Sister Thea Bowman documentary on her journey to sainthood, set to release Oct. 2

A new documentary from NewGroup Media and the Diocese of Jackson, Going Home Like a Shooting Star: Thea Bowman’s Journey to Sainthood, presents the riveting life of Sister Thea Bowman, an African American Catholic Franciscan Sister who used her powerful gifts to educate and challenge the church and society to grow in racial inclusivity. Her skills of preaching, music, and teaching moved many Catholics to begin to confront their own racism while she urged her African American brothers and sisters to claim their gifts and share their “fully functioning” personhood.  Thea worked tirelessly to proclaim this message until her untimely death from breast cancer in 1990.

The film features interviews and commentary from her family, Sisters in community, colleagues, friends, and former students. Input from African-American scholars, clerics and bishops will speak to the ongoing issue of systemic racism in the church and country.  Extensive use is made of archival media that portrays Thea in action–photographs, film, video and audio recordings recorded in locations of significance to her life.

The program title is drawn from a quotation attributed to Sojourner Truth. When Thea was asked what she wanted said at her funeral, she answered, “Just say what Sojourner Truth said: ‘I’m not going to die. I’m going home like a shooting star.’”

The film, part of the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission’s fall documentary season, will begin airing on ABC stations nationwide on October 2, 2022. As of Sept. 30, the following stations have scheduled showings of the film:

WTVA Tupelo- Oct. 2 at 10 a.m.
WTOK Meridian – Oct. 2 at 11:30 p.m.
WLOX Biloxi – Oct. 16 at 1 p.m.
WAPT Jackson – Oct. 30 at 1 p.m.

The film can be streamed on the Diocese of Jackson’s YouTube channel beginning October 2. The film is free to view, with donations requested to the Cause for Sister Thea Bowman.

The film makes a strong connection between Thea’s Gospel call for justice, love and unity and the current effort of Black Lives Matter activists and efforts to combat systemic racism. Many in the film cite Thea’s voice as an influence on their ongoing efforts to achieve social and racial justice.

Production of Going Home Like a Shooting Star: Thea Bowman’s Journey to Sainthood was made possible with funding from the Catholic Communications Campaign of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as support from various foundations and congregations of U.S. men and women religious.

Arrangements for Father Bernard Patrick “Brian” Carroll

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Rev. Bernard Patrick “Brian” Carroll, who entered eternal life on Monday, September 5 at St. Catherine’s Village.

Visitation will be Thursday, September 8, from 5-7 p.m., followed by the Rosary at 7 p.m.

Funeral Mass will be Friday, September 9 at 11 a.m.

Both services will be held at St. Paul Catholic Church. Address: 5971 MS-25, Flowood, MS 39232

Eternal rest grant unto him. O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

Click here for obituary for Father Brian Carroll

LEM, James “Jim” Tomek passes at age 76

James Joseph Tomek, 76, passed away August 30, 2022, at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, TN.  The youngest of three children, he was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, to Joseph and Anne Tomek. Raised in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, his parents afforded him a private school Jesuit education, sending him to St. Cecilia High School and St. Peters College in Jersey City.  His love of literature drew him to study at Duke University where he received a Ph.D in French literature and philosophy.  His specialty was 20th Century and his dissertation on the films of Jean Cocteau was directed by Dr. Wallace Fowlie.  During that time, he met and married Yvonne Bryan Tomek in Durham, North Carolina, and then embarked upon a career of teaching French and English at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi in 1972 and served until his retirement in 2015.

At Delta State, he was the recipient of the University Foundation teaching Award and also Teacher of the Year Award in the Division of Languages and Literature and was awarded membership into ODK, a Leadership Honor Society.  He received grants to study French literature at summer long NEH Colloquiums in Stony Brook, Dartmouth, Iowa City, and Chicago.  Writing and delivering numerous papers at national conferences was of interest to him, and he collaborated in writing the books, WINDOWS AFTER MATISSE with Terry Everett and Mary Anne Rosse and FAST FRENCH with Anne-Marie Bryan and Yvonne Bryan Tomek, a grammar book that he used for several years in his teaching.  A philosopher, sports enthusiast, and poet, he often contributed to the literary journal, TAPESTRY, enjoying the fellowship of annual Fall unveilings and readings in Dockery, Mississippi.

Having always been interested in Theology, he decided to pursue a Master’s Degree in Theology from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama, while still teaching French and English.  He would attend classes in Jackson, Mississippi every Saturday for six years, while arduously contending with a battle of cancer. He graduated in 2009, receiving highest honors in his Oral Exams, which were open to the public for attendance.  He was a devout life-long Catholic, and often attended Daily Mass and served as lector and assistant in the RCIA program for incoming Catholics at Our Lady of Victories Catholic Church in Cleveland, Mississippi.  He often led Little Rock Bible studies for those who wished to study the Bible in depth.  He was a life-time member of the Knights of Columbus.

In 2010, he was invited by the Bishop to lead Sacred Heart Church in Rosedale, Mississippi as the Lay Ecclesial Minister every Sunday morning, where he would deliver scriptural breakout reflections, administer Communion, and handle business affairs of the church.  He enjoyed this mission very much as well as the relationship he made with the parishioners.  With fondness for movies, harking back to his dissertation days, he wrote a column for Mississippi Catholic Newspaper, entitled “Theology at the Movies” that explored religion as it is evidenced in international movies.

His greatest joys were with his family and friends with whom he loved to play golf, tennis, baseball, go swimming, play cards, and watch sports.  He was particularly fond of watching New York Yankees baseball, reminding himself of the many afternoons he attended Yankee Stadium during his youth with his family.  If he had not had a career in literature, he could have very well loved being a professional baseball announcer.

He lamented having outlived many of his best friends which included Bill Sullivan, Terry Everett, Martin Bond, Ted Solomon, John Tatum, Leroy Morganti, Diane Stewart, Bonnie Horton, and his trusted lawyer, Robert Johnston.

His is preceded in death by his parents; his sister Barbara Tomek Maffei; his brother, Joseph Tomek; and nephew Thomas Tomek.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Yvonne Bryan Tomek; son Matthew Tomek (Renee) of Memphis, TN; daughter Genevieve Tomek of Cleveland, MS; and his grandsons, Jacob Jones and Renny McKnight of Cleveland, MS.

He also leaves behind his sister-in-law, Jean Tomek, his brother-in-law Stephen Maffei, as well as his nephews and nieces, Richard Tomek (Sherri), Laura Tomek Campbell (Doug); Nancy Tomek Deasey (Bob); Stephen Maffei (Janet), Matthew Maffei (Lori), Joseph Maffei (Stephanie), and their beloved children.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in his name to Our Lady of Victories Catholic Church in Cleveland, Mississippi.

Catholic Charities responds to Jackson water woes

August 31, 2022

JACKSON – As Jackson continues to struggle with water woes, Catholic Charities is providing help to those in need who have been affected by flooding and the city of Jackson’s water crisis.

“We are pleased that President Biden, Governor Tate Reeves and Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba are trying to work together to address the water situation in Jackson,” said Bishop Joseph Kopacz of the Diocese of Jackson. “We pray for long term solutions to this problem, and a swift response to get water flowing back into all Jackson homes and businesses.”

Currently, the Catholic Charities Disaster Response team is assisting displaced families as a result of Pearl River flooding and coordinating with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to become a distribution site for water at their office at 850 E. River Place, Jackson, MS, 39202. Until that is in place, they are gearing up to provide water to the community through the help of Catholic Charities USA and with Charities offices in Louisiana.

Community members can do their part to provide relief by donating cases or gallons of water, or cash donations to Catholic Charities at

If you need assistance due to being displaced by flooding, contact Catholic Charities Disaster Response at (601) 960-8490.

Bishop Kopacz released from hospital, allow for continued rest, recuperation

Bishop Kopacz was released from St. Dominic Hospital Thursday, August 25, and is home resting for a few more days.
Bishop very much appreciates all the prayers offered on his behalf and is keeping the diocese in prayer while he recuperates. He looks forward to returning to more active ministry next week.
En español:
El obispo Kopacz está de alta del Hospital St. Dominic desde este jueves 25 de agosto y está en casa descansando unos días más.
El obispo Kopacz agradece grandemente todas las oraciones ofrecidas en su nombre y mantiene a su diócesis en oración mientras se recupera. El mismo espera regresar más activo a su ministerio para la próxima semana.

Bishop Kopacz hospitalized, please allow rest, recuperation

Bishop Joseph Kopacz is currently being treated for a kidney infection in St. Dominic Hospital. Bishop Kopacz will be resting and recuperating over the next few days and appreciates your prayers.
Please allow him to rest without interruptions or visits.
En español:
Se piden sus oraciones por el obispo Joseph Kopacz, que está siendo tratado actualmente por una infección renal en el Hospital St. Dominic. El mismo descansará y se recuperará durante los próximos días. Por favor, permítale descansar sin interrupciones ni visitas.

Bishops Kopacz and Kihneman issue joint statement on Dobbs ruling

Statement from Bishop Joseph R. Kopacz and Bishop Louis F. Kihneman on Supreme Court’s Ruling in Dobbs. v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization

Today, Lady Justice has turned her attention to the cry of the unborn child hidden in the refuge of his or her mother’s womb. Today, justice has not abandoned that unborn child and his or her capacity to feel pain, but there is still more work to be done.

Together with many throughout our country, we join in prayer that states are now able to protect women and children from the injustice of abortion. The Catholic Church has had a vested interest in this matter – the dignity and sanctity of all human life.

The church has a long history of service to those who are most vulnerable and remains the largest private provider of social services in the United States. Through its charity agencies, and the independent efforts of its members, the Catholic Church is supporting all women in addition to the child in the womb.

The church will continue to accompany women and couples who are facing difficult or unexpected pregnancies and during the early years of parenthood, through initiatives such as Walking with Moms in Need.

With our brother bishops, we renew our commitment to preserving the dignity and sanctity of all human life by:

  • Ensuring our Catholic parishes are places of welcome for women facing challenging pregnancies or who find it difficult to care for their children after birth, so that any mother needing assistance will receive life-affirming support and be connected to appropriate programs and resources where she can get help.
  • Helping fellow Catholics recognize the needs of pregnant and parenting moms in their communities, enabling parishioners to know these mothers, to listen to them and to help them obtain the necessities of life for their families.
  • Being witnesses of love and life by expanding and improving the extensive network of comprehensive care including pregnancy help centers, and Catholic health care and social service agencies.
  • Increasing our advocacy for laws that ensure the right to life for the unborn and that no mother or family lacks the basic resources needed to care for their children, regardless of race, age, immigration status or any other factor.
  • Continuing to support and advocate for public policies and programs directed toward building up the common good and fostering integral human development, with a special concern for the needs of low-income families and immigrants.[1]

In all of these ways and more, the Catholic Church witnesses to the sanctity of human life, from conception to natural death, and continues to work to build a culture of life in our nation.

Our respective dioceses continue to collaborate with organizations such as HerPlan, Pro-Life Mississippi and many others to bring vital services to support mothers and the unborn.

The community can immediately accompany women and couples who are facing difficult or unexpected pregnancies through the Walking with Moms in Need initiative in the Diocese of Jackson. For more information on how to get involved or offer support to women in need, please contact the Office of Family Ministry coordinator in the Diocese of Jackson at In the Diocese of Biloxi, contact Deacon Jim Gunkel, director of the Office of Family Ministry and Family Life at or Margaret Miller, coordinator of Walking with Moms at

Additionally, there are Catholic Charities Community Outreach Centers located in the Diocese of Biloxi in Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Waveland and Pascagoula. These centers provide confidential pregnancy testing; Medicaid pregnancy confirmations; life-affirming options counseling; case management (including budgeting and goal setting); basic needs assistance; car seats and safe sleeping spaces for infants; diapers formula, clothing, blankets, socks, etc.; and representative payee services. The Diocese of Biloxi is also sharing the pro-life message through its Pro-Life Billboard initiative.

The Diocese of Biloxi will also be resuming adoptions and foster parenting services in the near future, complementing existing programs in the Diocese of Jackson that have provided those services through Catholic Charities, Inc. for over a half century.

Again, we are grateful for the Supreme Court’s decision but are also mindful that the battle to uphold the sanctity of life is an ongoing effort. Let us pray and continue to raise our voices both in our churches and in our communities in defense of human dignity and justice.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

For PDF of statement above CLICK HERE
[Click here for statement in Spanish]

For Supreme Court opinion CLICK HERE

1 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Statement of USCCB President and Bishop Chairmen in Advance of Supreme Court’s Ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization” March 21, 2022,

Supreme Court’s dismissal of de Lange lawsuit

Diocese Statement on Mississippi Supreme Court’s June 16, 2022, Dismissal of De Lange’s Lawsuit 

On Oct. 2, 2019, Arie Matheus (Aad) de Lange filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Jackson and Bishop Joseph Kopacz. The Diocese and Bishop Kopacz are pleased to confirm that on June 16, 2022, the Mississippi Supreme dismissed de Lange’s lawsuit and awarded the Diocese and Bishop Kopacz their costs of appeal.  

In his pleadings de Lange levied many baseless claims against the Diocese and Bishop Kopacz relating to his employment. At trial, the Diocese and Bishop Kopacz were prepared to respond to the pleadings filed by de Lange and prove that during his tenure the Diocese suffered from:  

(1) A weakened financial and administrative condition; 
(2) Internal accounting deficiencies as identified by third party financial audits of the Diocese;
(3) A large unexpected $900,000 financial deficit for fiscal year 2018-19; and 
(4) A lack of leadership communication and collaboration between the Office of Finance and Administration (De Lange’s department) and diocesan leadership including but not limited to the Bishop and the Diocesan Finance Council.  

The Diocese and Bishop Kopacz filed a motion to dismiss de Lange’s lawsuit based upon the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The motion sought dismissal because de Lange was asking the courts of Mississippi to interpret the application of Canon law (church law) to the facts surrounding de Lange’s termination of employment. The Mississippi Supreme Court granted the motion and dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that the First Amendment deprives civil courts of jurisdiction over claims which would require excessive entanglement in church employment decisions finding that “the Diocese’s decision to terminate de Lange pursuant to [church law] is binding on the civil court, and this Court must accept that decision.”   

The Diocese and Bishop Kopacz are grateful that the Supreme Court recognized the serious constitutional concerns raised by de Lange’s lawsuit and his challenge to the Diocese’s decision to terminate his employment. Bishop Kopacz made the following statement: “We rejoice in the unanimous decision by the Supreme Court of Mississippi. We pray that the Court is ever mindful of the constitutional religious rights of religious institutions. We thank the Court for its decision and its guidance.” 


Click here for pdf of Diocese statement

For full text of Supreme Court decision click here

Corpus Christi Novena

June 10-18, 2022 – Friday before the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity through Saturday before the Solemnity of Corpus Christi

Our world is hurting. We all need healing, yet many of us are separated from the very source of our strength. Jesus Christ invites us to return to the source and summit of our faith—his Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist.

Join us in praying the Corpus Christi Novena as a parish as we journey towards the Solemnity of Corpus Christi and launch the National Eucharistic Revival.

Click here for the Corpus Christi Novena.