By Joanna Puddister King WEST POINT – Carlisle Beggerly grew up Protestant, but an encounter with St. Augustine’s Confessions led him to seek out the church that the author belonged to.
“I felt called to the priesthood from the beginning of my conversion,” said Beggerly. He then spent some time with a religious order, but then left and attended law school, all the while still feeling a call to priestly life.
The next step toward ordination to the priesthood for Beggerly was his ordination into the transitional diaconate on Saturday, June 4 at his home parish of Immaculate Conception in West Point by Bishop Joseph Kopacz.
Typically, transitional deacons spend one final year in seminary before priestly ordination. Men ordained as transitional deacons do so with the intention of becoming a priest.
“During the transitional [diaconate] period, we try to place our seminarians in parishes that can give them a wide range of experiences,” said vocations director, Father Nick Adam.
“This will be the first time a seminarian can baptize a baby, witness a wedding or preside at a funeral. We want to make sure they have many opportunities to delve into parish life and walk with families along the way.”
Fellow Immaculate Conception parishioner, Barbara Elliott has known Deacon Beggerly and his family since they began attending the parish more than 10 years ago.
“He’s always been very devout … and instrumental in helping the children of the parish with the liturgy,” said Elliott. “We are so proud of him.”
Those in the transitional diaconate are tried to be placed at a parish with a school so they can be a part of the day-to-day life of kids, parents and faculty. A great place for that is at St. Francis and St. Anthony School in Madison, where Beggerly will serve through some time in October.
By Joanna Puddister King A trailer has been released by NewGroup Media and the Diocese of Jackson for the upcoming documentary on Servant of God Sister Thea Bowman.
The trailer has been making the rounds on social media and gives a glimpse into the life of the future Black Catholic saint. The documentary is entitled “Going Home Like a Shooting Star: Thea Bowman’s Journey to Sainthood” and it encompasses her life from her childhood in Canton, her rise to fame as a public speaker and evangelizer, to her death from cancer at age 52 in 1990.
The documentary features testimonies from Sister Thea’s friends, fellow sisters, former students, acquaintances and admirers. It also includes live-action reenactments from moments in her life. The reenactments were filmed in various locations around the country, including locally in Canton featuring local talent, with St. Joseph Catholic School student Madison Ware, as young Bertha Bowman.
Early reactions on social media platforms included: “These 6 minutes make me wish I had known her so much earlier! Thank you!” “She deserves this and so do the people!” “Sister Thea will hopefully one day be the first saint from Mississippi.”
JACKSON – Traditionally, June is the month on the Roman Catholic calendar when on the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul (June 29), each newly named metropolitan archbishops is given a pallium by the Holy Father. Pallium is a Latin word that means a mantle or cloak.
Made of lamb’s wool, the pallium is a white band measuring about two- and one-half inches in width. Two equally wide bands, about 15 inches long containing small silk-covered lead pieces, extend one in front and one down the back. It is worn over the chasuble.
The pallium is decorated with six black crosses placed in the front and back, on each shoulder, and on the ends of the pieces hanging in front and back. Three pins, spinula in Latin for thorn, are placed in the crosses on the front, the back and the left shoulder.
The following historical description is taken from the Vatican’s website: “The Liber Pontificalis (Pontifical Book) notes that Pope St. Mark (died 336) conferred the pallium on the Suburbicarian Bishop of Ostia, one of the consecrators of the Roman Pontiff. Even if we cannot be sure of the historic value of this information, at least it reflects the practice of the fifth and sixth centuries, when the Liber Pontificalis was compiled by the Roman Curia.”
“In 513, Pope Symmachus granted the privilege of the pallium to St. Caesarius of Arles and thereafter the concession of the pallium by the Pope to the bishops of Italy and outside Italy multiplied.”
“The pallium is the symbol of a special relationship with the Pope and expresses the power, that, in communion with the Church of Rome, the metropolitan acquires by right in his own jurisdiction. According to Canon Law (canon 437), a metropolitan must request the pallium within three months of his appointment and may wear it only in the territory of his own diocese and in the other dioceses of his ecclesiastical province.”
Spiritually speaking, the pallium’s unique design represents a yoke placed on an ox. The one who takes up the yoke carries the church on his shoulders, plowing through the many challenges and yet the many joys of church life.
Traditionally, on the feast of St. Agnes (Jan. 21), two lambs are brought from Tre Fontane, the site of St. Paul’s martyrdom, to the Basilica of St. Agnes on the Via Nomentana. After they are blessed, the sheep are presented to the Pope, then they remain in the care of the women religious who reside at the Basilica of St. Cecilia in Trastevere.
Just before Easter, these lambs are shorn and their wool is used to make the pallia for newly appointed archbishops. On the night of June 28, the pallia are placed beneath the main altar of the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome where they lie close to the tomb of the first pope.
In receiving his papal pallium when installed in 2005, Pope Benedict XVI in his homily stated: “The symbolism of the pallium is even more concrete: the lamb’s wool is meant to represent the lost, sick or weak sheep which the shepherd places on his shoulders and carries to the waters of life.”
In June 2008, I was privileged to travel to Rome with Bishop Joseph Latino and Bishop Emeritus William Houck for the conferral of the pallia on all the new archbishops of the world by Pope Benedict XVI. This included our current metropolitan, Archbishop Thomas Rodi of Mobile.
One of my main tasks was to pack and unpack cassocks according to the ceremony of the day and keep them wrinkle free. I like to joke that it was a terribly demanding job, but it was not. It truly was a blessing, especially considering I was in Rome participating in such a beautiful church tradition. Throughout the weeklong trip, it was about 99 degrees outside and inside was only slightly less hot. There is air-conditioning in Rome hotels, but basically it is a box on the wall that makes a lot of noise and drips water on the floor.
The two bishops and I celebrated Mass in four major basilicas in Rome – Peter, Paul, John Lateran and my favorite, St. Mary Major. We managed the heat fairly well and became quite adept at hailing taxis. The day of the Pallium Mass in St. Peter Basilica, I positioned myself along the rail so that I would be close to the procession. I do not recall how many new metropolitans were there besides ours, but I do remember as they processed out through the basilica, they all looked so serene and otherworldly in their red chasubles and newly placed pallia.
It was the look of being swept up into the heart of the triune God; to being entrenched in the 2000-year tradition of our church; and to being surrounded and bolstered by the Communion of Saints ready to bear the yoke and till the soil in God’s vineyard.
(Mary Woodward is Chancellor and Archivist for the Diocese of Jackson)
By Joanna Puddister King JACKSON – Family, friends and supporters gathered on Saturday, May 14 at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle in Jackson for the priestly ordination of Andrew Bowden, who set his sights on the priesthood from the time he was a kindergartener.
Father Bowden was the first seminarian welcomed into the program by Bishop Joseph Kopacz in 2014, after Bowden graduated from high school.
Bishop Kopacz said that eight years ago “seems like a lifetime age,” something that vocation director Father Nick Adam concurred with.
In 2014, Father Nick was still in seminary formation when Bowden was accepted to the program. “It’s great to see the growth … from 18-years-old to now 26, but also the growth in his identity as a future priest of the church,” said Father Nick.
At the joyful celebration, Bishop Kopacz was joined by many other priests in the diocese, seminarians and Father James Wehner, STD, rector of Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans.
Bishop Kopacz gave special acknowledgement to Father Wehner, who is leaving his position as rector after a 10 year “tour of duty,” returning to his home diocese of Pittsburg.
Wehner was a huge part in the lives of our recent generation of priests in the diocese. Bishop Kopacz acknowledged, while running through the lists of “characters” that have entered the priesthood under Father Wehner’s tenure.“Twelve seems to be the number … we have truly been blessed in our diocese,” said Bishop Kopacz.
The Solemn Mass of Ordination featured the election of the candidate with Father Nick Adam proclaiming Bowden’s worthiness; the promise of the elect, where Bowden agreed to live his priesthood in the imitation of Christ; the litany of supplication, where Bowden laid prostrate on the floor while those at the church prayed for the saints protection; the laying on of hands by brother priests; the prayer of ordination over Bowden by Bishop Kopacz; vestition by Father Matthew Simmons; the anointing of hands with sacred oil; presentation of the chalice and paten as symbols of the priestly office; and the fraternal kiss, where the Bishop and all brother priests present exchange a sign of peace.
In his homily, Bishop Kopacz spoke on the tradition of the priesthood over 2000 years.
“We go from Jerusalem to Jackson. Same work; same faith; same Holy Word of God; and this great gift of the Lord’s presence in our midst.”
At the end of the liturgy, Bishop Kopacz thanked everyone who helped prepare for the ordination and all in attendance for the celebration, mentioning the upcoming ordination of Carlisle Beggerly to the transitional diaconate on June 4 at his home parish of Immaculate Conception in West Point.
After Mass, many in attendance traveled a few blocks from the Cathedral to the Two Mississippi Museums for a reception honoring Father Bowden and to receive first priestly blessings.
The day after Father Bowden’s ordination, he celebrated his Mass of Thanksgiving at his home parish of St. Jude Pearl, with his family, friends and fellow parishioners, who supported him during his journey to the priesthood.
For the Mass, Father Bowden invited Father Nick, as his vocation director to give the homily. Speaking directly to Father Bowden, Father Nick told him that he had been waiting for this day a long time. “But, probably not as long as you,” joked Father Nick.
“As your vocation director, it has been a joy to see you being formed into a man who is going to be a fantastic priest.”
Most striking about Father Bowden’s ordination was the number of young people who came to show their support, noted Father Nick.
“That is a testament to the spiritual fatherhood that you have already taken on,” said Father Nick to Bowden during his homily.
At the end of the Mass, the newly ordained Father Bowden did his best to recall all to thank for their support of him and his journey to the priesthood.
“St. Jude is a place where I first started to learn to love the church, so it’s very special for me to come back and … celebrate this Mass,” said Father Bowden.
“I could not have gotten here with out all of you and your prayers and support for me.”
Father Bowden was appointed parochial vicar of St. Richard Jackson by Bishop Kopacz. He will begin his ministry at the parish on June 1.
Please, share your parish pictures with us! Mississippi Catholic will publish Sacrament pages in an upcoming edition this summer. Please send photos in actual size and include the following: parish name, sacrament celebrated, full names of those pictured by row (left to right) and name of photographer. Please email photos and information to: email@example.com.
From the Archives By Mary Woodward JACKSON – Statues of the Blessed Mother, St. Joseph and other saints are a wonderful part of our church’s tradition. Unfortunately, we Catholics often are accused of worshipping statues.
The way I normally explain it to those making the accusation is having statues in churches and our homes is the same as having photos of our beloved family members adorning our wallets and walls. They are visual images of members of our family in faith.
Praying in front of a statue of St. Peter and lighting a candle sends our prayers heavenward carried through the intercession of that faith family member. Similarly, I have asked for the intercession of my deceased loved ones since they hopefully are closer to the Lord in the next life. Usually that explanation enlightens the person for the most part.
Sadly, there are times when churches close and the statues inside need to be rescued. I recently met a 100-year-old statue of the Blessed Mother rescued by a priest friend from a church that had been damaged by Hurricane Katrina and ultimately had to be closed. The statue is now used for Marian celebrations in his diocese. What a lovely new life for that statue!
As chancellor, I have rescued several statues from several of our diocesan parishes. I wrote recently about the damaged statue from Greenwood Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. That statue currently is being painstakingly repaired, because rightly so, the parish would rather have that antique, beloved image back scarred, than replace it with a new one.
Three other rescued statues came from St. Francis Church in Yazoo City. One of those was Our Lady of Fatima, which now graces the columbarium at St. Richard Church in Jackson. I have to say it is one of the most beautiful statues I have encountered in my statue relief work. Although, she showed the signs of decades of outdoor Delta life, she had a serene presence that enveloped me in her strength and love.
The other two – Sacred Heart of Jesus and St. Francis of Assisi – reside in the Bishop’s Cemetery on the grounds of the Cathedral in Downtown Jackson. Last year during Bishop Joseph Latino’s funeral preparations, the Sacred Heart statue had to be moved to get the vault into the burial plot. The vault man moved it in such a way that the Sacred Heart seems to be consoling St. Francis. We have not moved it back yet because it is rather sweet and because it is rather heavy.
When St. Mary Church in Jackson closed, we found homes for all the statues in that beautiful space. The large Marian statue above the main entrance now stands at Locus Benedictus Retreat Center outside Greenwood as Our Lady, Mother of the Delta.
The Our Lady of Fatima Statue in front of the elementary school was dedicated to Father Peter Quinn, the founding pastor. It now stands in the priests’ section of the cemetery at St. Joseph Church in Gluckstadt where Father Quinn is buried.
St. Jude in Pearl now houses two of the interior wooden statues of St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother. St. Anthony School in Madison received a statue of its patron from the church as well. St. Richard Church placed a Sacred Heart statue in one of its prayer gardens.
Finding homes for these faith family members is quite edifying. There is something about passing on our faith traditions in this unique way that gives joy to all involved. I liken it to providing hospitality for the saints as they continually transcend our lives.
So, the next time you light a candle in front of a statue or pass by that niche in your church, stop and say a prayer with your faith family. You no doubt will find some peace in that moment as you are enveloped in the strength and love of the communion of saints.
(Mary Woodward is Chancellor and Archivist for the Diocese of Jackson)
Editor’s note: In 1981, April was declared Child Abuse Awareness month, then in 1983 April was declared National Child Abuse Prevention month and in 1989 the color blue was declared the Child Abuse Awareness ribbon color. So, Mississippi Catholic is “going blue” to raise public awareness of child abuse and to promote prevention efforts.
By Joanna Puddister King and Berta Mexidor CLEVELAND – Jenifer Jenkins has always had a special place in her heart for helping others. Coming from back to her hometown of Cleveland after a stint in Oregon as a disaster coordinator for the Red Cross, preparing operating procedures for emergencies such as hurricanes, nuclear accidents and terrorist attacks and earning a degree in social work, Jenkins was a natural fit for the Safe Environment Coordinator position for the Diocese of Jackson when the position came open last year.
Jenkins took the place of long-time diocese employee, Vickie Carollo, who spent 17 years developing the Protection of Children program for the diocese before her retirement in 2021. But Jenkins was no stranger to the program as she had acted as a site administrator for the program at Our Lady of Victories Cleveland, in addition to many other duties at the Delta parish before taking over for Carollo last summer. “I knew that this would be something that I would love to do,” said Jenkins. “My degree is in social work and has always held a special place in my heart.”
Over the past year, Jenkins has been working out of her home parish of Our Lady of Victories, as the Safe Environment Coordinator, and working to make sure that all sites in the diocese are compliant with the Charter for the Protection of Children and that employees are up to date with the Virtus, a program and service of The National Catholic Risk Retention Group.
Virtus is an awareness training program that is designed to educate adults on how to recognize the warning signs of child sexual abuse and what to do when they suspect a child is being victimized.
As a part of the ongoing efforts for the diocese’s Protection of Children program, all volunteers and employees complete monthly training bulletins, in addition to an initial training session, and completing a background check.
“With Virtus everybody can stay up-to-date on the latest research and information on fostering safe environments. Things are always changing, and we want to stay on top of things to keep our children and vulnerable adults safe,” said Jenkins.
The diocese also uses Virtus for safety training geared to children, that includes material that is developmentally appropriate for each age group and includes content and activities that reinforce the message. Some of the topics include what to do and how to react when someone’s touch is confusing, scary, or makes the child feel uncomfortable; learning about personal boundaries and giving the self-assurance needed to speak up; learning about who to tell when something or someone makes them feel uncomfortable or confused; and how to recognize grooming by an abuser.
Additionally, the Protection of Children program at the diocese goes through an onsite audit process every three years, of which the diocese has been in compliance with every year. The next onsite audit is set for July of this year and Jenkins is ready, saying she is “crossing all the ‘t’s’ and dotting the ‘i’s.'” “Some of our sites got behind on training bulletins from Virtus during COVID since there were little to no activities for quite a while,” said Jenkins.
In addition to the audit, Jenkins says she is also working on updating vulnerable adult training and will soon implement a system in schools to identify volunteers more easily, making sure each are Virtus compliant.
Jenkins says, “I am helping to bring more awareness of sexual abuse and abuse of vulnerable adults to all. I continue to look forward to meeting new people across the diocese and protecting all of God’s children.”