DCYC 2024 – Vicksburg

Andrew Doherty, Anna Williams and Madalyn Weisenberger, all of St. Joseph School in Madison, pose for a photo with Bishop Joseph Kopacz with their newly bestowed Bishop Chanche Youth Awards. (Photo by Kristen Doherty)

VICKSBURG – High-school youth from across the Diocese of Jackson gathered at the Vicksburg Convention Complex from March 1-3, for the annual diocesan youth conference – DCYC – organized by the Office of Youth Ministry. This year’s theme was “More Than Enough,” and it featured keynote presenter Doug Tooke and worship leader, Steven Joubert. (Photos by Amelia Rizor)

Andrew Doherty of St. Richard Jackson receives a handshake from Bishop Joseph Kopacz during the annual Bishop Chanche Youth Awards at DCYC. (Photo by Kristen Doherty)



Hampton Derivaux, St. Paul Vicksburg
Andrew Doherty, St. Richard Jackson
Jaime Mendoza, Jr., Holy Family Jackson
Greta Nalker, Immaculate Conception Raymond
Jeremy Napoles, Christ the King Southaven
Travis Ross, St. Joseph Meridian
Menelik Rozelle, St. Alphonsus McComb
Elese Serio, St. Joseph Greenville
Benjamin Sylve, Jr., St. Joseph Gluckstadt
Agatha Taquino, St. Joseph Starkville
Madalyn Weisenberger, Holy Savior Clinton
Anna Williams, St. Francis Madison
Loria Williams, St. Francis Madison
Grace Windham, St. Francis Madison

Around our schools

JACKSON – St. Richard School students are presented with “Cool 2B Kind” awards by John Dorsa for earning the highest points in their houses for virtuous and honorable deeds. (Photo by Chelsea Dillon)

COLUMBUS – Annunciation school recently held a Robotics Pep Rally. (Photo by Jacque Hince)

YAZOO CITY – Youth at St. Mary’s Church celebrated Valentine’s Day with treats and bingo. (Photo by Babs McMaster)
JACKSON – St. Richard School students learn to type with “Keyboarding Without Tears.” (Photo by Chelsea Dillon)

Decade of faith: Bishop Kopacz celebrates 10-year milestone

By Joanna Puddister King
JACKSON – Bishop Joseph Kopacz, surrounded by priests and deacons from the Diocese of Jackson, commemorated his 10th anniversary of ordination to the episcopacy at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle in Jackson with a special Mass on Tuesday, Feb. 6.

Bishop Kopacz was ordained and installed as the 11th Bishop of Jackson on Feb. 6, 2014, but he fondly remembers getting the initial call the day before Thanksgiving – in an unforgettable Italian accent – “Holy Father is directing you to be the bishop of Jackson in Mississippi.” Bishop mused to those gathered at his anniversary Mass, that “it was an offer you can’t refuse.”

JACKSON – Bishop Joseph Kopacz lays prostrate during his ordination as Bishop of Jackson on Feb. 6, 2014 at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle. He recently celebrated his 10th anniversary at the Bishop for the Diocese of Jackson. (Photo from archives)

“These 10 years later has given me an opportunity to reflect and appreciate the call and the ongoing challenge and blessing of serving as the 11th bishop of the diocese,” said Bishop Kopacz.

He fondly remembered traversing the diocese by airplane days after being installed as Bishop and visiting a few parishes across the diocese, including St. Mary’s Basilica in Natchez, St. Joseph in Greenville, St. James in Tupelo and to St. Joseph in Starkville. “It was great to experience and see what a large swath of land the diocese covers,” said Bishop Kopacz. “So, 10 years later and possibly 300,000 miles later on my car, I think I can say I know a little bit about Mississippi and its geography.”

But more than miles, Bishop Kopacz reflected, are the countless souls who have touched his life along the way through parishes and the variety of missions and ministries that make up the diocese. He continued by celebrating the dedication of the clergy, the resilience of parishioners and the transformative power of God’s grace working through each individual.

In his homily, Bishop Kopacz credits his enthusiasm and energy for the diocese to the Eucharistic prayer at Mass when the clergy pray for him every day. Joking with those clergy present, that they “can’t skip that part … as a lot of grace flows from that on good days and bad. It truly carries me forward.”

Turning 74 later this year, Bishop Kopacz says that he hopes to still be around to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the diocese in 13 years. He expressed how grateful he was for the people of the diocese, all of the priests and religious, coworkers at the Chancery and all the staff at parishes across the diocese who respond to God’s call every day.

“I thank everyone for the kindness and generosity for the 10th anniversary of my consecration and installation as the 11th Bishop of Jackson,” said Bishop Kopacz. “It was a splendid and joyful occasion.”

JACKSON – Bishop Joseph Kopacz celebrated his 10th anniversary as the Bishop for the Diocese of Jackson with priests and deacons from around the diocese on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at the Cathedral of St. Peter. Inset, a comemorative photo collage with scenes from the past 10 years. (Photos by Tereza Ma)


Ash Wednesday

JACKSON – Deacon Denzil Lobo places ashes on Sister Thea Bowman School second grader, Azaria Weems, on Ash Wednesday. (Photo by Christopher Payne)

NATCHEZ – Religion teacher, JoAnn Waycaster places ashes on the forehead of Cathedral School senior, Gracie Bradley on Wednesday, February 14 at St. Mary Basilica. (Photo by Cara Moody)

SOUTHAVEN – Father Hendrick Ardianto, SCJ, distributes ashes to Cash Fortin during Sacred Heart School’s Ash Wednesday Mass. (Photo by Laura Grisham)

MADISON – St. Francis of Assisi student Avery Cook receives ashes from Father Albeenreddy Vatti. (Photo by Chiquita Brown)

GREENVILLE – Kent Tonos, Father Sanchéz and Fletcher McGaugh get ready to process out of St. Joseph School Mass on Ash Wednesday. (Photo by Elese Serio)

Youth – SEEK24 and High School Confirmation retreat


By Alex Barfield
ST. LOUIS, Mo. – College students from Mississippi joined approximately 20,000 others for a five-day conference focused on faith in St. Louis from Jan. 1-5.

The University of Mississippi brought a group of 18 students, and Mississippi State brought about 80 students.

SEEK is a national conference organized by the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS).
Each day, students attended Mass in the former hockey arena, listened to speakers like Father Mike Schmitz, and formed community with the universal church.

“SEEK was the most incredible experience that I had no idea I needed so much! Getting to hear the most amazing speakers, meeting so many people on fire for the Lord, and singing and worshipping alongside 20,000 other students truly made me fall in love with the Catholic Church in a whole new way,” said Olivia DeGravelle, sophomore.

“SEEK 24 was yet another reminder to me that the Catholic Church is alive and thriving! I encountered Christ through the many interactions I had with fellow college students, through powerful speakers, and through the sacraments. The Holy Spirit is undoubtedly doing incredible things,” said, Frank Galeziewski, senior.

A yearly event, the SEEK conference will be held in Salt Lake City, UT as its main location in January 2025.

(Alex Barfield is the campus minister at The University of Mississippi through St. John the Evangelist parish in Oxford.)

High School Confirmation Retreat – MACON

St. Michael parish in Forest

St. Peter parish in Grenada

Youth – Catholic Schools Week in pictures

COLUMBUS – Annunciation

CLARKSDALE – St. Elizabeth

MADISON – St. Anthony


MADISON – St. Joseph

JACKSON – St. Richard

NATCHEZ – Cathedral

Miss. Catholic 2024 Publication Schedule

The staff at Mississippi Catholic is looking forward to a busy and productive 2024. As always, we invite participation from faithful from across the diocese. Please submit your stories, photos and events so we can include them in the paper.

The publication schedule for 2024:

Friday, Jan. 26
Friday, Feb. 9
Friday, March 8
Friday, April 12
Friday, May 10
Friday, June 14
Friday, July 19
Friday, Aug. 23
Friday, Sept. 13
Friday, Oct. 11
Friday, Nov. 8
Friday, Dec. 6
Friday, Dec. 20

Friday, Feb. 23
Friday, March 22
Friday, April 26
Friday, May 24
Friday, Sept 27
Friday, Oct. 25
Friday, Nov. 22

Look for special sections this year marking Catholic Schools Week, the priestly ordination of Tristan Stovall, graduations and the sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation.

Send events and story ideas to Please, send information three to four weeks before or within one week after an event. Ads are due one week prior to publication, with space reservations due two weeks prior. Visit the paper online at

The staff here at Mississippi Catholic would like to thank you, our readers, for your prayers and support and wish you a blessed New Year.


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Around our Catholic Schools

HOLLY SPRINGS – Teachers at Holy Family School collaborated while starting the process of reviewing the English/Language Arts academic standards on Tuesday, Jan. 2. (Photo courtesy of school)
MADISON – St. Anthony students Hunter Smith, Collin Rayner and Greta Kate Ostrenga work together to build a sailboat during a STREAM lesson on Friday, Jan. 5 at St. Anthony School. (Photo courtesy of school)
JACKSON – Mrs. Sandel’s Pre-K3 class wrapped her in wrapping paper for their Christmas party at St. Richard School. (Photo by Chelsea Dillon)
SOUTHAVEN – For an Advent Service on Dec. 11, each Pre-K through second grade student placed a leaf on a circle on the gym floor to form a wreath. Then the candles were added, followed by the lighting of the candles and the singing of the “Advent Song.” (Photo by Sister Margaret Sue)
MADISON – St. Anthony sixth grade student Natalia Rojas spends time with second grade student Matthew Price preparing for First Reconciliation. (Photo by Kati Loyacono)
COLUMBUS – Annunciation fourth graders recently participated in a Science Fair. They presented their projects to the entire school and visitors, alike. (Photo by Logan Gentry)

Posadas, Belen and Reyes Magos

By Berta Mexidor
JACKSON – In the Latino Hispanic tradition, Christmas starts with Posadas, weeks ahead of Dec. 25, and ends on Jan. 6 with the celebration of the Epiphany.
Every Christmas season, parishioners decorate the building with nativity scenes, “El Belen” that include each protagonist of the most important event for the Christian community worldwide. The decoration came alive when people started representing the season’s most important moments.
The Posadas (translation for Inn) is a remembrance of the time when Mary and Joseph were looking for a place where pregnant Mary could deliver the baby, but only received rejections.
Posadas are a procession during the night, led by Mary and Joseph’s actors accompanied by people singing villancicos (Carols for this special occasion), and holding candles.
“The Pilgrims…
I’ve asked you for lodging
Dear innkeeper
Because the mother is going to be
The queen of the heavens.

The Innkeepers…
Then if it is a queen
Who requests it
How is it that at nighttime
She’s traveling so alone?”

Posadas are hosted by a family who opened their house’s doors at the end.
At the Christmas vigil, the Nativity scene is alive with people impersonating the story’s characters.
The Epiphany, in most of the towns, is celebrated with a big parade where three people impersonate the Reyes Magos (the wise men), who distribute sweets, and gifts among the crowd. This action is replicated at home by adults giving gifts to children.

PONTOTOC – Parishioners of St. Christopher parish represented the Nativity scene during “Posadas.” (Photo by Aracely Nieves)
PEARL – St Jude parish celebrated “Posadas” on Wednesday, Dec. 20. In front, Jospeh and Mary are looking for a room at the inn. (Photo by Lauren Roberts)