Happy Ordination Anniversary

April 10
Father Pradeep Kumar Thirumalareddy
St. Mary Batesville

April 12
Father Raju Macherla
St. Elizabeth Clarksdale

Father Sleeva Reddy Mekala
St. James Leland & Immaculate Conception Indianola

April 14
Father Suresh Reddy Thirumalareddy
St. Alphonsus McComb


April 18
Father Vijaya Manohar Reddy Thanugundla
St. Francis Brookhaven

April 19
Father Sebastian Myladiyil, SVD
Sacred Heart Greenville

April 24
Father Arokia Stanislaus Savio
St. Peter Grenada

April 26
Father Jesuraj Xavier
St. Francis New Albany

Thank you for answering the call!

Sister Joan Duerst, OP celebrates jubilee

By Eileen Dushek-Manthe
SINSINAWA, Wis. – Sister Joan Duerst, OP, will celebrate her 60th jubilee in 2024. A Mass will be held in October for her and 10 other Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters celebrating 60 years. Her religious name was Sister Marie Herve’.

Sister Joan’s home parish is St. Patrick, Madison, in the Diocese of Madison. She is the daughter of the late Hervey and Catherine “Kay” (Skibba) Duerst. Sister Joan’s ministry has been dedicated to social justice, especially criminal justice reform.

In the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Sister Joan taught at Dominican High School, Whitefish Bay, 1968-1972.

In the Archdiocese of Omaha, Sister Joan taught at Dominican High School, Omaha, 1972-1979.

In the Diocese of Tulsa, Sister Joan served as neighborhood organizer at Immaculate Conception Parish, Tulsa, 1979-1982; founder and director of Osage Hills Apartment ministry, Tulsa, 1982-1987; coordinator for peace and justice at Christ the King Parish, Tulsa, 1993-1998; and founder and community organizer for North Tulsa Neighborhood Alliance, Tulsa, 1993-1998, facilitating 12 neighborhood associations to build strong organizations in a neglected area of the city. She taught at Bishop Kelley, Tulsa, 1987-1993, and served the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation as provincial councilor for the Southern Province while living in Tulsa, 1998-2003.

In the Diocese of Jackson, Sister Joan ministered as director of high school religious education and social concerns coordinator at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Madison, 2004-2008.

In the Diocese of Madison, Sister Joan ministered as volunteer coordinator at South Madison Coalition of the Elderly (now New Bridge), Madison, 2008-2014, and served with the multigenerational faith formation team and directed the first reconciliation and First Communion program at St. Albert the Great Parish, Sun Prairie, 2009-2011. She is a member of MOSES (Madison Organizing in Strength, Equity, and Solidarity), where she is a religious leader, and has served on the antiracism transformation team of the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa since 1999.

She has also ministered in Illinois and Trinidad and Tobago.

Sister Joan is living in community with her Dominican Sisters.

If you would like to honor Sister Joan on her jubilee, go to the Sinsinawa Dominicans’ website at www.sinsinawa.org/jubilee.

St. Richard School moving to Meadowbrook

By Joe Lee
JACKSON – If you have a student at St. Richard Catholic School, your initial reaction to the news that they’re relocating next year might be panic. How might the move impact your commute to school and work each day? How much earlier will the morning routine have to begin?

Relax, because the beloved elementary school will be less than a quarter mile away, at 4261 I-55 North Frontage Road in a church building that presently sits empty.

“St. Richard parish and school were presented with the opportunity to purchase the property that housed the Meadowbrook Church of Christ for many years,” said Celeste Saucier, St. Richard School director of development. “The Diocese assisted by granting a loan to the parish and offered assistance through the Office of Education.

“The move allows for greater exposure to the frontage road and better ability to expand and grow over time. It provides space for a high-grade STREAM Lab (Science, Technology, Religion, English, Arts, Math), a flex space for studying and projects, and a refectory. Naming and investment opportunities are available as the school begins their capital campaign.”

“We will start classes in August 2025 under the advisement of the diocese,” said Father Joe Tonos, St. Richard pastor. “We will use the period between January and August for tours, and for “test runs” of some of the older classes (grades 4-6) using the facilities to make sure all is in order for fall 2025.

“The elementary students can walk with their classes over to the (empty) church and back quite easily as it stands now. There is a full chapel at the new site which will be used for liturgies and services for the school. It will also be available for conferences, musical recitals, and programs.”

For more information on St. Richard School visit strichardschool.org or call (601) 366-1157.

St. Richard opens new Early Learning Center

By Joe Lee
JACKSON – Several years in the making, the St. Richard Early Learning Center (ELC) opened its doors in mid-March to rave reviews from parents and great relief from ELC director Ilana Schuetzle after the first week went well.

“It was trial and error the first day, teachers and children getting to know one another in a completely new environment, checking those little things off that may have been overlooked,” Schuetzle said. “All in all, I couldn’t be happier with the staff in helping make (the opening) go as smoothly as possible.”

The ELC began with 17 littles, as Schuetzle calls them, and more have been added each week. The busy ELC director is giving tours to prospective parents almost daily and noted that once enrollment reaches capacity at 88, a waiting list will begin. They serve infants from six weeks to two-year-olds, with the three- and four-year-olds at the elementary school.

“We’re in a renovated part of St. Richard church directly behind Banner Hall,” Schuetzle said. “The ELC campaign began before Covid. Work began on the ELC last spring. We’ve had a lot of interest from people who work in the hospitals or downtown area, as well as those who already have children attending St. Richard School.”

JACKSON – Bishop Joseph Kopacz blesses the new St. Richard Early Learning Center at an open house event on Sunday, March 17. ELC is open and currently accepting applications for employment and children ages 0-2 years. (Photo by Rachel Patterson)

“I learned of the ELC from a friend whose children currently attend St. Richard’s,” said Anna Moss. “I called and booked a tour with Ilana within days of learning of the Center. My son, John Nicholas, is six months old. He has been attending for about a month. We were there on opening day to meet the teachers and staff.”

The ELC is associated with St. Richard Parish and School and falls under Diocese of Jackson guidelines, offering a continuation of decades of Catholic administration and formation from the diocese and parish.

Father Joe Tonos, St. Richard pastor, hopes to introduce the children to the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd specifically for the ELC, as well as providing a bridge for parents to the school and parish.

“The first few days were not hectic due to the measured planning Ilana and the ELC committee had put in place,” Father Tonos said. “To the contrary, it started with serenity and happiness.”

Young John Nicholas is Moss’s first child. As a working mom, it wasn’t easy for her to adjust to leaving him during the day, but she is very pleased with the St. Richard ELC.

“I felt an immediate sense of calm and love when I met with Ilana and saw the beautiful space on our tour,” Moss said. “I knew within my heart this was the place for my son. The staff is personable and caring. John Nicholas is always smiling when we pick him up. The ratio of staff to children is wonderful and I love the feeling of family here.

“The staff communicates with my family via the Procare app, where I receive updates throughout the day on my son’s bottles, naps, pictures and other information. I know John Nicholas will continue to learn, develop and thrive at the ELC.”

To schedule a tour, Schuetzle can be reached at director@strichardelc.org.

JACKSON – Father Joe Tonos, Doug Ward, Bishop Joseph Kopacz, Ilana Schuetzle, Andre DeGruy, Thaddeus Dexter Hoover, Susan Eastus and Ashley Johnson are pictured after a blessing of the facilities on Sunday, March 17. (Photo by Rachel Patterson)

Alrededor Diocesano

PONTOTOC – La niña Katrina González y decenas más de infantes, niños, jóvenes y adultos disfrutaron de la búsqueda de huevos de Pascua, en la casa de Maria Mares, con la que los parroquianos de San Cristobal terminaron la Semana Santa (Foto de Aracely Nieves)

PONTOTOC – La Semana Santa de los parroquianos de San Cristóbal estuvo llena de representaciones, Misas y diversión. La representación, que en medio de la fiesta de Pascua, hicieron Aracely Nieves y un parroquiano, disfrazados de ancianos, tal como se ven en la foto, se basó en el relato de las historias de la Resurrección y la del Conejo de Pascua, con la colaboración de Juanis López, la maestra de los jóvenes de danza, quienes además se disfrazaron como niños traviesos. (Foto de Aracely Nieves)

PONTOTOC – Grupo de jóvenes de RICA 2024 de la iglesia St Cristobal recibieron sus sacramentos el sábado de vigilia Pascual, de manos del Padre Justin Joseph y acompañados de sus madrinas y padrinos. El grupo compuesto por Itzel González, Norma Alicia Romero, Dellanira Rodriguez, Ezequiel Martínez, Maricela Martinez, Gina Gonzalez y Carlos Moreno estuvo en las clases de catequesis impartidas por la Hermana Raquel y el Sr. Luis Gordillo Mendoza. (Foto de Luis Gordillo)

VICKSBURG – El 28 de febrero de 2024, el Padre Nick Adam, acompañado del Padre Rusty Vincent, celebró una Misa en español en la Capilla de San Francisco Javier para la clase de español. Los estudiantes leyeron, respondieron y participaron en español. (Foto de Vivian Velázquez, maestra de Español de Vicksburg Catholic School)

Happy Ordination Anniversary

April 10
Father Pradeep Kumar Thirumalareddy
St. Mary Batesville

April 12
Father Raju Macherla
St. Elizabeth Clarksdale
Father Sleeva Reddy Mekala
St. James Leland & Immaculate Conception Indianola

April 14
Father Suresh Reddy Thirumalareddy
St. Alphonsus McComb

April 18
Father Vijaya Manohar Reddy Thanugundla
St. Francis Brookhaven

April 19
Father Sebastian Myladiyil, SVD
Sacred Heart Greenville

April 24
Father Arokia Stanislaus Savio
St. Peter Grenada

April 26
Father Jesuraj Xavier
St. Francis New Albany

Calendar of events

PARISH, FAMILY & SCHOOL EVENTS
BATESVILLE – St. Mary, Easter Egg Hunt, Sunday, March 31 following 10:30 a.m. Mass. Details: church office (662) 563-2273.

BROOKHAVEN – St. Francis, Easter Egg Hunt and Photos, Sunday, March 31 following 9 a.m. Mass. Details: church office (601) 833-1799.

CLINTON – Holy Savior, Easter Egg Hunt, Sunday, March 24 at 9:30 a.m. Details: church office (601) 924-6344.

CLEVELAND – Our Lady of Victories, Easter Egg Hunt, Sunday, March 24 after 9 a.m. Mass. For ages sixth grade and under. Bring 12 candy-filled eggs. Details: Jenifer at (662) 402-7050.

FLOWOOD – St. Paul, Easter Egg Hunt, Sunday, March 24 after 10:30 a.m. Mass. Details: church office (601) 992-9547.

GLUCKSTADT – St. Joseph, Charity Tea, Saturday, April 20 at 2 p.m. in the parish hall. Cost: adults $25; children 10 and under $15. Tickets available after Mass on April 6 and 7; April 13 and 14. Limited number available. Details: church office (601) 856-2054.

GREENWOOD – Immaculate Heart of Mary, Easter Egg Hunt, Sunday, March 31 after 9 a.m. Mass. Details: church office (662) 453-3980.

HERNANDO – Holy Spirit, Easter Egg Hunt, Sunday, March 24 at 11:45 a.m. Hunts by age group (0-3; 4-6; 7-10). Lunch provided and prizes awarded. Details: church office (662) 429-7851.

JACKSON – St. Richard School, Flight to the Finish 5k and Fun Run, Saturday, April 20 at 9 a.m. Details: Visit website for more info and to register at https://runsignup.com/Race/MS/Jackson/FlighttotheFinish. To sponsor visit https://bit.ly/FlighttoFinish.

JACKSON – Sister Thea Bowman School, Annual Draw Down, Saturday, April 27 at 6:30 p.m. in the multi-purpose building. Grand prize $5,000; tickets $100 (admits 2), second chance insurance $20. Enjoy great food, entertainment, silent auction, door prizes and more. Casual attire. Details: contact Shae at (601) 351-5197 or stbdrawdown@gmail.com.

MADISON – St. Francis, Luella and Floyd Q. Doolittle Golf Tournament, Saturday, April 13 at Whisper Lake Country Club. Information and registration form available at https://stfrancismadison.org/knights-of-columbus. Details: Tunney at (601) 622-4145 or tunneyv1@icloud.com.

St. Francis, Save the dates: Vacation Bible School – June 17-20; Cajun Fest – Sunday, May 19.
NATCHEZ – St. Mary Basilica, Blood Drive, Tuesday, April 16, from 12:45-5:45 p.m. at the Family Life Center. Details: church office (601) 445-5616.

St. Mary Basilica, Life Line Screening, Friday, April 19 at the Family Life Center. Advanced ultrasound technology looks inside your arteries for signs of plaque buildup. To register for an appointment and receive a special discount, call 1-800-640-6307 or visit llsa.social/hc.

SOUTHAVEN – Sacred Heart School, Trivia Night, Saturday, April 6, from 7-10 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. Cost: $160 per team, eight person max. Door prizes, silent auction, split the pot raffle and decoration awards. Details: email Allison at abaskin@shsm.org to register.

STARKVILLE – St. Joseph, Spring Trivia Night, Thursday, April 11 at 6:30 p.m. Cost: $20/person or $10/student (college undergrad or under) Details: email ben.bachman@gmail.com for reservations. Tables seat up to eight participants.

VICKSBURG – VCS Annual Alumni banquet, Saturday, April 6, 5:30 p.m. Mass at St. Michael, with 6:30 p.m. social and 7 p.m. banquet at the Levee Street Warehouse. Honorary classes include Class of 1974 and 2024. Guest Speaker: George Valadie. Details: register to attend at https://www.vicksburgcatholic.org/apps/page/alumni.

SPIRITUAL ENRICHMENT
GREENWOOD – St. Francis, Revival with Father Anthony Bozeman, SSJ, April 8-9 at 6 p.m. Details: church office (662) 453-0623.

MERIDIAN – St. Patrick, Divine Mercy Chaplet and more. Every weekday (Monday – Friday) at 3 p.m. join the Catholic Community of Meridian and others from around the country in praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet. If you are able to join, they also have evening prayer and the rosary at 4:45 p.m. Call (769) 206-1927 to join in.

NATCHEZ – Ladies Mini-Retreat “Hearing God in the Noise,” Saturday, April 6 at the Family Life Center. Check in begins at 8:30 a.m.; Retreat from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Morning of quiet, reflection and prayer presented by Melinda Laird. Details: to attend email parishprogram@stmarybasilica.org or call (601) 445-5616 to ensure we have enough materials for everyone.

NATCHEZ – 2nd annual Believe Conference, April 19-21, 2024. Featured speakers are Anne Trufant, Catholic speaker and founder of The Mission on the Mountain; Barbara Heil, founder of From His Heart Ministries; and Joanne Moody, minister author, and founder of Agape Freedom Fighters. Cost: $100 for weekend; $50 for students. Lunch included on Saturday. Details: visit https://www.themissiononthemountain.com.

OLIVE BRANCH – Queen of Peace, Divine Mercy Sunday Celebration, Sunday, April 7 at 2:30 p.m. Join Father Ardi for adoration, reflection, Divine Mercy Chaplet and more. All are welcome! Details: church office (662) 895-5007.

SOUTHAVEN – Christ the King, “Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist,” Thursdays, April 4, 18, 25; May 2, 9, 16, 23, 30; and June 6 from 6:30-8 p.m. How do these Jewish roots help us, to understand his real presence in the Eucharist? Facilitator is Don Coker. Details: church office (662) 342-1073.

COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. – Women’s Morning of Spirituality, Saturday, April 13 at Catholic Church of the Incarnation (360 Bray Station Road). Continental breakfast in the gym at 7:15 a.m; Program begins in Sanctuary at 8:15 a.m.; Mass at 12:15 p.m. Opportunities for Adoration, Reconciliation, Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet. Details: church office (901) 441-6157.

CORRECTIONS
PEARL – In the March 8, Mississippi Catholic, we misprinted that St. Jude Pearl is holding a Reconciliation service in March. They already held their’s in February. We apologize for the error.

VICKSBURG – In the March 8, Mississippi Catholic, we misprinted the parish name for Grace Windham, who received a Bishop Chanche Youth Award. She is a member of St. Michael, Vicksburg. We apologize for the error.

TRAVEL
“SPIRIT OF IRELAND AND SCOTLAND” WITH FATHER O’CONNOR – Join Father David O’Connor on a trip to Ireland and Scotland, June 8-17. Itinerary includes: flight to Dublin, two nights in Belfast, ferry to Scotland, two nights in Glasgow, Inverness and Edinburgh and return flight from Edinburg. Travel in a luxury coach from arrival time until departure, a professional driver/guide, 4-star hotels. Tour highlights include City of Belfast, Titanic, historic and architectural sites, wonderful landscapes and lakes of the Scottish highlands, Scottish food and entertainment. Cost: $4,955 (per person sharing) or $5,950 single. Only a few spots left! For more information/reservations contact Cara Group Travel at (617) 639-0273 or email bookings@caragrouptravel.com.

IRELAND AND SCOTLAND WITH FATHER AUGUSTINE – Join Father Augustine on a trip to Ireland and Scotland, Sept. 6-18. Trip includes stops in Galway, Our Lady of Knock, Cliffs of Moher, Killarney, Dingle Peninsula, Dublin, Edinburgh and St. Andrew’s Cathedral. Cost: $5,499 – all inclusive, including airfare. To register, contact Proximo Travel at (855) 842-8001 or visit www.proximotravel.com.

Christ the King celebrates 20 years on Church Road

By Laura Grisham
SOUTHAVEN – Bishop Joseph Kopacz was the main celebrant at a Mass on Saturday, Feb. 23, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the dedication of Christ the King Church in Southaven.

Speaking to those gathered, Father Ardianto Hendrik, SCJ (“Father Ardi”) expressed gratitude to the attendees and leaders of the church for their presence and guidance. He acknowledged the wisdom, compassion and education of the pastoral staff and thanked them for their inspiration.

Father Ardi also thanked the members of the church, both past and present, for their faith and steadfastness, which formed the foundation of the church family. Additionally, he extended a special thank you to the team behind the 20th anniversary celebration for their hard work and attention to detail.

“As we reflect on the past 20 years and look forward to the future, let us continue to walk together in faith, in unity and love. We’ll walk road of life together, day by day, with love our hearts every step of the way.”

SOUTHAVEN – Bishop Kopacz and the priests of the Sacred Heart celebrate Mass for the 20th anniversary of the dedication of Christ the King Church on Church Road on Saturday, Feb. 23. From a humble beginning in a car auction barn where 20 families met for Mass, the parish has grown to nearly 2,000 families that now celebrate Mass at the current church structure. (Photo by Laura Grisham)

The parish itself began as a mission of Sacred Heart Church in Walls; about 20 families gathered in a car auction barn every week for Mass. The first church was built on State Line Road in Southaven and the mission grew into a parish.

Twenty years ago, the original church was replaced with the present structure to accommodate the nearly 2,000 families that now make up the parish. Mass and other services are offered in both Spanish and English.

(Laura Grisham is the PR and Communications manager for Sacred Heart Southern Missions in Walls, Mississippi)

Alrededor de la Diócesis. Pontotoc

Por Berta Mexidor
PONTOTOC – Los jóvenes y parroquianos de Pontotoc, bajo la guía espiritual de la Hermana Raquel Otez se están involucrando en la actividad de la parroquia y buscan las formas de participar en cada una de las iniciativas que unan a todos a la fe católica.

El proyecto de Jornadas de Mississippi que la Madre Raquel trajo para los Hispanos desde Missouri a Mississippi, inspirado desde México.

PONTOTOC – Jóvenes de Pontotoc, Houston y Tupelo se unieron en febrero 20 para comenzar un grupo bajo el programa Jornadas de Mississippi, a iniciativa de la Hermana Raquel de Pontotoc. Ellos, como pioneros quieren llevar la iniciativa a todo el Decanato V y más allá. En la foto Jazmín Lira, quien junto a Esteban Lira imparten las clases.


La idea es reunir a las comunidades cercanas, y entre ellos a los jóvenes de 17 a 33 años. “Estos jóvenes apenas empezaron como un estilo de las clases de catecismo, con Jasmín Lira y Esteban Lira, para crear una pastoral juvenil,” dijo Aracely Nieves, quien se ha convertido en poco tiempo en una líder natural y dedicada a promover actividades con los jóvenes, que van desde los retiros a la danza.

Los jóvenes que participan de St. Christopher Pontotoc son Brittany González y David Hiracheta, de la iglesia Inmaculado Corazón de Maria Houston está Cristina Gonzales y de St. James Tupelo el joven Roberto Becerra.

PONTOTOC – Como cada año, al comenzar la Cuaresma, los católicos Hispanos se preparan para recrear la Pasión de Cristo. En foto de 2023 parroquianos de San Cristóbal. (izq.) Representación de la Pasión en 2023. (centro) Jesus Aguilar, quien este año dirige la obra de la Pasión 2024, dice que esta actividad lo hace más fuerte, después de perder a su padre hace solo dos semanas. (der.) Pasión del 2022. (Fotos cortesía de Aracely Nieves


Los jóvenes están trabajando mucho para reunir los fondos necesarios con ventas de comida, para ellos llevar a cabo retiros y clases de seguimiento Llamado Escuelita Jornadas.

Todo es para que jóvenes y adultos sigan enriqueciendo a los jóvenes con Fe, espiritualidad, ayuda emocional y como idear con las batallas que un joven adulto pasa. Por igual se está formando un grupo de jóvenes menores de 16 que se llama Alianza Juvenil X Cristo. Estos dos grupos eventualmente trabajaran juntos, informa Aracely.

PONTOTOC – La llegada de la Hermana Raquel Otez ha reactivado la participación de los parroquianos en varias iniciativas de San Cristóbal. En las fotos, parte de los ensayos que se llevan en la parroquia por Cuaresma, en preparación para Semana Santa, y conversatorio de la Hermana Raquel con miembros de la comunidad.


Aracely comenta “Son proyectos que están en su comienzo, Tenemos Fe en Cristo que esto pueda ayudar a jóvenes de todas las edades a tomar mejores decisiones y como buscar ayuda y como saber expresarse y no guardar las cosas que puedan dañar su ser interno.”

La instructora Jazmín Lira cuenta con estudios de psicología para mejor comprender a estos jóvenes. Y Aracely concluye diciendo “…estos chicos están aprendiendo como ser lideres y catequistas para ayudar a otros jóvenes.”

La actividad de activar la fe no para. En estos días los parroquianos de San Cristóbal se reúnen para practicar la representación de la Pasión de Cristo. Como cada año, al comenzar la Cuaresma, los católicos Hispanos se preparan espiritualmente para la semana Santa. Además de los viernes y las estaciones de la Cruz, la representación en vivo para la Misa es una de las prioridades de todas las iglesias a nivel mundial, y en Pontotoc, los católicos no son la excepción.

Este es el primer año sin embargo, que los parroquianos de Pontotoc tendrán una representación de la Pasión de Cristo con un equipo tan grande. El desafío, tomado por Jesus Aguilar, tendrá nueve soldados, un gran grupo de mujeres y adolescentes, como mujeres de Jerusalén, y los doce discípulos con Jesus.

La Hermana Raquel, a quien ellos le llaman Madre Raquel, además de la pastoral juvenil Jornadas de Mississippi, ha traído a San Cristóbal el primer Retiro de EMAUS de hombres y mujeres, el primer retiro de Quinceañeras, para el crecimiento espiritual de las jovencitas y padres de familia y la guía para monaguillos, las lectoras que la ayudan en su labor.

“Gracias Madre Raquel por ser nuestra líder, consejera y sobre todo tener esa humildad con toda su comunidad que la quiere mucho. Decía un sabio, ‘de algo chico nace algo grande, será ejemplo para muchos y jamás perderá su autenticidad’,” concluyó Aracely, expresando el sentir de toda la comunidad católica del lugar.

(Aracely Nieves contribuyó con esta historia)