Karla McHan experiences the unique challenge of leading her school in 2020

By Heather Williams (Vicksburg Daily News)
VICKSBURG – When Karla McHan was looking for a challenge last year, she had no way of knowing exactly how challenged she would be.
McHan spent 22 years teaching social studies (mostly U.S. history but also world history, government, psychology and sociology) at Warren Central High School when she was offered the lead teacher position in 2012.
“I really enjoyed seeing education from a different perspective and loved the opportunity to work more directly with teachers,” McHan said.
The experience motivated her to go back to school for her master’s degree in educational leadership, something she had put off when her children were young.

“I decided it was time to venture out and knew I could bring my perspective as a longtime teacher to educational decision making,” she said.
A rare history position opened at Vicksburg Catholic School in 2016, and McHan could not pass up the chance of working with a man who had been the principal of her elementary and junior high schools when she was a student: Dr. Buddy Strickland.
“It seemed like everything just fell in place,” she says of making the move to St. Aloysius High School. VCS also offered McHan a unique opportunity to advance her career and more openly share her faith.
“As a practicing Catholic, I was excited about being in a school environment that so beautifully incorporates faith and love of God and neighbor in its daily activities.”
St. Aloysius is much smaller than Warren Central, and McHan said it was a great place to step into the role of principal last year. “The smaller setting helped create a stronger sense of family, and I got to know everyone better,” she said. “That’s important when taking on an administration role.”
As far as finding the challenges she was searching for, McHan got what she wanted in more ways than one in her position as the school’s principal. She experienced the typical new-principal challenges such as gaining the faculty’s trust and learning how to best utilize each staff member’s individual strengths, but then life threw her a curve ball.
”Hands down, the biggest hurdle I have faced has been COVID-19,” she said. “I think all new principals spend their first year in survival mode, but that moves into a whole different level when a pandemic hits three-quarters of the way through.”
McHan said that creating a distance learning program and putting it into action effectively was one of the most difficult tasks she has faced on any level of her education career, but it has been especially trying when coupled with the responsibility of every student and faculty member in her school.
“I considered all of the typical administrator duties when I was deciding to move,” she said, “but helping teachers and students adapt to distance learning while identifying the academic gaps that come with extended time away from the classroom was never on my radar.”
McHan credits her faith, the support of her family and the “fabulous faculty and staff at St. Al” for her success. She also credits the great relationship she has developed with Mary Arledge, principal of St. Francis Xavier Academy. “She is just an incredible mentor and supporter,” McHan said of Arledge.
McHan is clearly not a person to relax when the going gets good. In addition to constantly trying to better the distance learning processes, she plans to continue her education and pursue a specialist’s degree. Her plans also include more time with family and traveling with her husband, David.
“It may sound crazy considering the current state of educational practices, but I definitely foresee being able to relax a little soon,” she said, “and I can confidently say that because I know I have the backing of such a hard-working, supportive staff.”

(Reprinted with permission of the Vicksburg Daily News, www.vicksburgnews.com.)

Give thanks – Give Back – Give Catholic

By Julia Williams
JACKSON – The Catholic Diocese of Jackson is once again partnering with #iGiveCatholic, kicking off the charitable season by bringing together the Catholic community to ‘give thanks and give back.’

iGiveCatholic provides a unique opportunity to support the organizations that shape our souls and make a positive impact … our parishes, schools and nonprofit ministries. In 2019, the #iGiveCatholic campaign raised more than $7.4 million from over 29,530 donors. Since its inception in 2015, almost $20 million has been raised through #iGiveCatholic.

Declared “the most successful Catholic crowdfunding event to date” by the National Catholic Register, #iGiveCatholic was originally meant to counter the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The ‘Annual Day of Giving’ is known as #GivingTuesday and is a ‘global’ day of giving back. This year’s initiative will include organizations under the umbrella of 40 Catholic Dioceses across the nation.

iGiveCatholic’s #GivingTuesday will run from 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 1, with the Advance Giving Day phase beginning on Nov. 16 through Nov. 30th.

Visit www.igivecatholic.org to participate in #iGiveCatholic by making a secure online donation (minimum gift of $25) to your favorite organization or cause on #GivingTuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. Offline gifts in any amount are welcome and appreciated and may be sent directly to the participating organizations.
Mark your calendar and Save the Date! Your gift makes a difference.
Join Catholics around the World … ‘Give Thanks, Give Back and Give Catholic!’

Calendar of events

SPIRITUAL ENRICHMENT

NEW ORLEANS Our Lady of the Cenacle Retreat Center, Women’s Retreat on “The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius,” Jan. 8-10, 2021. Check-in is between 3-6 p.m. on Friday and concludes after lunch on Sunday. Retreat Presenter: Father Jacob DuMont, L.C. He will reflect on the fundamental truth of our lives: God’s love, His mercy and forgiveness. Father Jacob currently serves as the local superior and chaplain for Lumen Institute, as well as a spiritual director for the seminarians at Notre Dame Seminary. Capacity is limited due to COVID-19 and they are currently accepting registrations on a first come, first serve basis. A non-refundable deposit is required to register. You can choose to pay just the deposit upon registration or to pay in full. Details: to register, contact the retreat office at (504) 267-9604 or https://www.neworleansretreats.org/retreats.

PARISH, SCHOOL AND FAMILY EVENTS

CLARKSDALE Catholic Community of St. Elizabeth, Outdoor manger scene decorating contest. The parish council wants to promote the spirit of the season during the pandemic. All entries must be submitted by Thursday, Dec. 10. Judging will be on Dec. 19-20. Details: Please contact Kay Watts (662) 902-6017, Derrick Faucheux (225) 206-2430 or Kristin Orr (901) 652-0979 if you would like to participate
FLOWOOD St. Paul, Interested in serving in a ministry? Openings for ushers, greeters, lectors, community leaders and Eucharistic ministers. Details: Contact Cecilia liturgy@spaulcc.org or (601) 292-6097.
Interested in helping the St. Paul livestream team during weekend Mass? They need volunteers to help run the lyrics on the monitors during the Saturday 5:30 p.m. and Sunday 8 and 10:30 a.m. Masses. Must have basic computer knowledge. Details: Contact Michael to learn more tech@spaulcc.org or (601) 292-6086.
JACKSON St. Richard, Coffee & Creed meets on Sunday mornings at 9:15 a.m. in Glynn Hall. They will use “The Search” from FORMED. Details: (601) 366-2335.
MADISON St. Francis of Assisi, Adopt a family for Christmas. After each Mass, there will be families available to be adopted for Christmas from MadCAAP. If you are unable to come to church, you may call the parish office and ask for a family and the necessary information will be given to you. This has been a rough year for everyone but let us not forget the most unfortunate of us and help make some children’s Christmas a little brighter and happier. Details: church office (601) 856-5556
MERIDIAN Catholic Community of St. Joseph and St. Patrick, Due to COVID-19, they will not have their annual Christmas Open House. However, they will be open on three Saturdays, Nov. 21, Dec. 5 and 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. They will have Advent candles and wreaths, 2021 Missals (limit two, unless you have ordered more), nativities, ornaments, gifts, décor and all of their regular stock. Shopping will be COVID-safe and anyone entering the building will be required to wear a mask. Details: If you are unable to come to one of the above dates, contact John at the Parish Office (601) 693-1321 ext. 9 or Pat (601) 479-0920 to make an appointment to shop another time.
NATCHEZ Assumption BVM, Weekly Grief Support Group, Tuesdays, 13-week program (began Oct. 6) at 3:30 p.m. in Tuite Hall. Cost: $15 for workbook. Details: Carolyn Verucchi at (601) 807-1698, or the church office (601) 442-7250.
St. Mary Basilica, Blood Drive, Tuesday, Dec. 1 from 1-6 p.m. in the Family Life Center. Details: Sign up at www.vitalant.org or www.bloodhero.com or call Regina in the church office at (601) 445-5616.

SPECIAL EVENT

Home for Christmas Virtual Concert, Thursday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. CST. The Daughters of Saint Paul Choir normally go on tour in Dec. to bring the Christmas message to thousands of people around the country. This year, they will sing a virtual concert that will be streamed on their YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/c/DaughtersofStPaul. Join them for this free, fun, family-friendly event.

COVID-19 REMINDER

In person Masses are open within the Diocese of Jackson. Check with your local parish for details and follow guidelines in place for attendance. All over the age of two are required to wear a mask.
The obligation to attend Mass continues to be dispensed by Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz, so if you do not feel safe attending, or have an underlying health condition, or feel sick, please stay home. Be safe and stay vigilant!

New 4th degree assembly formed at St. Richard Jackson

By Dave Fisher
JACKSON – When the Knights of Columbus was founded in 1882, three principles united its members: charity, unity and fraternity. At that time people feared that members of the Catholic faith owed their entire allegiance to the church and could not be trusted as citizens of their country. Patriotism was added to the Order’s principles in the year 1900, based on the idea that Knights are loyal to both God and country.
Members, who hold a 3rd degree and are in good standing in their Council, and wish to live out patriotism together can join “the Fourth Degree.” Members of this degree have the special honor of holding the title “Sir Knight,” participating in color and honor guards and organizing programs that promote Catholic citizenship. They also become part of a Fourth Degree Assembly in their area.

JACKSON – Sir Knight Craig Harrell presents the letter of approval to Faithful Navigator, Sir Knight Dave Fisher. (Photo courtesy of Dave Fisher))

For approximately the past 10 years, the Sir Knights of Saint Richard Council #15131 have belonged to the Bishop R.O. Gerow Assembly #554. This Assembly consists of five Councils from the general area.
Through constant and creative recruiting, #15131 experienced above average growth while maintaining a strong officer corps and the support of Father John Bohn. The Council leaders are always looking beyond the current year in their strategic planning so as to ensure manpower and financing of parish and program needs
It was this history of success, consistency and routinely advancing members to the 4th degree that, in late July 2020, the Faithful State Master, SK Jerry Schmuck, and his Marshal, SK Craig Harrell, offered the Sir Knights of #15131 the opportunity to form their own Assembly. The Sir Knight membership overwhelming accepted the opportunity.
The State Master requested SK David Fisher, Past Faithful Navigator of #554, to run the project and act as Faithful Navigator for the “new Assembly.” One of the initial requirements is to obtain the pastor’s approval. Father John Bohn agreed as long as it did not interfere with the workings of #15131. He was then asked to suggest a name for the new Assembly. He came up with Mr. John Edward Tracy. Tracy, along with Msgr. Farrell started the Special Kids Program at St. Richard Jackson 41 years ago, and then along with Msgr. Chatham, Tracy was also instrumental in securing permission and financing from Bishop Gerow to build the present-day St. Richard Church.

Celebration of dedication anniversary at St. Matthew Ripley

RIPLEY – Parishioners celebrated the Feast of St. Matthew on Sept. 20 and also the 10th anniversary of the dedication of the new building at St. Matthew parish. The celebration Mass was officiated by Father Jesuraj Xavier. Sigifredo Bonilla and Sister Carol Ann Prenger, SSND also shared the story about the history of the church. (Photos by Madeleine Hale)

Calendar of events

SPIRITUAL ENRICHMENT

MADISON St. Francis of Assisi, the power of prayer is available to all those in need through the Assisi Prayer Chain. Details: Call (601) 953-5691 or (601) 607-7062 between 5-7 p.m.
CLEVELAND The Women’s Resource Center, 1410 Hwy 8 West. Do you want to support life at its most vulnerable stage? The Center provides real support, everything from ultrasound to diapers, to women and men who might otherwise consider abortion. They need our support! Details: Go to www.wrcdelta.org to donate online, or call (662) 843-8877.
GREENWOOD Locus Benedictus Retreat Center, Healing Retreat Nov. 13-14. The presenter will be Maria Vadia. Details: For more information, call (662) 299-1232 or www.locusbenedictus.org

PARISH, SCHOOL AND FAMILY EVENTS

GREENVILLE St. Joseph, Parish Fair Covid-Style Spaghetti Takeout and Raffle, Tuesday, Nov. 17. They have $1, $100 and spaghetti tickets for sale. Due to Covid, no games or handmade items. Details: church office (662) 335-5251.
HERNANDO Holy Spirit, the Knights of Columbus Council 7120 will be collecting donations to buy new coats for kids who would not otherwise be able to afford one. Collections will be the weekend of Nov. 7-8 and Nov. 21-22. Coats purchased will be delivered to Sacred Heart Southern Missions for distribution to those in need. Details: church office (662) 429-7851.
MADISON St. Francis of Assisi, the Knights of Columbus 9543 are selling spiral-sliced holiday hams for $40 and smoked turkey breasts for $15 to raise money for seminarian education. There are limited quantities, so order today or visit the St. Francis website at www.stfrancismadison.org. Pickup is Friday, Nov. 20 from 4-7 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 21 from 8-11 a.m. at St. Thomas Hall on the St. Francis campus. All proceeds go directly to fund seminarian education. Details: Tunney Vandevender at tunneyv1@icloud.com.
MERIDIAN Catholic Community of St. Joseph and St. Patrick, Due to COVID-19, they will not have their annual Christmas Open House. However, they will be open on three Saturdays, Nov. 21, Dec. 5 and 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. They will have Advent candles & wreaths, 2021 Missals (limit two, unless you have ordered more), nativities, ornaments, gifts, décor and all of their regular stock. Shopping will be COVID-safe and anyone entering the building will be required to wear a mask. Details: If you are unable to come to one of the above dates, contact John at the Parish Office (601) 693-1321 ext. 9 or Pat (601) 479-0920 to make an appointment to shop another time.

YOUTH BRIEFS

SCHOLARSHIPS Applications for the Brunini Memorial Scholarship and the Stella Schmidt Memorial Scholarship are open. The Brunini Scholarship is for any undergraduate at a Catholic college or university. Area of study is not restricted. The Stella Schmidt Scholarship was established to be used specifically for tuition assistance for advance studies in theology or religious education at Spring Hill College. Applications for both scholarships are due by Dec. 1. Details: Visit https://jacksondiocese.org/2020/10/catholic-scholarship-opportunities/ for applications or email fran.lavelle@jacksondiocese.org for more information.
SCHOLARSHIPS Catholic Life Insurance is now accepting applications for the 2021 All American Scholarship. This award is granted to 35 graduating high school seniors. This scholarship is worth $1,000 and is designed to help offset tuition costs for young Catholic Life Members. Applicants must be seeking to attend an accredited college or university the fall semester immediately following their high school graduation. The deadline to submit your application is March 1, 2021. Details: contact Megan R. Real at (800) 262-2548 ext. 141 or email branch@cliu.com or to download an application form www.cliu.com.

SPECIAL EVENT

BLOOD DRIVE Please consider giving blood at one of the following locations: Holy Spirit Hernando, Thursday, Nov. 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Queen of Peace Olive Branch, Wednesday, Nov. 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Christ the King Southaven, Sunday, Nov. 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome. Donate and save lives. Be sure to bring your driver’s license.

COVID-19 REMINDER

In person Masses are open within the Diocese of Jackson. Check with your local parish for details and follow guidelines in place for attendance. All over the age of two are required to wear a mask.
The obligation to attend Mass continues to be dispensed by Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz, so if you do not feel safe attending, or have an underlying health condition, or feel sick, please stay home. Be safe and stay vigilant!

Bowden values friendship and mentorship of Father Adam

By Joe Lee

MADISON – While the seminarian journey is lengthy and demands commitment, discernment, and personal growth, the rewards are many. A true highlight for Andrew Bowden, a student at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, was being mentored by Father Nick Adam, director of vocations for the Diocese of Jackson.

“I have been thinking about the priesthood for about as long as I can remember,” Bowden said. “I first got to know Father Nick in 2013 when he was assigned to St. Jude (in Pearl), my home parish, as a seminarian for a summer assignment. I remember working with him on how to be an altar server.

“Then, while Father Nick was in theology at Notre Dame, I was at St. Joseph Seminary College (in St. Benedict, Louisiana). Guys studying for the same diocese are often called ‘diocesan brothers.’ The sense of fraternity among brothers even at different seminaries is desirable. It was always pleasant to visit with guys further along during my first few years of formation.”

The friendship and mentoring from Father Nick deepened once the former St. Richard parish priest moved to his new position earlier this year.
“Father Nick quickly made sure that the seminarians were getting sufficient and equal financial support from parishes and Knights of Columbus councils around the state,” Bowden said. “He updated paperwork in our files. He has shown my diocesan brothers and myself an incredible amount of support and care.

“I had the pleasure of staying in the parish he took up residence in during the summer when he was appointed full-time vocations director. This allowed me to get to know him even better. Toward the end of the summer, I had to quarantine in isolation. Father Nick made a point of regularly coming to check on me and bringing me the Holy Eucharist.”

Bowden, on track to be ordained to the transitional diaconate in spring 2021, will be assigned for several months to a parish of Bishop Joseph Kopacz’s choosing before returning to Notre Dame for his final semester and a half. He will be ordained a priest in spring 2022.

“One of Father Nick’s qualities that I seek to emulate is his reverence and joy in the liturgy,” Bowden said. “Reverence and joy are both appropriate and even necessary but can be difficult to balance. I believe he does this exceptionally well.

Seminarian Andrew Bowden