Fourth and Glory! St. Joseph continues dynasty with victory over Tri-County in state title game

By David W. Healy/Delta Democrat-Times
JACKSON – It takes more than one player to make a dynasty.

These were the words from St. Joseph Catholic School coach John Baker just minutes after his Fighting Irish defeated Tri-County Academy 26-14 to win the MAIS Class 4A State Championship Thursday at Jackson Academy. It was the Irish’s fourth state championship in school history and fourth in six years.

As they have done in their previous three state championships, the biggest stars on this year’s St. Joseph (11-1) team shined the brightest. But it was not just one star. The night and the glory belonged to the entire St. Joseph team who avenged a loss last season to Tri-County in last year’s state semifinal game.

Senior running back Kye Nelson, who played as a 5-foot-9 wrecking ball the entire game, carried the ball for crucial yardage time after time again. In the second half, Nelson’s determination came to a crescendo when his 34-yard touchdown score put the Irish in the lead for good at 20-14 with 1:56 to play in the third quarter. Nelson finished the night with 144 yards rushing on 16 carries.

“I was just thinking after every carry to keep going and keep fighting,” Nelson said. “This game was revenge for us because Tri-County beat us in the semifinals last season.”

JACKSON – The Fighting Irish of St. Joe Greenville toppled Tri-County Academy for the MAIS Class 4A State Championship on Thursday, Nov. 17 at Jackson Academy. (Photos by Joanna Puddister King)

Said Baker, “Kye and the offensive line, they put the whole team on their backs and they got us in the endzone. We made the decision to run the ball in the second half because we felt like we were more physical team and at halftime we thought if we ran the ball we could win.”

Nelson missed last year’s state semifinal with an injury.

Senior quarterback CJ Moore was another Irish player who helped cement the Irish dynasty Thursday night.

Moore is the brother of the first two Irish quarterbacks, Brice Johnson and Dillon Johnson, who helped lead the Irish to their first three state championships in 2017, 2018 and 2019. During Thursday’s contest, Moore looked much like his older two brothers when they were leading the Irish to state glory. As he had all season, Moore extended offensive plays with his speed and escapability.

After Tri-County opened the scoring when QB Bryce Warriner connected with Ty Milner on a 13-yard touchdown pass with 2:59 left in the first quarter, Moore found a wide-open Christian Foster in the back of the endzone for 24-yard touchdown reception to give St. Joseph a 7-6 lead.

Later in the second quarter, Moore made his biggest play of the game when he raced down the right sideline for a 76-yard touchdown run to put the Irish up 14-6 with 2:57 left in the second quarter. The Irish finished with 264 rushing yards.

“CJ pulls a rabbit out of his hat every time,” Coach Baker said. “He is the best athlete on our team. He doesn’t let things get to him. He threw an early pick, but he came back and reset and ran that long touchdown for us.”

Moore ended the game 14 of 29 with 163 yards passing. He had 114 yards rushing. St. Joseph’s Stank King led the Irish with 55 yards receiving on five catches. Chris Mayfield had 53 yards receiving for the Irish on three catches.

While the St. Joseph offensive players did their part for the victory, the Irish defense also stood tall when it mattered the most, holding the Rebels scoreless in the second half.

On Tri-County’s first offensive possession of the game, defensive end Donnie Smith recovered a Rebel fumble at the Tri-County 38-yard line. In the second quarter, defensive back Stank King made an interception and returned it 15 yards to the Irish 37-yard line.

In the third quarter, St. Joseph defensive lineman Alex Foster helped to end a Rebel drive with a 15-yard sack for a loss.

Later in the third, King deflected a Tri-County pass in the back of the endzone that looked at first like it was a sure touchdown.

The Rebels managed just 49 rushing yards in the game.

Tri-County head coach Phillip Wasson, a Greenville native who once coached at St. Joseph and Washington School, praised the Irish on their state championship.

“St. Joe is a really good team,” Coach Wasson said. “Most of their best players are all back from last year. Coach Baker has done a good job with them. They have only lost one game this year. I am proud of that group because I know a lot of those kids over there at St. Joe.”

(David Healy is sports editor for the Delta Democrat-Times. He can be reached at Re-printed with permission.)


Activities around the diocese

MADISON – St. Joseph students (l-r) Jarret Hall (Ralphie) and Turner Brown (Ralph Parker – the older-wiser narrator of the story) at the production of “A Christmas Story” on Saturday, Nov. 12. (Photo by Tereza Ma)
JACKSON – The mascot and cheerleaders for St. Joe Greenville celebrate after a big play at the MAIS 4A state championship game on Thursday, Nov. 17. (Photo by Joanna Puddister King)
JACKSON – On Thursday, Nov. 17, Sister Thea Bowman students faced off against St. Richard sixth grade girls on the court. (Photo by Tereza Ma)

Thank you Veterans!

HERNANDO – On Sunday, Nov. 13, the youth of Holy Spirit Church honored Veteran’s with a reception, cards and a jar of red, white and blue M&M’s. (Photos by Amanda Ready)

Youth life around the diocese

VICKSBURG – Coach Larry Calhoun, the star of the Move To Learn exercise break videos came to Vicksburg Catholic School to introduce administrators, teachers and students to the Move to Learn Initiative! The videos feature Calhoun leading students in simple movement exercises that can be done in a small space. Teachers are noticing that incorporating the fitness breaks in the classroom has increased their students’ ability to learn and to focus on schoolwork. (Photo by Lindsey Bradley)

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‘Harvest’ event continues to grow

By Joanna Puddister King

MADISON – The Jackson Seminarian Homegrown Harvest began with a vision of an event to celebrate the Catholic faith and the future priests of the Diocese of Jackson. It has grown from its humble beginning, in 2020 during COVID, as a online only, livestream event where Father Nick Adam and Bishop Joseph Kopacz talked about vocations to viewers.

This year approximately 200 guests were in attendance for the event at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Madison. And the event looks to continue to grow.

Through the first part of October, seminarian Deacon Carlisle Beggerly served his internship at St. Francis of Assisi Madison.

“During the diaconate internship we try to place our men in parishes that will given them a wide range of experiences,” said Father Nick told event attendees.

“He is really reaching the end of his process. From wondering about being a priest, feeling that tug in his heart to do so and being supported by the diocese.”

To much applause, Father Nick announced to the crowd that Deacon Carlisle will be ordained a priest for the diocese on June 10, 2023.

MADISON – Above supporters from around the diocese attended the third annual Jackson Seminarian Homegrown Harvest event held at St. Francis parish this year. Inset: Seminarian, Deacon Carlisle Beggerly speaks to the crowd. (Photos by Joanna Puddister King)

A convert from Protestantism, Deacon Carlisle encountered St. Augustine’s Confessions, that ultimately led him on a journey to Catholicism and on to the priesthood. In college, he began to feel a “quiet whisper” to a vocation.

Speaking on his diaconate internship at the event, he said that he was indebted to the parishioners at St. Francis for their assistance in forming his ministry and to Father Albeen Vatti, pastor of the parish.
Deacon Carlisle said he is confident he is on the right path now. “I truly believe God is calling me to … use my talents for the greater glory of God.”

Father Nick Adam completes a “measure-off” to see who is the tallest seminarian – EJ Martin or Grayson Foley.

The diocese now has nine seminarians – Deacon Carlisle Beggerly, Ryan Stoer, Tristan Stovall, John Le, Will Foggo, Grayson Foley, Tripp Bond, EJ Martin and Straton Garrard – and their education and formation costs are close to $50,000 per student annually.

Their education cost are covered by a variety of cources including the diocese, second collections, and fundraising events like the Homegrown Harvest. At this year’s event, attendees were able to give extra support through a silent auction and raffles using “Beggerly Bucks.”

“It looks like we landed right at about $145,000 in proceeds from the Homegrown Harvest this year,” said Father Nick. “That’s a 71% increase from last year. This is in huge thanks to all of our sponsors, too.”

A 2011 graduate of St. Joseph Catholic School in Madison and of Springhill College to working professionally in Austin, Texas for a few years, new seminarian EJ Martin took an opportunity to talk to those gathered about his experience during his first few months this year at seminary.

At 30 years old, Martin is grateful to the people of the diocese for being able to spend his time immersed in formation at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans.

“I could not imagine doing this with a full-time job,” said Martin. “It’s absolutely incredible to step away from where I was and to really immerse myself into the formation process of what it is to be a man of God.”

(To learn more about vocations, contact Father Nick Adam at


Halloween fun around the Diocese

MERIDIAN – The Youth and Young Adults groups at St. Patrick/St. Joseph hosted the 2nd Annual Halloween Carnival on Oct. 22. The event had great community participation. The Hispanic group provided concessions and were able to take the profit that will be used towards expenses for this year’s Our Lady of Guadalupe activities. The school children and teachers helped with games and the profit from the games will help the school with any projects they have in the works. The Youth and Young Adults also put together a Haunted House in the old convent and profits will go towards event registrations and other activities. (Photos by Angela Dove)

CLARKSDALE – Students at St. Elizabeth School wore costumes, ate pizza and cookies at a Halloween Movie-Night Fundraiser. (Photos by Mary Evelyn Stonestreet)

JACKSON – St. Richard sixth grade student dressed as T-Rexes greet students on Monday, Oct. 31. (Photos by Shea Luckett)

YAZOO CITY – St. Mary parish participated in trunk-or-treat in downtown Yazoo City on Monday, Oct. 31. (Photos by Babs McMaster)

CLARKSDALE – St. Elizabeth held its annual Trunk-or-Treat and canned food drive on Sunday, Oct. 30. The parish collected canned goods for the Clarksdale Care Station while the children dressed up and trick-or-treated through the decorated vehicles and won baked goods at the cakewalk. (Photos by Catelin Britt)

MADISON – St. Joseph students put on a trunk or treat event on Thursday, Oct. 27. Pictured is the Winnie the Poo crew from St. Richard giving an interview to videographer Page for the Bruin Buzz. (Photos by Tereza Ma)

JACKSON – St. Richard School held their annual Cardinal Fest on Sunday, Oct. 23. Pictured is Sister Kelly Moline purchasing homemade cupcakes from students at the entrepreneurs nest. (Photo by Tereza Ma)
MADISON – St. Anthony School celebrated Halloween by incorporating Catholic school symbols. Principal Anne Cowger, Katie Loyacano and Celeste Tassin, dressed as students, chat with the fifth and sixth grade sisters/teachers on Halloween. (Photo courtesy Bridget Moorehead)

COLUMBUS – Annunciation second and third graders took a field trip to The School of Math & Science for their annual Science Carnival on Oct. 24. (Photos by Logan Waggoner)

PEARL – St. Jude parish celebrates the St. Jude feast on Sunday, Oct. 30, with a get together and lunch after Mass with Bishop Kopacz. In front, Lori Lee was “surprised” to be caught with all the cookies. (Photos by Rhonda Bowden)

CLARKSDALE – The three Stonestreet brothers served as altar servers at Mass at St. Elizabeth parish. Sam (senior), Harris (eighth grade) and Michael Stonestreet (fifth grade) are pictured with Father Raju. (Photo by Mary Evelyn Stonestreet)

YAZOO CITY – (Left) St. Mary parish held Children’s Mass before celebrating the All Saints and All Souls feasts on Sunday, Oct. 30. (Photo by Babs McMaster)

Remembering Bishop Latino

From the Archives
By Mary Woodward

JACKSON – This past Friday, Oct. 21, would have been the 85th birthday of Bishop Joseph Nunzio Latino of happy memory. +Joseph Nunzio was born in 1937; ordained in 1963; became a monsignor in 1983; and ordained a bishop in 2003.

Bishop Joseph Nunzio Latino

+Joseph Nunzio was a second generation American whose four grandparents emigrated to New Orleans from a small town on the central plains of Sicily known as Contessa Entellina. In New Orleans, most Sicilian heritage citizens come from Contessa.

Contessa is part of the Eparchy of Piana degli Albanesi, which serves the descendants of the Albanians who came to Sicily in the 1500s after holding off the Ottoman’s. The pope gave them five towns in Sicily. Albanians are Roman Rite and Byzantine Rite Catholics. +Joseph Nunzio’s father was Roman Rite, hence the name Latino; his mother’s family was Byzantine Rite (Italo-Albanesi). He had a cousin who was a Byzantine Rite priest named Papas Mateo Sciambra, who taught music in the seminary in Palermo.

In 2012, +Joseph Nunzio was finally able to visit his ancestral home and meet many Sciambra cousins in Contessa. New Orleans descendants formed the Contessa Entellina Society to celebrate their proud heritage. To our knowledge, +Joseph Nunzio was the only man to receive the Society’s Man-of-the-Year Award twice.

Since this week’s paper is a digital edition only, I thought I would share some images of him that give a small glimpse into his life of service to the Lord as a priest, bishop and faithful servant. There are far too many to share…

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

more about Bishop Latino:

Bishop Latino in memoriam

Bishop Joseph Latino – farewell humble shepherd

Remembering Joseph N. Latino

From the top, left to right to bottom: Bishops Latino and Houck look out over Sferracavallo during 2012 visit Latino’s ancestral homeland of Sicily; Chris Luke and Bishop Latino at his 80th birthday celebration at the chancery on Oct. 21, 2017; first Solemn Blessing concluding his first Mass on May 26, 1963; Father George, Bishop Latino, Bishops William Houck and Sotir Ferrara, during a visit to Italy in 2012.(Photos courtesy of archives)


LELAND – Family traditions continue at St. James parish. Growing up at St. James, the adults were all home for a family wedding and took the opportunity to have their children baptized at their “Home” Church. Children pictured: Infant – Luca Vincent Santucci, Cooper Doyle Santucci, Twins – Joseph Able Santucci and John Phillip Santucci. (Photo by Santucci Family)

CLARKSDALE – St. Elizabeth School held a Blue Mass honoring those in Uniform in the Clarksdale community. (Photos by Rachel Patterson)

MADISON – Students at St. Francis celebrated the many cultures of their parish as they processed into Mass, celebrating the feast day of the parish’s patron – St. Francis. (Photo by Sallieann Inman)
COLUMBUS – Annunciation third grade teacher, Mrs. Hubbard, assists Aidan Hinton with his project. (Photo by Logan Waggoner)

JACKSON – St. Richard hosted its 41st annual Special Kids Golf Tournament at Deerfield Country Club. All proceeds raised at this event support the school’s exceptional education programs. (Photos by Tammy Conrad)

St. Richard PreK3 students were treated to a visit from the Jackson Fire Department. Students got to try on the firemen’s gear, use the hose AND sit behind the wheel of a real fire engine! Afterwards, students
returned to their classrooms to make their own firetruck cookies! Pictured: Merrick Milligan dreams of driving the fire engine and shows off his cookie creation.

VICKSBURG – Vicksburg Catholic School alumni gathered for food, friends, family and football before the annual Homecoming Game. (Photo by Lindsey Bradley)
VICKSBURG – St. Aloysius Senior, Ally Dorion, was selected as the 2022 Homecoming Queen. Ally looks with excitement at her Father, Phillip Dorion, as her name was announced. (Photo by Lindsey Bradley)

MADISON – St. Joseph seventh graders work on their lab project: Physical Properties of Matter. (Photo by Tricia Harris)

MADISON – Terry Cassreino’s communication/broadcasting class at St. Joseph School are pictured in action. (Photo by Tereza Ma)


VICKSBURG – Lydia Nettles and Father Rusty Vincent donated blood to help save lives through a blood drive for Mississippi Blood Services. Blessings to all the Flashes family who participated in this life-saving event. (Photo by Lindsey Bradley)

COLUMBUS – At Annunciation School, chess club members practice their skills ahead of their first competition. (Photo by Logan Waggoner)

JACKSON – PreK-3 students at St. Richard School harvested vegetables from their class gardens and made their own salsa. Pictured is Oliver Metzger adding cilantro to the mix. (Photo by Tammy Conrad)
MADISON – The Jr. Bruins and the Jr. Flashes face off in a game on Monday, Sept. 26 on Bill Raphael Field at St. Joseph School. The teams are made up of fifth and sixth graders at St. Anthony, St. Richard and St. Francis Xavier Schools. (Photos by Joanna Puddister King)
MADISON – Cheerleaders perform in a pep rally at St. Anthony School on Thursday, Sept. 29. (Photos by Joanna Puddister King)

Blessing of the pets

CLARKSDALE – St. Elizabeth held their blessing of the pets on Thursday, Oct. 6. (Photo by Catelin Britt)

NATCHEZ – Father Aaron Williams blesses pets in the St. Mary Basilica prayer garden on Oct. 2. (Photo by Regina Mardis)

CLINTON – Greta Nalker holds Valentine the snake while Father Lincoln Dall and Hunter Yentzen pet him after Blessing of the Pets at Holy Savior. (Photo by Lacey Nalker)

SOUTHAVEN – Matthew made sure that both of his pups received a blessing from Father Timothy Gray, SCJ at Sacred Heart. (Photos by Laura Grisham)
Lucy seems more interested in posing for a picture than her blessing from Father Gray at Sacred Heart.

VICKSBURG – Father Rusty Vincent blesses Jennifer Nelson’s cat “Merle;” while Syd Johnston with his dog wait in the background at St. Paul parish.(Photo by Connie Hosemann)

Sister Thea Bowman documentary on her journey to sainthood, set to release Oct. 2

A new documentary from NewGroup Media and the Diocese of Jackson, MS, Going Home Like a Shooting Star: Thea Bowman’s Journey to Sainthood, presents the riveting life of Sister Thea Bowman, an African American Catholic Franciscan Sister who used her powerful gifts to educate and challenge the church and society to grow in racial inclusivity. Her skills of preaching, music, and teaching moved many Catholics to begin to confront their own racism while she urged her African American brothers and sisters to claim their gifts and share their “fully functioning” personhood.  Thea worked tirelessly to proclaim this message until her untimely death from breast cancer in 1990.

The film features interviews and commentary from her family, Sisters in community, colleagues, friends, and former students. Input from African-American scholars, clerics and bishops will speak to the ongoing issue of systemic racism in the church and country.  Extensive use is made of archival media that portrays Thea in action–photographs, film, video and audio recordings recorded in locations of significance to her life.

The program title is drawn from a quotation attributed to Sojourner Truth. When Thea was asked what she wanted said at her funeral, she answered, “Just say what Sojourner Truth said: ‘I’m not going to die. I’m going home like a shooting star.’”

The film, part of the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission’s fall documentary season, will begin airing on ABC stations nationwide on October 2, 2022. As of Sept. 30, the following stations have scheduled showings of the film:

WTVA Tupelo- Oct. 2 at 10 a.m.
WTOK Meridian – Oct. 2 at 11:30 p.m.
WLOX Biloxi – Oct. 16 at 1 p.m.
WAPT Jackson – Oct. 30 at 1 p.m.

The film can be streamed on the Diocese of Jackson’s YouTube channel beginning October 2. The film is free to view, with donations requested to the Cause for Sister Thea Bowman.

Sister Judith Ann Zielinski, OSF researched, wrote and produced the film, from early COVID-quarantined research in spring, 2020 through fund-raising, location production, scriptwriting, and delivery to ABC in fall, 2022.  She coordinated dramatic re-enactments from Thea’s childhood and early convent life and conducted all of the program’s interviews—with Thea’s childhood friends, former students, teaching colleagues, two bishops, several priests and Franciscan Sisters, weaving together their personal memories and testimonies as a basis for the script.

Christopher Salvador, NGM Partner, directed the dramatic re-enactments within the film, coordinated budget, contractual and network relations, and oversaw post- production.

Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz, Ordinary of Jackson, MS, initiated Sister Thea’s Cause for Sainthood in 2018 with an appeal to the full body of US Bishops which won unanimous approval. As Executive Producer, he supported the production of the film, actively collaborated with the production team, and continues to oversee the advancement of Sister Thea’s Cause.

Other interviewees include:

Rev. Maurice J. Nutt, CSsR, Preacher and pastoral theologian; Thea’s doctoral student; her biographer; associate producer instrumental in gathering pivotal colleagues and friends of Thea to participate in the project;

Rev. Bryan Massingale, Theology Professor, Fordham University, Authority/ speaker on systemic racism in the US and church;

Cardinal Wilton D. Gregory, Ordinary, Archdiocese of Washington, DC, senior African-American Bishop who was present at Sister Thea’s famous Seton Hall address to the US Bishops in 1989;

Sr Eileen McKenzie, FSPA, President, Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, Thea’s religious community, La Crosse WI;

Sr Dorothy Ann Kundinger, FSPA, Thea’s friend, companion and caretaker during Thea’s struggle with cancer and present at her death

Going Home Like a Shooting Star includes extensive use of Bowman family photos, archival material, and footage of Thea from varied public appearances, including her famous interview with Mike Wallace on CBS’ 60 Minutes.

Going Home Like a Shooting Star was filmed on location in:

  • Jackson and Canton, MS
  • New Orleans, LA
  • La Crosse, WI
  • Washington, DC
  • San Antonio, TX
  • New York City
  • South Bend, IN

The film makes a strong connection between Thea’s Gospel call for justice, love and unity and the current effort of Black Lives Matter activists and efforts to combat systemic racism. Many in the film cite Thea’s voice as an influence on their ongoing efforts to achieve social and racial justice.

Production of Going Home Like a Shooting Star: Thea Bowman’s Journey to Sainthood was made possible with funding from the Catholic Communications Campaign of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as support from various foundations and congregations of U.S. men and women religious.