By Berta Mexidor CARTHAGE – The feast of St. Anne and St. Joachim, grandparents of Jesus, takes on a different grandeur in Carthage, where Catholics there lovingly refer to their patroness, St. Anne, as abuela or grandmother, looking up to her as their own grandma. The Feast of St. Anne and St. Joachim is officially July 26 on the Church calendar, but many parishes select a day close to the actual feast day to bring families together in celebration. St. Anne Parish began their weekend celebration July 28 with a bilingual Mass and procession to honor the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
St. Anne Church was beautifully decorated with dozens of roses and the parish’s Sacred Heart of Jesus group under the direction of Marco Antonio Vázquez provided the music and the songs adding to the joyful celebration. Bishop Joseph Kopacz was main celebrant for the Mass. Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity Father Odel Medina, St. Anne pastor, was on hand and concelebrated the Mass. Filling the church were the diverse families of the parish many from the local African American, Hispanic and Vietnamese communities. Among the families were many grandmothers and grandfathers and their grandchildren. In his homily, Bishop Kopacz continued to reflect on a solid theme: Grandparents and their important role as the backbone of family and the hope of the Church. He explained that many times it is the grandparents who witness faith and pass on religious traditions and good morals and values to their children and grandchildren. Bishop Kopacz also talked about the vocation of parenting emphasizing the important job of parents and how they can play a significant role in the spiritual lives of their children today. He shared stories of his own role model parents and talked about his father’s great faith. He fondly recalled his father kneeling near the bed at night in prayer. His mother sat in an armchair in the living room praying the rosary. “We learn to pray in the house. Children listen to elders and adults. (They) see them make the sign of the cross or pray the rosary,” he said. “I urge everyone to be like children in their relationship with the heavenly Father. Ask, strive and seek always for your relationship with God.” Mass was a great parish celebration bringing members of the diverse parish family together to reflect on the grandest of all grandparents, St. Anne and St. Joachim, recognized as the patrons of grandparents. Lynett, a young lady was the bilingual community leader and Sonia Cardona and Richard Polk Gospel assisted with the Mass by reading the Gospel and presenting the gifts. At the end of Mass, Emy Lee, Theresa Wen and Sam Lee of the Vietnamese community and active parishioners at both St. Anne and St. Michael in Forest, presented Bishop Kopacz with a small gift of appreciation, a nice ending to the celebration of praise and thanksgiving.
NATCHEZ – St. Mary Basilica Parish member Philip Zuccaro presents Father Scott Thomas with a basket during the Mass of Installation celebrated by Bishop Kopacz on Aug. 4. Father Thomas is now pastor of St. Mary Basilica and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary parishes. (Photos by Joanna Puddister King)
La transfiguración del Señor. Martes 6 de agosto
Santa Clara. Domingo 11 de agosto
Solemnidad de la Asunción de la Virgen María. Jueves15 de agosto
Santa Rosa de Lima, Virgen. Viernes 23 de agosto
Conferencia con el padre Teodoro Kranz (Teo). El Grupo de Oración y Vida invita a Conferencia “Sanando Heridas del Pasado”, con el padre Teodoro
Curso Gratuito del Boston College. Todas las mujeres interesadas pueden inscribirse en el nuevo CURSO ONLINE GRATUITO de la Escuela de Teología y Ministerio del Boston College sobre “Las Mujeres en la Iglesia”, coordinado por la teóloga Maria del Pilar Silveira. INSCRIPCIONES AQUÍ: www.bc.edu/mujeres
Concierto Católico. El Grupo Emaus invita a disfrutar al grupo musical “Alto Mando es el Señor”. Domingo 18 de agosto, en 1793 Hwy 17, Camden. Entrada $20.00 Para información llame al 601-667-9779
Ambiente Seguro Para reportar un abuso: Licenciada Valerie McClellan, trabajadora social. Por favor, contáctela al 601-326-372
Por Joanna King JACKSON – El lunes 1 de julio marcó un cambio de patrocinio para los Servicios de Salud del hospital St. Dominic, de manos de las Hermanas Dominicas pasó a las manos de las Franciscanas Misioneras de Nuestra Señora. Con la finalización de la transferencia, St. Dominic se convirtió en el séptimo centro regional atendido por el Sistema de Salud de los Franciscanos Misioneros de Nuestra Señora (FMOLHS, por sus siglas en inglés). Antes de la transferencia, el sistema de salud del St. Dominic había sido patrocinado por las Hermanas Dominicas de Springfield de Illinois desde 1946, cuando las hermanas compraron la Enfermería de Jackson en el centro de la ciudad. Después de más de 70 años de dedicación, las Hermanas Dominicas de Springfield buscaron asegurar el futuro del sistema y su misión, a medida que sus números disminuían. La asociación con el Sistema de Salud de las Franciscanas Misioneras de Nuestra Señora preservará un brillante viaje de servicio continuo a la comunidad de Jackson. El cambio de patrocinio se enmarcó con una celebración en el St. Dominic Medical Mall con una ceremonia denominada “Compañeros en el Viaje”, ya que las Hermanas Dominicas de Springfield y las Franciscanas Misioneras de Nuestra Señora son verdaderamente compañeras en un viaje para brindar servicios de atención médica que bendice las vidas de los necesitados de curación física y espiritual. Claude Harbarger, expresidente inmediato de St. Dominic Health Services, agradeció al obispo Joseph Kopacz y al obispo Joseph Latino, quienes celebraron una misa antes del evento, por brindar “un enfoque espiritual”. Estuvieron presentes además el Dr. Richard Vath, presidente y CEO de FMOLHS y el actual presidente de St. Dominic Health Services, Lester Diamond. También habló en el evento la hermana Barbara Arcenaux, Ministra Regional de los Misioneros Franciscanos de Nuestra Señora. Ella compartió con la multitud la historia del día en el que se reunieron San Francisco y Santo Domingo. La hermana Arcenaux reflexionó sobre las bellas palabras de los santos, recordando que Santo Domingo le dijo a San Francisco: “Tú eres mi compañero. Trabajaremos juntos apoyándonos mutuamente hacia el mismo fin y nadie prevalecerá contra nosotros” St. Dominic’s y sus programas se unirán al Sistema de salud de los Franciscanos Missioneros de Nuestra Señora en todo Louisiana, incluyendo Our Lady of the Angels en Bougalusa, el Centro Médico Regional de Nuestra Señora del Lago en Baton Rouge, el Centro Médico Regional de Nuestra Señora de Lourdes en Lafayette, Nuestra Señora de Lourdes Women’s & Children’s Hospital en Lafayette, St. Elizabeth Hospital en Gonzales y St. Francis Medical Center en Monroe. Las hermanas Dominicas cantaron una hermosa bendición, atribuida al Beato Jordán de Sajonia, del siglo XIII, no como un adiós por el viaje.
FLOWOOD – Father Gerry Hurley and his leadership team are moving forward with a successful evangelization program launched at their parish designed to convert hearts and souls and bring faithful closer to Jesus Christ.
The church’s leadership team is working to focus the parish as a community that is moved “by the Spirit to expand our relationship with Jesus and the Father,” says Father Hurley, pastor of St. Paul Flowood, about the parish’s evangelization initiative inspired by Father James Mallon’s best-selling book “Divine Renovation: From a Maintenance to a Missional Parish.”
In 2014 Father Mallon, episcopal vicar for parish renewal and leadership support for the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth in Nova Scotia, Canada, released the book designed to guide parishes seeking to cultivate vibrant and dynamic faith communities centered on missionary discipleship. Over the past five years, St. Paul Flowood took what they learned from the guide and slowly began introducing different programs as part of a parish renewal project reaching out to various age groups and all members of the parish community. “We are establishing a direction of what is important,” said Father Hurley.
The parish used the ChristLife series (Discovering Christ, Following Christ and Sharing Christ) as an evangelization ministry to equip area Catholics for the essential work of evangelization as disciples of Christ. It launched with success. Another program is the parish’s small group ministry designed to encourage parishioners to get involved in the life and ministry of the parish. Alpha is an interactive evangelization program for youth used in the parish.
“Our ChristLife experience
and our small group ministry processes have been a huge measure of growth and
development in our parish,” said a pleased Father Hurley. “We have almost 400
people participating in small groups, which is certainly encouraging. There is
much more work to be done because at the center is a community that is united,
not uniform, but a united community with freedom of expression and growth,
reflecting on what it means to be a true Eucharistic community,” Father Hurley
Father Mallon asserts that the Church has “an identity crisis.”
In his introductory video, he states that “We’re a missionary church. We don’t
have a mission. We are the mission.” Rather than be missionary, Mallon states
that “often in our parishes we become maintenance focused and that is . . . we
are content to maintain the flock.”
Moving from maintenance to mission is the message at the
center of Father Mallon’s Divine Renovation. “In the life of a parish
there can be so many things going on. So much busyness, so many requests for
time and energy and events. . . . Are we so lost in busyness that we have
forgotten the main thing,” asks Father Mallon.
Going back to the Great Commission, the instructions of the
resurrected Jesus Christ to his disciples to spread his teachings, Father
Mallon suggests that there is where parishes can find the “main thing’” which
is to “make disciples.” Going, baptizing and teaching are the means by which we
fulfill the command to “make disciples,” says Father Mallon.
“We’re led to be outwardly focused . . . to reach the
un-churched,” Father Mallon explains, “Jesus didn’t say go and be disciples. He
said go and make disciples. He didn’t say go and make disciples of people in
At this point, the movement at St. Paul is not totally
welcomed by everyone in the parish family, but the witness of results from the
efforts of the parish’s new ministries continue to change hearts and encourage
the pastor. Father Hurley says that “while there is still a great deal of push
back, we are confident in where we are moving,” he said adding that he feels a
great deal of support from his parish.
Rachel Mathias, a teacher at Brinkley Middle School, grew up at St. Paul receiving her first communion there as a child. She reflected at a small group meeting through St. Paul and shared that she appreciates the parish change in the direction from maintenance to mission and is happy about the additional freedom of expression of faith and love that it has afforded her.
As part of parish changes, St. Paul music ministry featuring
traditional music and songs since its beginning, has added a “praise team”
complete with bass, guitar, piano and drums.
“I miss our choir in a way, but I’m grateful that we’re at
this point now,” said Mathias, a part of the choir since she was in tenth
grade. “Yes, it’s different from what we are used to, but I have never felt
closer to Jesus in Mass,” says Mathias, explaining that she has a new and
stronger relationship with Jesus in the Eucharist with the help of her parish’s
evangelization initiatives and new programs.
“For me it’s kind of like the Eucharist didn’t really sink
in and have as much meaning until I realized who it was that I was actually
talking to and singing to. So, I feel like for me that is my mission now. Yes,
it’s definitely different than what I grew up with . . . but I have never felt
closer in what we are doing than we are right now.”
Father Hurley said that he and his staff “are very
enthusiastic about the growth and development thus far. We get much feedback
and some resistance, but this is a natural part of this intense growth
process,” he said.
To match their divine renovation, St. Paul Flowood is working on a capital campaign to renovate parish facilities and create a larger, more welcoming place of worship. The parish seeks to expand and improve their spiritual home and grow the parish flock with disciple and faithful brothers and sisters, who will open their arms and hearts and share stories of what a difference having a relationship with Jesus Christ has made in their lives. Father Hurley displays a warm welcome on the parish website: “Jesus invites each of us to a personal relationship with him,” he states. “We hope to be a great companion to you on your journey of faith!“
JACKSON – There was much to celebrate July 16 at the Carmelite Monastery of Jackson. Not only was it the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, patroness of the Carmelites, but the day a new sister in Christ was veiled for the small community of Discalced Carmelite nuns.
The small chapel was standing room only with friends, family and supporters filling the pews and the extra seats brought in for the occasion. The first few rows of pews were taken by Discalced Carmelite Seculars from all walks of life, wearing their large brown scapulars as a symbol of their devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The order of cloistered nuns and the choir sat behind the grille that separates them from the public portion of the chapel.
Eight priests, along with Bishop Joseph Kopacz and Bishop Joseph Latino, gathered to celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and the Solemn Profession and Veiling of Sister Geraldine of the Body and Blood of Christ.
The homily delivered by Discalced Carmelite Father Danilo Fauste, superior of Our Lady’s Hill in the Philippines, was set to remind Sister Geraldine of the difficult promise of commitment of surrendering to God’s call to contemplative life and prayer. He explained having a true “personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” as a cloistered nun includes the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. “The vows speak for your past, present and future . . . and will reflect to others the touch and the love of Jesus,” he said.
In the ceremony dating back to St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, Sister Geraldine stated the formula of profession of vows, which she herself wrote beforehand. After this profession, Sister Geraldine sang Holy is His Name by John Michael Talbot signifying her willing spirit of self-giving and joy. As the song went on, Sister Geraldine was overcome with emotion, an outward expression of her love of the Lord. The chapel filled with loved ones and supporters beautifully finished the song for her as she sobbed into Sister Mary Jane Patricia of the Resurrection’s shoulder, who came to comfort her.
After Bishop Kopacz consecrated the professed, he blessed the black veil that Sister Geraldine will wear as an insignia of her profession along with a stunning crown made of delicate white and pink roses. Now admitted as a life-long member of the order of Carmelites with her black veil, Sister Geraldine beamed with excitement and joy. All in attendance sang the hymn You are Mine. “Do not be afraid, I am with you. I have called you each by name. Come and follow me. I will bring you home. I love you and you are mine.”
Sister Geraldine, after a long journey of religious life as a Franciscan, entered the Holy Family of Carmel in San Fernando, La Union in the Philippines before her journey to Jackson to join the Carmelite monastery. She is now a member of the small family of Carmelite nuns and will spend her days balancing times of solitude, study, work and community acts, including celebrating Mass, and participating in the Divine Office and joining in meals and recreation.