Cathedral School/St. Mary Basilica youth attend March for Life, meet Senator Hyde-Smith

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) welcomed Mississippians in the nation’s capital to participate in the 2022 March for Life, greeting students and issuing an optimistic statement for the annual pro-life advocacy campaign.

On Thursday, Jan. 20, Hyde-Smith met with March for Life students from Cathedral School and St. Mary’s Basilica in Natchez. Under an “Equality Begins in the Womb” theme, Friday’s march comes on the heels of U.S. Supreme Court consideration of Mississippi’s abortion law, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

“With hope and prayer, thousands have marched each year for decades at the annual March for Life. Today, we march with greater hope and prayer for the Supreme Court to show grace to the unborn in the Dobbs case,” Hyde-Smith said.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith spent time with students from Cathedral School and St. Mary Basilica Natchez during March for Life on Thursday, Jan. 20. She spoke to the group about the importance of service and answering the call to stand up for others. (Photo courtesy of Senator Hyde-Smith’s office)


SEPI student reflections

CANTON – Three young adults from Holy Child Jesus parish in Canton traveled to Miami to attend the “Journeying Together” youth leadership gathering that SEPI (Southeast Pastoral Institute) hosted Jan. 3-7. The program was centered on Pope Francis’ call to journey with the church towards synodality. Below are reflections of the young adults who attended the conference.

Victoria Alexander
I had the honor to be invited along with two parishioners from Holy Child Jesus Catholic Church of Canton to attend the SEPI journey in Miami. I learned so much from this journey through the five days that we were attending. We had various activities and experiences that we went through. We were given three spiritual words to reflect on the whole time we were there: community, beauty and mercy. We all experienced demonstrations of these words and the meanings behind them through the people we encountered or events we went to, and inspirational speakers that spoke to us about their journey on how they got where they are.
One of my favorite parts of the experience was the morning sunrise prayer we had on the beach early that morning and listening to Father read the word and Gospel was so beautiful during that moment. I had never experienced the Holy Spirit like I did that moment.
I am so thankful that I learned more about how beautiful and diverse our Catholic community and church are and what an impact young people can make in the world as young parishioners or missionaries in the church. We were so very blessed to attend this institute and I will never forget this as it has changed the way I view society and the church culture around the world.

CANTON – Left to right: Vincent Alexander, Victoria Alexander, Father Guy Wilson and DeAsia Evans. The group bid farewell to Father Guy and the congregation of Holy Child Jesus on Sunday, Jan. 2 before their trip to Miami for the SEPI “Journeying Together” conference. (Photo by Sister Mary Anne Poeschl, RSM)

DeAsia Evans
My experience of going to Miami for the Youth Leadership gathering was very inspiring. I had the honor of going to the gathering with the help of SEPI and Catholic Extension. Youth leaders from different states all gathered to share their experiences and what they are doing to better their parish when it comes to the youth. While we were at the gathering, there were three words to remember during our time there. They were beauty, mercy and community.
Throughout my trip, I was able to experience all of those things. I saw beauty when we had sunrise prayer on the beach. We read the Gospel and said prayers as we watched the sun rise. There were even two seminarians there who shared their experience of being in seminary school and talking about how they were born in the Catholic faith. Mercy was shown through adoration when we spent a precious moment with the blessed sacrament and worshiped with The EPIC band. Lastly, community was shown when we came together and made hygiene bags, lunch and provided Christmas presents to those in need and for those who did not have a place to stay. Overall, it was such memorable experience that I will never forget, and it is something that I will do again.

Vincent Alexander
I am blessed and honored to have been chosen to attend the SEPI trip; I learned a lot and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I learned about the diversity in the Catholic community, as well as how things get more interesting within SEPI and other organizations.
One of the days I learned about how to connect with others, even those you might not expect to have a story. I learned about meeting and having a relationship with God, not just having a relationship, but also telling others to believe in him and trust in him. Making sure you have a relationship with him helps you to get where you need to go in life and to always have a relationship with him. Prioritize him.
I’ve also realized that God can change my church and help people in a variety of ways. I’d like to thank SEPI and everyone who helped make this possible for me, my church, and so many others. It was a true blessing and life-changing event.

Sports column: Rivals come together in tragedy

By Ernest Bowker The Vicksburg Post
VICKSBURG – Rivalries in sports are a strange and complex thing.

No matter what side you’re on, they’re often touted on the surface as Good vs. Evil, the Cool Kids vs. the Jerks, Us vs. Them, and so on. There are teams that you love to hate for a variety of reasons, but there can also be a lot of mutual respect for the skills and talents of each.

Sometimes, it boils down to a family feud. We might want to punch you on game day, but we’ll hug it out and go eat somewhere afterward. You can pick on each other, but when the tough times hit you’ve got each other’s back.

The latter description certainly applies to St. Aloysius and Cathedral. The two Catholic schools along the Mississippi River have endured a nearly century-old rivalry that once led a coach from one side to famously – and, I assume, only half-jokingly – describe the other bunch as “the scum of the earth.”

St. Aloysius and Cathedral basketball players gather at halfcourt for a prayer service between games of their girls-boys doubleheader on Tuesday. (Ernest Bowker/The Vicksburg Post)

Because both schools are governed by the Diocese of Jackson, however, they are kin. That same century of sports hatred has bred plenty of friendships and a bond that runs much deeper than the final score.

That bond was on display Tuesday, when Cathedral’s basketball teams journeyed up Highway 61 from Natchez to play St. Al. Between the girls’ and boys’ games, members of all four varsity teams gathered at halfcourt to pray and share their grief.

On Jan. 11, St. Al alums Caroline Simrall Hood and Chandler Roesch were involved in a car wreck. Simrall was killed and Roesch seriously injured. Both graduated from St. Al in 2018.

Three days later, Cathedral student Jordan Herrington was killed in another car wreck in Louisiana. Herrington, a 15-year-old sophomore, was a member of the football team.

During the prayer service Father Rusty Vincent said a few words, and some of the players exchanged hugs. Everyone in the gym surely passed along a few prayers of their own for the families and friends of Simrall, Roesch and Herrington.
The service was brief, and the sound of bouncing basketballs and warmup music soon replaced the grieving silence. The gravity of the moment should be lasting however.

When it comes right down to it, sports are a fun diversion for us all. No matter the result when the final buzzer sounds, life and time march on and bigger things await.

I doubt Simrall and Herrington knew each other, separated as they were by time, distance and a hundred other facts of life. But for one moment Tuesday they brought a gym full of people together to remind us all that in even the biggest rivalries we can take a moment here and there to share our humanity, our passion and our grief.

(Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at Re-printed with permission.)


Christmas programs

COLUMBUS – Annunciation School held a Christmas Extravaganza on Dec. 9. Students in PreK through fifth grade participated in the performance. (Photos by Katie Fenstermacher)
JACKSON – St. Richard fifth grade students (l-r) Kate Donaldson, Hills Ezzell, Sade’ Ellis, Maya, Levi Luckett, Yahir Paniagua, Redmond Peterson, J’naya Slaughter and Sarah Vanderloo. Playing air guitar on his knees is Estephan Choufani. The school presented an amazing Advent program on Dec. 17, directed by music teacher Andrew Dillon. (Photos by Tereza Ma)
Jennifer David principal of St. Richard school
PEARL – St. Jude parish celebrated Epiphany on Jan. 2. Pictured are Joshua, Ana and Ashley Love. (Photo by Elsa Baughman)
AMORY – At Mass on Dec. 12, the children and youth of St. Helen Church presented the Christmas story, as they honored all grandparents of the parish. Before Mass, the statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe was carried to the front of the church and all the children brought roses to place at her feet. (Photos by Jean Pinkley)
MAGEE – On December 19th, Mr and Mrs Clause paid a visit to St Stephen Church. Santa brought gifts for the good boys and girls in the St Stephen Religious Education Program and joined in the  parish Children’s Christmas Party. Many thanks to everyone who helped make Santa’s visit such a success. 


From the heart

HOLLY SPRINGS – PreK and Kindergarten classes at Holy Family worshiped ‘body and soul’ with Brother Diego Diaz, SCJ. After listening to the lives of the saints, the children sang and danced to the song “Te Amo (I love)” by Israel and New Breed.
HOLLY SPRINGS – (Above) Delivering hot Thanksgiving meals to senior living facility across from the school in Holly Springs is a Holy Family tradition.

Mass – Motion – Friction

COLUMBUS – Annunciation fifth graders, Amy Cancellare, Josalyn Lee and Jack Clemons, work to finish their unit on forces and motion. They did a lab to test how the mass of an object affects its motion. They started by forming hypotheses, measuring the mass of four different balls, completing a test of rolling each ball down a slide and timing its motion. They finalized the lab results by creating graphs and forming conclusions. Turns out, mass does affect motion, but friction can change your results! (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)

109 and counting

CLARKSDALE – This year St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church in Clarksdale stepped it up a notch to celebrate their parish feast day. Father Raju Macherla invited Bishop Joseph Kopacz to join in on the celebration with Mass on Friday, Nov. 12. Reconciliation was held on Saturday, then a closing Mass with a thanksgiving meal was provided on Sunday, Nov. 14. Many families came to the event to reflect on the 109th anniversary of the parish. Pictured is Luke Agostinelli assisting Father Raju Macherla. (Photos by Derrick Faucheux)


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)