St. Francis of Assisi School in Greenwood Closing Doors Permanently at End of Academic Year

GREENWOOD (May 13,2022) — The doors to St. Francis of Assisi School will be closed permanently when the academic year concludes next Friday, May 20, bringing an end to an institution that has been part of the Greenwood community for nearly three-quarters of a century. The announcement was made today by the Franklin, Wisconsin-based Franciscan Friars of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province. The Franciscan friars will continue serving St. Francis Parish in Greenwood, an association that began some 70 years ago when Assumption Province was invited by the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Jackson to begin pastoral ministry among the African American community. The school was opened in 1951.

To read more — click here for Full Press Release from the Franciscan Friars of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province [Spanish]

Faithful invited to fast and pray Rosary on Friday in midst of tensions over leaked court opinion

WASHINGTON – In response to the leak of a draft opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, some abortion advocates are calling for nationwide demonstrations, disruptions of church services, and the personal intimidation of specific Supreme Court justices. Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Pro-Life Activities invited the faithful to unite in fasting and prayer:

In the midst of current tensions, we invite Catholics around the country to join us in fasting and praying the Rosary on Friday, May 13, the Memorial of Our Lady of Fatima. Let us offer our prayers and fasting for these intentions:

  • For our nation, for the integrity of our judicial system, and that all branches of government be dedicated to seeking the common good and protecting the dignity and rights of the human person, from conception to natural death.
  • For the overturning of Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey in the Supreme Court’s final decision in Dobbs v. Jackson.
  • For the conversion of the hearts and minds of those who advocate for abortion.
  • For a new commitment to building an America where children are welcomed, cherished, and cared for; where mothers and fathers are encouraged and strengthened; and where marriage and the family are recognized and supported as the true foundations of a healthy and flourishing society.
  • For Our Blessed Mother’s intercession and guidance as the Church continues to walk with mothers and families in need, and continues to promote alternatives to abortion, and seeks to create a culture of life.

As Catholics, let us witness to the beautiful gift of life with civility and love, and with our peaceful prayers and our compassionate service to all those in need.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

###

Media Contact:
Chieko Noguchi
202-541-3200
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

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.

###

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.)