacional para presentar al Papa. A continuación, Mississippi Católico ofrece un resumen de cada una de las sesiones.

St. Michael Forest
El jueves 24 de marzo, en la parroquia de St. Michael, Forest, el obispo Joseph Kopacz asistió a una audiencia pública con parroquianos de la región.

Junto a los presentes, en el salón de la iglesia, estuvieron los padres Adolfo Suárez, párroco de San Miguel Forest y Padre Marco Antonio Sánchez, ST, párroco de St. Anne Carthage y conocidos líderes de toda la comunidad católica como Blanca Peralta de Sacred Heart, Canton y Fredy Orozco líder en la comunidad de Forest y quienes, resumiendo muchos años de servicio a sus comunidades, dieron también sus impresiones al obispo. El padre Adolfo instó a todos los presentes a decir en que forma la parroquia y la diócesis puede ayudar a los adultos, principalmente a los padres de familia.

Una parroquiana dijo que la mejor forma para la sanación y unidad de las comunidades, problema básicamente relacionado con la diversidad de culturas que hay en la parroquia, sería el aprendizaje del inglés, como lenguaje común para poder transmitir tradiciones y fe. Los parroquianos que tomaron la palabra coincidieron en que hay que identificar a los líderes que estén listos a ayudar a los demás “por amor a Dios,” dijo uno de ellos.

St. Jude Pearl
Olinsser y Nadya Villafranca son mexicanos y líderes de la comunidad Hispana, después que se unieran a Ismael y Nadia Garcia en su sueño de fortalecer la comunidad católica que asiste a la parroquia.

El matrimonio Villafranca estuvo presente en la sesión de escucha el martes 29 de marzo y allí le expresaron al obispo su mayor preocupación para el futuro de la Iglesia: la educación y formación de los jóvenes, concentrada en el punto #3 de la agenda.

Nadya resume que la sesión “… fue una buena oportunidad para dirigirse directamente a la Diócesis,” cuando en la audiencia habían católicos de muchos años en Mississippi y otros que solo tienen tres o cuatro meses y andan en busca de seguir su tradición católica, “me llamo mucho la atención la disponibilidad del Obispo para acercarse a toda la comunidad y como al final de la misma, continuó conversando con varios de los presentes,” concluyó Nadya.

St. Francis Greenwood
El diácono Solá califica la reunión, de alrededor de 30 personas y los padres capuchinos, de buena y en donde sobresalió el deseo de aprender la palabra de Dios, manejo de la Biblia y la oportunidad de crecer en la espiritualidad con contenidos sólidos de la fe católica.

St. James Tupelo
Danna Johnson, quien es Ministra Eclesial Laica del Inmaculado Corazón de María en Houston, resumió la audiencia como “muy positiva y donde la gente estaba dispuesta a compartir con espíritu de fe, sus opiniones con el obispo.” Parroquianos de todo el decanato V participaron en la misma. Allí la participación de jóvenes fue impresionante y sus intervenciones versaron acerca de la Formación de adultos y jóvenes, donde pidieron retiros y encuentros para conocerse mejor y la preocupación por aquellos que se van y no regresan.

Sínodo al Futuro
Ahora que las sesiones del sínodo regional están completas, el Consejo Asesor del Sínodo y el obispo Kopacz compilarán un informe de 10 páginas para el 30 de junio. Luego, el informe entra en una “fase de síntesis nacional”, que se enviará al Vaticano a fines de agosto.

Fran Lavelle, a cargo del Departamento Formación de Fe de la Diócesis, dice que mientras tanto “no tenemos que esperar un documento de Roma, podemos comenzar a marcar la diferencia hoy.”

MADISON – El Obispo Kopacz se dirige a los parroquianos en St. Francis, Madison el 21 de marzo, durante la primera Audiencia Pública, donde el obispo escuchó opiniones variadas para mejorar la Iglesia. (Foto de Joanna King)
TUPELO – Una audiencia de Hispanos, de todas las parroquias del Decanato V, intercambió con el Obispo Kopacz el 5 de abril en St. James Tupelo, en reunión donde los jóvenes fueron muy activos. (Foto cortesía de Danna Johnson)

Corazón de Jesús, Familia y Semana Santa

RICHLAND – La Federación de Jackson del movimiento Familiar Católico Cristiano celebró su conferencia regional el sábado 26 de marzo. La reunión contó con la presencia de al menos 40 matrimonios. Rafael Pisso Rivera S.T.
Vicario General de los Siervos Misioneros de la Santísima Trinidad
fue el invitado por el Padre Marco Antonio Sanchez, ST, quien es el párroco de St. Anne Carthage y asesor espiritual del MFCC, María. (Fotos de Berta Mexidor)

Corazón Ardiente llega a Mississippi

Smithsonian National Museum of African American Culture seeks to create a Sister Thea Bowman, FSPA exhibit

By Sister Thea Bowman Guild
WASHINGTON – Teddy Reeves, M.Div., Ph.D., curator of religion and co-interim head of the Center for the Study of African American Religious Life for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, DC is delighted to have obtained one of Sister Thea Bowman’s most popular gowns.

Reeves contacted Redemptorist Father Maurice J. Nutt two years ago inquiring if he had an African gown owned by Sister Thea. At the time Father Nutt did not have one of Sister Thea’s gowns in his possession. As fate would have it, months later, Father Nutt was given a very popular gown worn by Sister Thea from Boston College professor emerita, Dr. M. Shawn Copeland.

With Dr. Copeland’s permission, Father Nutt gifted the gown to the NMAAHC as a way of promoting Sister Thea’s life and holiness to a greater audience. Father Nutt noted, “I think that Sister Thea would love being a part of the first national museum honoring the history, culture, and legacy of African Americans. In my estimation, Sister Thea Bowman is African American history and culture!”

The NMAAHC was also given permission by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration to use pictures of Sister Thea for the future exhibit. The museum is seeking to collect other items and artifacts of Sister Thea to make for a more robust exhibition. There is no date available on when the exhibit will debut.

(If anyone wishes to donate items belonging to Sister Thea Bowman to the Smithsonian exhibit contact Father Maurice Nutt at maurice.nutt@jacksondiocese.org. For more information on the Cause for Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman or to donate to the cause, visit www.sistertheabowman.com.)

In memoriam: Sister Kay Burton, SNJM

ROCKFORD, Wa. – Sister Kay was born Frances Catherine (Kay) Burton on Nov. 3, 1936, in Santa Monica, California to Gordon and Marie Burton while Gordon was employed by Douglas Aircraft to work on experimental airplanes. The family moved to Issaquah, Washington, in 1942 when Gordon began work as a government inspector on airplanes in Renton. They lived there for less than a year when the family moved to Rockford, Washington, where Kay had fond memories of living on the Saunders place. In 1948, the family moved to Lake Creek, Idaho, into the farmhouse where Gordon had been raised and that is still standing today.

In 1954, Kay graduated from Rockford High School as Valedictorian. She enrolled in Holy Names College, Spokane, graduating in 1958 with a degree in Education and began her teaching career at Deer Park High School. In January 1960, after a year and a half teaching in public schools, Kay entered the novitiate of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary at Marylhurst, Oregon receiving the religious name Sister Gordon Mary. She pronounced first vows on Feb. 5, 1962.

Sister Kay spent years developing peace-education programs and anti-racism curricula as an inner-city teacher and administrator in Seattle. She traveled to Clarksdale, Mississippi, in 1978 to teach at Immaculate Conception School and earned a M.Ed. in Counseling and Guidance from Western Michigan University in 1979. After returning to Spokane from 1983-87 to assume a leadership role as Provincial Director of her SNJM community, Sister Kay returned to Mississippi. She bought a house which she immediately remodeled into appropriate space for tutoring. She reached out to the Jonestown community to find out what people wanted. As a result, Sister Kay established GED programs, garden projects, softball teams and life skills classes for the people of Jonestown. Music was important to her and became a major emphasis. She encouraged instructors to come to Jonestown to teach music. The result was joyful singing at annual Christmas celebrations and Black history presentations, as well as piano recitals and other wonderful gatherings.

Her successful volunteer recruitment campaigns led to innumerable home repair and Habitat for Humanity projects benefiting the residents of Jonestown. Volunteers created a playground for younger children and helped upgrade basketball, baseball and track facilities. Sister Kay provided enrichment opportunities to the young people of Jonestown by organizing field trips and driving students to meet Sisters and others involved in service work. These ranged from travels to the Native American Community in Wapato, Washington, to Holy Names Convents in Lesotho, Africa.

Sister Kay also helped found The Call to Vietnam Program which sent Sisters of the Holy Names and volunteers to teach English language skills to the young Lovers of the Holy Cross Sisters in Hue, Vietnam.
Sister Kay’s career spanned a lifetime of giving to those in need. Her gifts as a teacher, administrator, volunteer, advocate, innovator, gardener and counselor touched the lives of the thousands of people she served. The people of Jonestown, Mississippi, will never forget Sister Kay and the impact she had during the thirty-plus years of her ministry there.

Sister Kay Burton, SNJM, died March 18, 2022, in Spokane, Washington, at Hospice House of Spokane. There must have been a joyous greeting in Heaven that morning as her mom and dad along with brothers Dick, Bill, Jim, and Ira met Kay on her journey to everlasting life.

Sister Kay is survived her five brothers: John, Tom, Don, Bob and Steve and generations of nieces and nephews who knew and loved their Aunt Kay. Sister Kay is also survived by members of her religious community the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary.

A funeral Mass was held on Saturday, March 26, 2022 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Rockford, Washington. She is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery.

Memorial gifts may be made to Sisters of the Holy Names Retirement Fund, PO Box 398, Marylhurst, OR, 97036 or online at www.snjmusontario.org/donate.

Bishop’s schedule confirmation

Friday, April 29, 6 p.m. – Confirmation, Joseph, Greenville

Saturday, April 30, 4 p.m. – Confirmation, St. Francis of Assisi, Brookhaven

Sunday, May 1, 10 a.m. – Confirmation, Holy Family, Jackson

Sunday, May 1, 5 p.m. – Confirmation, St. Joseph, Gluckstadt

Monday, May 2, 6 p.m. – Confirmation, All Saints, Belzoni

Wednesday, May 4, 6 p.m. – Confirmation, St. Paul, Flowood

Friday, May 6, 6 p.m. – Confirmation, St. Mary Basilica, Natchez

Sunday, May 8, 10:30 a.m. – Confirmation, St. Mary, Batesville

Tuesday, May 10, 6 p.m. – Confirmation, St. Joseph/St. Patrick, Meridian

Wednesday, May 11, 5 p.m. – Confirmation, St. Joseph, Starkville

Saturday, May 14, 10:30 a.m. – Priestly Ordination of Deacon Andrew Bowden, Cathedral of St. Peter, Jackson

Sunday, May 15, 11 a.m. – Confirmation, St. Anne, Carthage

Sunday, May 15, 5 p.m. – Confirmation, St. Francis of Assisi, Madison

Sunday, May 22, 9:30 a.m. – Confirmation, St. Therese, Jackson

Sunday, May 22, 5 p.m. – Confirmation, St. Richard, Jackson

Saturday, May 28, 10 a.m. – Closing Ceremony for Christian Family Movement, Richland Community Center

Wednesday, June 1, 6 p.m. – Confirmation, St. Jude, Pearl

Friday, June 3, 6 p.m. – Installation of Father Adolfo Suarez, Hope Well Pointe, Morton

Saturday, June 4, 10:30 a.m. – Ordination of Carlisle Beggerly to Diaconate, Immaculate Conception, West Point

Saturday, June 4, 5 p.m. – Confirmation, Immaculate Conception, West Point

Sunday, June 5, 10:30 a.m. – Confirmation, Cathedral of St. Peter, Jackson

Saturday, July 9, 5 p.m. – Confirmation, St. James, Corinth

Sunday, Aug. 28, 10:30 a.m. – Confirmation, St. Elizabeth, Clarksdale

All events are subject to change. Check with parishes for further details.

Diocese statement regarding
conviction and sentencing
of Paul West

GREENWOOD – Paul West was a teacher and principal at St. Francis School in Greenwood, Mississippi from July 1993 until October 1998. The Diocese of Jackson cooperated fully in the State of Mississippi’s recent criminal conviction of Paul West, including providing background testimony at his trial on the diocese’s list of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. The list was first provided to the Attorney General in 2002 and then updated and released publicly in March of 2019.

The diocese reported the initial allegation against Paul West to the Department of Human Services and the Greenwood Police Department in 1998 and reported the subsequent allegations to the Leflore County District Attorney in 2018. West was removed from ministry after the original 1998 complaint.

The Diocese of Jackson is committed to protecting children. Sexual misconduct by church personnel violates human dignity and the mission of the church. The diocese has dedicated substantial time and resources to ensure that children being served by the church are not at risk of sexual abuse by church personnel. The spiritual well-being of all victims, their families, and others in the community is of particular concern to the church.

Over the past thirty years, the Diocese of Jackson has developed and implemented a safe environment program. The diocese has publicized standards of conduct for its priests and deacons as well as diocesan employees, volunteers, and any other church personnel in positions of trust who have regular contact with children and young people. Beginning in 1986, the diocese implemented a written policy and procedure regarding reporting and handling of sexual misconduct claims. The policy was updated in 1994 with the addition of a Diocesan Fitness Review Committee and again in 2002 so that it would reflect the mandates of the Bishops’ Charter.

Anyone who has been a victim of abuse or exploitation by clergy, religious or lay church personnel and has not yet reported it is encouraged to do so. The Victim Assistance Coordinator, Erika Rojas, is available to assist in making a report. The contact number for the Victim Assistance Coordinator is (601) 326-3736.

Pastoral Assignment

Rev. John Bohn, granted a leave of absence from ministry, effective May 1, 2022.
Rev. Mark Shoffner, appointed pastor of St. John Parish in Oxford, effective May 12, 2022.
Rev. Joseph Tonos, appointed pastor of St. Richard Parish in Jackson, effective May 12, 2022.
Rev. Aaron Williams, appointed pastor of St. Mary Basilica and Assumption Parishes in Natchez, effective May 12, 2022.

First Mass on Mississippi soil dates back to Easter 340 years

From the Archives
By Mary Woodward
JACKSON – Possibly a little-known fact by most of us is this Easter is the 340th anniversary of the first Mass celebrated on Mississippi soil. In the southwest corner of the State of Mississippi in Wilkinson County, there exists a very important site of church and American history.

On Easter Sunday in 1682, Father Zenobius Membre, an Order of the Friars Minor Recollect priest, celebrated Easter Mass on the bluff above the river near present day Fort Adams as part of Sieur Robert Cavelier de LaSalle’s expedition down the river from Montreal to its mouth.

Although this is the first documented Mass in the area, there is much evidence that the Hernando deSoto expedition in 1540 would have had Masses celebrated in what is now southern Alabama. It is believed by the time the expedition reached the Mississippi, where deSoto died of a mosquito born illness in 1842 near present day Ferriday, Louisiana, the priests travelling with him would have run out of the wine needed for Mass.

FORT ADAMS – On Easter Sunday 1682, the first recorded Mass on Mississippi soil took place in Wilkinson county. St. Patrick’s Church was built in 1900 on Fort Adams town square. Today, the town has largely become a hunting and fishing camp and was named to the 2021 list of Ten Most Endangerd Places in Mississippi by the Heritage Trust. (Photos by Mary Woodward)


After de LaSalle claimed the territory along the entire river for France and named it Louisiana, the Bishop of Quebec sent missionary priests down the river to evangelize the various tribes of indigenous people. Father Antione Davion was one of these missionaries, who came to the area around 1698 and established a small mission near the site of what is now Fort Adams. He built a small church on the bluff, which became known as La Roche a Davion, and ministered there until he left the mission in 1720.

In 1795, after the Revolutionary War, the United States signed the Treaty of San Lorenzo with Spain, establishing the boundary between Spanish West Florida and the U.S. at Latitude 31 N, a short distance south of Roche Davion. Because of its strategic location on the river, the site became the last military outpost before French territory and served as the port of entry for the United States. The name was then changed to Fort Adams after the President John Adams who was in office at that time.

It is here that in 1801, the Choctaws signed the Treaty of Fort Adams ceding more than 2.6 million acres of Choctaw land to the U.S. When the Louisiana Purchase occurred in 1803, the more than 500 troops on site were moved to New Orleans, but Fort Adams continued to function as a post until the War of 1812.

With time and the river’s changing course, Fort Adams population dwindled as happens in many cases. Those who remained eventually saw the building of a small church dedicated to St. Patrick on the town’s main square in 1900. The church, along with St. Joseph Church built in 1873 were serviced by priests from Natchez mostly until 1940, when St. Joseph was established as a parish again.

Nowadays, Fort Adams has become largely a hunting and fishing camp with only a few houses and two churches remaining, including St. Patrick. Although, the river is now distant from the town, it often visits after a few heavy rains and floods most of the area including the small church, which a few years ago was given to a group of local parishioners devoted to saving the church building. Mass is no longer celebrated there and most of the sacred items are stored safely in higher ground.

On a visit to Woodville and Fort Adams a few years ago, I was given a tour of the area by my dear cousin, Shep Crawford, local lawyer and judge, who has lived in Wilkinson County near Woodville for many years. Shep and I toured Fort Adams on a dry day and were able to see St. Patrick and the almost permanent water line four feet up on the church exterior wall. Pontoons boats were parked on the land adjacent to it. Residents of the area live up on the hillsides that once looked out of the “father of waters.”

We then made our way around to the small hamlet of Pond, which is named so because there is a pond in the middle of it. It includes a small general store and post office and a couple of cabins overlooking the pond.

I have often wanted to return to Pond and one of its cabins to spend a few days steeped in the history of the area. But I also remember Shep casually stating, as we stopped and looked down a road headed south, that 20 minutes down this scenic highway was Angola State Prison. So that was a reality check.

The entire town of Fort Adams was named to the 2021 Ten Most Endangered Places in Mississippi by the Mississippi Heritage Trust. It is recognized for its once pivotal role in the development of borders among nations as our country and state grew into existence.

So, on this Easter Sunday, imagine back 340 years and a missionary journey that brought the sacred mysteries to a small corner of God’s Kingdom. The history is there, and the spirits of the past linger as an inspiration of commitment and dedication to our Catholic Faith. We give thanks to Almighty God for them.

I credit the Heritage Trust website for historical information included in this article. You can learn more about the 10 most endangered places at https://www.10mostms.com/.

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