ICE raids: how to help

CANTON – Bishop Joseph Kopacz celebrated mass on Sunday, Sept. 8 at Sacred Heart parish. As a parish hit hard by the ICE raids last month, in his homily Bishop Kopacz reminded parishioners that even when carrying the cross, there is always someone coming to help, like Simon of Cyrene who helped Jesus.
Catholic Charities of Jackson has received monetary donations from around the country to help those affected, in addition to numerous in-kind donations that they are using to restock affected parishes as needed. At this time, Catholic Charities is in need of a warehouse or building with lots of storage space for a several month period in the Canton, Jackson, Forest or Morton area. Catholic Charities would provide insurance, utilities and janitorial needs. If you are able to help contact executive director, Wanda Thomas at
Monetary donations may be made at

CANTON – Mississippi Catholic’s Joanna King and Robert Harris from the Iota Phi Theta fraternity at Jackson State University work to sort donations at Sacred Heart parish. (Photos by tereza ma)
CANTON – Deacon César Sanchez distributed children’s bulletins after Mass, officiated by Bishop Kopacz on Sunday, Sept 8. (Photo by Berta Mexidor)

In Memoriam

Father Alfred Louis “Al” Camp

JACKSON – Father Alfred Louis “Al” Camp died Sunday, Sept. 1, at St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson. Born in Monroeville, Ohio on Sept. 30, 1931, Father Camp enrolled in the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio in 1945. After completing his seminary studies at the Josephinum in 1957, he was ordained to the priesthood on May 25, 1957 by Archbishop Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, Apostolic Delegate to the United States. Father Camp taught Latin and served as Dean of Men in the College Division at the Josephinum from 1957-1966. While teaching, he also pursued undergraduate and graduate degrees from Ohio State University in Classical Languages, Physical Education and Higher Education.
Upon completion of those studies, Father Camp came to the Diocese of Jackson (Natchez-Jackson) where he was assigned to St. Paul Parish in Vicksburg and St. Aloysius School, where he began his life of service as a priest and educator. He served as teacher and principal of St. Aloysius until 1992, when he was named pastor of St. Mary Basilica in Natchez where he served until 2004. During his tenure in Natchez, St. Mary, the original Cathedral of the diocese, was named a minor basilica by Pope St. John Paul II.
Father Camp tried to retire in 2004, but his services were needed by the Bishop in Clarksdale as pastor of Immaculate Conception and St. Elizabeth Parishes. He served there for two years and then retired in 2006 as Senior Priest at St. Francis Parish in Madison.
Beloved by countless numbers of people with whom he shared his wisdom, knowledge, compassion and wonderful sense of humor, Father Camp never ceased to serve by visiting the sick and comforting the dying until his health no longer allowed it. He is survived by one sister and many nieces and nephews.
As the consummate educator he was, Father Camp chose to be an anatomical donor to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, so that even in death he will continue to teach. His pupils now are numerous medical students tasked with improving the healthcare of our state for all its inhabitants.
Bishop Joseph Kopacz celebrated a Memorial Mass for Father Camp on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at St. Mary Basilica in Natchez.

Sister Judanne Stratman

MANITOWOC, WIS. – Sister Judanne Stratman, age 80, a member of the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, died Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at Holy Family Convent, Manitowoc.
The former Mary Lou Stratman was born March 18, 1939 in West Point, Nebraska, daughter of the late Leonard and Angeline (Disher) Stratman. She entered the convent in 1956 and professed her vows in 1958. Sister Judanne earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree at Holy Family College, Manitowoc, Wisconsin; Masters in teaching Biology at Loyola University, Los Angeles, California; Masters Certificate in Renewal of Apostolic Religious Life, Rome, Italy; and Master of Arts in Religious Education, Notre Dame Institute, Arlington, Virginia.
Sister Judanne was involved in a variety of ministries. These included teaching at all grade levels: St Joseph, Rice Lake; Catholic Memorial, Waukesha and Silver Lake College of the Holy Family, Manitowoc, all in Wisconsin; Bishop Amat, La Puente and San Roque, Santa Barbara, both in California. She also directed religious education programs at St. Anthony, Neopit; Holy Redeemer, Two Rivers in Wisconsin, and St. Mary, West Point, Nebraska. Sister Judanne studied in Rome, Italy, in preparation for her years as Directress of Novices in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. For twelve years, sister Judanne served the Community as a General Administration Council Member. Later on she volunteered at the St. Gabriel Center in Mound Bayou, Mississippi.
Sister Judanne also ministered to the Sisters at St. Francis Convent, Manitowoc, as well as the Sisters in St. Rita Health Center, Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Sister Judanne had been a resident of St. Rita Health Center, Manitowoc, for the past month.
Survivors include the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity; one sister: Susan Stratman of Williamsport, Indiana; and other relatives and friends. She is preceded in death by her parents: Leonard and Angeline (Disher) Stratman; and one brother: Brother Bernard Stratman, S.M.
Memorial contributions may be made to support retired Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity, in care of FSCC Retirement Fund, Holy Family Convent, 2409 S. Alverno Rd., Manitowoc, Wisconsin 54220.
Published in Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter from Aug. 16.

Sacred scripture in life of church

Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz

By Bishop Joseph Kopacz
The catechetical theme for the 2019-2020 season of faith formation and evangelization beginning this month is “Stay with us.” The source for this unusual command, really an entreaty, is the Emmaus story in the Gospel of Luke 24: 13-35. After the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus the apostles and disciples were scattered like sheep without a shepherd and without a future. They were so overwhelmed with grief, bordering on despair, that they were unable to recognize their risen Lord even when he was at their side. Two unnamed disciples were walking away from Jerusalem to Emmaus with heavy hearts when Jesus appeared alongside of them. He feigned not knowing what had happened on Good Friday in order to break open the Old Testament with all of the prophetic declarations that anticipated the Messiah, his life, death and resurrection. The two became so enraptured with his presence and his hope-filled words that they pleaded with him to “stay with us” because it was already dusk. While he sat at table with them Jesus took the bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to them. With that “their eyes were opened and he vanished from their sight.” (24:31) Either these were two apostles at the Last Supper, or they had been informed about the transformation of the bread and wine at the Passover Meal into the Body and Blood of the Lord. In any case, they turned to one another and exclaimed, “were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (24:32)
This is the resurrection account that established the foundation for the Eucharist, the Breaking of Bread, which the early disciples celebrated in one or another of their homes, as identified in the Acts of the Apostles (2:46). In fact, Acts 2:42-47 defines the four pillars of authentic Christian community, Word, Worship, Community and Service. The Word refers to the proclamation of the Scriptures at Mass, evangelization, or the proclamation of the Kerygma to unbelievers, and catechetical instruction, or faith formation to the baptized. It is the God’s dream that the hearts of his Son’s disciples would burn in the presence of the sacred scriptures and that every level of instruction would be evidence of a living faith seeking understanding.
The Sacred Scripture is the heart and soul of all faith formation, the cornerstone of our faith in the crucified and risen Lord. This gift was reflected upon at the recent Rite of the Installation of Lectors with our Permanent Deacon Candidates at St. Jude in Pearl on Sept. 7.
Two excerpts from the document on Divine Revelation from the Second Vatican Council were broken open during the homily. “The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures just as she venerates the body of the Lord, since, especially in the sacred liturgy, she unceasingly receives and offers to the faithful the bread of life from the table both of God’s word and of Christ’s body. She has always maintained them, and continues to do so, together with sacred tradition, as the supreme rule of faith, since, as inspired by God and committed once and for all to writing, they impart the word of God Himself without change, and make the voice of the Holy Spirit resound in the words of the prophets and Apostles. Therefore, like the Christian religion itself, all the preaching of the Church must be nourished and regulated by Sacred Scripture.” The priority of place of the Bible in the teaching ministry of the Church is evident in Pope Francis’ recent Apostolic Exhortation, Christus Vivit. He refers repeatedly to the biblical figures who were instrumental in God’s plan of salvation, of course, especially with regard to the Blessed Mother.
The second reference from Dei Verbum is the exhortation to all the baptized, laity and clergy, as disciples of the Lord to allow the Holy Spirit to light or reignite the fire and keep it burning within our hearts and minds. “Therefore, all the clergy must hold fast to the Sacred Scriptures through diligent sacred reading and careful study, especially the priests of Christ and others, such as deacons and catechists who are legitimately active in the ministry of the word. This is to be done so that none of them will become “an empty preacher (or catechist) of the word of God outwardly, who is not a listener to it inwardly” (4) since they must share the abundant wealth of the divine word with the faithful committed to them, especially in the sacred liturgy. The sacred synod also earnestly and especially urges all the Christian faithful, especially Religious, to learn by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures the “excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:8). “For ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”
The hard-hitting quotation that completes the Dei Verbum reference is from Saint Jerome who translated the entire Bible in the fifth century from Hebrew and Greek into Latin, commonly known as the Vulgate. He allowed the Word of God to wash over him and to burn deep within. As the new catechetical year begins may we all allow the Word of God to burn in our hearts so that the Lord indeed “may remain with us” opening the eyes of our hearts so that we may recognize his real presence in his body, the church, in the gathered assembly at Mass, in his body and blood, soul and divinity, at the altar, in the breaking of the bread at the Lamb of God and in the reception of holy communion. This is our Catholic faith and we are proud to profess it in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Escritura Sagrada, vida de la Iglesia

Obispo Joseph R. Kopacz

Por Obispo Joseph Kopacz
El tema catequético para la temporada de formación de fe y evangelización 2019-2020 que comienza este mes es “Quédate con nosotros”. La fuente de este comando inusual, realmente una súplica, es la historia de Emaús en el Evangelio de Lucas 24: 13-35. Después de la crucifixión del Señor Jesús, los apóstoles y discípulos se dispersaron como ovejas sin pastor y sin futuro. Estaban tan abrumados por el dolor, al borde de la desesperación, que no pudieron reconocer a su Señor resucitado incluso cuando estaba a su lado.
Dos discípulos no identificados se alejaban de Jerusalén a Emaús, con pesar en sus corazones, cuando Jesús apareció junto a ellos. Jesús fingió no saber lo que había sucedido el Viernes Santo para recordarles el Antiguo Testamento con todas las profesias en las que se anticipaba al Mesías, su vida, muerte y resurrección. Los dos discípulos se entusiasmaron tanto con su presencia y palabras llenas de esperanza que le suplicaron que se quedara “con nosotros” porque ya estaba anocheciendo. Mientras se sentaba a la mesa con ellos, Jesús tomó el pan, lo bendijo, lo partió y se los dio. Con eso “en ese momento se les abrieron los ojos y reconocieron a Jesus; pero él desapareció.” Lc 24:31. O bien estos eran dos apóstoles en la Última Cena, o ya sabían acerca de la transformación del pan y el vino en el Cuerpo y Sangre del Señor durante la Cena de Pascua. En cualquier caso, se volvieron el uno al otro y exclamaron: “¿No es verdad que el corazón nos ardía en el pecho cuando nos venía hablando por el camino y nos explicaba las Escrituras?”Lc (24:32)
Este es el relato de la resurrección y la Partida del Pan, que estableció la base de la Eucaristía, aquella que los primeros discípulos celebraron en uno u otro de sus hogares, como se reconoce en los Hechos de los Apóstoles, Hech 2:46. En efecto, en Hech 2:42-47 se definen los cuatro pilares de la auténtica comunidad cristiana: Palabra, Adoración, Comunidad y Servicio. La Palabra se refiere a la proclamación de las Escrituras en la Misa, la evangelización o proclamación del Kerygma a los no creyentes y la instrucción catequética, o formación de la fe, a los bautizados.
Es el sueño de Dios que los corazones de los discípulos de su Hijo ardan en presencia de las Sagradas Escrituras y que en cada nivel de instrucción esté la evidencia de una fe viva que busca el entendimiento. La Sagrada Escritura es el corazón y el alma de toda formación de fe, la piedra angular de nuestra fe en el Señor crucificado y resucitado. Este regalo se reflejó en el reciente Rito de Instalación de Lectores con nuestros candidatos a Diáconos Permanentes en Saint Jude, en Pearl el 7 de septiembre.
Dos extractos del documento La Revelación Divina, del Concilio Vaticano II fueron leídos durante la homilía. “Por esta razón, la Iglesia ha venerado siempre las divinas Escrituras como venera también el Cuerpo del Señor. No cesa de presentar a los fieles el Pan de vida que se distribuye en la mesa de la Palabra de Dios y del Cuerpo de Cristo.” La Iglesia siempre los ha mantenido, y continúa haciéndolo, junto con la tradición sagrada, como la regla suprema de la fe, ya que, inspirada por Dios y comprometida de una vez por todas a escribir, imparten la palabra de Dios mismo sin cambios, y hacer resonar la voz del Espíritu Santo en las palabras de los profetas y apóstoles…. Dios es el autor de la Sagrada Escritura «Las verdades reveladas por Dios, que se contienen y manifiestan en la Sagrada Escritura, se consignaron por inspiración del Espíritu Santo» … Por lo tanto, al igual que la religión cristiana en sí, toda la predicación de la Iglesia debe ser alimentada y regulada por la Sagrada Escritura.”
La prioridad del lugar de la Biblia en el ministerio de enseñanza de la Iglesia es evidente en la reciente Exhortación Apostólica del Papa Francisco, Christus Vivit. Se refiere repetidamente a las figuras bíblicas que fueron fundamentales en el plan de salvación de Dios, por supuesto, especialmente con respecto a la Santísima Madre.
La segunda referencia de Dei Verbum es la exhortación a todos los bautizados, laicos y clérigos, como discípulos del Señor para permitir que el Espíritu Santo encienda o mantenga el fuego ardiendo en nuestros corazones y mentes. “Por lo tanto, todo el clero debe aferrarse a las Sagradas Escrituras a través de la lectura sagrada diligente y el estudio cuidadoso, especialmente los sacerdotes de Cristo y otros, como los diáconos y los catequistas que son legítimamente activos en el ministerio de la palabra. Esto debe hacerse para que ninguno de ellos se convierta en ‘un predicador o catequista vacío de la palabra de Dios, expresándola externamente y que no la escuche internamente’ (4), ya que ellos deben compartir la abundante riqueza de la palabra divina con los fieles comprometidos con ellos, especialmente en la sagrada liturgia. El sínodo sagrado también urge y especialmente insta a todos los cristianos de fe, especialmente religiosos, a aprender mediante la lectura frecuente de las Escrituras divinas el “excelente conocimiento de Jesucristo,” Fil. 3:8
“La ignorancia de las Escrituras es ignorancia de Cristo” es la cita contundente de San Jerónimo que completa la referencia de Dei Verbum. San Jerónimo tradujo toda la Biblia en el siglo V del hebreo y griego al latín, comúnmente conocida como la “Vulgata”, o traducción hecha para el pueblo, “el vulgo.” San Jerónimo permitió que la Palabra de Dios lo cubriera y ardiera en lo más profundo.
A medida que comience el nuevo año catequético, que todos permitamos que la Palabra de Dios arda en nuestros corazones para que el Señor “permanezca con nosotros” abriendo los ojos de nuestros corazones para que podamos reconocer su presencia real en su cuerpo, la iglesia, en la asamblea reunida en la misa, en su cuerpo y sangre, alma y divinidad, en el altar, en la partición del pan, en el Cordero de Dios y en la recepción de la Santa Comunión. Esta es nuestra fe católica y estamos orgullosos de profesarla en Cristo Jesús, nuestro Señor.

Climbers exist inside the church

By Junno Arocho Esteves
VATICAN CITY (CNS) – People who race to get top positions often feel superior to others, an attitude that destroys the possibility for fellowship and communion, Pope Francis said.
“We all know these people: climbers, always trying to climb up, up. They hurt brotherhood, they damage brotherhood,” the pope said Sept. 1 during his Sunday Angelus address.
Thousands of pilgrims waited outside St. Peter’s Square to listen to and pray with the pope. However, the pope was late, which is unusual for his Angelus appointment.
Excusing himself for the delay, the pope explained that he was stuck in an elevator for almost a half-hour.
“Thank God the firefighters came – I thank them very much – and after 25 minutes of work they were able to get (the elevator) working. An applause to the firefighters,” he said.
In his address, the pope focused on the Sunday Gospel reading in which Jesus recounts two parables while dining at the house of a leading Pharisee.
Noticing how many guests rushed to take the place of honor at the table, Jesus exhorted them to be humble and take the last place because “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The pope said that the desire to rise to the top in both “civil and ecclesial” circles happens even today “and not just when someone is invited to lunch.”
Instead of seeking to be first, the pope added, Christians are called to follow Christ who “always shows us the way of humility” because it is “the most authentic one that also allows us to have authentic relationships.”
In the Gospel reading, Jesus also encourages his host to invite the poor, the lame and the blind to his banquet so that he may receive “a divine reward that is much greater” than giving and receiving favors from others, which “usually distorts relationships and commercializes them,” the pope said.
“Humble generosity is Christian,” Pope Francis said. “Jesus invites us to selfless generosity, to open the way for a much greater joy, the joy of being part of the very love of God that awaits us, all of us, in the heavenly banquet.”
After praying the Angelus prayer, the pope announced that he will create 13 new cardinals from around the world Oct. 5, including Canadian Jesuit Father Michael Czerny, undersecretary of the Section for Migrants and Refugees at the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
Pope Francis also commemorated the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, an observance begun by the Orthodox Church and now celebrated by many Christians.
The ecumenical day of prayer, he said, “is a favorable time to praise God for all his creatures and the assumption of responsibility in front of the cry of the earth.”

(Follow Arocho on Twitter: @arochoju)

Lesson in aging

Father Ron Rolheiser, OMI

By Father Ron Rolheiser, OMI
We live in a culture that idealizes youth and marginalizes the old. And, as James Hillman says, the old don’t let go easily either of the throne or the drive that took them there. I know; I’m aging.
For most of my life, I’ve been able to think of myself as young. Because I was born late in the year, October, I was always younger than most of my classmates, graduated from high school at age seventeen, entered the seminary at that tender age, was ordained to the priesthood at age twenty-five, did an advanced degree within the next year and was teaching graduate theology at age twenty-six, the youngest member on the faculty. I was proud of that, achieving those things so early. And so I always thought of myself as young, even as the years piled up and my body began to betray my conception of myself as young.
Moreover, for most of those years, I tried to stay young too in soul, staying on top of what was shaping youth culture, its movies, its popular songs, its lingo. During my years in seminary and for a good number of years after ordination, I was involved in youth ministry, helping give youth retreats in various high schools and colleges. At that time, I could name all the popular songs, movies, and trends, speak youth’s language and I prided myself in being young.
But nature offers no exemptions. Nobody stays young forever. Moreover, aging doesn’t normally announce its arrival. You’re mostly blind to it until one day you see yourself in a mirror, see a recent photo of yourself or get a diagnosis from your doctor and suddenly you’re hit on the head with the unwelcome realization that you’re no longer a young person. That usually comes as a surprise. Aging generally makes itself known in ways that have you denying it, fighting it, accepting it only piecemeal and with some bitterness.
But that day comes round for everyone when you’re surprised, stunned, that what you are seeing in the mirror is so different from how you have been imagining yourself and you ask yourself: “Is this really me? Am I this old person? Is this what I look like?” Moreover you begin to notice that young people are forming their circles away from you, that they’re more interested in their own kind, which doesn’t include you and you look silly and out of place when you try to dress, act and speak like they do. There comes a day when you have accept that you’re no longer young in in the world’s eyes – nor in your own.
Moreover gravity doesn’t just affect your body, pulling things downward, so too for the soul. It’s pulled downward along with the body, though aging means something very different here. The soul doesn’t age, it matures. You can stay young in soul long after the body betrays you. Indeed we’re meant to be always young in spirit.
Souls carry life differently than do bodies because bodies are built to eventually die. Inside of every living body the life-principle has an exit strategy. It has no such strategy inside a soul, only a strategy to deepen, grow richer and more textured. Aging forces us, mostly against our will, to listen to our soul more deeply and more honestly so as to draw from its deeper wells and begin to make peace with its complexity, its shadow and its deepest proclivities – and the aging of the body plays the key role in this. To employ a metaphor from James Hillman: The best wines have to be aged in cracked old barrels. So too for the soul: The aging process is designed by God and nature to force the soul, whether it wants to or not, to delve ever deeper into the mystery of life, of community, of God and of itself. Our souls don’t age, like a wine, they mature and so we can always be young in spirit. Our zest, our fire, our eagerness, our wit, our brightness and our humor are not meant to dim with age. Indeed, they’re meant to be the very color of a mature soul.
So, in the end, aging is a gift, even if unwanted. Aging takes us to a deeper place, whether we want to go or not.
Like most everyone else, I still haven’t made my full peace with this and would still like to think of myself as young. However I was particularly happy to celebrate my 70th birthday two years ago, not because I was happy to be that age, but because, after two serious bouts with cancer in recent years, I was very happy just to be alive and wise enough now to be a little grateful for what aging and a cancer diagnosis has taught me.
There are certain secrets hidden from health, writes John Updike. True. And aging uncovers a lot of them because, as Swedish proverb puts it, “afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.”

(Oblate Father Ron Rolheiser, theologian, teacher and award-winning author, is President of the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas.)

The language of love and service

Sister Constance Veit

By Sister Constance Veit, LSP
During a recent Catholic conference, I saw a Scripture quote on a poster that read: “Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence…” (1 Peter 3:15-16).
A series of talks by Catholic theologians and public figures drove home for me just how applicable these words are today.
From the recent scandals in the Church to the continued legal threats to religious liberty, traditional marriage and family and the dignity of human life, the times in which we are living seem catastrophic for Christians. Is there any hope for the future of the Church in western societies like ours? What are we ordinary Catholics to do?
As I pondered these questions, the words of St. Peter provided me with two take-aways. First, we should not be afraid to speak up for Christ and the Gospel in the public square. And second, we will be able to make a difference only if we do so with kindness and humility.
St. Peter advised the early Christians to always be prepared, which presupposes we have done our homework. A Dominican speaker at the conference emphasized the need for serious study because standing up for our Catholic faith today requires intelligent answers. But he added that effective evangelization is not purely a matter of intellectual effort; it involves both knowing and authentically living our faith. Actions speak louder than words – and when we do speak, our personal witness of grace can touch hearts more effectively than theological treatises.
I think this is what St. Peter meant when he spoke about “the hope that is in you.” This hope is not something remote or academic – it is the living presence of Christ in our hearts.
We all share in the pledge of an imperishable inheritance by virtue of our Baptism, but this living hope is not bestowed on the church as a corporate body. It is a promise given to each of us individually as a beloved son or daughter of God. “Christ in you – and in me – for each of us, our hope of glory!” (cf. Colossians 1:27).
If we are tempted to become discouraged in the face of so many threats to our Catholic faith, perhaps it is because we have not yet taken full ownership of the hope that is in us.
Saint Jeanne Jugan, foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor, took hold of this living hope and exercised it as confidence in Providence and sure faith in what awaited her in heaven (1 Peter 1:3-4).
Jeanne Jugan often reminded the young Little Sisters about the presence of Christ in the tabernacle, in the poor and in their own hearts. She advised them to look to Jesus for strength in all their trials and difficulties. Faced with challenges she would say, “That seems impossible, but if God is with us it will be accomplished.”
As strong as her faith and hope were, Jeanne Jugan was fully aware of the limited power of words to win over hearts and souls. She counseled the Little Sisters not to prolong chapel devotions, lest the Residents become bored and walk away.
She also advised the Sisters not to rush their begging rounds, impetuously blurting out their needs as if they were their due.
Finally, she taught the Little Sisters to pray discreetly when out in public so that they would neither draw undue attention to themselves nor offend nonbelievers.
In a word, Saint Jeanne Jugan taught the Little Sisters to let their humble acts of charity do the talking in drawing others to Christ. The annals of our Congregation are filled with stories of elderly individuals who were converted or led back to the practice of their Catholic faith through the quiet but heroic charity of generations of Little Sisters.
Many of the speakers at the conference I attended talked about missionary discipleship. Even the most well-known and intellectually intense spoke about service and solidarity with the poor as essential means of evangelization in today’s polarized world.
“Nothing is more exhilarating than bringing others to Christ,” George Weigel exclaimed with an enthusiasm that made me want to go out and announce the Good News – knowing that the only convincing way to do this today is through the language of closeness, generous love and humble service.

(Sister Constance Veit is director of communications for the Little Sisters of the Poor.)

Then there is the music

Sister alies therese

From the hermitage
By Sister alies therese
People “go to Mass” for a variety of reasons. Some go because they are compelled by some notion of obligation or see the community value in it. Others are afraid of committing a mortal sin by not attending. Some understand and respect the transubstantiation process. And others, indeed, who like the preaching or music.
Perhaps you have a few additional thoughts on what you consider “go to Mass” means, or as it has been said “hear Mass.” We know about the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion. Excellent preaching is rarely found and music can vary from one place to another, full-blown Cathedral choirs to small mission church pianists, all trying their best to assist us in our worship.
In my almost 50 years, I have been many places in one form of ministry or another and there’s not much I haven’t seen or heard. I suppose we have our favorite niggle … one of mine is singing all the verses (most of the time).
Music and art are very important to the reverential and special way that liturgy might be celebrated. In particular, music knits the Mass parts together, gives a flow to the delicacy of the Eucharist and gives us, the worshippers, the opportunity to sing out our praise to God and to be reminded of an important part of the story.
If you consider some of the hymns you might favor you might leave out verses three and four, for example. This seriously diminishes the fullness of the text that the author was so inspired to write.
Here are two examples …
The highlights of the verses of “Softly & Tenderly,” published by Will Thompson in 1880, are rooted in Matthew 11:28. For me the whole point of the hymn is in verse four, “Oh, for the wonderful love.”
(1) Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling/ … see on the portals He’s waiting and watching
(2) Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading/ …Why should we linger and heed not His mercies?
(3) Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing/ … shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming …
(4) Oh, for the wonderful love He has promised/ …Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon …
Another example is “Alleluia! Alleluia! Let the Holy Anthem Rise,” by Edward Caswall (1841-1878).
(1) Alleluia! Alleluia! Let the holy anthem rise …
(2) … Like the sun from out the wave …
(3) … Christ has burst our prison bars …
(4) … Blessed Jesus, make us rise …
As in any well-written piece, the author of the text wants us to travel somewhere with our musical storytelling so that the lessons we need to learn about the truths of faith might be presented in a robust and satisfying way. In this case, the author wants us to go from our attempt at understanding that Jesus was raised from the dead, how powerful that was and what it might look like, in order to get us to the final verse where we now ask … “make us rise.” From what God has done to what we need. From what God has done to what God now promises us. When we cut off the latter two verses, we almost miss the point Caswall was making.
You might think this is a bit petty. I’ve heard others complain it makes the “Mass too long” to sing all the verses. OK. But it is really only once a week (minimum). For me, if we are going to include music in the liturgical celebrations then we need to have great respect for both text and music.
There is a lot of energy used in singing and there are so many hymns and parts to choose from. We have seen over the years the changes in style, some coming back, some fading out. What we might need to be reminded of is that in the very act of singing, or with other forms of musical accompaniment, are at least two things: 1) that the community is inspired to cooperate with the Spirit to praise God and 2) that our worship of God is serious enough to be careful about our art and music so that as we leave our celebration, we are indeed prepared to welcome the stranger, the neighbor, the other because the message of a hymn sings sweetly in our hearts.
It is not necessary to sing every verse all the time, as it is not necessary to sing all the Mass parts (especially if the presider feels a bit challenged). However, when the liturgy team chooses for us what best expresses the liturgy and prayer of the day, we might consider more carefully how we participate with abandon and joy so that our God might be joyously worshipped and praised.

(Sister alies therese is a vowed Catholic solitary who lives an eremitical life. Her days are formed around prayer, art and writing. She lives and writes in Mississippi.)

40 Days for Life begins Sept. 25

Pro-lifers will join peacefully in prayer in the name of the unborn as part of 40 Days for Life, a national campaign, Sept. 25-Nov. 3 in dioceses and archdiocese across the nation. The national campaign is held during the fall and at Lent to encourage people to pray and fast for the end of abortion and to take a stand for life.
Pro-Life Mississippi will hold a prayer gathering at the public right-of-way near Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a state-licensed abortion facility, located at 2903 N. State St., Jackson. Prayerful plan to gather on the sidewalks at the spot from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
For information, contact Barbara Beavers or Tammy Tillman 601-956-8636 or 601-940-5701 or For more information, visit Jackson 40 Days for Life on Facebook.

Mental Health First Aid workshop provides insights and skills

By Charlene Bearden
TUPELO – Do you know how to identify when someone is struggling with a mental health problem? Where would you send someone for help?
Participants learned just that at the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) workshops held on Aug. 22 and 23, a collaboration by the Diocese of Jackson’s Office of Family Ministry and Catholic Charities Office of Parish Health, sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Health and Belhaven University. Workshops on the opening day focused on adult mental health, while the second day focused on youth mental health.

TUPELO – Dr. Bradford Smith speaks about the importance of recognizing a mental health crisis on Aug. 22 at the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) workshop. (Photo by Charlene Bearden)

Created in 2001 by Betty Kitchener, a nurse specializing in health education and Anthony Jorm, a mental health literacy professor, the MHFA program is designed to teach individuals how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders in a community.
It is vital for parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human service workers, law enforcement officers and caring citizens to learn how to offer initial assistance to someone who is experiencing a mental health crisis or addiction challenge. Introducing participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental illness, building understanding of their impact and providing an overview of common supports are hallmarks of the MHFA program. The goal is to take the fear and hesitation out of starting conversations about mental health and substance use problems by improving understanding and providing an action plan that teaches people to safely and responsibly identify and address a potential mental illness or substance use disorder.
Participants in the workshops led by licenses psychologist, Dr. Bradford Smith, Ph. D., Provost and Vice President of academic affairs at Belhaven University, felt that they received vital insights and skills to handle mental health emergencies and the ability to offer support to someone who appears to be in mental distress. In addition to the hands-on training by Dr. Smith, participants in the program received a comprehensive MHFA reference manual and certificate of completion, valid for three years.
Sister Pat Clemen, program coordinator of parish health ministry at Catholic Charities said that “the MHFA training was well received. The participants were very much engaged in the training. Their insights and experience enhanced the learning for all attendees. Comments from the trainings lead us to believe that more Mental Health First Aid trainings are a must.”
The Diocese of Jackson’s Office of Family Ministry and Catholic Charities are in talks to offer additional MHFA workshops in other areas of the diocese, the first of which will be in spring 2020.

(Charlene Bearden is Coordinator for the Office of Family Ministry for the Diocese of Jackson and a member of Jackson Holy Family Parish)