Communication office adds staff member

Berta Mexidor

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – The Offices of Communications and Vocations welcomed Berta Mexidor to the staff on Monday, July 31. A native of Cuba, Mexidor has been in the U.S. for 13 years. She will be managing Spanish-language content for Mississippi Católico as well as doing administrative work for the Office of Vocations.
Mexidor has a variety of experience, including being a co-founder of the “Libertad” – Freedom Free Press Agency and the Independent Libraries movement in Cuba. She moved to Mississippi in 2005, one month before Hurricane Katrina devastated much of the state, to continue her work with libraries in her home country. She has also worked as a Spanish teacher, economics teacher and translator for several agencies in the state.
Her treasure is being mother of three and grandmother of two.
She is a member of Flowood St. Paul Parish, where she found a welcome even before she knew enough English to understand the whole Mass. Her experience growing up in Communist Cuba strengthened rather than weakened her faith.
“Jesus finds you even where you need to deny him, in a communist island, under an atheist regime” she said. She was baptized Catholic at birth, but as a child witnessed the image of Saint Francis intentionally drowned in the ocean of her small town as a demonstration of the community’s rejection of faith. Having children and encountering her own cross in life reconnected Berta with God and she found ways to quietly pursue her faith before she immigrated.
She has a special devotion to Our Lady of Charity also known as Our Lady of El Cobre or Nuestra Señora de la Caridad del Cobre, she is grateful for all her experiences in Cuba and Mississippi. “Jesus found me a long time ago,” she said. She now recognizes that he was sustaining her during the storms.

Baughman bids farewell, honored for 20 years of service

By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Mississippi Catholic says goodbye this month to one of its most loyal and longest-standing employees, Elsa Baughman, editor of Mississippi Catolico. elsa-baughman-2016
Baughman celebrated her 20th anniversary with the Chancery earlier this year. She was hired part-time in 1996 as the office manager for the paper, but that soon changed. In the fall of 1997, Baughman helped put together the first edition of the paper in Spanish.
Then, it was called Mensajero, which loosely translates to ‘the message.’ The effort was supported through a grant from the Catholic Foundation and only published once-a-quarter.
Baughman, a native of Venezuela, was perfect for the role as shepherd of the new venture. She holds a master of communication and taught Spanish, making her bilingual in both speech and print. She is a co-founder of the Mississippi Hispanic Association.
Baughman helped bring the first Spanish Masses to the Diocese of Jackson and continues to be an advocate for the Hispanic community here.
She moved to the Magnolia state to study at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg where she met her husband, Brian. The two raised two daughters and are now enjoying a pair of grandchildren.
Mississippi Catholic will continue to publish a Spanish language insert once a month, but will now depend on freelance and parishioner submissions for content. Baughman will continue to be a freelance member of this team.
On a personal note, I will miss her boundless energy and creativity. She was a great help to me when I first arrived in this office and was not quite sure what I had gotten myself into. I hope you will join me in wishing her a long and adventurous retirement.
(Maureen Smith is the Communications Director for the Catholic Diocese of Jackson.)

Welcome, friends: Mississippi Catholic expands delivery

JACKSON – This edition of Mississippi Catholic is going to more families than ever for the first time in many years. During the past two years as communications director, I have been working to improve content, expand advertising opportunities and streamline delivery. Bishop Joseph Kopacz has said he would like every family to receive the paper so this project is meant to move us closer to that goal.
If this is your first Mississippi Catholic, I hope you enjoy it. If you have been receiving the paper, thanks for your support. The staff and I work hard to bring you stories from your parishes, schools, missions and communities as well as national coverage of issues and events and reflections on the life of the church. The paper publishes twice a month, on the second and fourth Fridays of the month.
Up until this edition, Mississippi Catholic kept its own database of names and addresses. The parishes maintained their own database of members using a program called ParishSoft. The staff from the Office of Stewardship and Development and Temporal Affairs has been working with me for a couple months to merge the two lists and get it as up-to-date as possible.
This is the first edition we could send out using the ParishSoft system. We selected this edition because it includes the first peek at the diocesan pastoral priorities for the next 3-5 years. During the coming months, Mississippi Catholic will be presenting different parts of these priorities, sharing how different parishes are implementing them and reflecting on what they mean for the church. It also happens to be the first edition of our new volume year since we have started a new liturgical year with Advent.
I would like to thank Rebecca Harris, director of the Department of Stewardship and Development, Christopher Luke, the coordinator for stewardship, and Julia Williams, liason for ParishSoft for the diocese, for all of their patience and hard work while we get this new infrastructure up and running.
If you do not wish to receive the paper or if there is a mistake in your name or address, please notify the secretary at your parish. He or she can update your information in ParishSoft.
I welcome feedback, story ideas and submissions. You can send your stories, photos or ideas to or call my office at 601-969-3581.
Maureen Smith
Communications Director
Catholic Diocese of Jackson