USCCB Welcomes the Release of the Document for the Continental Stage for Next Phase of the 2021-2024 Synod

WASHINGTON – Earlier today, the Holy See’s General Secretariat of the Synod issued the Document for the Continental Stage (DCS) of the 2021-2024 Synod: For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission. The DCS is a working document that will be used for the next step, the Continental Stage, of the Synod process and is a result of the Holy See hearing from 112 episcopal conferences, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), as well as Eastern Catholic Churches, religious congregations, ecclesial associations and movements, the Vatican dicasteries, and individual contributions. In the first stage of the Synod, listening sessions were held at the local level across the world. Bishops in each country along with lay persons then reflected on these listening sessions and then shared what was heard with the Holy See in a national synthesis. The USCCB National Synthesis can be found here. Now, in this next stage of the Synod, the DCS serves as a tool for discussion and reflection between episcopal conferences based on a continental grouping.

Bishop Daniel E. Flores of Brownsville, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Doctrine, who has been shepherding the synodal process in the United States, welcomed the DCS saying, “The Document for the Continental Stage is a profound reflection that brings together the hopes and concerns expressed by the geographically diverse communities within the universal Church in the first stage of the Synod. As we continue to the next stage, this document will be fundamental in our ongoing discernment.”

For the Continental Stage of the Synod, the USCCB will be joining with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in holding 10 virtual Continental Assemblies, including several in Spanish and French, in late 2022 and early 2023. Representatives from each diocese in the U.S. and Canada will be attending one of these assemblies to reflect on and discuss the Document for the Continental Stage.  These discussions will then be brought together in the North American Continental Synthesis and submitted to the Holy See by March 31, 2023.

“The North American Continental Stage will create opportunities to engage the diversity of the People of God in the Church in North America in continued listening and meditation on the content and the reflection questions proposed by the Document for the Continental Stage,” said Richard Coll, executive director of the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development, who was appointed in June 2021 to coordinate the effort of the U.S. bishops for the Synod. “The virtual format will allow for greater accessibility, and thus a wider and more diverse participation by the People of God and will also provide more opportunities for the bishops in the United States and Canada to engage in the listening sessions.”

Begun in October 2021, the “Synod on Synodality” was recently extended by Pope Francis through October 2024, to allow for more time for reflection and discernment from both the local and universal Church. The Universal Phase of the Synod will be held in two parts, the first in October 2023 and the second a year later in October 2024.

“The Holy Father has given the Church a great gift in extending the Synod through October 2024,” said Bishop Flores. “As we move forward, I encourage the People of God to utilize this Synodal time as an invitation to continue to cultivate the insights and fruits of their local Synodal consultations, and to work toward building an ecclesial culture of meditation on the Gospel, attentive listening, and prayerful pastoral decision-making.”

The Document for the Continental Stage as well as additional information and resources about the North American Continental Stage are available at

USCCB Media Contact:
Chieko Noguch

Bishop Kopacz invites all to Diocesan Eucharistic Congress Oct. 28-29

Bishop Kopacz invites all to the Diocesan Eucharistic Congress on Oct. 28-29 at St. Joseph – Gluckstadt, MS. Join us for prayer, the sacrament of reconciliation, time for reflection and Mass. See the video here: or view below.
Eucharistic Revival Moment
Friday, Oct. 28
4 p.m. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in St. Joseph Church/Opportunities for Sacrament of Penance
6 p.m. Evening Prayer with spiritual talk I with Fr. Ajani Gibson
7-8 p.m. Adoration continues with Sacrament of Penance available
8 p.m. Benediction/Reposition with Bishop Kopacz
Saturday, Oct. 29
8-10 a.m. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in St. Joseph Church/Opportunities for Sacrament of Penance
10 a.m. Morning Prayer with spiritual talk II with Fr. Ajani Gibson
11:15 a.m. Benediction/Reposition with Bishop Kopacz
11:30 a.m. Mass with Bishop Kopacz/Fr. Ajani, homilist

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.