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.
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.
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.
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.”
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 email@example.com. Re-printed with permission.)