Statement Regarding Criminal Conviction and Sentencing of Paul West

Paul West was a teacher and principal at St. Francis School in Greenwood, Mississippi from July 1993 until October 1998. The Diocese of Jackson cooperated fully in the State of Mississippi’s recent criminal conviction of Paul West, including providing background testimony at his trial on the diocese’s list of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. The list was first provided to the Attorney General in 2002 and then updated and released publicly in March of 2019.

The Diocese reported the initial allegation against Paul West to the Department of Human Services and the Greenwood Police Department in 1998 and reported the subsequent allegations to the Leflore County District Attorney in 2018. West was removed from ministry after the original 1998 complaint.

The Diocese of Jackson is committed to protecting children. Sexual misconduct by Church personnel violates human dignity and the mission of the Church. The Diocese has dedicated substantial time and resources to ensure that children being served by the Church are not at risk of sexual abuse by Church personnel. The spiritual well-being of all victims, their families, and others in the community is of particular concern to the Church.

Over the past thirty years, the Diocese of Jackson has developed and implemented a safe environment program. The Diocese has publicized standards of conduct for its priests and deacons as well as diocesan employees, volunteers, and any other Church personnel in positions of trust who have regular contact with children and young people. Beginning in 1986, the Diocese implemented a written policy and procedure regarding reporting and handling of sexual misconduct claims. The policy was updated in 1994 with the addition of a Diocesan Fitness Review Committee and again in 2002 so that it would reflect the mandates of the Bishops’ Charter.

Anyone who has been a victim of abuse or exploitation by clergy, religious or lay church personnel and has not yet reported it is encouraged to do so. The Victim Assistance Coordinator, Erika Rojas, is available to assist in making a report. The contact number for the Victim Assistance Coordinator is 601.326-3736.

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Click here for PDF Copy of Statement

Bishop Kopacz and Fran Lavelle talk about progress made in Synod and Regional Sessions

Bishop Joseph Kopacz and Fran Lavelle talk about the Synod process and reflect on amazing progress the Diocese of Jackson has had with the process on a parish and ministry level. They also speak on the remaining upcoming regional synod sessions around the diocese:
Tuesday, March 29, 2022: St. Jude Pearl 6:30-8 p.m. (Spanish)
Wednesday, March 30, 2022: St. Mary Basilica Natchez 6-7:30 p.m. (English)
Thursday, March 31, 2022: Immaculate Heart of Mary Greenwood 5:30-7 p.m. (English)
Thursday, March 31, 2022: St. Francis Greenwood 7:30-8:30 p.m. (Spanish)
Monday, April 4, 2022: St. Patrick Meridian 6-7:30 p.m. (English)
Tuesday, April 5, 2022: St. James Tupelo 6-7 p.m. (English)
Tuesday, April 5, 2022: St. James Tupelo 7-8 p.m. (Spanish)
Wednesday, April 6, 2022: St. Mary Batesville 6-7:30 p.m. (English)
(Previous sessions happening at St. Francis Madison on March 21 and at St. Michael Forest (Spanish) on March 24.)

Bishop Kopacz to join Pope Francis in Consecrating Russia and Ukraine on March 25

JACKSON – Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz will preside at a Holy Hour for the Consecration of the Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on Friday, March 25, beginning at 11 a.m. in the Cathedral of Saint Peter the Apostle. This local celebration is in conjunction with Pope Francis’ Consecration of Ukraine and Russia to the IHM at 5 pm Rome time.

The Holy Hour will include Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Rosary and the Prayer of Consecration from Pope Francis. Mass for the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord will be celebrated immediately following the Holy Hour and Consecration.

Bishop Kopacz invites all priests, deacons and laity to the Cathedral next Friday to participate in solidarity with Pope Francis and the faithful around the world, especially in Ukraine and Russia.