Farewell sixth grade

JACKSON – St. Richard school displayed headshot signs of all sixth graders to honor their next step in their next academic journeys. (Photo by Tereza Ma)

Final Mass

MERIDIAN – St. Patrick Catholic School held its final Mass of the school year in recognition of outgoing sixth graders on Thursday, May 20. Pictured (left): Elizabeth Crudup giving her farewell speech. Above, Father Augustine Palimattam and John Harwell offer blessings during communion to sixth grader Charli Robin and first grader Caden Ruffin. (Photos by Emily Thompson)

Pentecost picnic

PEARL – St. Jude parish celebrated Pentecost with an open air picnic with chicken and catfish prepared by the Knights of Columbus, as well as, ice cream and popcorn. All members were excited to get together and connect with friends. Three generations of Paczak family are pictured at the picnic. (Photos by Tereza Ma)

All smiles for Baptism

ANGUILLA – Our Mother of Mercy Mission celebrated a baptism on Easter Sunday. Pictured is Father Sleeva Mekala, Brantley Weeks, Casie Weeks, Grant Weeks and Grady Weeks. (Photo by Latrice Mahalitc)

Summer camp

VICKSBURG – Girls in the community get together for Softball Camp at Vicksburg Catholic Schools to enhance their skills and have fun. (Photo by Lindsey Bradley)

VICKSBURG – Emmy Reese Walker, Lyla McMillin and Tegan Batey paint beautiful rainbows at Vicksburg Catholic Schools Art Camp. (Photo by Lindsey Bradley)

MADISON – Youth gather for St. Joseph’s baseball camp to enhance skills and have some fun. (Photo courtesy of St. Joseph Catholic School)

GREENVILLE – Jerrian King, Kye Nelson, Roury McCloyen, Greg Fore, Cliff Perry, Carson Graham and CJ Moore, members of the Fighting Irish, attended football camp at Mississippi State. (Photo courtesy of Nikki Thompson)

Vacation Bible Study

PEARL – St. Jude parish hosts Vacation Bible School on Wednesdays. The parish has fun ways for youth to learn more about Jesus and all of the saints. (Photos by Tereza Ma)


May crownings around the diocese

JACKSON – St. Richard students Morgan Gates and Mae Rose Harkins work together to place a crown on Mary. (Photo by Lavonne Bruckner)
SOUTHAVEN – Gabby Porter places a crown of flowers on Mary. Also pictured is Cecilia Marie Hensley, holding the pillow. (Photo by Laura Grisham)
MADISON – St. Anthony sixth grade students Crawford Kraft and Emily Loyacono crown Mary during the school’s May Crowning Mass. (Photo by Kati Loyacono)
JACKSON – Fifth grader, Charis Ngong places a large crown of flowers on Mary in the prayer corner at Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School. (Photo by Shae Goodman-Robinson)
NATCHEZ – Cathedral School PreK-3 student Landry Gaude’ crowns Mary during the PreK May Crowning ceremony on Monday, May 3, 2021. (Photo by Jody Upton)

Crowning Mary Mass

GREENVILLE – St. Joseph Catholic School celebrated their May Crowning Mass on Wednesday, May 5. Pictured are senior girls at their last Mass at the school before graduation. (Photo by Nikki Thompson)

Field day fun

MERIDIAN – Father Augustine Palimattam and Father Andrew Nguyen join in the field day balloon toss fun with fourth grader, Jackson Spitzkeit and third grader, Zy’Terrion Washington, as Coach Adrian Viger supervises. St. Patrick School held its first of three field days on Friday, May 7. Photo by Emily Thompson)

Running for education

SOUTHAVEN – Seventh and eighth grade students, armed with punch cards to tally their laps, begin their hour-long journey around the parking lot to raise money for Sacred Heart School for the fourth annual Race for Education Day. (Photo by Laura Grisham)


May Crowning

GREENVILLE – St. Joseph senior, Madison Cain crowns Mary with the help of Simar Thomas. (Photo by Nikki Thompson)
MERIDIAN – St. Patrick Catholic School first grade students Kayleigh Johnson and Kyler Hill place roses in front of Mary during the May Crowning Children’s Mass on Thursday, May 5, 2021. (Photo by Emily Thompson)
Abby Grace Roach and Camilla Jeffers crown Mary during VCS’s May Crowning. (Photo by Lindsey Bradley)
COLUMBUS – May Crowning was held on Monday, May 3 at Annunciation School. Eighth graders and prekindergartners brought flowers to adorn Mary. Pictured is eighth grader, Armando Leyva placing Mary’s crown. (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)
MERIDIAN – St. Patrick School first grader Valentina Espino places a crown of flowers on Mary during the May Crowning Children’s Mass Thursday, May 5, 2021.(Photo by Emily Thompson)
NATCHEZ – Cathedral School second graders Skylar Huff, Alexa Hardy, Kate Carlton and Clifford Tillman place flowers in front of Mary during the traditional May Crowning. (Photo by Amy Gamberi)

Survival in the Arctic

JACKSON – St. Richard students learn about how animals can survive in the Arctic region. Pictured is first grade teacher Rachel Caver with Garrett Fridge, Asher Smith and Mia Nasif. (Photo by Chelsea Hamilton)

Youth honored with Bishop Chanche awards

By Joanna Puddister King
JACKSON – When Bishop John Joseph Chanche arrived in the newly formed Diocese of Natchez in May of 1841, there were no Catholic Churches, only a couple of missionary priests, and his flock was far flung. He rose to the challenge and laid the foundation for the Diocese of Jackson. The diocese honors his legacy and thanks those who continue to build on his foundation with the Bishop Chanche award for service.
This year, Bishop Joseph Kopacz and the Office of Youth Ministry awarded 11 young people the Bishop Chanche award. Due to COVID, awards were given at individual parishes. The brief descriptions on these pages come from the Bishop Chanche nomination forms and offer a glimpse into the young men and women who serve the church today.

Carolina Acosta – St. James, Tupelo
Character: Humble, committed and hardworking
Activities: Altar server, lector, Christian fellowship leader at school
School: Tupelo High School, senior
Acosta was nominated by Mary Frances Strange, director of youth ministry, who said that Acosta lives out her Catholic faith by being brave. “She is one of those people that is hard to describe, because there are few like her. This past year I offered the opportunity for the newly confirmed juniors to help as leaders their senior year. I had eight that were interested. She was one of these,” said Strange.
Acosta helps lead a small group at the parish and comes to all service projects. This year, she even assisted Strange with the Confirmation retreat. “I was so blown away by her, she was the most efficient and productive help I have ever had as a youth minister.”

Anna Elise Crout – St. Joseph,
Character: Dedicated, enthusiastic about her faith and desire for growth
Activities: Youth Lead Team, parish and school cantor and pianist, school band, volunteer at Hope Hollow Ministires and MadCAAP

School: St. Joseph Catholic School, junior
Crout was nominated by Pam Minninger, the LEM for St. Joseph Gluckstadt, who said that she reliably serves her parish and Catholic school not only by being a dedicated and enthusiastic participant, but also serves in music ministry as a talented piano player and cantor. She promotes involvement in youth events such as DCYC to her peers and serves as a youth leader on the Youth Ministry Leadership team, which involves being an example of leadership as well as conducting (adult supervised) activities for younger teens and children in St. Joseph’s parish ministries.
“We can always count on Anna to not only participate and share her talents, but to also take a lead in her role as a Youth Lead Team member and also with a genuine enthusiasm for her faith and a desire to share her love of faith with peers,” said Minninger.

Emma Rose Dickerson – St. Alphonsus,
Character: Responsible, honest and compassionate
Activities: Vacation bible school volunteer, gift bearer, Jag2jag mentoring program, Life Teen, St. Alphonsus social committee, Volunteer at many school events and at WINGS and St. Andrew’s mission
School: North Pike High School, senior
Dickerson was nominated by William Jarvis, youth minister at St. Alphonsus McComb, who described her as having a sensitive heart to those who suffer.
“Emma’s level of commitment is something that we can rely on. We know that if we need someone trustworthy and reliable, that Emma can be called upon,” said Jarvis.

Maria Garcia – St. Therese, Kosciusko
Character: Dedicated, loyal, dependable
Activities: Altar server, bilingual lector, Rosary leader, CYO president, Beta club, Spanish club, book club, member of Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) and volunteer at Shepard’s Touch Clinic
School: Kosciusko High School, senior
Garcia was nominated by Father Odel Medina, ST, pastor of St. Therese Kosciusko. “Maria deserves the Bishop Chanche award for youth because she is dedicated to help bridge the language gap between our Spanish and English-speaking congregational members. She is loyal to her duties and is dependable in all that is asked of her. She is a roll model for her family, church and community,” said Father Medina.
Garcia makes herself available to translate either verbally or written from English to Spanish or vice versa. She has a servants heart.
Father Medina also said that Garcia has encouraged and taught the younger children of the parish how to serve and participate in Mass. “She has taught several other children of the church how to serve as an altar server, say the rosary and participate in Stations of the Cross. Her positive outlook on life is infectious and others want to be around her and like her,” said Father Medina.

Kirstie Graves – St. Joseph, Meridian
Character: Integrity, honesty and selfless
Activities: Lector, choir, Panther Reads, Beta club, member of HOSA, soccer team, softball team, volunteer at Love’s Kitchen
School: Quitman High School, senior

Graves was nominated by John Harwell, office manager of St. Joseph Meridian. Harwell describes Graves as one of the most active youth at the parish and said that she helped rebuild the youth program at the parish. “She made is a priority in her life and she would always be here for the youth Mass and as many activities, programs that she was able to make. … When she starts a task, she does not stop until it is finished.”
“Kirstie is going to go on to do outstanding things as an adult but more importantly she will do her life’s work as a backdrop to her Catholic faith. I am proud to nominate her for the Bishop Chanche Youth Award,” said Harwell.

Anna Marie Lamanilao – St. Michael,
Character: Kind, generous, and faith-filled
Activities: Violinist in choir, altar server, band, retreat team, key club, Mu Alpha Theta, mentoring team, Chick-fil-A Leader Academy, camp counselor at Camp Silver Cloud
School: St. Aloysius Catholic School, senior
Lamanilao was nominated by Father Robert Dore of St. Michael Vicksburg, who describes her as a wonderful example of how today’s Catholic teenager should live her life. “She is proud to say she has faith in God and is aware of His infinite love and mercy and the blessings he has bestowed upon her,” said Father Dore.
A member of St. Michael parish since birth, she has been involved in the parish in many ways, including Bible school, youth volunteer, CYO, choir, altar server and more.

Nate Leary – St. John the Evangelist,
Character: Compassion, enthusiasm and self-discipline
Activities: Eagle scout, tennis, altar server, volunteer at Lovepacks and veterans home
School: Lafayette High School, senior
Leary was nominated by Camille Bianco of St. John Oxford and she describes him as a natural leader. “He is always willing to volunteer to help others, willing to be a ‘speaker’ for the prayer service, and willing to ask and answer questions at youth group. His enthusiasm for all he does, especially his faith, is easy to denote. The years it took him to obtain his Eagle Scout award shows that he is persistent and has self-discipline. He is fun-loving, yet serious about his faith. This combination makes him unique and he will be much-missed next year at youth group,” said Bianco.

Alida Perez – St. Joseph, Starkville
Character: Faithful, leadership and pious
Activities: Youth group, altar server, church choir, school choir, food pantry volunteer
School: Starkville High School, senior
Perez was nominated by Deacon Jeff Artigues at St. Joseph Starkville, who says that she lives her Catholic faith through her active participation in the parish’s youth group. “She’s involved … because she wants to strengthen her bond with God and her Catholic peers,” said Deacon Artigues.

Katheryn Prater – St. Francis, Madison
Character: Genuine, generous, leader
Activities: Vacation bible school team member, hospitality minister, Life Teen, cantor, music team member, Beta club, National Honor Society, volunteer at Our Daily Bread and Why Not Now
School: Madison Central High School, senior

Prater was nominated by Mary Catherine George, director of religious education at St. Francis Madison, who says it has been a privilege to work with Prater at the parish and witness her growth as a strong Christian. “She is a dependable, generous and service-oriented young lady. From my perception of her, she has shown leadership and moral character in all areas of her life,” said George.
In 2020, Prater spent countless hours preparing supplies and take-home kits for the parish’s Vacation Bible School “At-Home” program and even worked on a craft demonstration video with the program.
“Her assistance in our children’s events and youth program has been beyond helpful to me, to our staff, and to the volunteer ministers she has worked with. She makes time to serve in various ways and expects nothing in return,” said George.

Christopher Tonos – St. Joseph,
Character: Honest, dependable and committed to his call to serve as a disciple
Activities: MC at Mass, Youth group, St. Vincent de Paul volunteer, tennis
School: St. Joseph Catholic School, senior
Tonos was nominated by Father Aaron Williams and Alyssa Ingram, director of youth ministry. Ingram explained that the parish has a Confirmation class outside of the youth program, so those candidates do not generally return to the program after Confirmation but Tonos did. “He comes back every week and meetings between regular scheduled events as well, [He] does more than ‘show up,’ he steps up. The example and honest heart that he has poured out and into the youth this year has been better than I deserve,” said Ingram.
“His authentic heart for Jesus pours out of him and into whatever he is doing.”

Chase Walter – St. Jude, Pearl
Character: Steadfast in faith, humble and leader
Activities: Altar server, usher, Vacation Bible School volunteer, Youth Alpha, Richland Mayor’s Youth Council, Mu Alpha Theta, baseball
School: Richland High School, senior

Walter was nominated by Stacy Wolf, DRE for St. Jude Pearl. Wolf describes Walter as a young man with the heart of St. Joseph. “Chase stands out not because he draws attention to himself, but because of his quiet, steady faith and dependability. He sets an example for his peers and our younger children, not by his words, but by his deeds and actions. He leads by example with strength and courage,” says Wolf.
Even during the pandemic, Walter has continued to serve the parish with grace. In addition to serving as an usher and alter server on Sundays, Wolf said that he has also continued to take part in Zoom Sunday School and youth activities, despite having a very busy senior year.


Science is fun

COLUMBUS – Annunciation first grade teacher, Shaine Donoho oversees a “sink or swim” science experiment, where students determine which rocks will sink or float. (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)


GREENVILLE – Ronnie Evans volunteered his time at Magnolia Gardens nursing home for a round of BINGO on Wednesday, April 21. (Photo by Nikki Thompson)

Spring duckling

SOUTHAVEN – Second grade teacher, Monica Winans, moves the first hatched duckling from the incubator to its temporary home. (Photo by Sister Margaret Sue Broker)

In service to others

COLUMBUS – Pastor Brandt Dick of St. James Episcopal Church helps Clayton Hensley and Davin Anderson load up supplies that were donated by St. Joseph Greenville students for St. James’ childrens program. (Photo by Nikki Thompson)

Atrium exploration

JACKSON – St. Richard Pre-K5 students, Peyton Smith and Henry Hospodor explore items during their Atrium class. (Photo by Chelsea Hamilton)

Planting seeds

COLUMBUS – Annunciation kindergarten students, Addison Moser and Joanna Bragg, plant tomato seeds. (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)


Read Across America Week

MADISON – Assisi Early Learning Center students GB Gann and Nash Smith celebrated Read Across America Week with some green eggs and ham. On Thursday, March 4, each class read Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss, and sampled the cuisine! (Photo by Stephanie Brown)
NATCHEZ – On March 2, Cathedral School first grader, Evelyn Morris read Fox in Socks to her class during Read Across America/Dr. Seuss week and took part in Silly Hat Day. (Photo by Cara Serio)

Give blood – Give life

NATCHEZ – On Feb. 26, the Cathedral School National Honor Society hosted a successful blood drive on campus, with a total of 29 donors. Pictured is Junior, Meredith Lessley donating blood for the first time. (Photos by Cara Serio)

Ready … Set … STREAM

CLARKSDALE – St. Elizabeth students worked on a STREAM project with teacher, Jane Rutz, called collapsing columns. Students took six pieces of typing paper and rolled six columns, securing each column with three pieces of scotch tape. Students then had to arrange the columns on a table and place books on top of the columns, one at a time. The strongest set up held 22 books! (Photo by Mary Evelyn Stonestreet)

Stone soup, anyone?

MADISON – St. Anthony Pre-K3 students made Stone Soup, which focuses on the valuable lesson of sharing. Pictured is Fenton Little adding his contribution to the mix. (Photo by Kati Loyacono)

Working away or a play?

GREENVILLE – Second grade students are dressed and practicing for a play with St. Joseph High’s production, Beauty and the Beast, Jr. Pictured from bottom left clockwise: Olivia Nevels, Bellani Smith, Addie Thompson, Jacqueline Moore and Emma Clanton. (Photo by Nikki Thompson)


Postponed Ash Wednesday

MERIDIAN – Father Andrew Nguyen, with the help of John Harwell, applies ashes to student Matt Farmer’s forehead Friday, Feb. 19 at St. Patrick School. Due to the winter storm, school was canceled on Ash Wednesday and a special Mass was held Friday for the students. (Photo by Emily Thompson)

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

JACKSON – St. Richard first grader, Iverson Simms celebrates Dr. Seuss’ birthday in Rachel Caver’s class. (Photos by Chelsea Hamilton)

Math Superstars

COLUMBUS – Seventh grade students worked on puzzles from MSMS that are part of the Math Superstars program. They worked collaboratively on building problem-solving skills along with stamina through difficult problems. The puzzles focused on adding and subtracting integers, in addition to the puzzle aspect. Pictured are Jonathan Cooper, Brandon Doumit, Gavin Elliot and Maddox House. (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)

Visit from the Bishop

MERIDIAN – Bishop Joseph Kopacz and Christopher Caballero-Scott, along with Dailyn Dunn, Anna Harper, Foster Grandmother Mrs. Wilson and Avery Hook, look at Tilly the Turtle in the kindergarten classroom. Bishop Kopacz presided over the Children’s Mass at St. Patrick School on Thursday, March 4 and visited the classrooms afterwards. (Photo by Emily Thompson)

Ice storm geometry

SOUTHAVEN – Sacred Heart School students studied virtually due to the February ice storm. Pictured is Shayna Campbell’s eighth grade pre-algebra class studying the Pythagorean Theorem. (Photo by Laura Grisham)

Read Across America Day

VICKSBURG – (Left) St. Francis Xavier Elementary students celebrated Read Across America Day. Pictured: Cowgirl – Allie Weeks, Opal from Because of Winn Dixie – Mary Hannah Amborn, Thing 2 – Elvie Grace Bradley and Pirate – Benjamin Ponder. (Photo by Lindsey Bradley)

Stations of the Cross

SOUTHAVEN – Second graders pray the Stations of the Cross at Sacred Heart. Pictured back to front: Sterling, Braden, Brayden, Maria, Gracen, Jack, Andrew, Blaise, Valentina, Jaylen, Enrique, Skylar, Kamila, Natalie and MaKenzie. (Photo by Sister Margaret Sue Broker)


Snow day fun

GREENWOOD – St. Joseph student, Jerrian King tries his hand at sledding on a Mississippi snow day. (Photo courtesy of Nikki Thompson)
JACKSON – St. Richard fourth grader Hank Harkins attended class virtually during the recent ice storm. (Photo by Haley Harkins)
MERIDIAN – Father Andrew Nguyen applies ashes to Laney Palmer’s forehead Friday, Feb. 19 at St. Patrick Catholic School as her classmate, Charli Robin, looks on. Due to the winter storm, school was canceled on Ash Wednesday and a special Mass was held Friday for the students. (Photo by Emily Thompson)

Chapel time at Sacred Heart

SOUTHAVEN – Monica Winans conducts Friday chapel for Sacred Heart School second graders. (Photo by Sister Margaret Sue Broker)

Catholic Schools Week Service Project

MADISON – (Right) St. Anthony students painted flowerpots and planted succulents for residents of St. Catherine’s Village as part of a community service project during Catholic Schools Week. Pictured are fourth grade students Markin Klar (left) and Mamie Heitzmann (right). (Photo by Kati Loyacono)
CLARKSDALE – St. Elizabeth students Emery Ellis Alderson and Amelia Freeman, experiment with different types of eggs after learning about them on a virtual field trip during Catholic Schools Week. (Photo by Mary Evelyn Stonestreet)
NATCHEZ – Father Scott Thomas blesses the throat of Cathedral fourth grade student Tenley Wilson. Tenley is dressed as Mary Magdalene for her saint project. (Photo by Cara Serio)
COLUMBUS – Students at Annunciation get in line to enjoy sno cones on “Students Day” during Catholic Schools Week. (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)

Youth news

COLUMBUS – Annunciation celebrated Catholic Schools Week with their annual “In Our Nation Day Parade” around the school block. Students wore patriotic clothing and played instruments. (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)
JACKSON – St. Richard students (top row sixth grade, bottom kindergarten and in pews fourth grade) performed a special presentation for Bishop Joseph Kopacz during Catholic Schools Week Mass on Wednesday Feb. 3. (Photo by Vanessa Cochran)
GREENVILLE – On Feb. 3, St. Joseph students – ChaKoreia Holmes, Jasmine Ross and Maxwell Washington – paid a visit to the Washington County Convention Center to pass out goodie bags to the National Guard. This was a small gesture of thanks for all that they are doing during the pandemic. (Photo by Nikki Thompson)

Youth news

JACKSON – St. Richard, fourth grade student Ruby Hospodor reads at in person school Mass on Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Photo by Tereza Ma)
COLUMBUS – Kindergarten students, Cambell Dimino, Preston Hartley, and Addison Moser, throw “snowballs” during the annual kindergarten snowball fight. (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)
MERIDIAN – The sixth grade class at St. Patrick School recently used building blocks to design special equipment for a playground accessible to students with special needs. It included a ramp and extra safety features. Pictured from left to right are: Laney Palmer, Harlee Sellers, Charli Robin and Elizabeth Crudup. (Photo by Melinda Graham)

NATCHEZ St. Mary Basilica, Sunday, Feb. 14, 12-2 p.m. – Mardi Gras Around Town Event. Various places around town will participate by decorating and having “throws” for cars that drive by. People/families are invited to drive around and roll by the “house/location” floats. Participants should keep their windows down to catch throws as they pass the locations. A list of participating addresses will be available on St. Mary’s website and will be published in the bulletin on Feb. 13-14. We are doing this safely – by distancing outside and staying in cars that drive by and parade items will be thrown by people wearing gloves. Details: contact Carrie Lambert at