Rachel weeps for loss of innocent life at St. Richard parish

By Joanna Puddister King and Tereza Ma
JACKSON – Rachel stands perpetually weeping for the loss of innocent life on Lynwood Drive in Jackson near the Special Kids building at St. Richard parish. “Rachel Weeping” is the culmination of a vision that started at the parish years ago in a desire to have a substantial ‘pro-life’ monument permanently present at the church.

“One day a few years back, I … stumbled across a story whose headline said something to the effect of ‘Iceland eliminates down syndrome,'” said Father John Bohn. He was prepared to be amazed by scientific discoveries, but found that they were simply aborting any child who tested positive for Trisomy 21, the condition that leads to down syndrome.

“So, I didn’t think that was a cause for celebration. I thought that it was a tragedy, in large part because our Special Kids program here at St. Richard is really the best part of our parish. I thought about what we’d all miss if these souls had been aborted by their parents before birth simply because they were different,” said Father John.
Commissioned by the Knights of Columbus at St. Richard, the work began in 2017 and was sculpted by Tracy H. Sugg.
The concept of the sculpture is based on the scripture in Jeremiah 31:15 “Behold, Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be comforted because they were no more.”

JACKSON – St. Richard’s pro-life monument, “Rachel Weeping” stands near the Special Kids building at the parish. The statue stands eight feet tall and is full of symbolism. (Photo by Tereza Ma)

Sugg, whose studio is in Tennessee, has been sculpting professionally for about 30 years and has ties to Jackson, earning a master of fine arts from Mississippi College. She also sculpted a piece in the main hall of St. Richard called “Christ Setting Forth the Sacraments,” and has pieces across the country, including “G. V. Sonny Montgomery” at Mississippi State University in Starkville, “Dominican Sister” in the lobby of St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson and “General Tadeusz Kosciuszko” in Kosciusko.

Sugg surrounded Rachel with astounding symbolism from her bare feet to the curls in her loose flowing hair. The Knights requested that Rachel hold a baby blanket, which Sugg took great care to create, using only her hands.

“I wanted to bring home to the viewer the loss of that life. So, I chose to create a sharp contrast between the movement found in the figure to the shocking stillness found in the blanket,” said Sugg. “So, I just have the blanket inert with gravity pulling on it so it has very heavy folds.”

The same folds are also tucked in the sculpture under Rachel’s belt. “The folds are echoed in the blanket and it ties in with her womb and visually creates a connection mentally between the grieving mother and the loss of a child,” said Sugg.

“This sculpture … will continue to show the dignity of human life. It will continue to glorify God and this testimony through the tool of a bronze sculpture. It goes beyond me and beyond all of you. And beyond this generation that is alive right now because it will continue to tell the story long after they are gone,” said Sugg.

“My hands are just the tools. This was the vision of the Knights of Columbus and Father John … we are all a part of this enduring statement that will endlessly cry out to those who view it of the blessed dignity of all human life.”

(More about Sugg’s process for creating Rachel and more about her breathtaking symbolism can be found at www.tracyhsugg.com/rachel-weeping/.)

St. Paul Vicksburg dedicates statue of patron saint

By John Surratt, The Vicksburg Post
VICKSBURG – A statue of St. Paul Catholic Church’s patron saint now graces the church’s sanctuary, and the story behind its arrival begins with a new pastor and a donation left to the church’s altar society.

Not long after he arrived at St. Paul Catholic Church as pastor, Father Rusty Vincent was approached by Janice Waring with a gift from the church’s altar society.

“Some money was donated to the altar society years ago and it had been in a CD for many years,” said Waring, who was altar society treasurer.

Interest in the altar society had been waning for several years and two years ago the group disbanded with the money still in the bank.

“I went to Father Rusty and said we want to do something with it, but we don’t want to piecemeal it out,” Waring said. “What is something we may need?”

Father Vincent noticed the need. The church had statues of Jesus and Mary but there was no statue of the church’s patron saint, St. Paul the Apostle.

“Since the church didn’t have a St. Paul statue and we were named St. Paul’s, I thought that was the best thing to do,” Father Vincent said.

VICKSBURG – On Sunday, June 27, Father Rusty Vincent of St. Paul Catholic Church blessed a new statue of the parish’s patron saint. The statue of St. Paul, which was gifted by the parish’s Altar Society, rests on a stand that was handmade by church member Charles Hahn. (Photo by Connie Hosemann)

The decision led to a two-year process to find a statue of St. Paul that ended with the T.H. Stemper Co., which specializes in supplies and reconditioning and making statues for churches, making the statue.

When she first saw the statue, Waring said, “It was a white statue, but the manufacturer put us with an artist and when it was finished it looks like wood. We were very pleased.”

Parishioner Charles Hahn made the stand for the statue using the old church organ’s wood pipes.

On June 27, St. Paul dedicated the statue of its patron saint during a ceremony at its 10:30 a.m. Mass.

“He is the patron saint of the church, it is named after him and the saints in heaven are already with God so they’re interceding on our behalf; they’re praying for us to get to heaven,” Father Vincent said of the statue’s significance to the parish.

“When you name a church after a saint, you have a special connection with that saint,” he said. “St. Paul’s life as a saint, whether it be his conversion or martyrdom, is all to encourage us to live the life of a saint as he did.”

St. Paul initially persecuted Christians.

“He was caught up in the zeal for the Jewish faith,” he said. “He was very passionate about it but at the same time too, he was very misguided in the sense of the fact that he thought he was right, but he was living it out in a cruel way.
“Then he had his conversion; he had that vision of Christ that’s seen in the Acts of the Apostles and changed him completely; he was devoted to Christ from that day forward, even to death. It was amazing the change he went through,” Father Vincent said.

(Reprinted with permission of The Vicksburg Post. John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church.)

Featured photo Father McGing’s golden anniversary …

CLINTON – Father Thomas McGing celebrated his golden jubilee with cake and fellowship at Holy Savior Catholic Church on June 14, 2021. He was ordained on June 14, 1971 at Killawalla Parish Church in County Mayo, Ireland and arrived in the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson on Aug. 25, 1971. He first served as assistant pastor at St. Richard Jackson and has served in many parishes and roles across the diocese, as well as in the chancery office. (Photo by Trish Ballard)

Calendar of event

ABERDEEN St. Francis of Assisi, Adult Bible Study meets on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. They are presently studying church history. All are welcome. Details: (662) 813-2295.

CLARKSDALE Catholic Community of St. Elizabeth, Father Raju is offering a Healing Mass on the first Saturday of each month at 7:30 a.m. If you would like to schedule it for a special intention, call the church office at (662) 624-4301.

FLOWOOD St. Paul Early Learning Center 8th annual Golf Tournament, Friday, Sept. 10 at Bay Pointe Golf Club. Individual players $100; four-person teams $400. Shotgun start at 1 p.m with lunch and doorprizes at 11:30 a.m. Dinner and awards at 5:30 p.m. Proceeds will be used to update tables and chairs in classrooms and cafeteria. Details: call 601-992-2876 or email stpaullearningcenter@gmail.com.

GLUCKSTADT St. Joseph, Save the Date, Germanfest is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 26 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The family-oriented festival is best known for its authentic German food and music. There are a lot of “behind-the-scenes” jobs that happen before the actual festival day. Wednesday, Sept. 8 – Kraut Packing, 4 p.m. until finished. This is the kraut they will use the day of the festival. Lots of help needed! Details: church office (601) 856-2054.

GRENADA, RICHLAND & SUMMIT Pro-life Mississippi Walk for Life, Saturday, Sept. 18, 10 a.m. It is not just a walk it’s a family fun day! Food, games and more. No registration fee and prizes awarded. Details: https://bit.ly/walk4life2021 or plm@prolifemississippi.org.

JACKSON St. Richard, Save the Date, An Evening with Our Stars, Saturday, Sept. 11 at 5:30 p.m. in Foley Hall. This is a fundraiser benefitting the St. Richard Special Kids. Tickets are $60 each. Enjoy dinner, dancing and decadent desserts. Dinner will be provided by the Knights of Columbus. Details: church office (601) 366-2335.

40th annual St. Richard Special Kids Day Golf Tournament, Thursday, Oct. 7 at Deerfield Golf Club. The unique gifts of the children are recognized and applauded, and the community participates in a day full of fun, excitement and meaningful fundraising. Details: To learn more, or to find out how to participate in this event, call the church office at (601) 366-2335 or email garner@saintrichard.com.

MADISON St. Francis of Assisi, The M&M Study Group will have sessions on Wednesdays, beginning Sept. 8, from 10-11:30 a.m. All ladies are invited to attend. The first session will be on the book ‘’Learning to Pray” by Father James Martin. Details: call (601) 613-1926 or (601) 853-4187.

Parish Mission, Wednesday, Sept. 22. Presenter: Deacon John McGregor, D.Min. will speak on “Discipleship and the Authenticity Gap” beginning with food and fellowship at 5 p.m. Deacon John will look at what authentic discipleship means in our everyday lives and why so many people are leaving the church. Details: church office (601) 856-5556.

Save the Date, Cajun Fest 2021, Sunday, Oct. 3. Plan to attend for a great afternoon of fun and cajun music. Details: church office (601) 856-5556.

MERIDAN Catholic Community of Meridian, Save the Date, Sunday, Sept. 12, we will gather after 11 a.m. Mass for a family luncheon to recognize and officially welcome the parishioners who have joined our Catholic Community in the recent years. We look forward to everyone getting together once again to share a meal and the fellowship of one another. Details: church office (601) 693-1321.

NATCHEZ Assumption of BVM, the Grief Share program is held on Thursdays through Sept. 23 from 1-3 p.m. Details: to sign up call the church office at (601) 442-7250 or (318)-421-4559 or sign up at www.Griefshare.org.

OLIVE BRANCH Queen of Peace, Bible study/prayer group will meet Wednesdays at 9:30 am. Details: contact Wayne Miller at (901) 679-3400 with any questions.

HERNANDO Holy Spirit, “Open Gym” on Wednesdays from 5:30-6:30 p.m. for sixth through 12th grades at the Family Life Center. Make plans to come and enjoy the food, fun and games. Details: church office (662) 429-7851.

MADISON St. Francis of Assisi, Ignite! 2021-22 Life Teen for 7th-12th graders begins with their annual kick-off event on Sunday, Aug. 29 starting with 5 p.m. Mass followed by supper and flaming fun! Details: contact Mary Catherine or Melissa at the church office (601) 856-5556.

Prayers for our St. Jude family…

Calendar of event

NEW ORLEANS Our Lady of the Cenacle Retreat Center, Women’s Retreat, “Breath of Life: Honoring the Mystic Within,” Aug. 18-21. The presenter is Father Joseph Nassal, CPPS, who has been engaged in retreat, renewal and reconciliation for over thirty years. Details: to register or for more information, contact Susan Halligan at the retreat office at (504) 267-9604 or www.neworleansretreats.org/retreats.

ABERDEEN St. Francis of Assisi, Adult Bible Study meets at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays. They are presently studying church history. All are welcome. Details: church office (662) 813-2295.
FLOWOOD St. Paul Early Learning Center, 8th Annual Golf Tournament, Friday, Sept. 10 at 12 p.m., Bay Pointe Golf Club, Brandon. Details: ELC office (601) 992-2876.
GLUCKSTADT St. Joseph, Germanfest is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 26 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The family-oriented festival is best known for its authentic German food and music. Details: Please contact the Parish Office (601) 856-2054 and talk to Pam to share your area of expertise.
HERNANDO Holy Spirit, Annual Bazaar, Saturday, Sept. 11 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Volunteers needed. Details: Julie Stefanik (901) 371-6253 or e-mail julieastefanik@gmail.com.
HOLLY SPRINGS Chewalla Lake Recreation Area, Six-Parish Picnic, Sunday, July 25 from 3-5 p.m. Swimming, food and fun. Bring a side dish to share and drinks for your family. Meat provided. Bring your lawn chairs! Details: church office (662) 429-7851.
JACKSON St. Richard, An Evening with Our Stars, Saturday, Sept. 11 at 5:30 p.m. in Foley Hall. Fundraiser benefitting the St. Richard Special Kids. Tickets $60 each. Enjoy dinner, dancing,and desserts! Details: church office (601) 366-2335.
NATCHEZ Assumption B.V.M., grief share program will be on Thursdays from through Sept. 23 from 1-3 p.m. Details: To sign up, call the parish office at (601) 442-7250 or (318) 421-4559. You may also sign up online at www.griefshare.org.
St. Mary Basilica, Unlocking the Mystery of the Bible. Six of the eight sessions remain on Thursdays at 6 p.m. in the Family Life Center. If you can’t attend in person, they will have sessions available online. Details: Ruth Powers at the church office (601) 445-5616.

CLARKSDALE St. Elizabeth, Summer Youth Retreat, July 30 – Aug. 1. Cost: $40, includes food and a t-shirt. Details: Derrick in the church office at (662) 624-4301.
FLOWOOD Big Deal Youth Group, Braves’ Game – Saturday, Aug. 14. Details: Contact Cory for more info at youth@spaulcc.org.
JACKSON St. Richard, Frassati Young Adults – is a group of young adults (20’s or 30’s) in the Jackson area that meet once a week for Bible study (or sometimes a fellowship event). Even though they meet at St. Richard, the young adults in this group attend different parishes in the area. Non-Catholics are welcome to join as well. They participate in service projects, have Rosary walks, host social events and are always seeking ways to foster community. Details: church office (601) 366-2335
MADISON St. Anthony School is currently enrolling new students for the 2021-22 school year. St. Anthony serves children in PreK-3 to 6th grade. Several classes are nearing capacity, so please make plans to visit us today. Details: for more information or to schedule a tour, please call (601) 607-7054 or go to www.stanthonyeagles.org.
St. Joseph School, Annual Bruin Burn Color Run 5K Run/Walk and Fun Run, Saturday, July 24. Details: Beth Vanderloo at (601) 906-9501 or bethbailey68@yahoo.com.
St. Joseph School is in need of religious artwork to hang in their academic buildings. If you have any that you to donate, please contact Tricia Harris, Advancement Director at (601) 898-4803 or tharris@stjoebruins.com.
SCHOLARSHIP Applications are now being accepted for the Msgr. Droll Scholarship for Catholic Laity. This scholarship helps laypeople pursue advanced degrees so that they can work for the church. Catholic laymen and women pursuing a graduate degree in theology or religious studies serve their church in a professional capacity must submit applications by Sept. 13. The $2,000 scholarship is awarded to candidates in need of tuition assistance. Details: Applications may be found online at www.cliu.com under the “Giving Back” tab and then by clicking on “Faith-Based Scholarships,” contact the Communications Department at (210) 828-9921 or 1-800-262-2548.

Sacraments of Matrimony and Baptism

PEARL – There was a beautiful and culturally rich celebration of the Sacraments of Matrimony and Baptism at St. Jude parish on Monday, June 7. Three couples from the parishes Micronesian community were married in a triple wedding. Following the wedding Mass, five children were baptized. It was a special day for the community. (Photos by Rhonda Bowden)

Mississippi native ordained to Dominican order

By Fran Lavelle
NEW ORLEANS – Father James Martin Nobles, OP formerly known as Adam Nobles was ordained a Dominican priest on June 12 at St. Dominic Catholic Church in New Orleans. He was born in New Orleans and raised in Fernwood, Mississippi. His parents, Dr. Jim and Penny, had five children, Adam being the mold breaker.
I will never forget the first day I met Adam. A ruddy cheeked cherub showed up in the sacristy at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Starkville in the fall of 2008. He was one of the many new Catholic freshmen moving to Starkville that fall. Like his contemporaries he was full of energy, had many hopes and dreams, and was anxious about this new chapter of life. But unlike his contemporaries, Adam had been accepted by the Diocese of Jackson to pursue priestly formation with the caveat that his first two years of undergraduate education would be at one of Mississippi’s public universities. Lucky for me, Adam was sent to Mississippi State.
For those of us lucky enough to work in youth and young adult ministry there are times in our ministry when we just know a particular student is going to test our limits. While this does not sound flattering at all Adam will tell you it is true.
The recent high school graduate that I met in 2008 had it all figured out, or at least he thought so. I am not one to let the misgivings of youth get in the way of my call to serve with love. I am grateful Father Kent Bowlds sent Adam to Mississippi State for those first two years of his formation. I witnessed his maturation and his growing understanding of who and whose he is.

Father James Martin Nobles, OP (formerly known as Adam Nobles) was ordained on Saturday, June 12 for the Province of St. Martin de Porres Order of Friars Preachers. He will serve in the Diocese of Memphis. Father Nobles attended St. Alphonsus McComb and spent time “kneading” his faith with Fran Lavelle while a student at Mississippi State University. (Photo courtesy of Father Nobles)

Adam was very involved with our campus ministry program. He served on our leadership team, took mission trips, went on retreats and taught CCD.
I remember one day Adam stopped by to see me and told me about how he got in trouble with the DRE for taking his class to the Knights of Columbus pancake breakfast instead of class one Sunday morning. She was concerned that the children in the other grades would feel left out. Instead of feeling defeated he came to me to help devise a plan to allow the other classes the opportunity to attend the pancake breakfast too.
Of all of the gifts Adam shared with his fellow Catholics at Mississippi State his laughter was, and is, his enduring legacy. He is one of those good souls that God blessed with an extra dose of holy laughter when Adam was born. Anyone who knows anything about holy laughter is that we laugh with, and not at, someone else. It is the kind of laughter that leaves one’s sides hurting for hours if not days. We did a lot of laughing and had our share of tears in those two short years.
In 2010 it was time for Adam to leave us and go to St. Joseph Seminary College to complete his bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Theological Studies. In 2012, he entered Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. Several of our younger priests in the diocese studied with him there. I am certain the stories of shenanigans they can tell would fill a book.
Throughout his formation Adam was diving deeper into who and whose he is. From this place of deep reflection and introspection he discerned that being a diocesan priest was not what God was calling him to. After months of prayer Adam found consolation in the charism of the Dominican Order. In 2014, Adam began the long journey to priesthood as a Dominican friar. No doubt the synthesis of active and contemplative aspects of the order and the richness of community life spoke to Adam.
Over the past nearly thirteen years I have had the privilege to watch a ruddy cheeked cherub with an attitude grow into a compassionate servant leader and preacher. Over the years he has shared milestones with me. With each phase of his formation and education the easy going, fun loving guy I first met was still present, but I also witnessed the emergence of the deeply grounded caring man he is today. I recall his grand ideas of what he thought priesthood was all about. That too has changed. He is someone who now seeks those on the periphery and understands what it means to serve them. Our phone conversations still include robust outbursts of laughter and always end with “I love you.”
That is one thing I know for sure will not change now that he has been ordained a priest. We are all given opportunities to accompany others in this journey. Finding the sacred in the ordinary and not taking oneself too seriously are critical elements in accompaniment for the long haul. My dear Father James Martin Nobles, you know well how to do both. I pray you always will.

(Fran Lavelle is the Director of Faith Formation for the Diocese of Jackson.)

Featured photo Confirmation class …

WEST POINT – In October 2020, four youth were sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit at Immaculate Conception parish. Pictured left to right: Drake Flowers, Deisy Moreno, Anna Henson and Aidan Henson; Back row: Father Binh Nguyen. Not pictured is confirmation instructor, Penny Elliott. To our parishes, please send us your sacrament photos for our special sacraments section in our July 16 edition. (Photo by Sherry Wilbourne)