Crowning Mary

JACKSON – Sister Thea Bowman Elementary fifth grader, Ashleigh Mason accepts flowers from Kindergarteners, Karmen Davis and Kahlie Saleem, along with other Kindergarteners and Father Joe Dyer. The flowers were placed before the Mary statue during the Crowning Mary ceremony held after Mass on Friday, May 6. (Photo by Shae Goodman Robinson)
SOUTHAVEN – Sacred Heart students, Mac Collins and Izzy Viglietti serve as attendants as Gwyneth Michael crowns Mary during Mass on Wednesday, May 11. (Photo by Laura Grisham)
CANTON – Nicole Contreras, María Fernanda Tibet and Denise Contreras prepare to crown Mary at Sacred Heart Parish. (Photo by Blanca Peralta Zunigo)

Catholic student life

JACKSON – On Friday, May 6, St. Richard fifth graders performed Fifty Nifty United States. Students showed what happens when the States decide to visit and swap spots with each other. (Photo by Tereza Ma)
WEST POINT – Confirmation candidates, left to right, Paola Garcia and Paulina Lemus, are pictured reaching out to prospective donors for the Confirmation students annual blood drive that took place on Wednesday, May 25. Other candidates also made calls, distributed posters and flyers, and worked on the day of the drive, welcoming prospective donors and offering snacks and assistance; as well as, setting up and cleaning up. (Photo by Cathy Johnson)
GREENVILLE – St. Joseph students Raymon Singh, John Maddox Hillman, Jerrian King and Lori Ann Hughes compete in a team building exercise at their Junior Retreat. Working together is a necessity. (Photo by Emily Thompson)

Featured photo We need grad your photos!…

VICKSBURG – St. Aloysius 2022 graduates have some fun! (Photo by Lindsey Bradley)
Please, share your graduation pictures with us! Mississippi Catholic will publish our annual Graduation edition soon. Please send photos in actual size and include the following: full names of those pictured by row (left to right, top to bottom) and name of photographer. Candid photos also welcome. Please email photos and information to


Student life at Catholic schools


COLUMBUS – Seventh grader, Day Ivy acted as the Queen of Hearts in the Annunciation Middle School musical, Alice in Wonderland. (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)


GREENVILLE – Jasmine and Joe Parish, along with Emma, Madelyn and Matt Clanton enjoy a dinner before they hit the dance floor at the Daddy Daughter Date Night on Friday, April 29. (Photo by Nikki Thompson)



JACKSON – Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School Kindergartener, Zyon Brown and PreK4 student, Katelyn Kelly presented teachers Barbara Davis and Ethel Jimerson with a class gift basket of sweet treats to show how thankful the students are to have them as their teachers. (Photo by Shae Goodman-Robinson)
JACKSON – St. Richard student, Mary Catherine Vanderloo completed her “Famous Mississippian” project on Sarah Thomas, the NFL’s first full-time female official (referee). The entire fourth grade was surprised when Sarah Thomas herself visited the class on Friday, April 29. (Photo by Tammy Conrad)

Yazoo City

YAZOO CITY – St. Mary parish celebrated Mother’s Day with “Mary in the Garden.” Parishioners had a beautiful day of fellowship, the crowning of Mary and praying the Rosary to celebrate mothers. (Photo by Babs McMaster)



Easter around the diocese

SOUTHAVEN – The last of the stations as acted out by our eighth grade students for the student body before going home for Easter break. Jack Hicks acted as Jesus. (Photos by Sister Margareth Sue Broker)
COLUMBUS – Annunciation middle school students, Isabel Keith, Mary Beth Waggoner, Kelsey and Kennedy Perkins, Amy Williams and Lola Sullivan (8th grade) act as the women of Jerusalem weeping over Jesus during Living Stations of Cross on April 13. (Photos by Katie Fenstermacher)
CLINTON – Right: Anna Kate Yentzen participates in Holy Savior’s egg hunt. (Photo by Trish Ballard)
MAGEE – Parish youth participated in an egg hunt at St. Stephen parish. (Photos courtesy of St. Stephen parish)
VICKSBURG – The Pre-K3 class at the Sisters of Mercy ELC released butterflies after learning about the their life cycle. They watched them grow from small caterpillars into beautiful butterflies. (Photo by Lindsey Bradley)


School life around diocese

COLUMBUS – On Friday, March 25, students at Annunciation school joined Pope Francis, Bishop Joseph Kopacz, and other Bishops around the world in praying the Rosary for peace and an end to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Katie Fenstermacher)
HOLLY SPRINGS – Anita Temple assists in judging science fair projects at Holy Family School. (Photo by Phyllis Parker)
JACKSON – St. Richard student, Ruby Hospodor serves up the ball during a volleyball match on April 7 against First Presbetarian Day School. (Photo by Tereza Ma)
JACKSON – Students Brennyn Bolden and Cassie Anderson from St. Joseph Catholic School in Madison head out of the Cathedral of St. Peter after the Consecration of Russia, Ukraine and the Diocese of Jackson to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Friday, March 25. (Photo by Tereza Ma)

Student life at Catholic schools

Fifth grader, Bryson Walk presents his reading fair project to judges. Anne Larkin Vollor looks on. (Photos by Emily Thompson)
NATCHEZ – PreK-3 teachers, Paige Iseminger and Hailey Tosspon with assistants Dana Dupre and Jody Upton, took their students outside for their prayers for peace time for Ukraine and Russia.
NATCHEZ – Pleasant Acre Day School requested assistance on replenishing their supply of Mardi Gras beads and Cathedral Green Wave families were happy to help. Pictured is Torri Webber’s first grade class assisting with loading up beads to be delivered to the day school. (Photos by Cara Moody)
MADISON – Fifth and sixth grade students at St. Anthony directed aplay. Pictured are Kee Curro, Arie Strong, Lily Kate Lloyd and Maddie Morris. (Photos by Katie Signa)


Ashes to ashes



SOUTHAVEN – Sister Margaret Sue Broker distributes ashes to students at Sacred Heart School. (Photo courtesy of Sister Margaret Sue Broker)


NATCHEZ – PreK-3 student, Collins Garrity receives ashes from Father Mark Shoffner at Cathedral School. Cam Walker observes in the background. (Photo by Jessica Carter)

Children Mass

Yazoo City

YAZOO CITY – St. Mary parish held a Children’s Mass on Sunday, March 6, where children served as lectors and altar servers. Pictured left to right: Meriella Kirby, James Blande Pettigrew, Will Foster, Ella Grey McMaster and Kelsie Kennedy. (Photo by Babs McMaster)

Annual DCYC gives youth “Encounter” experience

By Joanna Puddister King
VICKSBURG – The annual Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference (DCYC) at the Vicksburg Convention Center was back this year after a hiatus due to COVID. Held from Feb. 18-20, the conference brought together teens from around the diocese for a weekend celebration with the theme “Encounter.”

Diocesan coordinator for the Office of Youth Ministry, Abbey Schuhmann said, “It has been two years since we were last able to gather as a diocese to celebrate our Catholic faith as one large community. It was our great hope that DCYC 2022 was a time to celebrate and encounter each other but more importantly to encounter Jesus Christ through the gift of our Catholic faith.”

VICKSBURG – Youth gather around “Encounter” weekend leader and Catholic hip-hop artist Joe Melendrez in prayer during the annual Diocesan Catholic Youth Conference (DCYC) held at the Vicksburg Convention Center from Feb.18-20. (Photos by Abbey Schuhmann)

Youth were able to do just that with keynote presenter and recording artist Joe Melendrez, described as one of America’s most exciting Catholic performers. Melendrez got his start performing on MTV at age 15 and encountered the love of God shortly after. He has since dedicated his life to sharing the Good News and sharing the Gospel in unique ways – like his Catholic hip-hop style.

“Melendrez was a very dynamic and high energy presenter; his talks throughout the weekend were very interactive and powerful,” said Schuhmann. “Being a Catholic hip-hop artist, his music provided for very upbeat and entertaining sessions of worship that got all participants, young and old, on their feet and moving to the beat.”

On Saturday of the conference, diocesan vocations director, Father Nick Adam and Sister Kelly Moline, OP, a Dominican Sister of Springfield, Illinois and chaplain at St. Dominic’s Hospital in Jackson, along with diocesan seminarians led a session on discernment on Saturday afternoon. They challenged each participant to continue to seek God’s will in their life and to continue to be open to His call, said Schuhmann.

Other activities during the “Encounter” weekend included small group sessions, games, Mass, Reconciliation, Adoration and a concert with Melendrez on Saturday evening. The weekend concluded with Mass celebrated by Bishop Joseph Kopacz and the presentation of the Bishop Chanche Youth Service Awards to six youth from around the diocese.

This was the fourth year that the conference was held in Vicksburg. Groups from twelve parishes representing five of the six deaneries were in attendance this year. Schuhmann says that plans are already underway for the 2023 conference and invites youth from around the diocese to encounter Christ.

For more information about events sponsored by the Office of Youth Ministry please contact coordinator, Abbey Schuhmann. 601-949-6934 or


Ash Wednesday


Holy Springs

HOLLY SPRINGS – Father Hendrick Adrianto, SCJ led Mass, which included the distribution of ashes for Holy Family students. (Photo by Laura Grisham)

Made with love


LELAND – The children of St. James parish made valentine cards for the 11 a.m. Mass attendees on Sunday, Feb. 13. (Photo by Deborah Ruggeri)

Laissez les bons temps rouler


JACKSON – St. Richard School celebrated its annual Mardi Gras parade on March 1. Students in K3, K4 and K5 made “floats” and marched the route along with the St. Joe Madison Band and Spirit Steppers. Pictured are K5 students (front to back) Makayla Carlson, Reagan Nelson, John Ellis Ehrgott, Anna Pham, MJ Walker and Ja’Cory Butler. (Photo by Tammy Conrad)


MADISON – St. Anthony students Reed Brown, Brynn Evans and Harper Measells enjoyed driving in their mardi gras parade. (Photo by Katie Signa)


VICKSBURG – Montessori kindergarten students, Jack Dornbusch and Dylan Rader had so much fun in their Mardi Gras parade throwing beads to other Vicksburg Catholic School students. (Photo by Lindsey Bradley)


CLARKSDALE – St. Elizabeth students rolled on March 1 for the school’s annual Mardi Gras parade with everything fancy and fun! They had their very own king and queen, music, king cakes, convertible, horses, policemen, deputies and firemen, and, of course, tons of beads! (Photo by Mary Evelyn Stonestreet)


FLOWOOD – St. Paul Early Learning Center student, Hannah Hall dances her way through the parade of students held on Fat Tuesday. (Photo by Susan R. Irby)

Bishop Chanche Youth honorees

JACKSON – This year, Bishop Joseph Kopacz and the Office of Youth Ministry awarded seven young people the Bishop Chanche youth service award. Six were presented their award at DCYC at the Vicksburg Convention Center on Sunday, Feb. 20. Award recipient, Owen Wolf was a part of the Bishop Chanche award presentation with adult recipients, as his parents Michael and Stacy Wolf were also awarded for their service to the church.

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.

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 medal for service.

Owen Wolf received a Bishop Chanche youth service award on Saturday, Feb. 19 at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle from Bishop Joseph Kopacz. (Photo by Joanna Puddister King)

OWEN Wolf – St. Jude, Pearl
Owen is dedicated and faithful to the parish and to his convictions. During the pandemic Owen showed great leadership and dedication of service to the parish by helping to transition a trailer into an altar so we could have drive in Mass. He served as usher and traffic director at every Saturday evening drive in service from May thru November of 2020 and still serves today whenever he is needed. The qualities that best describe Owen are humble, trustworthy, honest, a gentle leader and steadfast in his faith. – Father Lincoln Dall

Anna Harvey – St. Alphonsus, McComb
Anna is a great witness at our youth Mass, always willing to lector. She uses her gifts to glorify God and never to glorify herself. She often wins games and displays great humility. She has discussions with at least one non-Catholic friend about the Catholic faith and desires to share the best she can.
Anna has been incredibly generous with her time in serving our parish. She has participated in service days, managed games for Easter and Halloween, led music for VBS, played piano for two Masses each month, and lectored often. She has modeled great kindness toward the youth at our parish events, helping the little ones to feel comfortable through her activities. Anna is patient, she listens attentively and strives for excellence in all that she undertakes. – Father Suresh Thirumalareddy

Claire Plaisance – St. James, Magnolia
Claire is consistent, dedicated and charitable. These virtues are demonstrated by her in a unique way, and I think her family has instilled these in her very well.
Claire works very hard, not only for her family, but for the parish. She arrived to a service day and was the only teen with a few chaperones who worked to clean an elderly parishioner’s yard. She is generous with her time, and I know would be willing to serve if called upon. Claire has a spirit of courage; I feel she would be willing to stand up for what’s right in the face of adversity. – Father Suresh Thirumalareddy

Avery Greyson Calvert – St. Joseph , Gluckstadt
Avery moved to Mississippi the summer before his junior year during the pandemic. He joined our very tiny virtual youth group at the time and quickly grew into the role of a youth leader. He is committed, outgoing, and shares his faith and talents readily with not only our parish, but his school and his community.
Avery volunteered to be a cantor as soon as Masses began again at our parish in 2020. He is a talented vocalist and we had very few cantors at that time. He is among the favorites these days. He cantors for his school Masses at St. Joseph in Madison as well. He joined our youth leadership team at the parish, which meets every Wednesday for training and Sundays for Youth Ministry. Avery has given talks to our Confirmation classes, helped lead retreats and is a member of the Jr. Core Team for LifeTeen. – Pam Minninger, LEM

Austin Dungan – St. Patrick, Meridian
Austin has such a peaceful demeanor. His kindness is genuine and earnest. He has a heart for the faith. His love for his parish family is evident in his very presence and he is such a delight to see on Sunday mornings when he is ushering – no words needed because he greets with a smile every time.
It is evident that Austin does not do what he does for praise or recognition. Everything he does, he does it quietly and almost as if in prayer. He is respectful with a confident “Yes, Sir” or “Yes, Ma’am” and a pleasant “Good Morning” when answering or speaking to any parishioner. He is mindful to not overlook anyone that walks into the church, he is so gracious with a smile. Austin is a natural leader, and his calm and gentle demeanor is infectious. His respect for the Blessed Sacrament and when he approaches the altar does not go unnoticed either. – Father Augustine Palimattam

Frank Joseph Serio – St. Joseph, Greenville
Frank is witty and kindhearted. His dynamic ability to be available for the school and parish, always, whether serving in the Mass, volunteering to help an elderly person or encouraging one of his peers, he is open to the needs of others and available to serve how the Holy Spirit leads. He is altar server every week, Eucharistic minister, leads Middle School small group, encourages his younger peers, friend to the elderly – he even led a service project for his senior class to decorate a widowed parishioner’s home for Christmas.
He serves at St. Vincent de Paul whether it be helping on a Saturday with maintenance or over the summer/spring/holiday breaks to carry items to the vehicle for clients. He also organized the can food drive at his high school that collected and delivered over 3,000 cans for St. Vincent. And what’s so special is that this kid doesn’t realize all that he is: charismatic, thoughtful, faithful, honorable, compassionate for others, spirit filled and joyful. – Monsignor Elvin Sunds

Olivia Ann Hanby – St. James, Tupelo
Olivia’s heart to serve, is never ending. No matter, what she just did, she is going to be there again, for the next thing. This is not just at church; it applies to all areas of her life.
Olivia currently serves as a faith formation teacher on Sunday mornings, as a member of the youth choir and often as a lector at Mass. Recently, she served others through working Habitat for Humanity and she has served with Catholic Heart Work Camp for three years. She has served at school for Fellowship of Christian Athletes for three years. Additionally, Olivia has served as a leader for Vacation Bible School for all of her high school career. Currently, she serves as a Math tutor and as a LifeTeen Leader as a Senior. – Father Tim Murphy

(Photo courtesy Abbey Schuhmann)