Around the diocese

SOUTHAVEN – Sacred Heart PreK students took part in a prayer service on the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Brother Diego. (Photo by Sister Margaret Sue Broker)
MERIDIAN – St. Patrick third graders learn about the Seven Sorrows of Mary. (Photo by Owen Kasey)

CLARKSDALE – St. Elizabeth students joined around the flagpole for a prayer service in honor and memory of Patriot Day – Sept. 11, 2001. (Photo by Mary Evelyn Stonestreet)

MADISON – Brooks Holder speaks with his grandfather during the Grandparents’ Day celebration at St. Anthony School on Friday, Sept. 15. (Photo by Celeste Tassin)

School sports

RIDGELAND – The Junior Bruins, made up of students from St. Anthony and St. Richard students, rolled over the St. Andrew’s Saints with a 28 to zero victory on Thursday, Sept. 14. (Photos by Joanna Puddister King)

MADISON – Coach Dwyane Demmin challenged several teachers and student athletes to find out who is the fastest in the school at a pep rally on Tuesday, Sept. 19 at St. Anthony School. (Photos by Joanna Puddister King)

MADISON – The St. Joseph Lady Bruins middle school volleyball team celebrate their win of 25 – 8 over Simpson Academy on Thursday, Sept. 21. (Photo by Tereza Ma)


Around the diocese

GLOSTER – Holy Family parish celebrated 40 years on Saturday, Sept. 9. Bishop Joseph Kopacz visits with Kayla Zumo with sons Charlie and Anthony, of Baton Rouge. (Photo by Tereza Ma)
VICKSBURG – Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a favorite of Vicksburg Catholic School Kindergartners! To really bring the story to life, each student made a snack that looked like a coconut tree. (Photo by Lindsey Bradley)
MADISON – St. Joseph School celebrated Bruin teams with a special tailgate gathering on Wednesday, Aug. 23. Pictured are students and parents at attention during the National Anthem performed by the school band. (Photo by Tereza Ma)
WOODVILLE – St. Joseph parish hosted their 150th anniversary on Sunday, Sept. 10. Bishop Kopacz shakes hands with Stella Ferguson, while Helen Claire Wesberny gets ready for her chance to greet her bishop. (Photo by Tereza Ma)

St. Joe journalism teacher Cassreino named National Broadcast Adviser of the Year

From Staff Reports
MADISON – The Journalism Education Association at the University of Kansas has named St. Joseph Catholic School journalism teacher Terry R. Cassreino the National Broadcast Adviser of the Year for 2023.
The honor marks the first time a Mississippi high school journalism educator has received the JEA award. Dr. R.J. Morgan, executive director of the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association, presented the award while visiting Cassreino’s Sports Broadcasting class Monday.

“This award is not just about me,” Cassreino said. “This award is for the hundreds of students I have had the privilege of teaching and working with at St. Joseph Catholic School since I took over the high school journalism program in 2012.

“My students work hard every day to produce high-quality productions we feature on our own YouTube Channel. They produce a weekly sports preview on Monday, a midweek news update on Wednesday and a full-length weekly newscast on Friday. Their work is amazing.”

Morgan agreed: “The resulting multilayered program is one of the deepest, most nuanced and enriching high school media outlets I have ever seen. There may not be a scholastic broadcast program in the country that serves its audience better or in more ways.”

The JEA Adviser of the Year Award honors outstanding high school advisers and their exemplary work from the previous year and throughout their careers. Cassreino received a cash prize and St. Joe received $500 for broadcast equipment or student scholarships for summer workshops.

Cassreino was one of five high school journalism teachers the JEA honored recently.
Two others were named Distinguished Broadcast Advisers and two were named Special Recognition Advisers. All five will be honored at the JEA/National Scholastic Press Association National Fall High School Journalism Convention in November in Boston.

Cassreino teaches Print Journalism, which publishes a yearbook, The Shield; Broadcast Journalism, which produces a weekly newscast “Bruin News Now”; and Sports Broadcasting, which produces a weekly sports preview, “What’s Bruin at the Joe,” and the sportscast for “Bruin News Now.”

Journalism students also produce live radio broadcasts and live video streaming coverage of Bruin sports, including football, basketball and baseball. Radio productions air live on WJXC-LP Jackson, Mississippi Catholic Radio, 107.9, whose studio is in Cassreino’s classroom.

St. Joe journalism students and their work have received state, national and international recognition. Students have been named the state’s high school journalist of the year and received the prestigious Orley Hood Award for Excellence in High School Sports Journalism seven of the 10 years it has been given.
“He runs his class like a legitimate newsroom,” said Jack Clements, a former student of Cassreino’s who is studying journalism at the University of Mississippi. “This authentic newsroom experience with real deadlines and newsroom hierarchy truly set me up for success in this field.”

Cassreino is a four-time Mississippi high school journalism adviser of the year and has been recognized twice by the Dow Jones News Fund as one of the nation’s top print journalism teachers. JEA recognized him as one of the top broadcast advisers in 2020 and again in 2022.

Cassreino is a former longtime journalist with more than 25 years of experience as a reporter, political columnist and editor at Mississippi newspapers. He is married to the former Pam Vance of Canton. They have two children Camryn, a freshman at Mississippi College, and Matthew, a sophomore at St. Joe.
“No doubt about it: We have the best student media program in Mississippi,” said Dr. Dena Kinsey, principal of St. Joseph Catholic School.

“This award speaks volumes about the success our students experience at St. Joe. This program under Terry Cassreino’s leadership equips students with an incredible array of skills. It’s just one example of many showing how our school prepares our students for life as an adult.”

All aboard: WYD pilgrims know about the synod, share its concerns

By Cindy Wooden
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – With the approach of the assembly of the Synod of Bishops, a major event in the pontificate of Pope Francis, it was surprising that the pope did not use the word “synod” or “synodality” in any of his talks to the 1.5 million young people gathered in Portugal for World Youth Day.

If he thought young Catholics were not aware of the synod, of its vision and of some of the controversy surrounding it, he was wrong.

The staff of the synod secretariat went to World Youth Day in Lisbon prepared to explain “synodality” to young Catholics, but they found the pilgrims from around the world already knew about the synod assembly planned for October and about many of the issues proposed for discussion.

“Being in contact with the young people was amazing, really amazing,” said Thierry Bonaventura, the synod communication manager. “Most of them knew about the synod, were ready to listen to more about it” and were eager to share their hopes and concerns.

The synod had a booth at the “City of Joy,” a venue in a Lisbon park where religious orders and Catholic service and mission organizations interacted with young people throughout World Youth Day Aug. 1-6.

The young people who visited the synod booth left thousands of prayers for the synod and for the church written on Post-it Notes and hundreds of letters to Pope Francis and synod members on full-sized sheets of paper pre-printed with “Say something to the synod.”

While Bonaventura and the synod staff were still sorting through the notes and letters back at the Vatican Aug. 9, he told Catholic News Service that the young Catholics’ chief concerns were clear, and first on their lists was the unity of the church.

One unsigned Post-it prayer read, “That together we may grow both in unity & diversity. All are welcome.”

And a message to the synod written in English signed by a German pilgrim said, “I hope that the synod will strengthen and renew the unity in the church and not lead to division. Please find a way to find all together in Christ.”

Young Catholics in Lisbon told synod staff they want more time and space in the church dedicated to them, Bonaventura said, but not simply as recipients of ministry. They want the church to welcome their gifts and talents, for instance by using their skills in technology and social media.

Recognizing and expanding the leadership of women in the church and ensuring LGBT Catholics feel welcome also were top concerns, he said.

Another frequently repeated concern, “always repeated with this idea of unity in diversity,” he said, was greater access to the pre-Vatican II Latin Mass.

On a “say something to the synod” form, a young man from the United States wrote that the traditional Latin Masses he has attended are “the most beautiful Masses that I have ever been to,” and he asked Pope Francis to end the restrictions on its celebration because they “exclude and ostracize a large group of faithful Catholics.”

For Bonaventura, World Youth Day was a clear demonstration of synodality in action: Young Catholics from around the world literally walked together, joining “to praise the Lord, to deepen their knowledge of Jesus, to gather around the pope and listen to his teaching.”

“And what astonished me a little bit, because I didn’t know it was so strong, was their awareness of mission, of really helping others who don’t know Jesus to know him,” he said.

While Pope Francis did not talk about the synod to the young people, his “todos, todos, todos” refrain – his insistence that all are welcome in the church – and his encouragement to share the Gospel will joy resonated with the pilgrims and echoed the key points of the synod’s theme: “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission.”

Cardinal Robert W. McElroy of San Diego, who was appointed by the pope to be a member of the synod, told CNS, “His constant refrain that all are welcome in the life of the church – that strikes young people very profoundly and beautifully.”

“This is how God relates to us: first, wanting us to know we are loved; second, wanting us to know that God stands with us as we face the problems which weigh us down; and thirdly that God is helping us to change in our lives,” the cardinal said.

Speaking to reporters on his return flight to Rome Aug. 6, Pope Francis said he knows some people don’t like his insistence on welcoming everyone. A common objection, he said, is: “But young people don’t always live life in accordance with morality.”

“Who among us has not made a moral mistake in our lives? Everyone has,” he continued. “Each of us has had downfalls in our own history. Life is like that. But the Lord is always waiting for us because he is merciful and is Father, and mercy goes beyond everything.”

In welcoming and ministering to all, he told the reporters, “One of the important things is patience: accompanying people step by step on their way to maturity.”

Father Hendrick Ardianto, SCJ of the Catholic Parishes of Northwest Mississippi displays the US Flag during an event at World Youth Day in Lisbon, Portugal.

Although Pope Francis did not speak to the WYD pilgrims about the synod, it was a significant part of his homily Aug. 2 at a prayer service with bishops, priests and pastoral workers in Portugal.
“The church is synodal,” he said. “She is communion, mutual assistance and shared journey.”

“In the boat of the church, there has to be room for everyone: all the baptized are called on board to lower the nets, becoming personally involved in the preaching of the Gospel,” the pope continued.

The model, he said, is “that passage of the Gospel in which the wedding feast of the son is all prepared, and people do not come to it. So, what does the Lord, the master of the feast, say? ‘Go out to the highways and byways and bring everyone, everyone: the sick, the healthy, young and old, the righteous and sinners. Everyone!’”

(Follow Wooden on Twitter: @Cindy_Wooden)


Around the diocese

SOUTHAVEN – Lucas and Camilla line up for the “Parade of Nations” at the beginning of Olympic Day at Sacred Heart School on May 24. (Photo by Sister Margaret Sue Broker)
JACKSON – St. Richard principal, Jennifer David, assists Penelope Starrett with some patriotic flair. (Photo by Chelsea Dillon)
YAZOO CITY – St. Mary’s Church held Vacation Bible School from June 9-11, with the theme “Jesus is the Ticket.” (Photo by Babs McMaster)

MCCOMB – (Above) Menelik Rozelle was awarded the Igor Santos Character Award and scholarship. The award was established by Dr. and Mrs. Michael Artigues in honor of a foreign exchange student that was tragically killed in an automobile accident. The award goes to a confirmation student that shows good character. Rozelle is pictured with Father Suresh and Dr. Artigues. (Right) Shelby and Dana Fortenberry were awarded the St. Pope John Paul II Leadership Award that goes to a senior in high school that helps lead their group in different ways. Both Shelby and Danana started the youth choir at St. Alphonsus and have been dedicated to make it succeed. (Photo by Mary L. Roberts)

Sacred Heart School students visit Dehonian school in Brazil

By Laura Grisham
SOUTHAVEN – As Sacred Heart School and Holy Family School students returned from the Summer Institute in Houston, the “Schools in Collaboration” journey continued for two other Sacred Heart students, Kade Whisenhunt and Doryan Didier Pierre-Noel and teacher Ann Lovelace. The three embarked on a 14-day excursion to Colégio São Luiz (St. Louis School), in Brazil. São Luis is one of about 50 schools worldwide that is sponsored by the Priests of the Sacred Heart. This was the first time the Brazilian school has hosted Dehonian exchange students.

In January, Sacred Heart School (SHS) welcomed four São Luiz students and their teacher for a monthlong stay. SHS students have been pen-pals with students from São Luiz for several years. As part of the Dehonian educational community, students are also able to connect with other Priests of the Sacred Heart schools throughout the United States and around the world via zoom at various times throughout the year.

Sacred Heart School teacher Ann Lovelace and students Kade Whisenhunt and Doryan Didier Pierre-Noel recently spent two weeks as exchange students at Colégio São Luiz (Saint Louis School) in Brusque, Brazil, a school sponsored by the Priests of the Sacred Heart. (Photos courtesy of Laura Grisham)

Father Silvano João da Costa, the São Luiz principal, expressed his delight in hosting the Mississippi visitors.

“Just before the 120th anniversary of the foundation of our institution, we are happy to welcome exchange students from a Dehonian school. It is an opportunity of immeasurable knowledge to everyone and the interchange of experiences is spectacular,” said Father Silvano.
He also shared his hope that this first experience in Brazil would reinforce the importance of the internationalization trend and stimulate other institutions that are part of the Congregation of the Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCJs) around the world to also be open to the project. “I hope that new opportunities will take place. We are ready to receive students and willing to provide our students with the expansion of knowledge, which occurs when we discover new horizons,” Father Silvano explained.

Teacher Mariane Werner Zen, the São Luiz’s bilingual methodology coordinator who visited Sacred Heart School with her students in January, was equally excited to welcome the international visitors. “Our exchange program is very significant because it promotes educational fulfillment and experiences that go beyond the classroom,” said Werner Zen. “It may seem like there is a big difference at first, but then you realize that, despite the geographical and language differences, teenagers face the same challenges. They have very similar moments of happiness, fear and insecurity. The more knowledge they acquire, the more respect and the fewer judgments they express.”

In addition to connecting with the former exchange students, Kade and Doryan attended regular eighth-grade classes and activities daily and learned much about Brazilian culture. They also shared presentations about the Dehonian spirit at Sacred Heart School with their São Luiz counterparts. Teacher Ann Lovelace was able to work with several grades in their English studies.

During their two-week stay, the SHS crew was able to experience a great deal of the Brazilian Dehonian community. Visits to the seminaries in Corupá and Rio Negrinho, and to the novitiate in Jaraguá do Sul, served to deepen their knowledge of the principles and spirituality that guide the Dehonian schools in Brazil and throughout the world.

Ann Lovelace aided Brazilian students with their English lessons while in São Luiz. (Photos courtesy of Laura Grisham)

Their time in Brazil was also filled with all kinds of special activities, such as exploring Navegantes Beach, riding a ferry to Itajaí (Santa Catarina) to see the Bico do Papagaio (Parrot’s Beak) rock formation and tour Santíssimo Sacramento (Blessed Sacrament) Church with its amazing architecture and stained glass.

When asked about his time as an exchange student, Doryan shared, “Before I came here, I thought people didn’t speak English all that much and that they would be more shy. But, I was well accepted and I have been talking normally with the students. They are all very attentive and kind.”

He also said that he was impressed with the structure of the school and the topics covered in the classroom. “The teachers are really nice and the lessons are very meaningful. In Mississippi we are learning the same things in the math classes.”

“What I liked most was getting to know a new culture and discovering new places,” Doryan continued. “I will definitely be saying how wonderful Brazil is.”

Lovelace expressed her delight with the results achieved by the bilingual methodology. While visiting the kindergarten classes, she noticed that even the youngest students were already familiar with the language. “Even the students in the early grades were able to talk to me without trouble. This surprised me because I thought that since English is not their first language, it would be more difficult to communicate. I was wrong.”

The Brazilians’ fluency in English also caught Kade’s attention, as he could count on the help of his classmates to understand the subjects better. “It is amazing how well everyone speaks English,” shared the student. “I thought they would only master the basics, but they all talk to me about different topics easily. They also helped me in class when I didn’t understand something.”

Kade’s enthusiasm about the adventure abroad was easy to see. “I was so lucky to be here; it was amazing! I encourage students to go on an exchange if they have the opportunity. It’s worth it!”


Having a ‘ball’ at field day

CLINTON – Class of 2023 seniors were recognized at Holy Savior on Saturday, May 6. Pictured (l-r): Ryan Callegan, Cade Tripp, Father Lincoln Dall, Emillie McCombs, Cole Hatch and Aidan Camillo. (Photo by Trish Ballard)

COLUMBUS – Annunciation student Gabriella Nguyen got ready for summer with some Field Day fun on Friday, May 12. (Photo by Logan Waggoner)

JACKSON – St. Richard sixth graders made a trip to New Orleans on Friday, May 19 where they visited the WWII museum and St. Louis Cathedral, where Jolie Sekinger gave them tour and brief history. (Photo by Tereza Ma)

PEARL – Parishioners brought flowers to Mass in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary on May 2 for May Crowning at St. Jude parish. Pictured is Josh Statham placing a crown of roses on the parishes statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (Photo by Rhonda Bowden)

First Communion Celebration

VICKSBURG – Several students recently celebrated their First Communion at Vicksburg Catholic School. Pictured are Collins Farmer, Amelia Guider, Benjamin Ponder, Mary Thompson Ratliff, Charlie Reeder, Joe Robert and Adeline Stewart. (Photo by Lindsey Bradley)


Around our Catholic Schools


Sixth grade students led a May Crowning service at Vicksburg Catholic School on May 4. “O, Mary, we crown thee with blossoms today, Queen of the Angels, Queen of the May!” (Photos by Lindsey Bradley)


Principal Sarah Cauthen and student Liza Stonestreet work together to crown Mother Mary. (Photo by Mary Evelyn Stonestreet)


St. Richard six graders, Hayden Couch and Maya work together to crown Mary at school Mass on Wednesday May 10. (Photo by Tereza Ma)


Logan Grant places a flower and Boone Morgan awaits his turn to honor Mary on Monday, May 1 at Annunciation School. (Photos by Logan Waggoner)


Light one candle! (Photo by Michelle Harkins)


First grader, Olivia Lin displays her talent by playing the piano at St. Elizabeth School’s Got Talent: Talent Show. (Photos by Mary Evelyn Stonestreet)


MADISON – St. Joseph Catholic School students celebrate their efforts that raised a record $19,665 at this year’s edition of BruinTHON – an annual student-driven fundraiser that benefits the Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson, part of the Children’s Miracle Network hospital. Their fundraising effort culminated the seven-hour, on-your-feet, marathon fundraiser BruinTHON on Friday, April 28, 2023, in the St. Joe gym. (Photo courtesy of school)


JACKSON – Recently, St. Richard fourth grade reading buddies visited their PreK-4 friends for some outdoor story time! (Photo by Tammy Conrad)


Mrs. Wade’s second grade class release butterflies they hatched. Pictured are Matthew and Aaric getting a very close look. (Photo by Sister Margaret Sue Broker)


Students around the diocese


HOLLY SPRINGS – Holy Family School’s PK-4 students were delighted to receive Easter baskets from their teachers. (Photo by Laura Grisham)

COLUMBUS – Annunciation

MERIDIAN – St. Patrick

JACKSON – St. Richard

MERIDIAN – St. Patrick students enjoy sno-cones as a reward for academic achievement after the third nine weeks of school. (Photo by Emily Thompson)
JACKSON – Mrs. Watson’s Kindergarten class made Resurrection rolls. Students stuffed the pastry with cinnamon and marshmallows and after baking they discovered that the marshmallow was not there (it melted) … the tomb is EMPTY! (Photos by Tammy Conrad)


VICKSBURG – (Above) Vicksburg Catholic School fifth grade students attended the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle in Jackson. (Photo by Lindsey Bradley)