School sports

MERIDIAN – Fourth grader, Ayden Rush takes aim in the Knights of Columbus Annual Soccer Challenge. (Photo by Emily Thompson)
JACKSON – St. Richard fifth and sixth grader girls worked on their basketball skills on Saturday, Nov. 13 in the school gym. (Photo by Tereza Ma)

Feast time at St. Patrick parish

MERIDIAN – St. Patrick and St. Joseph parishes had a Thanksgiving feast on Sunday, Nov. 21. Mrs. Teresa LaBiche makes dessert recommendations to Anariah Rue and Scarlett Cayer. (Photos by Tereza Ma)
MERIDIAN – Molly Corbitt Miles has a great conversation with Bishop Joseph Kopacz during the Thanksgiving feast at St. Patrick parish on Nov. 21.

Don’t drop the chili!

GREENVILLE – Thomas Jones has a little fun while packing boxes for the annual food drive for St. Vincent de Paul. (Photo by Nikki Thompson)

Go forth and set the world on fire


Field trip fun


Helping those in need

JACKSON – Members of St. Jude Pearl’s Feed My Sheep ministry gathered to feed the homeless and hungry in Poindexter park on Sunday, Oct. 24. The team served pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, slaw and dessert. Donations of white crew socks are always needed for the ministry. (Photos by Rhonda Bowden)
COLUMBUS – Annunciation third grade student, Keegan Collier gives a high five to the Columbus Lowndes Humane Society mascot, Columbus, after making a canned food donation for Red Ribbon Week. (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)

Watch out for your fingers!

FLOWOOD – Member’s of St. Paul parish’s BIG DEAL youth group carved pumpkins during their Halloween party on Oct. 27. (Photos courtesy of Renee Borne)

Fall fest fun

PEARL – The St. Jude Young Apostles held a Halloween party for families and children of the parish on Saturday, Oct. 30. Pictured, the Joel Dillard family enjoys playing one of the many games offered by the Young Apostles. (Photos by Rhonda Bowden)
CLARKSDALE – Steele Britt (center) concentrates on getting the winning number on the cake walk at St. Elizabeth’s annual Trunk or Treat event. (Photo by Derrick Faucheux)
WEST POINT – Deisy Moreno hands out treats to Nicolas Garcia-Ramirez and Emma Garcia from her festive trunk at Immaculate Conception parish. (Photos by Cathy Johnson)
BROOKHAVEN – St. Francis parish hosted a Fall Festival and Trunk or Treat event with fellowship and games. (Photos by Erin Womack)

Dia de Muertos


Dinosaur takeover

COLUMBUS – Annunciation kindergarten students wrap up their unit on dinosaurs with a dinosaur parade up and down the school hallways. (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)

Garden delight

Red Ribbon Week

MERIDIAN – Fifth graders Jackson Spitzkeit and Helena Rutledge have their picture made by their teacher Lindi Palmer. This dress up day was a part of Red Ribbon Week – “Dress as your favorite book character – Good Character Counts!”(Photo by Emily Thompson)

Art: of Mass and of pumpkins

SOUTHAVEN – Izzy, Eli and Maddie with Bishop Joseph Kopacz during the recessional of Mass at Sacred Heart School on Monday, Oct. 18. (Photo by Sister Margaret Sue Broker)
MADISON – For St. Anthony’s annual pumpkin contest, third grader Madison McCullough put together Father Albeen Vatti and Kindergartener, Morgan McCullough made Msgr. Mike Flannery. (Photo by Amanda McCullough)

Exploring science

MERIDIAN – Fourth grader Jeremiah Mari presents his contraption to the judges of the Knights of Columbus Creative Contraptions Competition at St. Patrick School. Pictured left to right: Mark Hampton, Mouise Richards, Bob Leo, Jeremiah Mari and Tom Zettler. (Photo by courtesy of St. Patrick School)
COLUMBUS – Annunciation seventh grade student, Hollis Fenstermacher, participates in a “Melting Ice Lab” which is an inquiry-based activity that lets students explore the effects that melting ice has on the temperature of its surroundings. (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)


At Catholic Schools, ‘S’ stands for support

(Right) St. Joseph High School students, Lou Burle and Dillan Reed, participate in a classroom discussion at a local coffee shop, Grounded Sister.

VICKSBURG – Sophomores, Katelyn Clark and Sawyer McCain, aid second grade student Zoey Nichols with a lesson about saints. (Photo by Lindsey Bradley)
MERIDIAN – Regina Meachum, St. Patrick School librarian, teaches first grader, London Wilson, how to type. (Photo by Emily Thompson)


Houses unite at St. Richard school

JACKSON – St. Richard Pre-K4 Andrew Whitfield and Cruz Spiller students enjoyed their lesson on “Tt is for Teddy” with a tea party with teddy grahams and teddy bears.
JACKSON – The St. Richard House of Pascal had their first meeting of the year on Friday, Sept. 24. Sixth grade leaders shared their knowledge of their house saint with the other Cardinals. The house system is similar to Harry Potter, but the St. Richard houses are named after Saints such as Benedict, Blaise, Cornelius, Demerici, dePaul, Ignatius, Maximillian, Paschal, Pius, Sebastian, Seton, Sienna, Trinity and Xavier. (Photos by Chelsea Hamilton)

Fiesta time at Annunciation

COLUMBUS – Pre-K student, Carson McCann dances to the beat during the class fiesta. (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)

Natchez CYO is serious about service

NATCHEZ – (Above) Helen Schwager, Gracie Bradley and Ricky and Brent Warren work to load up trucks for a trip down to Luling, Louisiana to aid with Hurricane Ida relief.
NATCHEZ – Led by Deacon Andrew Bowden, the St. Mary CYO worked on cleaning and filling old votive candle holders from the Sacristy with new wax and wicks before painting them to sell them in a fundraiser after Mass in November for people to light in memory of loved ones. Above, Deacon Andrew demonstrates the technique. Also pictured are Sally Hudson Linton, Emma Ledford and Helen Schwager. (Photos by Carrie Golden Lambert)

Are you ready for some football?

MADISON – St. Anthony and St. Richard third and fourth graders faced off at their first flag football game of the season on Wednesday, Sept. 29. (Photo by Joanna Puddister King)
MADISON – St. Joseph Bruins battled Simpson Academy on the gridiron on Friday, Sept. 24. (Photo by Joanna Puddister King)


MADISON – St. Anthony fifth grade students, Tanner White (left) and Drew Ring (right) used the scientific method to test the effectiveness of different types of face coverings. A specfic face covering was deemed ineffective if a candle flame could be blown out while wearing the face covering. The students determined that neck gaiters were ineffective face coverings. (Photo courtesy of Vicki Moorehead)
NATCHEZ – Youth get creative in the St. Mary CYO scavenger hunt. Clockwise from top: Kinslee Young (in purple), Lacy Fair, Wells Linton, SK Cauthen, Graci Gamberi, Sally Hudson Linton and Liza Gregg (in green). (Photo courtesy of Carrie Golden Lambert)
GREENVILLE – Elementary students had some pre-game fun for the first home football game. Go Irish! (Photo by Nikki Thompson)
VICKSBURG – Vicksburg Catholic School took time to honor first responders for a special 9/11 Prayer Service. (Photo by Lindsey Bradley)
MERIDIAN – St. Patrick first grader, Cayden Gray hangs up his art work about Adam and Eve after completing a lesson on how God made man in His image. (Photo by Lindsey Bradley)
COLUMBUS – Annunciation Pre-K students, Atlas McCullough and Atlas Banks practice good manners during a manners tea party. (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)
MADISON – St. Joseph seniors (l-r) Cole Spivey and Jake Ramsey help Catholic Charities supporters to find the correct table for the Journey of Hope luncheon with Elizabeth Smart. (Photo by Tereza Ma)


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.