Parish calendar of events

SPIRITUAL ENRICHMENT
BROOKSVILLE The Dwelling Place, Transitions and Transformation, Oct. 11–13, begins with dinner at 6:30 p.m. Am I in transition in retirement, in my workplace, my family, my residence, my relationship or health? The weekend will explore these issues. Facilitators: Dr. Francis Baird, LPC, who has a private counseling practice in Columbus and Starkville and Clare Van Lent, MA CSp., Dwelling Place Director. Donation: $180. Details: (662) 738-5348 or email dwellpl@gmail.com.
HOLLY SPRINGS Hands–ON + Hearts–IN is a program is to assist women who are discerning a call to consecrated life through hands-on service to the needy throughout north Mississippi. Monday – Thursday, Oct. 21–24. This program, coordinated by the Sisters of the Living Word, is a collaborative effort between the Chicago Archdiocesan Vocation Association (CAVA) members and Sacred Heart Southern Missions (SHSM). The hospitality team will be the Sisters of the Living Word. They previously will be offering the meals and a comfortable home base for the prayer and discernment aspects of the experience. Details: contact Sister Sharon Glumb, SLW at handsonheartsin@gmail.com or (847) 577-5972 Ext# 233.
METAIRIE, La. Catholic Charismatic Renewal of New Orleans (CCRNO), Torrent of Grace, An Evening of Worship, Sunday, Nov. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Benilde cafeteria, 1901 Division Street. The evening features “Overshadow Me” with Sean Tobin, composer and worship leader from Los Angeles. The sole purpose of this gathering is to seek God, to worship and experience the presence of the Holy Spirit. Everyone is invited who desires to spend an evening with prophetic, spirit–filled music and praise. There is no charge, but a love offering will be received. Details: www.ccrno.org; info@ccrno.org or (504) 828-1368.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. National Catholic Singles Conference, Oct. 25–27. Join hundreds of single Catholics from across the country at the Diocese of Nashville Catholic Pastoral Center. The weekend includes talks by dynamic speakers (Sr. Helena Burns, Dr. Kerry Cronin, Damon Owens and David Clayton) as well as music, social events, prayer, food, fellowship and more. Space is limited. Enter promo code NASH19 for a $20 discount. Details: For more information and to register visit www.NationalCatholicSingles.com. or call Mirjana Northrop at (512) 766–5798 or email natcatsingles@gmail.com.
PEARL St. Jude – The Marian Servants of Jesus, the Lamb of God, invites you to a “Come and See” open house, Tuesday, Oct. 8, from 6:30–8:30 p.m. An opportunity for you to learn about the Marian Servant Community. Details: Contact Teresa Preuss (601) 906–1338, tepreuss@yahoo.com, or Maureen Roberts (601) 278–0423 mmjroberts@gmail.com.
STANTON, Tenn, Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend, Oct. 25–27 at Our Lady Queen of Peace Retreat Center. Details: Norman and Barbara Sobota at (901) 373-7030 or email sobota@bellsouth.net.

PARISH, SCHOOL AND FAMILY EVENTS
ABERDEEN St. Francis, Adult Bible Study, Tuesdays at 11 a.m. Studying the Gospel of John. Details: church office (662) 813-2295.
BATESVILLE St. John, Knights of Columbus are holding a Rummage Sale, Friday, Nov. 1, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 2 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Please donate any clean, unbroken, gently used items that you no longer need. Details: church office (662) 563-2273.
BROOKHAVEN St. Francis, 153rd Francis Fest (formerly known as Parish Picnic), Sunday, Oct. 6, Mass at 10 a.m., Lunch, bingo, games and jumpers for the kids. Details: church office (601) 833-1799.
OLIVE BRANCH, Queen of Peace, Prayer and Worship Course taught by Sister Emily, Thursdays, Oct. 3 until Nov. 21 at 6:45 pm. The focus of the classes will be a better understanding of the liturgy and of various prayer forms. The texts that will be used are Introduction to Christian Worship, third edition and We Worship: A Guide to the Catholic Mass. Details: ctksemily@aol.com or the church office (601) 895–5007.
JACKSON St. Richard, Evening with Mary, Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 6 p.m. in Foley Hall. KC Williams, local artist, and Suzan Cox will team up to show the different ways people picture our Blessed Mother. The evening is a time for women to listen to speakers and share a dessert and conversation. There is no cost. Deadline to register is Oct. 4. Social begins at 6 p.m. with speakers starting at 6:30 p.m. Details: Suzan Cox at (601) 366-2335 or cox@saintrichard.com.
MADISON St. Francis of Assisi, Father Nick Adam, Parochial Vicar at Jackson St. Richard, will be discussing “The Power of Silence,” Monday, Sept. 30 and Tuesday, Oct. 1. In our society, our access to silence is pretty much zero. We are constantly bombarded by noise of one kind or another. But in order to encounter the Lord Jesus Christ, we have to make room for silent prayer so we can hear the Lord’s call above all the noise. These nights will include Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction, along with a meal. Details: church office (601) 856–5556.
MERIDIAN Catholic Community of St. Joseph and St. Patrick, October Festival 2019, Saturday, Oct. 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Includes health fair, hispanic cultural dishes, fun games for children, escape room for teens, country store and white elephant store (7 a.m. to 12 p.m.). Fish and rib plates $10; Rib slabs $20. Details: (601) 938–1337 or (601) 227-1199 to make donations (no clothing please).
VICKSBURG St. Paul will host a six-week adult catechesis program, The Mass, where Father Rusty Vincent will outline each part of the Mass, its Scriptural foundation and the reasoning behind responses and gestures. It will start Wednesday, Sept. 25th at Farrell Hall. Meals are served for $5. If you would like to attend, please email Rebecca Weatherford at faithformation@stpaulvicksburg.org. or church office (601) 636-0140.

YOUTH BRIEFS
JACKSON Sister Thea Bowman School, registration is underway for the 2019–20 school year. If you are looking for a solid academic education rooted in Gospel values serving grades PreK3 – 6th grades. Details: Shae Goodman-Robinson, principal at (601) 506-8998 for more information.
MADISON St. Anthony, Open House and Fall Festival, Saturday, Nov. 2 from 2-5 p.m. There will be games, carnival food and hayrides. Details: school office (601) 607-7054.
RIDGELAND St. Francis of Assisi, Senior Bible Break, Wednesdays from 6-7 p.m. at M7 Coffee House, 111 North Wheatley Street in Ridgeland, for all 12th graders for scripture sharing and fellowship. Bring a Bible and friends are welcome. Details: church office (601) 856-5556.

IN MEMORIAM
Long-time resident of Vicksburg, Sister Mary Fatima Starks, died Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Mobile, Alabama. A Sister of Mercy for 72 years, she was 90 years old.
Sister Fatima ministered in education, as a teacher and principal at schools in Mississippi, Louisiana, Illinois and Pennsylvania. Of her 60 years in active ministry, all but 3 years were spent serving the people of Mississippi. She gave over 30 years of service to Vicksburg Catholic school. Most recently, before moving in 2016 to the Convent of Mercy in Mobile, she served as a volunteer at St. Francis Xavier Elementary School in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
A funeral Mass was celebrated Monday, Sept. 23 at Corpus Christi church in Mobile. Sister Fatima’s burial took place at Cedar Hill cemetery in Vicksburg, Tuesday, Sept. 24.

Movies reviewed

The Lion King

By John Mulderig
NEW YORK (CNS) – Advances in moviemaking technology allow a story that could only previously be told as a cartoon to be enacted, so to speak, by animals. And so we get “The Lion King” (Disney).

The characters Nala, voiced by Beyonce Knowles-Carter, and Simba, voiced by Donald Glover, appear in the movie “The Lion King.” The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children. (CNS photo/Disney)


Director Jon Favreau’s remake of the 1994 animated musical – also the basis for the Broadway hit that opened three years later and is still running – uses a blend of live-action techniques and computer-generated imagery to retell a tale so familiar it represents a touchstone of contemporary culture.
As we know, however, just because a thing can be done doesn’t mean it should be. Thus diehard fans of the original may find Favreau’s whole project redundant. The reaction of other viewers will largely depend on how comfortable they feel seeing nonhuman characters mouth dialogue and interact in the manner of homo sapiens.
This is, of course, the fictional biography of Simba (voice of Donald Glover), a lovable young lion with a royal destiny. As opening scenes show us, Simba’s birth is greeted with joy by most of the creatures over whom his parents, King Mufasa (voice of James Earl Jones) and Queen Sarabi (voice of Alfre Woodard), benevolently rule.
The rejoicing, though, is not universal: Simba’s evil Uncle Scar (voice of Chiwetel Ejiofor) broods over the fact that the new arrival has displaced him as heir to the throne. Biding his time, Scar schemes against his growing nephew and, after enlisting the help of a pack of malignant hyenas, led by Shenzi (voice of Florence Kasumba), he succeeds in sending the emotionally vulnerable lad into self-imposed exile.
Two friends with whom Simba takes up during his absence, meerkat Timon (voice of Billy Eichner) and warthog Pumbaa (voice of Seth Rogen), urge him to pursue a carefree existence. But Nala (voice of Beyonce Knowles-Carter), Simba’s best pal from childhood – with whom he ultimately shares a deeper bond – remains resolute that he should fulfill his weighty responsibilities.
The two opposing outlooks on life presented in Jeff Nathanson’s script – and encapsulated in a duo of songs by Elton John and Tim Rice, the interconnectedness-themed “Circle of Life” and the worry-eschewing ditty “Hakuna Matata” – are strictly secular. Yet it is at least the more ethically respectable worldview that prevails.
The struggle to achieve a happy ending, though, involves animal combat that would likely prove upsetting to small kids. And some parents may not care much for the momentary gastrointestinal humor in which Nathanson dabbles.
There’s also a bit of extra-biblical mysticism on display via the activities of simian shaman Rafiki (voice of John Kani). But this aspect of the narrative is too fleeting and undeveloped to pose much of a spiritual threat.
Is this iteration of the blockbuster franchise really necessary? Probably not. Still, while it’s unlikely to make a lasting impression, “The Lion King” does offer a pleasant enough pastime for all but the most sensitive tykes.
The film contains considerable stylized violence among animals, characters in peril, nonscriptural rituals and fleeting scatological humor. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II – adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG – parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.

Crawl

What Steven Spielberg’s “Jaws” did for sharks, director Alexandre Aja’s deliberately claustrophobic chiller “Crawl” (Paramount) sets out to do for alligators. The result involves some undeniably frightening moments but also an amount of bloodletting the casual moviegoer will find excessive.
With a major hurricane bearing down on her home region of Florida, college student Haley (Kaya Scodelario) becomes concerned when her divorced and semi-estranged father, Dave (Barry Pepper), fails to return her calls. So she sets off first to the condo where he’s been living since the breakup of his marriage, then to the family home he’s been forced to put up for sale, but to which he remains emotionally attached.

Barry Pepper and Kaya Scodelario star in a scene from the movie “Crawl.” The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.(CNS photo/Paramount)


There she finds him unconscious with gaping wounds to his shoulder and leg. The cause of his injuries becomes apparent even before he regains consciousness as Haley has her own close encounter with the first of the many man-eaters with which she and Dad will eventually have to do battle.
To make matters worse, the basement crawl space where the gators have the duo pinned down is rapidly flooding. Fortunately, as early scenes have established, Haley is a gifted competitive swimmer (Dave was her coach in childhood). Even so, the odds remain uncomfortably long.
Those not put off by watching the main characters be gnawed on and the extras devoured will discern the glimmers of a family-solidarity theme faintly gleaming through the murky waters of this gory horror flick. Dave also encourages Haley to believe that she has the resourcefulness and will power to prevail. Still, the desperate proceedings will strike most as more torturous than entertaining.
The film contains much explicit bloody violence, numerous gruesome sights, a vague sexual reference, occasional rough language and some crude terms. The Catholic News Service classification is L – limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R – restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

(Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.)

Child’s Play

By Joseph McAleer
NEW YORK (CNS) – The nicest thing that can be said about the reimagined horror film “Child’s Play” (Orion), it that is just 88 minutes long. Any longer and it could be designated a method of torture.
Perhaps most disturbing about this remake of the 1988 film about a toy doll run amok (which spawned six sequels of its own) is its tone. Director Lars Klevberg, working from a screenplay by Tyler Burton Smith, frames this as a black comedy. The audience is expected to cheer along as “Chucky” (voice of Mark Hamill, straying far, far away from his heroic “Star Wars” persona) goes on a murderous rampage, starting with the family cat.
Awash in sadistic violence and gore, “Child’s Play” is anything but, and should be approached by adult viewers only with caution.
Single mother Karen (Aubrey Plaza) is concerned that her young son, Andy (Gabriel Bateman), is depressed. They recently moved to a new neighborhood and Andy is having trouble making new friends.
At the toy store where Karen works, a customer returns a defective “Buddi” doll. Karen decides to steal it and give it to her son as a companion.
“Welcome to your new best friend,” says Henry Kaslan (Tim Matheson), creator of the chatty artificial-intelligence plaything. Once synched to a cellphone, Buddi bonds with its owner and connects to all devices, effectively controlling the entire home environment.

Chucky and Gabriel Bateman appear in the movie “Child’s Play.” The Catholic News Service classification is O — morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (CNS photo/Orion Pictures)


Unbeknownst to Karen, Andy’s Buddi has been sabotaged by a disgruntled worker in the sweatshop factory in Vietnam. All of his safety protocols have been disabled and this particular doll responds to negative energy. The first warning sign? Its name is Chucky, not Buddi.
It’s not hard to predict what happens next. Chucky’s evil nature emerges whenever Andy is upset or threatened, such as when the cat scratches him, or his mom’s sleazy boyfriend Shane (David Lewis) overstays his welcome.
If there’s a lesson to be learned from the ensuing carnage, it’s the addiction to technology which limits healthy human interaction. For wholesome child’s play, power down and unplug.
The film contains gratuitous bloody violence and gore, sexual banter, partial nudity, frequent crude and profane language, and one obscene gesture. The Catholic News Service classification is O – morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R – restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

(McAleer is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.)

Parish calendar of events

SPIRITUAL ENRICHMENT
BROOKSVILLE The Dwelling Place, Life Lines: Finding the Pearl of Great Price, May 3-5. Life Lines is a writing experience in which the narrative technique of storytelling to focus on different life experiences is used. Facilitator: Raymond Komar, Ph.D. Begins with dinner at 6:30. Donation: $180. Details: (662) 738-5348 or email dwellpl@gmail.com for more information.
CULLMAN, Ala., Benedictine Sisters Retreat Center, Common Wisdom: Parallels in Benedictine And Twelve-Step Spiritualities, Saturday, May 4, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. This reflection day will focus on the core principles of Twelve-Step spirituality and the gift of spiritual freedom that is experienced when these principles are put into practice. Retreat Director: Sister Therese Haydel, O.S.B. Cost: $30, includes lunch. Details: (256) 734-8302, retreats@shmon.org or www.shmon.org.
MOBILE Ala, Spring Hill College, Silent Ignatian Directed Retreats, June 7-15 following the the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Participants may register for either three, five or eight full days of retreat. The eight-day retreat begins with a short orientation on Friday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m. and ends after lunch on Saturday, June 15. Five and three-day retreats may be taken for any five or three consecutive days during this time period. Details: Father Christopher Viscardi, S.J. at (251) 380-4662, viscardi@shc.edu and www.shc.edu/sics for registration information.


BROOKSVILLE The Dwelling Place, Life Lines: Finding the Pearl of Great Price, May 3-5. Life Lines is a writing experience in which the narrative technique of storytelling to focus on different life experiences is used. Facilitator: Raymond Komar, Ph.D. Begins with dinner at 6:30. Donation: $180. Details: (662) 738-5348 or email dwellpl@gmail.com for more information.
CULLMAN, Ala., Benedictine Sisters Retreat Center, Common Wisdom: Parallels in Benedictine And Twelve-Step Spiritualities, Saturday, May 4, 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. This reflection day will focus on the core principles of Twelve-Step spirituality and the gift of spiritual freedom that is experienced when these principles are put into practice. Retreat Director: Sister Therese Haydel, O.S.B. Cost: $30, includes lunch. Details: (256) 734-8302, retreats@shmon.org or www.shmon.org.
MOBILE Ala, Spring Hill College, Silent Ignatian Directed Retreats, June 7-15 following the the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Participants may register for either three, five or eight full days of retreat. The eight-day retreat begins with a short orientation on Friday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m. and ends after lunch on Saturday, June 15. Five and three-day retreats may be taken for any five or three consecutive days during this time period. Details: Father Christopher Viscardi, S.J. at (251) 380-4662, viscardi@shc.edu and www.shc.edu/sics for registration information.

PARISH, SCHOOL AND FAMILY EVENTS
BRANDON Bay Point Golf Course, 2019 Knights of Columbus State Convention Golf Tournament, Friday, April 26, 8:30 a.m. Cost is $65 per player includes refreshments and lunch. Hole sponsorships available for $85. Proceeds will support the Retired Priest Fund. Details: visit www.kofc-ms.org/convention/2019.
MADISON St. Francis of Assisi Cajun Fest, Sunday, May 5 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Dropoff location for donations is the Social Concerns Office by Saturday, April 27. Details: church office (601) 856-5556.
NATCHEZ Holy Family, “A Southern Road to Freedom” a choral presentation, Monday April 15, and Tuesday, April 16, 8 p.m. The Natchez saga of African-Americans from slavery to modern times. Details: church office (601) 445-5700.
St. Mary Basilica, Adult Sunday School, DVD series from Saint Benedict Press, “Queen of Heaven: Mary’s Battle for Souls,” Sundays at 8:30 a.m. in the Family Life Center. Details: Karen Verucchi, (601) 870-5388
Assumption of BVM, Line Dancing, Mondays 10-11 a.m. Details: church office (601) 442-7250.
SOUTHAVEN Christ the King, calling all women, Rejoice and be Glad, Saturday, April 27, 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Gather with us to come aside and rest a while and reflect on the words of Pope Francis. Lunch will be provided; no childcare. Details: (662) 342-1073.

YOUTH BRIEFS
GLUCKSTADT St. Joseph, Easter Egg Hunt, Easter Sunday, April 21, at 9:20 a.m. for children up to age nine. Details: church office (601) 856-2054.
Save the date, Vacation Bible School “Savior Stadium,” June 10-12. adult volunteers needed. Sign up for attendees and youth helpers will begin in May. Details: contact Karen Worrell at kworrellcre@hotmail.com or (601) 672-5817.
JACKSON Sr. Thea Bowman School, 13th Annual Draw Down, Saturday, April 27, at 6:30 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Building. Good food, entertainment, silent auction and door prizes. Grand prize: $5,000. Tickets are $100 and Second Chance Insurance is $20. Details: Shae Robinson at the school office (601) 352-5441 or www.theabowmanschool.com.
MERIDIAN Catholic Community of St. Joseph and St. Patrick, Baccalaureate Mass, Sunday, May 5, at 11 a.m. at St. Patrick in honor of graduating high school students. Details: contact John if you plan to attend at (601) 693-1321, ext. 9 or john@catholicmeridian.org.
NATCHEZ Cathedral School, 35th Annual Cathedral Crawfish Countdown, Friday, April 26, 6-10 p.m. at Cathedral School Cafeteria. Details: school office (601) 442-1988.
OLIVE BRANCH Queen of Peace, Divine Mercy Holy Hour, Sunday, April 28, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Reception to follow. Details: Contact Mary Jerkins for more information at (662) 895-5844.
PEARL St. Jude, Save the Date, Vacation Bible School, “Surf’s Up – Chill Out with the Beatitudes,” June 17-21, 9 a.m. – noon, ages 3 years and up. Details: church office (601) 939-3181.

NATCHEZ St. Mary Basilica, Fridays at 12:05 and 5:15 p.m.
Assumption, Fridays at 5:30 p.m.
PEARL St. Jude, Fridays following 10 a.m. Mass and Stations of the Cross ending with Benediction at 6 p.m. Following the 6 p.m. Stations, the Knights of Columbus will be preparing catfish dinners.
WOODVILLE St. Joseph, Monday, April 15 at 6:30 p.m.

The Best of Enemies

By John Mulderig
NEW YORK (CNS) – “The Best of Enemies” (STX) is an appealing fact-based drama that promotes humane values and Gospel-guided behavior. On that basis, many parents may consider it a rewarding film for older teens, the inclusion of some mature material notwithstanding.
Set in 1971 Durham, North Carolina, writer-director Robin Bissell’s adaptation of Osha Gray Davidson’s 1996 book – subtitled “Race and Redemption in the New South” – traces the evolving relationship between no-nonsense civil rights activist Ann Atwater (Taraji P. Henson) and C.P. Ellis (Sam Rockwell), the head of the local Ku Klux Klan.
The two, who initially want nothing to do with each other, are forced to spend time together as leading participants in an arbitration process deciding the future of the city’s still-segregated educational system. A damaging fire at a black school has brought the issue to a head and Bill Riddick (Babou Ceesay), an expert in mediation, has been brought in to try to achieve consensus.
He sets up a series of meetings collectively called a charette, at the end of which a panel made up of an equal number of blacks and whites will vote on whether to maintain the status quo. As the process unfolds, Ann and C.P. gain insights into each other’s lives and characters.
C.P. begins to question his racist views – which are based, in part at least, on the fact that he has always avoided having any dealings with African Americans. The gas station he owns, for example, will not serve black customers.
For her part, fiery Ann comes to see that C.P. is not entirely evil. In fact, in some respects, he’s quite vulnerable.
This is particularly true with regard to one of his three sons, a developmentally disabled lad confined to a home for whom C.P. cannot afford the kind of care he would like. Ann, who carries a Bible with her and says grace before each meal, intervenes with a friend on the staff of the facility where the boy lives to bring about an improvement in his situation.
Though C.P. at first reacts to this thoughtful gesture with disdain, not wanting to be indebted to Ann in any way, in the long term it becomes an important turning point in the evolution of his outlook. His gradual change of heart, which will ultimately have very positive consequences, also is encouraged by his sensible wife, Mary (Anne Heche).
Bissell evokes strong performances from his fine cast and his picture’s themes of reconciliation and equal dignity for all will be on target for believing moviegoers. The story he tells might seem pat if it were not derived from real events. As it is, viewers can come away from “The Best of Enemies” hopeful, despite the many fraught and contentious circumstances of our own era.
The film contains some nongraphic violence, including gunplay and the threat of rape, an act of sexual aggression, a few uses of profanity and of crude and crass language and racial slurs. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III – adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 – parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13

Unplanned

By John Mulderig
NEW YORK – The hard-hitting, fact-based drama “Unplanned” (Pure Flix) dares its viewers to confront the reality of what happens when a baby is aborted.
That’s an effective strategy on the part of co-writers and directors Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon, not least because the peculiar institution of our day thrives on concealment, muddled thinking and Orwellian euphemisms. But it also means that this emotionally unsparing film is not for the casual moviegoer of any age.
Adapted from the eponymous 2011 memoir by Abby Johnson (Ashley Bratcher), “Unplanned” traces her steady rise to become one of the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic directors in the country. Yet it also shows how she gradually became uneasy about the organization’s marketing of abortion.

Emma Elle Roberts and Jared Lotz star in a scene from scene from the movie “Unplanned,” the story of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director, and her decision to join the pro-life movement. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian. (CNS photo/Unplanned.com)


The conversion in her outlook reaches a dramatic climax when Abby is asked to assist a doctor performing the procedure and witnesses via sonogram what it actually involves. As the child in the womb tries to move away from the suction tube and medical containers quickly fill with blood, this scene may prove as upsetting for the audience as it was for Johnson.
Her new stance is welcomed by Abby’s husband, Doug (Brooks Ryan), and parents Kathleen (Robin DeMarco) and Mike (Robert Thomason), all of them pro-life. It also brings reconciliation with some of the protestors she once considered adversaries, including 40 Days for Life activists Shawn (Jared Lotz) and Marilisa (Emma Elle Roberts).
Unsurprisingly, Abby’s ornery former superior, Cheryl (Robia Scott), views her change of heart in a different light. Once Abby’s mentor, infuriated Cheryl becomes the moving force in a lawsuit against her ex-protege as well as against Shawn. Kaiser Johnson steals this portion of the picture playing Shawn and Abby’s unflappable lawyer, Jeff.
While Cheryl is clearly the villain of the piece, the script avoids demonizing all those associated with Planned Parenthood. Nor does it present all pro-life activists in a positive light. Whether this sense of balance will give “Unplanned” any traction with supporters of legal abortion is open to question, however.
Given that the full horror of slaughtering the unborn is on display here, the parents of older teens will have to decide whether the informative value of Abby’s story outweighs its disturbing elements. Those also include a sequence showing the sufferings Abby endured after taking RU-486 in the second of her own two abortions.
The film contains gruesome images of abortion and dismembered fetuses, much medical gore, a mild oath, a few crass expressions and a vague sexual reference. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III – adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R – restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

(Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.)

Youth conference grows, inspires students with faith, hope, love

By Maureen Smith
VICKSBURG – Young people from more than a dozen parishes spent the first weekend in February exploring Faith, Hope and Love during the Diocese’s of Jackson’s Youth Conference (DCYC). Participation was up from last year, with 130 youth attending.
The theme came from the readings for the weekend and each day explored one of the aspects. Abbey Schuhmann, Coordinator of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Jackson, plans the event with a team of youth ministers from across the diocese. “This (theme) was simple, basic, but we still felt like it was powerful and relevant to our teens,” she explained.
Keynote speaker Brian Butler led sessions on each concept. The teens got to have a dance party, participate in adoration, reconciliation, Mass and activities such as a ‘selfie scavenger hunt’ in which they had to take group selfies with particular people associated with the conference. Musical duo Greg and Lizzie led praise and worship and guest speakers including Greenwood St. Francis’ Derrick Faucheaux and his fiancé Mary Upchurch as well as Ray Lacy, youth director for the Diocese of Biloxi. Fathers Nick Adam and Aaron Williams led a young men’s session on vocation while Dominican Sister Kelly Moline led a young women’s session.
“In our talk with the men I wanted to help them to recognize that they absolutely have a call from the Lord, whether it is priesthood or married life is still to be determined, but to live out of the knowledge that God is calling them to greatness in Him, not just to worldly success,” said Father Adam.
Sister Kelly expressed a similar idea. “I wanted then to understand that everyone has a ‘big v’ vocation – whether that be married life, single life or consecrated religious life, but they also have a ‘small v’ vocation – to be the best doctor, nurse, mom or mechanic there ever was,” she said. She also urged the young women to pursue a life of listening and prayer, pointing out that “often the people around you, those who love you best, are the ones who may spot your vocation before you do,” she added.
This was the first conference for the newly-formed youth group at Forest St. Michael Parish. Diemmi Pham said she appreciated that members of her parish helped raise the money needed for teens to attend. “I didn’t know what to expect coming here. I was kind of expecting just praying, you know, and bonding as a parish, but the activities that we did together—yeah we bonded as a parish, but it took it to another level, so I got out of this making new friendships and strengthening our relationship with each other,” she said.
Many teens said they enjoy the chance to interact with a large group of other Catholics. “I actually live in Carrolton, but I go to school in Grenada and we don’t have a lot of Catholics so we are this small part of where we are from so I wanted to meet people and make some friendships. I’m a really big introvert so this is a way for me to expand my circle and just have new experience,” said Amelia Ferguson of Winona Sacred Heart Parish.
Merideth Johnson echoed the sentiment, saying “I felt like I needed something spiritual because a lot of gatherings are just for a concert or something — this is something different to go to and gather with a bunch of Catholic youth.”
This is the second year for Elvis Scott of Greenville Sacred Heart Parish to attend. “Last year we came and it was a wonderful experience so it was something I felt like participating in again,” he said. “To me this year is more of a spot-on connection with them teaching us to have trust in God and in Jesus. I never thought about what they were talking about yesterday – making a connection with Jesus – and it brought me closer to him because I didn’t have that in my mind before,” he said.
“I hope that our youth got a taste of the wider Church here in Mississippi,” said Father Adam. “Sometimes we think of our own parish as the ‘end-all-be-all’ of Catholicism, but the outstanding program that the diocesan Youth Office provided showed our young people how dynamic the young Church can be,” he added.
Many of this year’s new features came from evaluations turned in after last year’s event. “We take those evaluations seriously,” said Schuhmann. “We are just getting started with this conference,” she added.
One of last year’s special guests – a giant stuffed sloth – was joined by Llou the Llama. The plush animals are prizes for the youth groups who win different competitions throughout the weekend to take home. Only time will tell how large the menagerie will get.

More conference pictures click here.

 

Inspiration on ministry to those with disabilities

These are the covers of “Salt and Light: Church, Disability and the Blessing of Welcome for All” by Maureen Pratt and “A Cry Is Heard: My Path to Peace” by Jean Vanier with Francois-Xavier Maigre. The books are reviewed by Brian T. Olszewski. (CNS)

By Brian T. Olszewski (CNS)”Salt and Light: Church, Disability and the Blessing of Welcome for All” by Maureen Pratt. Twenty Third Publications (New London, Connecticut, 2018). 114 pp, $16.95.
“A Cry Is Heard: My Path to Peace” by Jean Vanier with Francois-Xavier Maigre. Twenty Third Publications (New London, Connecticut, 2018). 144 pp, $16.95.
One might be surprised that in a book of 114 pages, 16 of them are devoted to the introduction. Yet those are critical pages for Maureen Pratt’s “Salt and Light” as they explain why parishes need to examine how they welcome members with disabilities, how they minister to and with them, and how they invite them to minister within the faith community.
Pratt, a journalist who has lupus erythematosus, which she describes as “a chronic autoimmune condition that has no cure and can sometimes be life-threatening,” praises the church in general for its willingness to address the needs, particularly catechetical needs, of people with disabilities, and to make accommodations, e.g., ramps, elevators, enhanced listening devices, etc.
But she notes it is about more than that; the necessary ingredient in welcoming those with disabilities is “the right attitude.”
Pratt helps readers form that attitude through chapters that define disability; explain welcome and how it is to be extended; address catechetical formation; and delve into outreach, vocations, social life, etc. Each chapter begins with a question, e.g., “How do you welcome others into your life?” and concludes with “food for thought” and a prayer.
Those who serve parishes as ordained ministers, catechists, liturgical ministers, members of various councils and committees, and in any manner will benefit from “Salt and Light.” However, this is not a book for a shelf in the parish office.
Anyone familiar with Catholic outreach to those with developmental disabilities is aware of Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche and co-founder of Faith and Light. In that awareness one knows of the call he accepted and the commitment he made to serve the other-abled. That commitment has inspired others throughout the world to do the same.
“A Cry Is Heard” is autobiographical, but in a manner and style one would expect from a 90-year-old faithful servant to the developmentally challenged who has something to say about people he’s met, experiences he’s had, and having a deep and loving relationship with God.
Readers will receive Vanier’s thoughts on St. Teresa of Kolkata, St. John Paul II, Dorothy Day and others whose names they might not recognize but who are important to the author. They’ll read about his experiences, e.g., L’Arche’s roots and growth, how it was received by the Pontifical Council for the Laity in the 1970s and the international impact the ministry has had.

(Olszewski is the editor of The Catholic Virginian, newspaper of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia.)

Apologists outline helpful responses to criticisms of Catholic faith

By Brian Welter (CNS)
“Forty Reasons I Am a Catholic” by Peter Kreeft. Sophia Institute Press (Manchester, New Hampshire, 2018). 132 pp., $14.95.
“Forty Anti-Catholic Lies: A Myth-Busting Apologist Sets the Record Straight” by Gerard Verschuuren. Sophia Institute Press (Manchester, New Hampshire, 2018). 341 pp., $19.95.
Well-known philosopher and author Peter Kreeft and apologist Gerard Verschuuren both adopt simple yet at times challenging approaches to the truth of the faith. The short chapters and simple language make their books accessible to a variety of readers, from recent converts to those wanting to better present their beliefs to the perplexed.
As apologists, both authors directly address contemporary post-Christian culture and the frequent biases and accusations against the church. Yet they do so without maligning anti-Catholics. They thus model a powerful way to carry out St. John Paul II’s new evangelization.
Kreeft’s “Forty Reasons I Am a Catholic,” more personal than “Forty Anti-Catholic Lies,” given Kreeft’s reference to his own Catholic journey, addresses a wide range of issues, including secular society, infallibility, purgatory and Catholic community.
Though it surveys a wide range of topics, “40 Reasons I’m a Catholic” does address the essential issue of Scripture and tradition in some depth. The author argues convincingly that certain Protestant views of scriptural primacy are not only historically untrue but also illogical, concluding: “The church was both the efficient cause (the author) and the formal cause (the definer) of the New Testament.”
This historical fact leads to an even greater point: “No effect can be greater than its cause … and the infallible is greater than the fallible; therefore, the infallible cannot be caused by the fallible.” Thus, when Protestants claim that the church is fallible, they are undermining their own understanding of the Bible.
His confidence in the church never wavers. If the church’s claim about Jesus is wrong or untrue, “how to account for her wisdom, her holiness (her saints), her survival, and her fidelity to Christ’s teachings through 2,000 years of history?” This book adds a welcome dimension to Kreeft’s scholarly output.
Verschuuren’s wide-ranging “Forty Anti-Catholic Lies” presents a more scholarly and challenging argument. Despite the variety of topics covered, like Kreeft’s book, it never confuses or veers off topic. The chapters are assembled into seven broad themes including “Catholicism and the Bible” and “Catholicism and Science.”
The author addresses Protestant concerns more than those of non-Christians, such as pointing out the “biblical” nature of Catholic spirituality.
Other areas of contention addressed include historical events or realities often turned against the Catholic faith, including the Galileo affair, the Crusades, and the Inquisition. Regarding the latter, the author reminds readers of how attacks on the church often depend on erroneous argumentative techniques, such as the fallacy of judging the past by today’s standards: “What methods did the Inquisitors use? They basically used methods that civil courts would also use at the time.”
Verschuuren also addresses the exaggerated claims often made against the church: “Modern researchers have discovered that the Spanish Inquisition applied torture in 2 percent of its cases. Each instance of torture was limited to a maximum of 15 minutes. In only 1 percent of the cases was torture applied twice, and never for a third time.”
The author says the “gruesome lists of instruments of torture” that we have all heard of were post-Reformation fabrications.
Readers will come to see that many of our Christian brothers and sisters have abused the truth in a centuries-long anti-Catholic campaign. Perhaps “40 Anti-Catholic Lies” can therefore be seen as an attempt at a painfully necessary aspect of ecumenism, where Catholics need to address biased Protestant perspectives with robust correctives.
Some topics are fun to read, such as the chapter on apparitions. The prudent and even meticulous way ecclesiastical authorities deal with these reflects the church’s important protective function. The church prevents its members from getting caught up in harmful and even evil movements yet tolerates a wide range of practices, beliefs and communities. Apparitions can help Catholics “to enrich, deepen, or strengthen their faith.”
Perhaps surprising to some, the author observes that “the Catholic Church does not easily give in to what some consider a spiritual need of Catholics for ‘special’ visions, revelations, and apparitions.”
Both books would add greatly to the Catholic’s arsenal. The wide-ranging discussion of course comes at the price of in-depth discussion on any one topic, but the titles never promise anything but a survey. What they both do is whet readers’ appetites for greater in-depth discussion of widespread falsehoods regarding the church and its teachings.

(Welter has degrees in history and theology and teaches English in Taiwan.)

Knights fight cool weather with chili

PEARL – St. Jude parishioners gathered on Saturday, November 1 to pit their chili-cooking skills against one another for a family-oriented competition organized by the Knights of Columbus. The winners are: Third place Melissa O’Brien, team Women of Faith; second place Victoria and April McDonald and Matthew Meadows, 1st place. Shannon Roe Torregano team Roe-Tel it on the Mountain. Pastor Father Lincoln Dall selected Dan and Danny Nelson’s chili for the “father’s choice award.”

Pear, St. Jude parish, photos by Tereza Ma

The family of Dennise Riordan and Jamison Taylor sharing thoughts about the chili during the Knights of Columbus Chili Cook-off.

Parishioners Nina Couey and Sandra Walker examine the chili very well before they pick their winning choice.

Mr. Walker

Brodey and Farren Clark

Jose and JJ Arellano

Dori, Beth, Jo and Thomas Paczak participated in judging the chili.

Aniston Pitts

Rory Clark

All kids from St. Jude having good time to get together

Shannon Roe Torregano from team Roe-Tel it on the Mountain.

The winner Shannon Roe Torregano from team Roe-Tel it on the Mountain.

Shannon Roe Torregano

Shannon Roe Torregano

Second place Victoria McDonald, Matthew Meadows and April McDonald.

Third place Melissa Obrien team Women of faith.

The Nelson team

Father's pick winner Danny Nelson

Danny Nelson with Nora and Father Lincoln

Danny Nelson with Nora and Father Lincoln

Line to pick the samples was pretty long

Father Lincoln Dall collects his chili samples from Pat McBride.

Father Lincoln with ladies from Philippines Riza Caskey, Myra Woodward and Ellen Bruno

Tome Nota

Concientización por las Vocaciones. Diócesis, Semana del 4 al 10
Ora por nuestros sacerdotes, hermanos y hermanas religiosos y los seminaristas.

Educación de la Fe
Tupelo, St. James, sábado 17 de noviembre. Curso” Hechos y Cartas Apostólicas”.
Pearl, St. Jude, sábado 17 de noviembre. Taller El ser humano en crecimiento”

Comunidad
Jackson, Catedral, Gala de Otoño, sábado, 10 de noviembre a las 6.30 pm.
Jackson, Catedral, Apertura formal para la causa de la hermana Thea. El obispo Joseph R. Kopacz abre la investigación sobre la vida de la hermana Thea Bowman, FSPA, sierva de Dios, domingo, 18 de noviembre, de 10:30 a.m.

Vírgenes y Santos
Jueves 1ro noviembre: Dia de Todos los Santos
Viernes 2 de noviembre: Dia de los Fieles Difuntos
Jueves 8 de noviembre. Virgen de los Treinta y Tres. Uruguay
Domingo 18 de noviembre: Señora del Rosario de Chiquinquirá. Colombia
Lunes 19 de noviembre: Señora de la Divina Providencia. Puerto Rico
Miércoles 21 de noviembre: Nuestra Señora del Quinche. Ecuador
Jueves 22 de noviembre. Dia de Acción de Gracias, Santa Cecilia y Nuestra Señora de la Paz del Salvador
Viernes 30 de noviembre: San Andrés Apóstol