Students participate in service, prayer

SOUTHAVEN – Vinney Heeney helps load groceries for a client. Sacred Heart Students are participating in their school theme for the year ‘Mercy Knows No Bounds’ by volunteering all year at the mobile food pantry run by Southern Missions

Sacred Heart middle school students prepared for Lent with a daylong retreat led by members of the National Evangelization Team, NET.(Photos by Laura Grisham)

Preparing for Lent

SOUTHAVEN – Sister Margaret Sue Broker shows students at Sacred Heart School how the palms from last year’s Palm Sunday procession are burned to use as ashes to mark everyone’s forehead during this year’s Ash Wednesday. Sister teaches the students how this connects the Liturgical calendar. (Photos courtesy of Laura Grisham)

Freezing fun on Fat Tuesday

CLARKSDALE – Cold temperatures didn’t stop the students from St. Elizabeth School from celebrating Mardi Gras with a parade around campus. Older students threw the traditional beads and prizes from convertables to their younger classmates. Mardi Gras, literally Fat Tuesday, was a day to eat all the sweets and meat a family might have to prepare for fasting and abstience during the season of Lent. (Photos by Dawn Spinks)

Youth news

Youth brief

The Office of Faith Formation will once again offer a diocesan High School Confirmation Retreat. This year’s event is set for March 30-31, at Lake Forest Ranch in Macon. The cost is $50 per person, which covers food, the accommodations and event materials. Each attendee must be registered through a parish by Monday, March 11. Even teens who miss their parish retreat and would like to attend this must register through their parish to attend.

Famous Mississippian interviewed

Dorothy by St Anthony


JACKSON – Murphy Moorehead, a fourth-grader at Madison St. Anthony School interviews Dominican Sister Dorothea Sondgeroth, of St. Dominic Health Foundation.Moorehead is researching Sister as a “famous Mississippian” for a school project. Students will report on and then portray their Mississippian during a living museum. Other famous people will include Sister Thea Bowman. (Photo by Bridget Moorehead)

Catholic Schools Week Service

SOUTHAVEN – Sophia Moore reading to second graders during Catholic Schools week as students served one another. (Photo by Sitter Margaret Sue Broker)

GREENWOOD – St. Francis of Assisi School students Tyven Haymore and Ruben Martinez unload canned goods at the Lefore County Food Pantry. Students brought in the food as a Catholic Schools Week Service Project. (Photo by Jackie Lewis)

Fun Sunday at St. Jude

PEARL – (I-r) Eaten Dowdle, Aubey and Ross Lee enjoyed an evening full of fun, kids activieties and food as part of a series called Faith and Fun Sundays at St. Jude parish on Sunday, Feb 3. (Photo by Tereza Ma)

Youth conference grows, inspires students with faith, hope, love

By Maureen Smith
VICKSBURG – Young people from more than a dozen parishes spent the first weekend in February exploring Faith, Hope and Love during the Diocese’s of Jackson’s Youth Conference (DCYC). Participation was up from last year, with 130 youth attending.
The theme came from the readings for the weekend and each day explored one of the aspects. Abbey Schuhmann, Coordinator of Youth Ministry for the Diocese of Jackson, plans the event with a team of youth ministers from across the diocese. “This (theme) was simple, basic, but we still felt like it was powerful and relevant to our teens,” she explained.
Keynote speaker Brian Butler led sessions on each concept. The teens got to have a dance party, participate in adoration, reconciliation, Mass and activities such as a ‘selfie scavenger hunt’ in which they had to take group selfies with particular people associated with the conference. Musical duo Greg and Lizzie led praise and worship and guest speakers including Greenwood St. Francis’ Derrick Faucheaux and his fiancé Mary Upchurch as well as Ray Lacy, youth director for the Diocese of Biloxi. Fathers Nick Adam and Aaron Williams led a young men’s session on vocation while Dominican Sister Kelly Moline led a young women’s session.
“In our talk with the men I wanted to help them to recognize that they absolutely have a call from the Lord, whether it is priesthood or married life is still to be determined, but to live out of the knowledge that God is calling them to greatness in Him, not just to worldly success,” said Father Adam.
Sister Kelly expressed a similar idea. “I wanted then to understand that everyone has a ‘big v’ vocation – whether that be married life, single life or consecrated religious life, but they also have a ‘small v’ vocation – to be the best doctor, nurse, mom or mechanic there ever was,” she said. She also urged the young women to pursue a life of listening and prayer, pointing out that “often the people around you, those who love you best, are the ones who may spot your vocation before you do,” she added.
This was the first conference for the newly-formed youth group at Forest St. Michael Parish. Diemmi Pham said she appreciated that members of her parish helped raise the money needed for teens to attend. “I didn’t know what to expect coming here. I was kind of expecting just praying, you know, and bonding as a parish, but the activities that we did together—yeah we bonded as a parish, but it took it to another level, so I got out of this making new friendships and strengthening our relationship with each other,” she said.
Many teens said they enjoy the chance to interact with a large group of other Catholics. “I actually live in Carrolton, but I go to school in Grenada and we don’t have a lot of Catholics so we are this small part of where we are from so I wanted to meet people and make some friendships. I’m a really big introvert so this is a way for me to expand my circle and just have new experience,” said Amelia Ferguson of Winona Sacred Heart Parish.
Merideth Johnson echoed the sentiment, saying “I felt like I needed something spiritual because a lot of gatherings are just for a concert or something — this is something different to go to and gather with a bunch of Catholic youth.”
This is the second year for Elvis Scott of Greenville Sacred Heart Parish to attend. “Last year we came and it was a wonderful experience so it was something I felt like participating in again,” he said. “To me this year is more of a spot-on connection with them teaching us to have trust in God and in Jesus. I never thought about what they were talking about yesterday – making a connection with Jesus – and it brought me closer to him because I didn’t have that in my mind before,” he said.
“I hope that our youth got a taste of the wider Church here in Mississippi,” said Father Adam. “Sometimes we think of our own parish as the ‘end-all-be-all’ of Catholicism, but the outstanding program that the diocesan Youth Office provided showed our young people how dynamic the young Church can be,” he added.
Many of this year’s new features came from evaluations turned in after last year’s event. “We take those evaluations seriously,” said Schuhmann. “We are just getting started with this conference,” she added.
One of last year’s special guests – a giant stuffed sloth – was joined by Llou the Llama. The plush animals are prizes for the youth groups who win different competitions throughout the weekend to take home. Only time will tell how large the menagerie will get.

More conference pictures click here.


Youth convention builds faith, hope, love

VICKSBURG – High School youth from dozens of parishes gatherd at the Vicksburg Conventon Center for the Diocecan Catholic Youth Convention 2019 on Feb. 1-3. The theme was faith, hope, love. Look for coverage in the next issuse of Mississippi Catholic. (Photos by Maureen Smith)

Youth convention, Vicksburg

Youth convention, Vicksburg

Youth convention, Vicksburg

Youth convention, Vicksburg

Youth convention, Vicksburg

Youth at Mass for Life thanked for offering sign of hope for the future

By Mark Zimmermann
WASHINGTON (CNS) – They came from near and far, and even from Down Under, united in prayer and in standing together for life at the Archdiocese of Washington’s annual Youth Rally and Mass for Life, held Jan. 18 at the Capital One Arena in Washington.
The estimated crowd of 18,000 came from the Washington area and from across the country and were joined by young adults from Sydney on their way to World Youth Day in Panama.
The main celebrant at the Mass, Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, entered and left the arena smiling and waving a blessing to the spirited crowd of teens and young adults, many of whom wore colorful, matching hats or sweatshirts along with their school uniforms.
They had come, the archbishop said, for a day of prayer for the legal protection of unborn children and to stand up and speak out for all those who are vulnerable in society, and also “to give thanks to God for the gift of life.”
“Dear young people, thank you for the witness of your Catholic faith, both now in holy Mass, on the streets of Washington, and more importantly, when you return home to your families and neighborhoods,” he said.
Archbishop Pierre read a message from Pope Francis, who said he was united in prayer with the thousands of young people who had come to Washington to join the March for Life. The pontiff in his message said the challenging task for each generation is “to uphold the inviolable dignity of human life.” The pope’s message said respect for the sacredness of every life is essential in building a just society, where every child, and every person, is welcomed as a brother and sister.
Fifteen other bishops concelebrated the Mass including the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston and Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher who was accompanying the Australian pilgrims. About 175 priests also concelebrated the Mass, assisted by about 30 permanent deacons.
The arena crowd also included an estimated 500 seminarians and 100 women religious.
Opening his homily at the Mass, Father Robert Boxie III, the parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Largo, Maryland, said, “To see this arena filled with the Body of Christ, I’m looking out and seeing hope for the future of our church, and hope for the future of our country. It’s an awesome and beautiful sight!”
Noting that the first reading at the Mass included the passage from Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you,” the priest added, “The womb is the first place God encounters us. God encounters us in the womb and seeks to encounter us in each moment of our lives.”

A participant cheers while attending a pro-life youth rally and Mass at Capital One Arena in Washington Jan. 18 before the annual March for Life. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)