Bishop blesses St. Joseph High School chapel

By Elsa Baughman
MADISON – Bishop Joseph Kopacz blessed a new chapel during Mass at St. Joseph High School on Friday, May 20.
Present and remembered were those who through the years worked faithfully to see that this new place of worship became a reality, including retired Bishop Joseph Latino.
“This new chapel will be a special place for students, teachers, alumni and friends to come together to pray and celebrate the Eucharist,” said Bishop Kopacz. “This place of worship will nurture and strengthen the faith of all who are part of the St. Joe community,” he added.
The chapel is located in the administration building between the library and the counselor’s office.
At the end of Mass, Catherine Cook, superintendent of Catholic Schools, recognized all the donors and artists who contributed to the construction of the chapel:
– Tom Gerrets’ family. He chaired the committee to build the chapel, but died before it was completed.
– Arthur Schmidt, class of 1958, and his wife Brenda donated the stained-glass window of the Holy Family which was designed by Rob Cooper and Andy Young of Pearl River Glass.
– Nancy McGhee and her daughter, Shanon Brumfield, class of 1985, donated the stained-glass window of the symbols of the Gospels and St. Joseph, in memory of their son/brother, Dean, class of 1984, who died in 1989, and her husband/father, Charles, who died in 2013.
– The late Bishop Emeritus, William Houck. The stand for the sanctuary candle came from Bishop Houck’s personal chapel.
– Betsy Edge, class of 1974, donated the paintings of Mary and Joseph placed at each side of the altar.
– Lou Ann Turner teaches pottery at the school and made the holy water font.
– Fletcher Cox, a member of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi, made the altar, ambo, credence table and matching cabinet under the tabernacle.
– St. Gabriel Parish and School in Mound Bayou. The parish and school have closed so the Sisters currently running the community center on the site, donated the crucifix, the Stations of the Cross and the tabernacle.
Sister Donald Mary Lynch, who served in Mound Bayou for years, said that the sisters and parishioners of St. Gabriel are truly honored that the tabernacle and Stations of the Cross are being used at another school. “St. Joseph was also founded by the Sisters of Mercy. The mission church in Mound Bayou opened in 1949 and closed in 2013,” she said adding that two men from St. Gabriel Church found their priestly vocation in Mound Bayou. “We are pleased that God’s glory continues.” Sister Lynch now lives in St. Louis. Sister Monica Mary DeQuardo, from the current community of Franciscans who continue to run the St. Gabriel Mercy Center in Mound Bayou, attended the dedication to represent the community.
The stained-glass window of the symbols of the Gospels and St. Joseph, donated by the McGhee’s family, was modeled after the window of the St. Joseph School chapel on Boiling Street, as a way to honor the old school in Jackson.

New Saltillo structure blessed

By Maureen Smith
SALTILLO – Bishop Joseph Kopacz blessed the newly finished St. Thomas Aquinas chapel building on a rainy Sunday evening, June 1. Almost 100 people packed into the small concrete-block structure for the celebration and pot luck dinner following.
St. Thomas Aquinas mission falls under the care of Tupelo St. James Parish. The original mission church was built in 1921. It sits near the only Catholic cemetery in that part of the state.
The community it serves is mostly descended from one large Irish Catholic family, the Barretts. The parish hall still has a family photo history posted on a bulletin board. Bishop Kopacz visited with some of the Barrett descendants during the blessing and dinner.
Marco López, an immigrant from Mexico, presented the parish with an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe from Mexico, which the bishop also blessed.
The original mission church building burned in 2009 at the hands of an arsonist.
The community raised their own money and put in their own labor to rebuild a structure that can serve as a chapel or multipurpose building.