Calendar of events

CANTON – Sacred Heart, Altar Society “It’s Fall Y’all” Celebration, Thursday, Nov. 16 at 6 p.m. in the parish center. Enjoy friends, food, fun and faith! All women of the parish are invited. Dues for year are $25. Details: church office (601) 859-3749.

CHATAWA – Our Lady of Hope and Camp Chatawa, Christmas in Chatawa, Saturday, Dec. 16 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Enjoy a live Nativity, pancake breakfast, train rides, caroling hay ride, Santa and Mrs. Claus, reindeer games, crafts and hot chocolate bar. Cost: $20 per person. Details: RSVP at

COLUMBUS – Annunciation School, Open House, Monday, Nov. 13 with tours available at 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. PreK-3 and PreK-4 and Kindergarten preview presentations at 6 p.m. Childcare available during presentations. Location: 223 North Browder Street. Details: school office (662) 328-4479.

JACKSON – Christ the King, Mass and Feast of Christ the King potluck, Sunday, Nov. 26. Join Bishop Kopacz for the celebration and meal. Details: church office (601) 948-8867.

St. Richard School, Krewe de Cardinal, Save the date: Friday, Feb. 2 from 7-11 p.m. at The South Warehouse. Details: school office (601) 366-1157.

Catholic Charities, Born Free/New Beginnings program is seeking a sponsor(s) for Christmas 2023 gifts. Born Free offers substance abuse treatment for pregnant mothers and mothers with children ages 0-4 residing in Mississippi. Details: or call (601) 326-3714.

MADISON – St. Anthony School, Starry Night Gala, Saturday, Dec. 9 at the Sheraton Flowood. VIP preview party from 6-7 p.m. with general admission opening at 7 p.m. Cost: Event tickets $150 per couple. You do not need to be present to win the $5,000 raffle and tickets are only $10 per chance. Details: purchase tickets at

St. Francis, Youth Advent Fair, Sunday, Nov. 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. A sensational event for everyone with lunch, kid’s crafts and games, plus family take-home activities. Details: for more information or to volunteer contact

St. Francis, Ring in Your Faith 10k/5k, Monday, Jan. 1 at 8 a.m. You are guaranteed a delicious New Year’s Day meal and fellowship after the race. Cost is $30, with proceeds to assist Knights ongoing service projects. Register at Details: Joe at

St. Joseph School, Thursday in Tuscany, Nov. 16 from 4-7 p.m. in the St. Joe Cafeteria. Cost is $10 per plate and includes spaghetti, salad, bread, cookie and water. Proceeds support the cheer program. Details: contact

St. Joseph School, Christmas Art Camp, Saturday Dec. 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the St. Joe Fine Arts Building. Grades K thorugh sixth welcome. Cost: $75 includes art supplies and snacks. Limited to 22 artists. Details: contact Vicki at

St. Joseph School, Jeans, Jazz and Bruin Blues $10,000 Draw Down, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2024 at the Reunion Country Club. Sponsorships available. Details:

MAGNOLIA – St. James, Garage Sale, Saturday Dec. 2, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (125 E Bay Street) Details: call (985) 665-0868.

MERIDIAN – St. Patrick/St. Joseph, Community Thanksgiving Dinner, Sunday, Nov. 19 after 11 a.m. Mass in the Family Life Center. Church will provide meat, dressing, gravy and drinks. Parishioners with last names A-H, bring a dessert; I-Z, bring a side dish or salad. Details: church office (601) 693-1321.

St. Patrick, Candy Cane 5k Dash and Fun Run, Saturday, Dec. 2. Details: register at

St. Patrick, Memorial brick campaign. Cost of each brick is $125, with a maximum of three lines with up to 18 letters per line. Brick size is 4×8 inches. Net proceeds for the recent parish repairs. Details:

PAULDING – St. Michael, 180th Celebration with Bishop Kopacz, Saturday, Dec. 2 at 10 a.m. Details:

VICKSBURG – Knights of Columbus 898, Holiday smoked meat sale. Butts, turkey and loins $50; Half Chicken 2 for $8; Turkey breast $35; and Half ham $40. Order by Nov. 15 at Pick up Sunday, Nov. 19 from 12-4 p.m. at KC Hall, 310 Fisher Ferry Road. Details: Paul at (601) 529-1710.

YAZOO CITY – St. Mary, Bake Sale, Tuesday, Nov. 21 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Casseroles, cakes, pies, breads, desserts, cookies, candy and more. Details: church office (662) 746-1690.

NATCHEZ – St. Mary Basilica, Advent Men’s Group, Meetings: Nov. 18 (prep meeting), Dec. 2, 9, 16 and 23. Spend the season preparing to give your heart to Jesus. The group will commit to spending 15 minutes a day meditating on daily mass readings, abstaining from social media and attending meetings. Details: church office (601) 445-5616.

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, Catholic speaker and founder of From His Heart Ministries; and Joanne Moody, minister author, and founder of Agape Freedom Fighters. Cost: $100 for the weekend; $50 for students. Lunch included on Saturday. Details: visit

NEW ORLEANS – St. Augustine Church, Eucharistic Celebration of Servant of God, Venerable Henriette Delille, Saturday, Nov. 18 at 4 p.m. at the Sisters of the Holy Family Motherhouse (6901 Chef Menteur Hwy., New Orleans). Reception to follow. Details:

PINE MOUNTAINS, GA – The Girls Garden Retreat , April 4-7, 2024 at Callaway Resort and Gardens. Retreat is for any woman who seeks goodness of God through beauty, rest, prayer and small community. Featured speaker is Laura Huval, a Grammy-nominated recording artist, Catholic speaker, author and more. Details: for registration, information and pricing visit

Around the diocese: Blessing of the animals for the Feast of St. Francis

By Joanna Puddister King
JACKSON – Blessing of the pets ceremonies are part of the celebration for the Feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, in rememberance for his love of all creatures. This time of year, people bring a procession of animals, everthing from dogs and cats to raccoons, snakes and spiders to our churches and schools for a special blessing ceremony. The love we give to pets and receive in return from pets draws us into the circle of life and our relationship to God.
Please enjoy these photos of these very special “blessings” in our lives.

NATCHEZ – More than 50 pets were blessed and given St. Francis tags on Sunday, Oct. 1 at St. Mary Basilica. More than $1,200 was raised for division among three local animal charities (Natchez Adams Humane Society, Hoofbeats and Pawprints Rescue and Natchez Spay and Neuter). (Photos courtesy of Ruth Powers)

HOUSTON – Father Bihn Nguyen reads a blessing for some very well behaved pets at Immaculate Heart of Mary Houston. (Photo courtesy of parish)

TUPELO – Father Tim Murphy blessed animals big and small for St. James Tupelo’s annual blessing of the pets event. (Photos by Michelle Harkins)

VICKSBURG – Father Rusty Vincent blesses Winnie, fur baby of Vivian and Gerardo Velazquez. Stella, with her “mom” Barbara Hill, patiently awaits her turn. (Photo by Connie Hosemann)

Happy Ordination Anniversary

October 13
Father Justin Joseph
St. James Tupelo & St. Christopher Pontotoc

November 10
Deacon Mark White
Deacon Emeritus, Queen of Peace
Olive Branch

November 19
Father Jack Kurps, SCJ
Catholic Parishes of Northwest Mississippi & Sacred Heart Southern Missions

November 27
Father Tim Murphy
St. James Tupelo & St. Christopher Pontotoc

Thank you for answering the call!

Trunk or treat/fall festivals

COLUMBUS – Annunciation, Fall Festival, Sunday, Oct. 29 from 4-6:30 p.m. on College Street in Downtown Columbus. We are joining with First Methodist Church and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church for a huge event. No pets, please. Enjoy trunk or treat, cake walk, games, crafts, door prizes, face painting, costume contest, hall of saints and food. Details: church office (662) 328-2927.

CLEVELAND – Our Lady of Victories, Halloween Carnival, Sunday, Oct. 29 following 5 p.m. Mass. Candy donations needed. Details: Natalie at (228) 861-7253.

FLOWOOD – St. Paul, Trunk or Treat, Saturday, Oct. 28 at 6:30 p.m. Sign up your trunk today! Help us bring the best and safest Halloween event to all. Details: church office (601) 992-9547.

GREENVILLE – St. Joseph School, Trunk or Treat, Tuesday, Oct. 24 at 6 p.m. in the St. Joseph Lourdes parking lot. Trunks are needed! Details: Olivia at (601) 906-3902.

GREENWOOD – Immaculate Heart of Mary, CYO Spaghetti Supper and Halloween Festival, Monday, Oct. 23. Spaghetti supper $15 – starts at 4:30 p.m. Dine in, carry out or drive-thru. Carnival on the green at 5:30 p.m. Bingo begins at 6 p.m. Cakes needed for cake walk. Details: church office (662) 453-3980.

HERNANDO – Holy Spirit, Trunk or Treat, Sunday, Oct. 29 in the parking lot from 3-5 p.m. Sign your trunk up today! Adult prizes for most creative trunk display. Event for ages up to fifth grade. Enjoy games, face painting and treats! Costume awards for children. Details: Kim at (662) 719-4116.

HOLLY SPRINGS – St. Joseph, Harvest Festival, Sunday, Oct. 22 at 3 p.m. Youth led Mass and fun! Join us for an afternoon of fun, games, music, dancing, food and fellowship as we celebrate being Catholic. Details: church office (662) 252-3138.

JACKSON – St. Richard School, Cardinal Fest, Sunday, Oct. 22 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Purchase a $20 wristband for all the fun! Includes food, games, entertainment and one cake walk ticket. Details: school office (601) 366-1157.

MADISON – St. Francis of Assisi, Knights of Columbus Trunk or Treat event, Oct. 25 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the parking lot in front of St. Thomas. Join us for food, fun and fellowship! Prizes awarded for best decorated trunk, best costumes for kids and adults and best decorated pumpkin. Details: church office (601) 856-5556.

St. Joseph School, Trunk or Treat on Tuesday, Oct. 24 from 5-6:30 p.m. in the campus parking lot. Details: school office (601) 898-4800.

MERIDIAN – St. Patrick, Fall Festival, Friday, Oct. 27 from 6-8 p.m. at the Family Life Center. Games, costume contest, cake walk and more. Food and drink available for purchase. Volunteers needed, contact Kasey at (601) 692-6360. Details: church office (601) 693-1321.

NATCHEZ – St. Mary Basilica, Trunk or Treat, Monday, Oct. 30 at 6 p.m. in the parking lot at the corner of S. Union and State Streets. Details: church office (601) 445-5616.

NEW ALBANY – St. Francis of Assisi, Trunk or Treat from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 31. Best dressed Saint wins a special gift. Details: church office (662) 534-4654.

OLIVE BRANCH – Queen of Peace, Halloween Bash, Sunday, Oct. 29 beginning at 5 p.m. Enjoy games, food, trunk or treat and more. All are welcome! Details: church office (662) 895-5007.

PHILADELPHIA – Holy Rosary, Halloween Party, Sunday, Oct. 29 from 5-7:30 p.m. in the parish hall. Costume, mummy wrap and pumpkin carving contests. Also enjoy food, music and treat bags! Details: church office (601) 656-2880.

SOUTHAVEN – Christ the King, Halloween Bash, Tuesday, Oct. 31 from 6-8 p.m. for youth through fifth grade. Cost: One large bag of candy. Concessions available. Details: church office (662) 342-1073.

TUPELO – St. James, Fall Fest, Wednesday, Oct. 25 from 5-8 p.m. Enjoy trunk or treat, games, activities and food. Be sure to wear your saint costume. Details: church office (662) 842-4881.

St. James, High School Fall Lock-in, from Oct. 27 at 6:30 p.m. until Oct. 28 at 10 a.m. in the St. James gym. Cost: $40. Enjoy pizza, bon fire, pumpkin painting, movies, fellowship and more. Details: youth director (662) 871-6277.

VICKSBURG – Knights of Columbus Ladies Auxiliary, Trunk or Treat, Sunday, Oct. 29 at 5 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall (310 Fisher Ferry Road). Details: call (601) 636-8372.

SOUTHAVEN – Christ the King, Cocktails & Cadavers, Saturday, Oct. 28 in the social hall. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and party from 7-10 p.m. Join us for an adult Halloween fright night of dancing, food, fellowship and music by DJ Fernando. Tickets are $25 per person. BYOB. Costume and door prizes. Details: Loretta at (901) 634-8157 for tickets or more information.

Calendar of Events

BROOKHAVEN – St. Francis, Life Chain for Respect Life Month, Saturday, Oct. 28 at 11 a.m. Participants will be located on Brookway Boulevard sidewalks east of Hwy 51 and will be provided appropriate Respect Life posters to exhibit. Details: church office (601) 833-1799.

FLOWOOD – Homegrown Harvest Fest, sponsored by office of vocations, Saturday, Oct. 21 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Paul parish. Proceeds support our seven diocesan seminarians. Evening includes dinner, silent auction and fellowship. Details: Tickets can be purchased at

GREENVILLE St. Joseph School, Homecoming Tailgating, Friday, Oct. 20. Fee is $50. Tent setup at 5 p.m. Details: or John at (601) 415-1551.

HERNANDO – Holy Spirit, Veterans Mass, Sunday, Nov. 12 after 9:30 a.m. Mass. Information needed by Oct. 29 – rank, branch, veteran of war and photo in uniform. Details: church office (662) 429-7851.

JACKSON – Cathedral of St. Peter, Knights of Columbus “Coats for the Community” drive. Donate new or gently used coats before Mass on Oct. 28-29 and Nov. 4-5. Details: church office (601) 969-3125.

Catholic Charities, Purple Dress Run, Thursday, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. at The District at Eastover. Grab your best purple dress and join us for a 5K run/walk to benefit Charities Shelter for Battered Families. Register at Details: Rachel Travis at (601) 326-3703.

St. Richard, Special Kids Golf tournament at Deerfield Country Club in Canton on Thursday, Oct. 19. Details: church office (601) 366-2335, or Kristin at

St. Richard School, Cardinal Booster Club Dinner, Thursday, Nov. 9 with Coach Mike Bianco of Ole Miss. Cost $250 per ticket (admits two). Enjoy Mass at 5:15, then cocktail social, silent auction and “meet and greet” with Coach Bianco, catered dinner at 6:45 p.m. with address by Coach. Deadline for ticket purchase is Friday, Oct. 20. Details: Coach Nelson

Theology of Tap, Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. at Martin’s Downtown. Guest speaker is Father Nick Adam. For adults, 21+. Details: email

MADISON – St. Joseph School, Bingo Games, Sunday, Oct. 22 in the cafeteria. Early bird games at 1:30 p.m.; regular games at 2 p.m. Must be age 25 to play but all ages welcome to attend. Details: school office (601) 898-4800.

MAGNOLIA – St. James, Garage Sale, Saturday Dec. 2, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (125 E Bay Street) Details: call (985) 665-0868.

MERIDIAN – St. Patrick, Candy Cane 5k Dash and Fun Run, Saturday, Dec. 2. Details: register at

OLIVE BRANCH – Queen of Peace, Men’s Club Fellowship Card Night, Friday, Oct. 20 from 6-10 p.m. All parishioners and guests welcome. For $10 each, participant will receive dinner, a non-alcoholic beverage and 100 poker chips. Beverages available for donation. Sign up today! Details: Tracy at (901) 828-4848.

PEARL – St. Jude, Day-trip Pilgrimage to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Hanceville, Alabama, Saturday, Oct. 28. Tour the Shrine, Mass, Adoration and more. Cost est. $75. Details: email or call (601) 939-3181.

Smokin’ fundraiser for Young Apostles group, holiday meat sale after each Mass through Nov. 5. Details: Lauren at

SHAW – St. Francis of Assisi, Spaghetti dinner, Tuesday, Oct. 17 from 5-7 p.m. Tickets $15. Drive-thru only from parish hall. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Details: church office (662) 754-5561.

SOUTHAVEN – Christ the King, Pumpkin Patch through Oct. 30. Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 12-7 p.m. Details: church office (662) 342-1073.

Christ the King, Gala Dinner with World Youth Day Community, Saturday, Oct. 21 from 5:30-8 p.m. in the religious ed building. Delicious food, keynote speeches by youth leaders, live performances, inspiring stories of personal triumph, door prize religious articles from Fatima and Lisbon and more! Cost: family ticket $50 (3 adults and 2 or more kids); Adult ticket for one $20. Details: church office (662) 342-1073.

TUPELO – St. James, Rummage Sale, Saturday, Nov. 4 from 7:30-11 a.m. in Shelton hall. Details: Bobbie at (662) 372-1087.

VICKSBURG – Knights of Columbus 898, Holiday smoked meat sale. Butts, turkey and loins $50; Half Chicken 2 for $8; Turkey breast $35; and Half ham $40. Order by Nov. 15 at Pick up Sunday, Nov. 19 from 12-4 p.m. at KC Hall, 310 Fisher Ferry Road. Details: Paul at (601) 529-1710.
Knights of Columbus 898, Food drive for Storehouse Community food pantry on Sat. Nov. 4 at the Corner Market.

WINONA – Sacred Heart, Communi-tea Festivi-tea event, Saturday, Nov. 11 from 12-3 p.m. in the fellowship hall. Cost: adults $15 and children (under 12) $12. Tickets available at Crossroads Jewelers or call Marlene at (662) 307-0831. Details: Barbara at (256) 506-5007.

CHOCTAW – The Choctaw Bible Translation program is having a week long program of Choctaw Bible Stories the week of Oct. 16-20 at 5 p.m. in the Pearl River CERF building. Choctaw singing, with bible stories in English and Choctaw! Mark your calendar and plan to enjoy this special program. Details:

GREENWOOD – Locus Benedictus, Healing Retreat with Maria Vadia on Saturday, Oct. 28 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is no fee to attend. A love offering will be taken. Details: to register email or call (662) 299-1232.

Wreaths Across America participation deadline approaches – a patriotic program sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Bishop R.O. Gerow Assembly 554 –

By Staff Reports

CLINTON – Knights of Columbus Assembly 554 is once again participating in the Wreaths Across America program.

This patriotic program has grown from humble beginnings during the Christmas season of 1992, when wreaths were placed on veteran graves in an older section of Arlington Nation Cemetery, into a national event.

In 2022 on Wreaths Across America day 2.7 million wreaths were placed on veteran graves with the help of over 2 million volunteers at 3702 cemeteries nationwide.

CLINTON – A member of the Knights of Columbus from Holy Savior parish places a wreath on the grave of a veteran for the 2022 Wreaths Across America event. (Photo courtesy of Knights of Columbus Bishop R.O. Gerow Assembly 554)

Assembly 554 sponsors two locations, the Clinton Cemetery Association and Cedar Grove cemetery. Both cemeteries are located on East College Street in Clinton. The assembly has identified upwards of 300 veteran gravesites and is looking for individuals, small businesses or corporations to sponsor wreath purchases.

Wreaths can be purchased online at, by downloading a sales form and mailing to listed address, or from members of Assembly 554.

Wreaths can also be purchased for a specific veteran at either of our sponsored locations, or for veterans buried at other locations. (Wreaths purchased for veterans at other locations may be picked up at 3 p.m. in the parking lot of Holy Savior Catholic Church on the corner of Lindale Street and Old Vicksburg Road Clinton.)

The wreaths are made with Maine balsam with a red, hand tied, weatherproof velveteen bow approximately 22” in diameter. The cost per wreath is $17.

This year Wreaths Across America day is Saturday, Dec. 16. In Clinton, the program will begin with a ceremony honoring veterans at 12 p.m. at the War Memorial in the Clinton Cemetery, 500 East College Street followed by wreath placement on veteran graves at both the Clinton Cemetery and Cedar Grove Cemetery.

Anyone wishing to participate in the laying of wreaths is welcome. There is no parking in the cemeteries, but Pleasant Green Mission Baptist Church, located across the street from the cemeteries, allows volunteers to park in their lot.

For more information about this event or for assistance purchasing wreaths please contact Bill O’Connor at (601) 906-8890.

The deadline for all wreath purchasing for Wreath Across America Day 2023 is Saturday, Nov. 25.

Parishioners share parish origin story on feast of St. Therese

By Berta Mexidor

KOSCIUSKO – A special Mass was celebrated by Bishop Joseph Kopacz, and concelebrated by Father Marco Sanchez, ST, to celebrate the patronal feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus on Sunday, Oct. 1.
Over two days of celebration, parishioners were able to enjoy a permanent exhibit press articles and photos donated by the Joseph family following the passing of patriarch Louis Joseph.
All the documents and notes came into the hands of Marilyn Scott, a parishioner of St. Therese since 1969. She, along with Vicky Bell Pope, and others, undertook the task of chronologically compiling the history of the church with the documents received.

KOSCIUSKO – Bishop Joseph Kopacz views pictures painted by Vicky Bell Pope, as a part of a permanent installation at St. Therese chronicling the history of the parish. (Photo courtesy of Father Marco Sanchez, ST)

Additionally, Bell Pope painted reproductions of “The Cabin,” which gave birth to the church, and of the story of Father Julian M. Guillou, riding a horse on his journey from Yazoo to Kosciusko.
Scott says that this was a “glorious” celebration and noting that “…we have been very blessed to receive these historic documents and also by the presence of Trinitarian priests who have taken charge of the parish.”

The Joseph family are considered the founder of the parish since Mr. and Mrs. Joseph began writing letters to Bishop R.O. Gerow and the town of Kosciusko to help build a church for the growing Catholic community.

“In June 1940, Bishop Gerow dedicated the church to St. Therese of the Child Jesus. The energetic young pastor, the Joseph family, other young members, and a new chapel meant there was Catholic activity like Kosciusko had never seen,” said Scott, reading a prepared statement during the Mass.

The departed Louis Joseph wrote in his original letter to Bishop Gerow: “I know in my heart and soul that our parents were guided to Central Mississippi by our good Lord, to not only raise a wonderful family but to help bring the church to our little town.”

(Marilyn Scott, and Father Marco Sanchez, ST contributed to this story)

Family answers ‘yes to the Lord’s invitation’ for mission work

By Joe Lee
JACKSON – Imagine being very successful in your profession. You and your spouse have a wonderful family, are blessed with many friends and are active church members.

But something crucial is missing from your lives.

“I had always done well in commercial real estate and banking,” said Saul Keeton, a native of the Jackson area who became Catholic in 2001. “But (my wife) Jan and I had a growing dissatisfaction with what the world had to offer us … we sensed the Lord wanting something radical from us.”

Jan Keeton, a cradle Catholic originally from Stafford, Texas, considered the idea of foreign missions for the first time in 2018. But with young children at home (the Keeton kids range from age 20 down to seven), planning such a trip was complicated.

MEXICO – Saul Keeton assists in mixing concrete for a foundation on a mission trip to Mexico in early 2019. He was accompanied by his four oldest children. The Keeton family said “yes to the Lord’s invitation” for mission work. (Photo courtesy of Saul Keeton)

“A Methodist college friend was very involved in supporting a school in Haiti, and she invited me to go with her several times,” Jan said. “Eventually it dawned on me that the only way I’d get to go on a mission trip was if (our entire family) went together.”

Through a simple Google search, Jan learned of Family Missions Company (FMC) and was delighted to learn that in addition to being a Catholic organization, FMC was based in Abbeville, Louisiana, only 250 miles from Jackson.

“All the FMC missionaries and staff live in Gospel poverty, meaning they have all they need to live and nothing more,” Saul said. “Most of my questions (amounted to), ‘What would it be like for our kids to go from living in American suburbia to living in the desert, the jungle or a barrio?’”

Their first mission trip was to General Cepeda, Mexico, in 2018. Saul recalls reading aloud to Jan his journal entries from that week.

“We cried about it together in a jumble of emotions: anticipation, anxiety, relief, excitement, unworthiness,” he said. “I think we experienced all simultaneously. We intensified our spiritual direction with Father Anthony Quyet after the trip and, praise be to God, he confirmed our missionary call.”
They applied with FMC to be full-time foreign missionaries and were accepted. With the new formation year beginning that fall, the couple faced the choice of entering formation within a few weeks or waiting until fall 2019. They chose the latter, wanting the extra year to get their affairs in order and build a team of missionary supporters.

They also wanted time to pray about their son Nicholas’s 2018 diagnosis of autism.

“We knew the Lord was in control,” Saul said, “but trusting in Jesus is pretty easy until a serious trial comes along. And it was hard to see the path ahead more than one step at a time.”

Saul made another mission trip to Mexico in early 2019 with the couple’s four oldest kids, and Jan made one to Costa Rica that year, but they felt the Lord wanted them to put down roots in Jackson and dove headfirst into autism therapy.

Then, in summer 2022, they again heard the Lord’s call to go back into mission work and relocated from Jackson to Abbeville.

“I gratefully accepted the position of Director of Mission Advancement for FMC,” Saul said. “I oversee all fundraising efforts, donor relations, our marketing team, our two retreat centers, and foreign mission trips. For the last year, my family has lived in missionary housing in community with many of the other families that are part of the FMC administrative staff.

“Many people mistakenly believe that the Gospel has been taken to the whole world … that couldn’t be further from the truth. While there are hundreds of organizations that have sprung up in the last 60 years to serve the church in the U.S., I know of no other that is so focused on taking the Gospel to places where it hasn’t been heard yet.”

While the Keetons’ family service with FMC looks different than Saul and Jan envisioned, they look for opportunities to preach the Gospel around their mission post whenever possible.

“I spoke (recently) to 40 high school kids at one of our retreat centers on serving and loving the poor,” Saul said. “When the poor need a water well, we’ll dig one. Or we’ll mix and pour concrete to replace a dirt floor. We’ll also listen and offer a shoulder to cry on – and cry with them – when emotional support is needed.”

“We do find plenty of opportunities to practice the Corporal Works of Mercy within our own family,” Jan said. “This has had a profound experience on our own hearts.

“It’s easy to forget sometimes how hard it is for many people to say yes to the Lord’s invitation. Through much prayer, we’ve said it twice now, and we’re surrounded by people who’ve also given up everything to follow Him. But that shouldn’t dull us to the shock people feel when their consciences are shaken awake for the first time.”

One of the only lay-run Catholic foreign missionary organizations in the U.S., Family Mission Company have more than 200 missionaries serving in nine countries around the world. They work with the blessing of Bishop Douglas Deshotel of the Diocese of Lafayette, Louisiana. To support FMC, or to reach Saul or Jan Keeton and learn more about international mission work, visit

Sister Mary Anne Poeshel, RSM celebrates 60th jubilee

CANTON – Pictured is Father Guy Wilson, ST conferring a blessing upon Sister Mary Anne Poeshel, RSM, celebrating her 60th anniversary as a religious sister on Sunday, Sept. 10 at Holy Child Jesus Church. She entered the Sisters of Mercy in St. Louis on Sept. 8, 1963, entering religious life in the midst of the Second Vatican Council. Sister Mary Anne has served “faithfully and dynamically” at Holy Child Jesus, Canton for 21 years, said Father Guy. With no resident priest living at the parish, Sister Mary Anne is the on site director of the church, coordinating the community’s activities and outreach. She also serves as director of religious ed at Holy Child Jesus and Sacred Heart Church in Camden. (Photo courtesy of Father Guy Wilson)