Deacons from Mexico, Vietnam ordained for Jackson

CANTON/MCCOMB – The Diocese of Jackson wrapped up ordination season May 25 and 26 with the ordinations of Cesar Sanchez Fermin and Andrew Nguyen to the transitional diaconate. In the Diocese of Jackson, seminarians are ordained into the diaconate in their home parishes. Since both men are from abroad, they selected the parishes where they have found a second home for their celebrations. For Deacon Sanchez, that was Canton Sacred Heart Parish and for Deacon Nguyen, it was McComb St. Alphonsus.
Sacred Heart was crowded with parishioners of all ages and nationalities on Saturday, May 25. Dozens of priests and deacons including Father Joseph Krafft from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, where seminarians from the diocese complete their studies, and Father Aaron Williams as master of ceremonies.
During his homily, Bishop Kopacz recited all the deacon’s obligations focusing mainly on serving only one Lord. After, Bishop Kopacz asked Cesar about his willingness to follow Christ’s example to serve God’s people.
Deacon Sanchez is from San Andrés, Mexico, where he said he “learned to read, pray and reflect with the Bible.” He used to play drums, performing in a band with his friends. He still likes to play the guitar and sing. He found his calling to priestly life at 17, after a vocational retreat that touched his heart.
Cesar compared his journey of discernment with a musician on stage. “In other words, I was not playing the song of life with the instrument that God wanted due to my introversion and little initiative to life. It was a stage where I was content with the minimum, but my heart, made for the great and transcendent, was not fooled.
“There was something that led me to find Jesus Christ, the one who truly fills the deepest aspirations of our being. Although I did not understand very well what I was missing, or what I should do, I felt in the scene of my life the protagonist was missing; the one who gives meaning and direction to a new story in which prayer, sacramental life, service, generosity, joy and discipline will give shape to something new and exciting – called priestly vocation,” he explained.
Cesar’s family is mainly in Mexico, his father Feliciano García López, his mother Maria Graciela Sanchez Fermin and his siblings Lizet, Alan, Jonathan, Fabian and Joel. They couldn’t be physically present, so they followed the ceremony online. His brother, Diego, accompanied Cesar during his ordination weekend and ceremony. “My family is happy, he makes us feel proud. Cesar is my oldest brother, we are eight siblings, but we are close, we spend time together. This is a dream come true. I feel like the luckiest brother in the world” Diego said.
Deacon Nguyen is from Vietnam. His mother, Truong thi Mink, made the trip from Vietnam for the ordination and got a little help from the Catholic Community at large to get to the Mass. She had to fly into Chicago, where Deacon Peter Quan Tong of the Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa, picked her up and brought her to McComb. It was the first time she has seen her son since he left home. The deacon spent several summers in McComb and the community embraced him.
“I took it as a special honor because he is such a sweet guy. On holidays and some summers, he was with us, helping out Father Brian (Kaskie). I just felt like he was part of our family so we were all honored to do this,” said Nita Pounds, who sang for the Mass.
Fellow choir member Susan Bellipanni agreed. “I have seen him the past couple of years here at the parish and he is a joy to be around. I just feel happy for him,” she said.
Earlier in May, Father Adolfo Suarez Pasillas and Mark Shoffer were ordained into the priesthood. Father Mark said he takes joy in all of the ordinations. “Mississippi gained another minister – somebody new to bring the gospel to another community in a state that is ripe for hearing the gospel,” he said of Deacon Nguyen’s ordination.
The pair are set to be ordained into the priesthood next year. For this year, Deacon Sanchez is assigned to Madison St. Francis of Assisi and Deacon Nguyen is assigned to Meridian St. Patrick and St. Joseph Parishes, effective June 14.
(Tereza Ma, Berta Mexidor and Maureen Smith contributed to this story.)

CANTON – Cesar Sanchez Fermin

McCOMB – Andrew Nguyen

Youth news

Saying goodbye to graduating students

COLUMBUS – Annunciation eighth grade students Luke Clarke and Rhett Shanahan give high fives to the younger students as they exit the school for the last time during the eighth grade sendoff ceremony on May 23rd. During this tradition, the younger students line the walkways to say goodbye to their older counterparts.
St. Vincent DePaul Society representative, Karen Overstreet, presents co-winner, Patrick Doumit with the St. Vincent DePaul award, given each year to a deserving seventh grade student who exemplifies the heart of Jesus in their actions of service both in school and in the community. This year the award was given to both Patrick and Elijah Clarke on May 22.

(Photos by Katie Fenstermacher)

St. Richard school performance

JACKSON – St. Richard’s after-school drama club performed plays they created on Thursday, May 16. At left, (l-r) Elijah Watkins, Maya Olivia, Allie Schuetzle, Rivers Lee, John Brody Fournet, Katherine Curley, Clara Clifford, Lily Frances Garner, Lorin Bass and Thomas O’Beirne sing a closing song.
Below, (l-r) Turner Brown, Christopher Brown, Jake Garrison, Nicole Amy, Lucy Smith, Sophie Bruckner and Davis Hammond take a bow after their ‘game show’ play.
(Photos by Tereza Ma)

Changing out crops in Southaven

SOUTHAVEN – Jonathan Barreto-Lorenzo from Southaven Sacred Heart School, picks okra seeds out of a pod as students get ready to plant a summer garden. Earlier in the day, the students dug up and said goodbye to the winter crop of broccoli. They hope to harvest okra when they return this fall. (photo by Sister Margaret Sue Broker)

Wanda Thomas to lead Catholic Charities of Jackson

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Wanda Thomas, the new CEO for Catholic Charities of Jackson, is no stranger to the agency or the good work being done there. She is set to start Monday, June 17. Thomas worked as a therapist at Charities in the early 2000s and has gone on to earn more credentials and more experience both in social work and the supervision of that work at other agencies in the state.
Thomas spent many years at Canopy Children’s Services, formerly known as Mississippi Children’s Home Services, as a regional director, director of intensive in-home services and program director of their therapeutic foster care services. Catholic Charities has similar programs.
“I have a passion and drive for change. I like to see change over time. I like to look at where we have come from. I like to build things. The services and programs (at Catholic Charities) are there, but as the new person I can come in with new thoughts and new ideas and think outside the box,” said Thomas. “I am looking forward to adding to what is already in place and having a positive impact,” she added.

Wanda Thomas

Msgr. Elvin Sunds, former executive director for Catholic Charities, was on the search committee for a new leader. “She has 20-some years of experience in social work. She is a licensed master social worker, which is important to the agency. She has supervised programs similar to the ones offered at Catholic Charities. She is certainly qualified,” said Msgr. Sunds. “The committee was impressed with her enthusiasm, her communication skills and her commitment to the mission of Catholic Charities,” he explained.
Thomas describes herself as very mission driven. The mission of Charities, she said, is one of the reasons she felt called to apply for the position. She believes her experience will help her in her new role because she has faced many of the challenges facing the staff already in place. “That’s going to give me a great opportunity and window into what we may need to improve on, what we are missing, but I have also been in their shoes. I have had to come up with solutions to many of these challenges,” she said.
“I want to strengthen what we already have in place – highlight what we are doing well. (I want to focus on) retention. You can only be as successful as your staff, so I want to retain talented individuals, to recruit, to provide them with development to do their best jobs. I want them to teach me how to work alongside them. To me, I am building a whole new team,” she said.
Thomas said when therapists and staff members work with people in crisis or people who have experienced trauma, they can carry part of those burdens with them. “I want to restore hope, in a way. What they are doing is having an impact. I want them to see that impact. When you can show how they are being beneficial, that can be a motivator,” said Thomas. “The health of an agency and its culture carries out into the community,” she added.
For the past three years, Bishop Joseph Kopacz has acted as CEO for the agency in collaboration with John Lunardini, the Agency’s COO for the past year and a half. “I am most grateful to John Lunardini for his invaluable contribution to the wellbeing of the agency through the strengthening of our financial base, our relationships with our funding sources and the advancement of our marketing and development. For sure, he will bring his skills and added experience from the social service world to any future employment,” Bishop Kopacz said.
Thomas will be the first non-Catholic at the helm of the agency. The bishop plans to remain present to direct the Catholic identity efforts at the office, and to further strengthen the vital role that Catholic Charities has for the diocesan mission and vision, but will hand the day-to-day operations over to Thomas. “Wanda Thomas has a great sense of what our mission needs to be, and we will move forward with a great team,” said the bishop.
Charities was formally chartered in 1963, but has its roots in the founding of a pair of orphanages in Natchez in the 1850s. It currently operates a number of social service programs including therapeutic foster care, adoption, the Solomon Counseling Center, services for the survivors of domestic violence, refugee and migrant support services and services for families experiencing mental health crises.

Youth news

Students prepare backpack blessings for neighbors

CLARKSDALE – St. Elizabeth students Kimber Wilkinson, Rivers Rico, and Kalyn Matthews with Liz Brewer in the background, pack food and other items into backpacks to be given to those who may go hungry once school lets out for the weekends or summer.
The backpack project is headed up by Liz Brewer, a parishioner of St. Elizabeth and volunteer at the school. (photo by Dawn Spinks)

Students take virtual field trip

VICKSBURG – Vicksburg Catholic School recently completed the first installation of a Virtual Reality Lab. Vicksburg Catholic School is the second school in the state to make this big step forward in technology in education. Seniors Elise Piazza, Mattie Derivaux and Sarah Jane Pierce took the headsets out for a spin during the program introduction. (Photo by Kristi Smith)

Storms offer opportunity for service

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – A group of students from the University of Portland stepped in to help Jackson area residents trying to fight back flood waters on Saturday, May 11. The group is on a regional tour of sites significant to the Civil Rights Movement. They contacted the Diocese of Jackson to see if there were any service projects they could do while they were in town.
Paul Byrne, facilities manager for the diocese, had set up an outdoor project for them which involved painting. When storms rolled in the week before, he thought the students were going to get a day off. “That’s when I heard an announcement on the radio about sand and bags being available at the City of Jackson’s impound lot. I thought that might be a good way for the students to help people right now,” he said.
Twelve students and their two moderators went to the distribution site and filled and loaded sandbags into vehicles for a couple of hours. People facing rising waters could pick them up for their homes and businesses throughout the day. “I was a little worried on Friday, but it all worked out and those students worked hard,” Byrne added.
This is the second year for a group from the Catholic university to take this tour, which includes stops in Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas. (Photos by Paul Byrne)

Race for education

By Laura Grisham
The third annual Sacred Heart School Race For Education Day was held Friday, May 10. Students, teachers and parents came together to show their school spirit in this unique fundraiser by running laps around the school in exchange for sponsorship by family and friends. Prizes were given out in each homeroom for most laps run in an hour. DJ Rockin’ Robin once again kept the crowd moving with great music and dance contests. Volunteers made sure that hungry bellies were fed and the Koha Ice Truck provided frosty treats to cool off the runners.
This event continues to be a tremendous success, raising $35,205 so far. Principal Bridget Martin said that the final total would rise, as there continues to be a flood of sponsorship envelopes arriving daily. With the funds raised over the previous two years, the school has been able to replace bleachers in the gym and refurbish the school library. This year monies will fund new technology with the purchase of more Surface Pros and a Surface Pro Cart. (Photos by Laura Grisham)

Q&A: Father Mark Shoffner

Background:
“I was born in King’s Daughters Hospital in Greenville, Mississippi on the Feast of Our Lady of Victory(the Rosary). In the same hospital as Jim Henson who created Kermit the Frog. I was born into a family heritage composed of German, French, English, Sicilian, Mexican, Scotch-Irish and Choctaw. With ancestors ranging from Native Americans, to German indentured servants immigrating to the colonies in the 1740’s, to a 20th century Mexican immigrant, my family covers all of what makes America.
I am the first son of my parents, both whom are the oldest of their siblings, and I have one brother who is ten years younger than me. I grew up attending Mass at St. Joseph Parish in Greenville and attended Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School and then St. Joseph High School until my family moved to Fort Walton Beach, Forida, where I spent the last three years of high school at Choctawhatchee High School in Ft. Walton. I graduated in 2005, started college and then moved back to Greenville where I would attend college at Mississippi Delta Community College. I graduated from nursing school at MDCC as a Registered Nurse in 2010 and worked at Delta Regional Medical Center in the Cardiovascular ICU until entering seminary for the diocese.”

Home parish:
St. Joseph, Greenville.

Favorite Saints and why?
St. Augustine, because he was not perfect and he had a past which Christ Jesus rescued him from certain destruction. He is a good model for those who give themselves to God and work it out each day with hope.
Mother Mary, she is so loving and helpful to all of her children, making herself known to us all throughout the ages in our local circumstances. She is eternally glorifying God by pointing us towards her Son and reminding us of Christ Jesus’ love for us. St. Benedict, devoted and well-ordered. He founded monasticism which has given the world so much and his brother monks gave me so much to me in my time at St. Joseph Seminary College which is run by Benedictine monks.
St Patrick has always been inspiring as he was a missionary, he overcame so much, and he was so beloved by the Irish priests in my parish who loved me so much and gave me such good examples. He found ordinary ways of teaching great mysteries to those whom he ministered, something I´ve taken a cue from.
St. Mark, my confirmation saint who I picked because I thought I was being lazy. He was an evangelist, he ministered in the Nile Delta city of Alexandria. He stayed close to St. Peter and wrote what he heard. His Gospel shows in great brevity and hurriedness the Lord’s desire to cast out demons with the presence of the Word Incarnate. I hope to preach and heal with this closeness to the Lord and the Church.

Do you have a favorite devotion, religious image or prayer and why?
I am mesmerized by the icon of Our Lady of Bethlehem which I was able to see firsthand when I visited the Holy Land last year. She is so beautifully adorned, wife and mother, watching over her children. Pray for peace in the Holy Land and for persecuted Christians.
I love to move between the Sacred Heart and Good Shepherd image of our Lord as he guides me and gives me the greatest example of what I am to be.
I ponder the wounds of Jesus’ feet, and the place where his side was pierced. I reverence these wounds of Our Lord and I pray with them very regularly.

Who vested you at ordination and why?
Msgr. Patrick Farrell, who was my first parish priest and who baptized me as a baby. I loved him so dearly when I was growing up. I used to process out with him and I wanted to be the first to hug him on Sunday mornings. I want to thank him for his priestly ministry by having him vest me. There is a part of the baptismal rite where the minister speaks to the child and claims him or her for Christ our Savior with a sign of the cross, an eternal action upon a soul. As he claimed me for Christ Jesus and clothed me in the white baptismal garment of salvation, I see it most proper that he should further vest me in the garments of the priesthood of Jesus Christ.

Do you have any hobbies?
I like to cook. Baking, grilling, working a stovetop, I enjoy it all. I enjoy seeing the enjoyment of those for whom I cook for. I’ve played golf since I was two, I enjoy my annual dove hunt with my good friends, and I really enjoy gardening. Planting things, digging up stuff, stoppin on the roadside to dig up heirloom plants from old homesites, I love good dirt, really because I’m from The Delta.

In what parishes have you served?
Our Lady of Victories, Cleveland; St. Joseph Starkville, and St. Dominic Hospital.
 
Can you tell me a little about your vocation story?
I’d thought about priesthood since third grade and been encouraged by teachers, priests, sisters and parishioners. It was always in my head through elementary, high school, and college despite me not actively pursuing it.
I was working one night in the hospital on an elderly man and I thought of St. Mother Teresa and Father Richard Ho Lung. I’d seen the work of his order on EWTN. I had a profound thought of, ‘What is their motivation for doing their work,’ which was much like my own in the hospital? I worked up the courage to reach out to Father Kent Bowlds who met with me regularly for about a year to help me see where the Lord was leading me. The motivation I was looking for that night in the hospital, it was Love. The love and mercy God has for us all and how we are called to be his hands and feet to bring that love to all people
 
Can you share something about yourself people may not know?
I was my high school mascot, and I taught myself how to sew in order to make my costume.
I also carry a shovel and green boots in my car, so that nothing will stop me from bad weather or an interesting plant on the roadside.
 
What advice do you have for those discerning a vocation?
Talk to someone! Prayer is more than essential and there are people who need you. Religious sisters, Brothers, Priests, Deacons, there are people in our parishes who need you and Mississippi needs the witness of good Catholic Priests to bring the Gospel to the world through Christ in the sacraments.

Is there one part of priesthood in particular you are looking forward to?
What are you looking forward to about your first parish assignment?
It›s going to be exciting to say the Mass for people and lead them to God. I›m also looking forward to blessing people and the things that pertain to their lives (fields, homes, etc.). I am particularly excited about the Sacrament of Reconciliation, bringing people back to God who loves them despite their faults and desires to be with them in every aspect of their lives. The loving and merciful heart of God, poured out for us through Confession is what I’m looking forward to.

Bishop ordains Father Shoffner, Father Suarez-Pasillas

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – The Diocese of Jackson gained two new priests on Saturday, May 11 – one a native Mississippian and another from Mexico. Both have a devotion to the Blessed Mother and although both considered the priesthood as boys, both waited until after they had worked out in the world before they entered the seminary.
Father Mark Shoffner was working as a nurse in a cardiac unit when he finally realized that he did want to pursue the priesthood. But first, he wanted to take a sort-of pilgrimage. He told his mother about his plan on his next visit home. “It was January, 2012. He sat down to the supper table. I was making supper, and he said ‘I came home to tell you something – I am about to quit my job and travel around Europe for three months with just a backpack and then I am going to go to the seminary and become a priest,’” said Eva Shoffner.
His journey through the seminary started that fall and his family was thrilled to attend the ordination. “I am so excited. We have just been anticipating this time for a long time – seven years now – and we are just thrilled that the Lord choose our son to become a priest. He has always had a great faith in God and has always had such reverence. He has always greeted each day looking for something good. He is always grateful for all things. I believe he will be a good priest,” said his mother.
Father Adolfo Suarez-Pasillas lived in Mexico and the United States, searching for his true vocation. He said his family was devoted and constantly exposed him to prayer and sacraments, but it took a long time for him to respond to God’s love. His family told Mississippi Catholic that when he was very young, he would make play altars with sticks and flowers. His mother and aunts believe the seeds of his vocation were already starting to take root.
He went through a deep depression before he finally opened his heart and started to work towards the priesthood. Father Suarez-Pasillas could have gone to any number of dioceses, but chose the Diocese of Jackson because he wanted to serve in a place where he could be with the poor and marginalized and where the church needed him most.
The night before the ordination, the candidates, diocesan seminarians, Chancellor Mary Woodward and liaison to the seminarians Father Aaron Williams gathered for a rehearsal. The mood was joyful. Bishop Joseph Kopacz joked with the men as they walked through each part of the rite – the presentation, the litany, oath of fidelity, laying on of hands, vesting, anointing with chrism, receiving the chalice and paten and, finally, standing at the altar for consecration as priests of the church.
The Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle was standing-room-only full for the Mass of Ordination. Several days of bad weather cleared Saturday morning, leaving conditions breezy, but the sun peeked through by the time Mass started. Priests from across the diocese came to celebrate as well as Bishop Emeritus Joseph Latino.
Sister Magdalena Carrillo, Monsignor, read the first reading in Spanish from the Acts of the Apostles – Paul’s instructions for the presbyters to watch over their flock, keeping them safe from wolves and liars. Sister Dorothea Sondgeroth, OP, proclaimed the second reading from Ephesians in which St. Paul urges ministers to be humble and gentle and to unify the church. Deacon Andrew Rudmann chanted the gospel, a reading from John 17 about Jesus giving the word to his apostles and sending them out into the world.
At the conclusion of the Mass, all the priests sang Salve Regina in Latin, a tradition at many diocesan liturgies. As the new priests exited the church, their seminary classmates waited to greet them with cheers and hugs.
The next stop was Jackson St. Richard Parish where a team of volunteers and caterers, led by Berta Mexidor, had arranged a reception honoring the Mississippi and Mexican roots of the ordinands. Magnolias and mariachi music made for a merry reception. The priests offered first blessings while guests snacked on tamales, Delta-inspired stuffed grape leaves and a variety of other foods.
Father Suarez-Pasillas offered his first Mass of Thanksgiving that very afternoon at Jackson St. Therese Parish while Father Shoffner traveled to his home parish of Greenville St. Joseph for a Sunday Mass.

Youth news

Butterflies released

SOUTHAVEN – Sacred Heart third-graders release butterflies they raised in their classrooms into the courtyard at the school the week after Easter. Students in all grade levels had lessons about resurrection and new life during the Lenten and Easter Seasons. (Photo by Sister Margaret Sue Broker)

Service in the Garden

VICKSBURG – Vicksburg Catholic Schools seventh and tenth-graders spent Wednesday, May 1, helping out a the Vicksburg Community Garden. The project is a collaboration between the city, the Alcorn State Extension Program and Shape Up Mississippi to improve the community and increase access to fresh food. (Photo courtesy of Cristin Matthews)

Volleyball Tournament winners

MADISON – St. Anthony School volleyball teams square off at the end of the season elementary league tournament at St. Joseph High School on Wednesday, April 24. The St. Anthony third-grade team won the younger division while the St. Richard sixth grade team won the older division. Teams from a number of Jackson and Madison schools played in the tournament. (Photo by Abbey Schuhmann)

Oh Mary we crown thee with blossoms today …

MERIDIAN – St. Patrick School first grade students led the annual May Crowning at St. Patrick Church. Pictured from the procession (l-r) are: Olivia Henderson, Cayleigh Reeves, Ava Cayer and Amariah Dunnigan. Other students carried flowers and placed them at Mary’s feet. (Photo by Celeste Saucier)

JACKSON – On Thursday, May 2, Sister Thea Bowman students crowned Mary. Above, fifth-grader Zaniah Purvis (l-r) carried the crown of flowers and sixth-graders Cassie Anderson (kneeling) and RaNyia Ruffin carried bouquets of flowers to present. All are members of the Liturgical Dance group at the school. (Photo by Shae Robinson)

COLUMBUS – Annunication’s older students help their younger counterparts with May crowning. Above, eighth-graders Luke Clarke and Shelby Stafford help pre-k students Ames Borden and Vincent Beck place their flowers in vases. (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)

Pastoral Assignments

Father Jason Johnston, appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Parish, Starkville and Corpus Christi Mission, Macon, effective July 1, 2019
Father Joseph Le, appointed Pastor of St. Francis Parish, Aberdeen and Sacramental Minister of St. Helen Parish, Amory, effective July 1, 2019
Father Raju Macherla, appointed Pastor of St. Elizabeth and Immaculate Conception Parishes, Clarksdale, effective July 1, 2019
Father Manohar Reddy Thanugundla, appointed Pastor of St. Francis Parish, Brookhaven, effective July 1, 2019
Father Scott Thomas, appointed Pastor of St. Mary Basilica and Assumption Parishes, Natchez, effective July 1, 2019
Father Antony Chakkalakkal, appointed Chaplain, St. Dominic Hospital, effective July 1, 2019
Father Juan Chavajay, appointed Administrator of St. Therese Parish, Jackson, effective June 20, 2019
Father Joseph Dyer, appointed Sacramental Minister of Christ the King Parish, Jackson, effective June 21, 2019
Father Jeremy Tobin, OPraem, appointed Sacramental Minister of St. Stephen Parish, Magee, effective June 21, 2019

Retiring or leaving diocese
Msgr. Elvin Sunds, retiring from active parish ministry effective June 16, 2019;
Father David O’Connor, retiring from active parish ministry effective June 30, 2019;
Abbot Tom DeWane, OPraem, returning to St. Norbert Abbey, DePere, Wisconsin, after many years of dedicated service to the Diocese of Jackson, effective June 2019;
Father Faustin Misakabo, OPraem, leaving diocese after many years of dedicated service to the Diocese of Jackson, effective June 2019.

Knights celebrate “In Solidarity with our Church”

JACKSON – The Mississippi Knights of Columbus held their annual convention in Jackson the last weekend of April with the theme “In solidarity with our Church.” The gathering gives the knights a chance to share ideas, receive training and recognize those councils and individuals who have offered exemplary service. Mississippi Knights raised more than $85,000 to support seminarians and pro-life initiatives this year. More than 300 people attended.
All photos are from the Mass Bishop Louis Kihneman of the Diocese of Biloxi celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle on Saturday, April 27.
Here are some highlights of those honored during the convention:
Knight of the Year: Norman J. Cantrelle – Most Holy Trinity Council 11995 in Pass Christian
Sir Knights of the Year: Sir Knight David Fisher, Assembly 554 Jackson and Sir Knight Stephen D’Angelo, Assembly 3625 Pass Christian.
Assembly of the Year: Bishop Gerow Assembly 554 – Jackson
Worthy Marshal of the Year: Sir Knight Craig Harrell, Worthy Marshal District 8
Family of the Year: Willie B. Jones Family -Most Holy Trinity Council 11995 in Pass Christian
Best Faith Program: Council 848; Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle Council; Jackson for the Refund Support Vocation Program (RSVP)
Best Family Program: Council 1522; Pere Le Duc Council; Bay St. Louis for the Our Lady of the Gulf Parish Picnic
Best Community Program: Council 898; Vicksburg Council for Meals on Wheels for the Homebound
Best Life Program: Council 10901; St. John Council; Oxford for BBQ Dinner Fundraiser for Pregnancy Center
Best Vocations Programs: Jackson Diocese – Council 848; Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle Council; Jackson for work with Carmelite Sisters and Monastery
Biloxi Diocese: Council 16433; St. Clare Council; Waveland for Cycle to Saints.

Holy week in picture

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Faithful throughout the Diocese of Jackson celebrated Holy Week in unity, but with their own cultural flavors. From an extraordinary form Mass to a modern reenactment of the Passion of Christ. Every parish started a new fire on Easter Sunday. Every Catholic was invited to renew his or her baptismal vows and every person on earth was invited to share in the joy of the resurrection.
Here are a sampling of photos of the journey from Palm Sunday to Easter from across the Diocese of Jackson. Bishop Joseph Kopacz and the entire chancery staff wish you a joyful and fruitful Easter Season.

FOREST – Father Roberto Mena, ST, of St. Michael Parish, and Sister Obdulia Olivar, MGSpS open Holy Week with the blessing of the palms, Sunday, April 14. (Photo by Sr. María Elena Méndez, MGSpS)
PEARL– Above, (l-r) Seminarian Andrew Bowden, Father Aaron Williams and Deacon Mark Shoffner celebrated Palm Sunday with a procession and Mass in the extraordinary form at St. Jude Parish.
JACKSON – Above, Bishop Joseph Kopacz and all the priests of the diocese celebrated chrism Mass on Tuesday, April 16, to bless and consecrate the oils used throughout the year. At this Mass, the priests renew their vows and spend some valuable time together.

Above, a team of volunteers pours the oils into smaller containers between the blessing and the end of Mass for distribution to parishes.
HOLLY SPRINGS – Holy Family School Principal Clara Isom washes the feet of student Shaleigh Faulkner on Holy Thursday, following the example of Jesus from scripture.

SOUTHAVEN – Sacred Heart School students George Espinoza, Ethan Towell and Jacob Bland act out the crucifiction during a live stations of the cross. (Photo by Laura Grisham)
JACKSON – Members of St. Therese Parish light candles for their homes from the Paschal candle. (Photo by Sr. María Elena Méndez, MGSpS)

JACKSON – The Cathedral slowly fills with light during the Easter Vigil as people share their flames as they process into the church.
JACKSON – Bishop Joseph Kopacz, assisted by Mary Woodward, chancellor and Father Anthony Quyet, rector of the cathedral, inserts the incense nails into the Paschal candle at the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle. (Photo by Maureen Smith)