Youth news

Pomp and pandemics …

HOLY SPRINGS – Cameron Walton rides in the eighth grade graduation parade around Holy Family school on May 15. In celebration, principal Tunia Sangster prepared gift bags for each student and tokens of love from teachers and staff. (Photo by Laura Grisham)

Thank you teachers

MADISON – Second graders show appreciation for their teachers, Mrs. Gail Kraft and Mrs. Beth Burns, in this heartfelt photo collage. (Photo by Kati Loyacono)


Star student

JACKSON – A Saint Andrew’s Episcopal School student with a perfect 36 composite score on the American College Test (ACT), combine scores of 144 and average of 99.50 has been named Mississippi’s Top ALL-STAR Scholar for 2020. John C. Kees is the son of Lara and Chris Kees, parishioners of Cathedral of St. Peter Jackson. John will receive a $24,000 scholarship provided by the Kelly Gene Cook, Sr. Charitable Foundation, Inc. Kees plans to attend college and study Biology.
Kees designated Thomas B. Riesenberger of Jackson as his STAR Teacher. Riesenberger has been teaching for nine years and this is his first time to be named STAR Teacher. (Photo courtesy of Lara Kees)

Parishioners show appreciation for Father Rusty

VICKSBURG – St. Paul Vicksburg held a parade past the church on Tuesday, May 5 to show appreciation for all that Father Rusty has done for the parish virtually in the past several weeks. Organized by Allyson Johnston, the parade was a way for church members to show their appreciation for all the work he has put in to keep them virtually connected during a time of social distancing. (Photo by Mary Margaret Edney)

Students love teachers

MADISON – Third grader, Caroline McCoy ‘chalked’ her driveway to show her love for St. Anthony school teachers. (Photo courtesy of Kati Loyacono)

Teacher appreciation week

FLOWOOD – St. Richard third grader, Elizabeth Jennings cheers for her teacher Shea Luckett during the school’s teacher appreciation week parade. (Photo by Tereza Ma)

Youth news

Christmas visitor

COLUMBUS – Lower elementary students at Annunciation school had a special visitor, The Grinch, during library in December. (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)

Christmas singing

MERIDIAN – Students from St. Patrick school choir perform Christmas carols to residents of Poplar Springs Nursing home. Front left: Denise Quedado, Alana Frias, Audrey Lee, Myla Locke, Cayden Boomer, Anthony Hopson, Collin Angermann and Tytan Duong. Back left: Matthew Wilson, Serenity Brown, Christian Grace, Noah McCaffrey, Kennedy Frost, Chelsea Allen and teacher, Jill Scott. (Photo by Celeste Saucier)
SOUTHAVEN – Adult and childrens choirs from six area churches gathered to celebrate the season. The school choir, the folklorico dancers from Christ the King, as well as the Spanish, Filipino and Vietnameses choirs performed. At the end of the program, the brass and drum ensemble from Senatobia Community College entertained the crowd. (Photo by Sister Margaret Sue Broker)

Virtual reality

VICKSBURG – Students receive a unique experience with the XR (Extended Reality) Lab at Vicksburg Catholic School. The schools aim is to be the “Campus of the Future.” (Photo by Lindsey Bradley)

A Catholic school tradition – Mass

JACKSON – Father John Bohn gives the Body of Christ to St. Richard student, Clark Bergin during a St. Richard school Mass. (Photo by Meredith McCullough)

Hey – Let’s read together

NATCHEZ – Kindergarten students Natalie McLemore and Ally Stampley enjoy morning reading time at Cathedral school. (Photo by Cara Moody Serio)

Science experiment time

CLARKSDALE– Fifth grader Kalyn Matthews leads Virginia Johnson (PreK-4) and Anna Chris Talley (fifth grade) in her project for Math and Science Family Fun Night at St. Elizabeth school. (Photo by Sarah Cauthen)

GREENVILLE – Mrs. Applewhite’s fourth grade class at St. Joseph school show off their science projects. Pictured left to right: Fletcher McGaugh, Hensley Fortenberry, Jacob Powers, Leonard Murrell and Madison Scrivner. (Photo by Nikki Thompson)

FLOWOOD – Georgia Raine Weeks and Tuc Brendel have a fun time playing with “snow” at St. Paul Early Learning Center. (Photo courtesy of St. Paul Early Learning Center)

Youth news

Feast day for St. Francis Xavier

VICKSBURG – On Tuesday, Dec. 3 Vicksburg Catholic School elementary students participated in Mass to celebrate Saint Francis Xavier’s feast day.

On right Father Rusty Vincent blesses first grade students during the feast day Mass. (Photos by Lindsey Bradley)

Dashing though the streets

MERIDIAN – Timothy Duong, Denise Quedado, Ashton Taylor dash through the streets for the Candy Cane Fun Run. (Photo by Celeste Saucier)

Checkmate Father MarkNATCHEZ – Cathedral School third graders Quin Branton and James Gammill enjoyed learning the game of chess with Father Mark Shoffner. The students received a little free time for meeting their Accelerated Reader goal early. (Photo by Cara Moody Serio)

Here we go a caroling

GRENADA – The youth of St. Peter won first place Overall in the Grenada Christmas parade, themed “Here we go a caroling.“ Father Savio is holding up the banner as the children carollers look on in delight. (Photo courtesy of Michael Liberto)

Mapping the path of Jesus

GREENVILLE – Mrs. Lee’s religion class created salt dough maps of the travels of the public ministry of Jesus before the holiday break. (Photo by Nikki Thompson)

Children Celebrate Our Lady Guadalupe

MERIDIAN – On Dec. 8 at St. Patrick parish’s Celebration of Our Lady Guadalupe, Macario Espino, jr. picks up a fresh made tortilla for his delicious meal after the procession and Mass. (Photo by Tereza Ma)

MERIDIAN – On Dec. 8 at St. Patrick parish’s Celebration of Our Lady Guadalupe, Macario Espino, jr. picks up a fresh made tortilla for his delicious meal after the procession and Mass. (Photo by Tereza Ma)

St. Nicolas visits

(Right) MERIDIAN – On Dec. 6, 2019 St. Patrick School students had a special visit from St. Nicholas. First graders Aiden Walker, left, and TJ Dunn race to check their shoes for gifts from St. Nicholas. (Photo by Helen Reynolds)

Youth news

Junie B. Jones – a production

MADISON – St. Joseph school drama students presented “Junie B. Jones is NOT a Crook” on Nov. 14. From left to right, Hannah Dear as Junie, Georgia Conrad as Lucille and Natalia Igwebuike as Grace. (Photos by Tereza Ma)
(Center) Hannah Dear as Junie was unbelievably funny and added real character to the book. Dear is a senior at St. Joseph and is involved in volleyball, SEARCH committee, St. Richard Faith and Life, youth choir and is employed of Lemuria in Jackson.

Fun times at St. Patrick school

MERIDIAN – William Skinner from Fire Department Station One visits with students. Pictured from left to right, Stephen Wilson (back), Macarena Frias (front), Star Cayer, Ellis Farmer, Elizabeth Crudup and teacher, John Harwell, Church Youth Director and religion teacher. (Photos by Celeste Saucier)
Police Department appreciation day! Fifth grader Laney Palmer, hands out the projects and letters of appreciation from other grade levels. Each grade level, Pre-K3 to sixth grade contributed to the project.
Pre-K4 students Avery Hook, Alden and Josiah Christian learn about how Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn and enjoy a healthy snack.

Turkey feast

GREENVILLE – Why do turkeys eat so little? Because they are always stuffed. Unfortunately, not all of us are turkeys and there are a number of people, both young and old, in the Greenville community who go throughout the day without anything to eat. Members of St. Joseph church youth group reached out to St. Vincent de Paul to see how they could help this holiday season. This young and charismatic group worked diligently to fill 300 food bags with stuffing mix, mushroom gravy mix, vegetables and a host of other tasty treats that were distributed to those in need for Thanksgiving. (Photo by Alyssa Ingram)

JACKSON – St. Richard school hosted a Thanksgiving feast for students and their relatives. Pictured on left is Chamblee Ezelle with her mom Shelley having great time as Father Nick Adam talks to parents in the background. (Photo by Tereza Ma)

Youth SEARCH to deepen relationship with Christ

GALLMAN – Youth gathered for a SEARCH retreat Nov. 22-24 at Camp Wesley Pines. SEARCH is a unique experience designed for juniors and seniors who have a strong desire to deepen their faith and relationship with Christ. Thirty-five “searchers” participated, coming from different parishes around the diocese. Each year the diocesan office of Youth Ministry has two SEARCH retreats, coordinated by Abbey Schuhmann and Ann and Jeff Cook. Thirty people, staffers and volunteers helped the searchers during their new experience of Christ. Among the volunteers were former searchers, there to serve and to help others to reach the fullness of spirituality. (left) Caroline Coffelt and Danielle Murphy, two adult volunteers welcomed searchers. (below) Searchers walk down a hill, eyes closed, during a “Trust Walk” exercise to learn how to rely on each other. (Photos by Berta Mexidor)

Catholic campus ministry keeps faith alive in students

By Joanna Puddister King
STARKVILLE – Catholic faith is alive and thriving in colleges in the Golden Triangle area through an outreach of St. Joseph church. The church’s Catholic Campus Ministry (CCM) at Mississippi State University also serves students at East Mississippi Community College and the Mississippi University for Women.
Students are the heart of this peer-led organization that believes college is a time for growth and formation for the whole person – body, mind and spirit.
College is truly a time for social growth and community, an avenue that CCM excels at with – free food, a language every college student understands. Tuesday Night Dinner (or TND as it is more affectionately known) hosted at St. Joseph is a great way to feed hungry students bellies and give them spiritual fuel to get them through the week by hosting interactive talks ranging from relationships, vocations, apologetics and more.

“When I first moved to Mississippi, I knew approximately three people here. I … learned about Tuesday Night Dinner (TND) and free food – every college student’s dream! As I started going to TND, I met lots of new people, learned about other CCM happenings and joined in on events and volunteering,” says Mississippi University for Women senior, Maggie Rodriguez.
“Over the past few years CCM has become my second family, a home away from home.”
In addition to free food, CCM has two important Catholic figures in their corner – Mother Teresa and Pope Francis – well, life-size cut-outs that is. The pair have been a main feature since the summer at campus events.
“At the New Maroon Camp, a freshman orientation type set of events, we were the first table people saw as they came into the auditorium filled with representatives from the clubs at MSU. With the cowbell in hand, Pope Francis received lots of smiles from Catholics and non-Catholics alike; likewise, Mother Teresa and her ‘Hail Mary, Hail State’ flag got plenty of positive feedback,” said director of campus ministry, Meg Kanatzar.
“They’re fabulous conversation starters! People come over just to take selfies with them.”
The “Hail Mary, Hail State” phrase ignited a powerful fundraiser that has Catholic Mississippi State fans near and far sporting the phrase on the groups signature t-shirt. Former student Joseph Kerstiens helped come up with the idea for the hugely popular shirt, with the silhouette of Saint Pope John Paul II with a cowbell and rosary in hand, with the slogan.
“We really wanted to have something that incorporated MSU and the Catholic faith, and it wasn’t long before we had the slogan ‘Hail Mary, Hail State,” said Kersteins.
Though there are a lot of fun and games, like Catholic intermural sports and monthly trivia night, the group finds time to allow students to grow deeper in their relationship with Christ with Eucharistic adoration and Bible study, in addition to service to others.
Mini-mission trips to Smith Park in Jackson with Deacon John McGinley is one way the group ministers to others. Often times, the group come on a Sunday so that they can invite the people they meet to Mass at the Cathedral of St. Peter. They also make plastic bags into beds and pillows and distribute to those that need them.
In addition to serving the homeless in Jackson, the group also ministers to their local community with volunteering at Habitat for Humanity, working in the St. Joseph food pantry and serving home-bound individuals with a food box delivery on a monthly basis.
“I want to give back to the community that has given me so much over the past four years,” says co-president of CCM, Jeremy Irwin.
“I had a tough time sophomore year and my CCM family still managed to make my time here at State enjoyable, while still growing in my faith. My hope is that I am able to help bring others the joy CCM has brought me, through Christ.”
That joy is the fuel that keeps director of the campus ministry, Meg Kanatzar going.
“Seeing someone come back on fire for their faith after attending a retreat or observing one student counsel a peer in a difficult time, or entering a chapel or church filled with students praying during Adoration. There are countless moments when I am privileged to witness students making God a priority in their lives,” said Kanatzar.

Youth news

High fives for fire safety

MERIDIAN – Firefighter Lee Bohl, with the city of the Meridian Fire Department, gives a “high five” to kindergarten student Kayleigh Johnson on Oct. 22 at St. Patrick School. Preschool and kindergarten students learned about fire safety and got a close up view of a fire truck. (Photo by Celeste Saucier)

Fun times in Vicksburg

VICKSBURG – students are ready for the Spooky Sprint 1-mile fun fun to start. (Photos by Rebecca Weatherford)

Chess masters in training

SOUTHAVEN – Lucas Delgado participated in the Sacred Heart School chess tournament on Saturday, Nov. 2. Lucas’s older brother Diego was the tournament champion. (Photo by Sister Margaret Sue Broker)

The Saints go marching

COLUMBUS – Annunciation sixth graders observed All Saints Day by presenting their Hall of Saints project to other students and visitors. Students worked on their Saints project for several weeks, learning about the lives of these special people in history. (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)

Bearing Gifts

GREENVILLE – Students at St. Joe Greenville celebrate All Saints Day Mass with Father Aaron Williams. (Photo by Nikki Thompson)

Youth news

St. Patrick students get creative

MERIDIAN – St. Patrick Catholic School students in fourth through sixth grades participated in the annual Knights of Columbus – Council 802 Creative Contraption contest. Each student was given identical bags with various items to create functioning contraptions. First place winners were fourth grader, Anthony Hopson; fifth grader, Elizabeth Crudup; and sixth grader, Stephen Wilson. They each received a $10 movie gift card from the Knights of Columbus. (Left) Freeda Ramirez, a sixth grade student at St. Patrick School, demonstrates her Creative Contraption to KC member John Harwell, on left and KC Grand Knight David Viger.(Below) Fourth grader, Tytan Duong demonstrates his Creative Contraption to KC Grand Knight David Viger. (Photos by Celeste Saucier)

Apple bobbing time

GREENVILLE – Sacred Heart church held a picnic for the youth of the Catholic children of the city to bring about support and fellowship of the future leaders. Featured activities included bobbing for applies. (Photo by Maurice Mosley)

Recess time fun

COLUMBUS – On Oct. 16, Father Jeffrey Waldrep stopped by the Annunciation school playground to visit with students. (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)

Little leaders

NATCHEZ – Cathedral School fourth grade students, Jordan Stubbs, Grant Carlton, Adeline Burget and Leah Tillman, led a Natchez Board of Supervisors meeting with the pledge of allegiance. (Photo by Cara Serio)

Learning is better together

MADISON – St. Anthony fifth graders Katie Venable and Murphy Moorehead explain the properties of Uranus to second graders Ben Schenk and Ava Archer. (Photo by Michele Warnock)

Youth news

Pinwheels for peace at St. Patrick Meridian

MERIDIAN – St. Patrick School recently held its annual Pinwheels for Peace program in celebration of International Day of Peace.
Students were chosen to write essays on what peace meant to them and pinwheels were placed in front of the school with messages of hope and peace.
Shown placing their pinwheels are Mrs. Palmer’s third grade students Helena Rutledge, Miles Whitman, Reese Ann Gressett and Victoria Ramirez. (Photo by Helen Reynolds)

Fighting Irish football

GREENVILLE – Bishop Kopacz enjoyed a night of Fighting Irish football at St. Joseph school. (Photo by Nikki Thompson)

Math gets technical

JACKSON – Sister Thea Bowman school students Khamari, Harry and J’Zarrio are concentrating hard to solve math problems using their tech tablets. (Photo courtsey of school)

Firefighters visit promotes fire safety first

COLUMBUS – First grade students at Annunciation school enjoyed a visit from local fire fighters who discussed fire safety and the importance of an evacuation plan in an emergency situation. (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)

Field trip fun

GREENVILLE – Greenville’s St. Joseph fourth through sixth graders got to attend Native American Day at Winterville Mounds on Oct. 10. They learned a lot about the Native American culture and also got to make a few crafts. Fun was had by all! (Photo by Nikki Thompson)

Grandparents breakfast at St. Thea Bowman

JACKSON – Sister Thea Bowman school grandparents Cathy Pendleton and Shirley and Phil Thiac enjoyed a nice breakfast with their grandchildren at the annual “We Love Our Grandparents Breakfast.” (Photo courtesy of school)