St.Francis of Assisi’s Annual Mardi Gras Celebration

The 15th Annual St. Francis of Assisi Mardi Gras event was held Saturday, February 10, 2018 at the Leflore County Civic Center. The entertainment was provided by DJ TRAXX CRE8TOR. There was a New Orleans-style buffet with party setups and favors. The event draws a crowd of varied nationalities numbering around 300 to 400 each year . Their ages range from 25 to 80 years of age. This is the largest parish fund raiser of the year with all the proceeds going to help St. Francis School. The greatest percentage of the money raised is used toward tuition assistance for our students.

Mardi Gras is a Christian holiday that dates back thousands of years. There are different traditions for preparing for Lent.  One of the most famous is Carnival, known as Carnaval in some parts of the world. The celebration involves finishing up all the meat before Ash Wednesday  Mardi Gras translates from French as “Fat Tuesday”.

 

The parish committee members along with the Friars and Sisters transformed the Civic Center into a festive space featuring traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold.  The amazing arch of balloons marking the main entrance to the ballroom was fashioned by one of our school parents.

 

Sister Elena, Brother Patrick and Sister Kathleen relaxing and enjoying the festivities!

 

Fr. Kim took everything in as this was his first experience of our parish Mardi Gras. He was there for the setting up, decorating and actual celebrating. He fit right into the practice of Southern hospitality by meeting and greeting all of the guests.

 

Two of the St. Francis School cooks headed up the New Orleans style meal and enlisted the help of some of their friends in the preparations and service. Yes, this bevy of beauties made a brief appearance out on the dance floor after the meal!

 

The colors for Mardi Gras date back to 1872. Purple represents justice, green represents faith; and gold represents power.

 

Catholic Schools Week Ends With the Celebration of God’s Love

It has been a full, fun  and fruitful week for all at St. Francis of Assisi School. The planning and preparing proved to be worth the effort! The many activities will long be remembered by Mrs. Lewis, Faculty, Staff, Parents and Students. The last day of this busy week, coincided with the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple.  We also marked  commemoration of St. Blaise which fell on Saturday.  These wonderful events in the Church in themselves, would make for a full school mass. However, February 2 was also the 58th anniversary of ordination for our own Fr. Camillus. More to celebrate!

Each class presented a candle bearing the names of all the students in that grade.  The Faculty and Staff presented a candle as well.  Brother Patrick awaits the arrival of the Entrance Procession and receives the candles and displayed them before the altar.

 

 

Fr. Cam narrated the reenactment of his ordination during the homily of the Mass.  3 sixth grade young men took on the roles of Bishop, attending priest and ordination candidate.  They lent great joy and dignity to the dramatization.

 

Fr. Cam chanted the Litany of the Saints as Daniel lay prostrate in the middle aisle of the church representing the offering of self to God.  Fr. Cam is wearing the vestment his mother sewed for him to wear at his First Mass.

 

The “Bishop” then proceeded with the questioning, the anointing of the hands with oil and the vesting. Each part of the rite was enacted by our young men as Fr. Cam had done 58 years ago on February 2, 1960 in West Chicago, IL

 

Mrs. Lewis, our Principal, presented a card of congratulations made by Sister Kathleen.  All the students, faculty and staff signed this special greeting.

 

Following communion, the first graders sang a beautiful arrangement of Simeon’s Canticle with hand motions.  It was a holy moment of thanksgiving for all.

 

After the final blessings Brother Craig and Mrs. Lewis held the blessed candles as each one in church came up for the blessing of St. Blaise. “Through the intercession of Saint Blase, bishop and martyr, may God deliver you from every disease of the throat and from every other illness: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Throughout this time of blessing, the students sang many verses of “This Little Light of Mine” with much joy and praise in their voices and in their hearts.  We pray that they will continue to let their lights shine all their days!

 

Franciscan Sisters and Friars Share Vocation Stories with St. Francis Students

Catholic Schools Week included an opportunity for the Sisters and Friars to meet with our students to share thoughts and experiences related to religious vocations.  Each pair of classes was assigned a Friar and/or a Sister to give a living testimony to the call to Religious Life.  Each team or individual found their own way to share their message in an age appropriate way with their appointed class.

 

 

 

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St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Schools Week Activities.

In keeping with the theme of Catholic Schools Week,  and in preparation for setting the tone for the week, Sister Kathleen and Sister Elena volunteered to do the main hall boards.

Catholic identity flowed down the halls of the school as  each class decorated their own classroom door. Students and teachers cooperated to put creativity  into many forms.

 

One of the tenets of this year’s theme for Catholic Schools Week it that of service.  So,throughout the week students brought in food items for the Greenwood Food Pantry. This is a project our students are accustomed to doing in order to help the food pantry meet the needs of so many of our neighbors here in Greenwood. It also instills in the students an awareness of their responsibility to reach out to those less fortunate. Each day they brought a different items to create a donation pyramid.

Catholic Schools Week Sock Hop

Catholic Schools Week brings many varied activities to our students. This one was a ton of fun for the students.  The term “sock hop” was a new one to nearly all the students.  They envisioned themselves doing a lot of bunny action without their shoes!

 

Sister Kathleen aren’t you going to come and dance with us?

 

It didn’t take long for the fun and laughter begin!  Although the room was quite warm, no cool down time was to be had.  This was far too much fun!  Rock on, St. Francis School!

St. Francis School and Parish Celebrate Catholic Schools Week

St. Francis School joined St. Francis Parish to open the local celebration of Catholic Schools Week  here in Greenwood. “Celebrating your Parish” was Sundays’ theme.  Students, parents, staff and parish members all gathered for the Sunday Mass.

The nationally used logo for 2018 filled the sanctuary wall welcoming worshippers to the liturgy.

 

 

Students greeted parishioners and their guests at the church doors, welcoming them to the celebration of “Catholic Schools Week”.

 

Mrs Jackie Lewis, our Principal, welcomed the assembly to the Eucharistic liturgy and to the celebration of Catholic Schools week.

 

Students served as lectors proclaiming the Word of God at the liturgy.

 Fr. Kim proclaimed  the Gospel from Mark 1:21-28.  Students enacted the Scripture which told the story of  the man  possessed by an unclean spirit.

The students are always eager to read the universal prayers during our weekly school mass, so many were ready to assist us at the Sunday Mass. The final petition lifts up all the written needs placed in the parish “Book of Prayers”.   A student presented the book during this prayer time.

 

Mass continued with the collection and presentation of the gifts.

 

During the time of reflection after Communion, the students prayerfully sang “Lord, I Love You” and interpreted it with gestures.

 

The celebration of the Eucharist spilled over into the school hall where all enjoyed a treat of  doughnuts from the local doughnut shop.  So Catholic Schools Week was off to an amazing start with the sharing of the Bread of Life and lots of smiles over sweet, sticky doughnuts. Thus began a week of many events.

 

 

 

Franciscan Sisters March in Memory of Martin Luther King

The Greenwood community held the 34th annual Martin Luther King March on Sunday, January 21.  Following tradition, the Franciscan friars and Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity joined with sorority and fraternity members, civic club representatives families and youth groups to commemorate one of Dr. King’s most effective tools–the peaceful march.

 

Each year civic minded persons of all ages and walks of life gather, often bearing signs that hearken back to the days of Dr. King’s presence, back to the height of the Civil Rights Era.  The signs find many ways to speak of the peace that Martin Luther King so longed for.  It is always an honor to take part in this event.  The echoes of “We Shall Overcome”,  “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” and “This Little Light of Mine” blended with the beat of marching feet to remind all those present that the message of Dr. Martin Luther King is too important to lose in the passage of time.  That message of longing for peace and justice lives on!

Franciscan Sisters Join Mark Cancer Awareness Month

The Franciscan Sisters and St. Francis of Assisi Faculty and students participated in Cancer Awareness this past week. During Wednesday’s school mass the students carried up candles in remembrance those who died of cancer, those who survived and their caregivers.  Survivors were mentioned by name in the prayers of petition.   Thursday, pink table cloths covered the cafeteria tables and pink lemonade was “on tap”. Come Friday the students came in with pledge sheets and monies for the cancer walk slated for the afternoon.  At 2:00 everyone poured out of their classrooms and headed for the field behind the school.  Mrs. Lewis gave a countdown and students and teachers began doing laps.  The aim was for everyone to do 5 laps.  Some did more and little ones did less, but it all averaged out to a worthwhile activity.

 

 

 

The fifth and sixth graders were ready to go!

 

 

The Principal, Mrs. Lewis giving directions on where to go. Five laps if able!

 

And the students and faculty were off!

 

 

 

 

Sister Kathleen kept close track of her students. They are so precious at that age!

 

 

 

A quiet place in the shade to rest.

 

After the long walk a refreshing bottle of water or a snow cone hit the spot!

 

 

Ahhh! The pause that refreshes!

 


 

 

A week of remembrance, prayer, and fun.

The students raised $384 which was given to the American Cancer Society.

Saturday Smorgasbord for Franciscan Sisters

The Franciscan Sisters at St. Francis began the morning on Saturday by attending a “Regional Faith in Action Workshop” here in the cafeteria. It is always nice when you don’t have to travel for a meeting! The session was sponsored by the  Diocese of Jackson and dealt with  the topics of Catholic Social Teaching, Parish Social Ministry and Advocacy. The Diocese is encouraging parishes to form “Faith in Action Teams” which will build on the existing social ministry programs so that Catholics can more effectively live the Gospel.

 

 

Following the workshop, a group of our parishioners gathered at the grotto of Mary next to our convent to pray the rosary and commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady’s apparitions to the children at Fatima.

 

 

Midday here in Mississippi gets very hot so we opted to pray in the shade of a magnolia tree. This involved moving chairs to a position beside the grotto facing the highway.  Fr. Cam elevated this logistical move by remarking, “This is good as we are now praying with Mary and not to her”.  He added, that by facing highway 82 we would be “praying for the people of the world, and including the needs of all who passed by.”

 

 

A moment to relax before the next event.

 

Next on the day’s busy agenda was our Fall “Meet the Sisters” gathering.  As the young ladies arrived, snacks were served and games “relaxed” everyone! “Heads Up”, using a tablet was first. This has become a favorite activity for the group. Then our guests were challenged to use a spoon to transfer ping pong balls from a full bowl to an empty bowl. Finally, with a sandwich cookie on their brow the young ladies had to try and get the cookie into their mouth using only their facial muscles!

 

Now all were ready for a craft activity. Being October, Sister Kathleen led the group in making  a decade of a rosary using cord and beads in the same fashion as St. Theresa beads.

 

 

Sister Kathleen carried the theme of the rosary a little further. All were divided into five groups.   Each fivesome was given a bag of miscellaneous items. From a list of the mysteries of the rosary, each group had to act out the mystery of their choice using all the items in their bag. This took some thought and led to a lot of laughter as the audience figured out which mystery was being portrayed.

 

 

Please excuse the clotheslines!

Can you guess which mystery they each acted out?

 

 

After the Mysteries of the Rosary were enacted Sister Elena had the hot dogs ready for the hungry crew. From the hot dogs to Sister Judy’s s’mores, the young ladies were perfectly content.

 

Finally, it was time to come together in chapel for a prayer planned and led by Sister Judy.

 

 

Here we prayed for world peace through the intercession of Mary. A decade of the rosary was included in this prayer service. It was a perfect time to try out the new craft decade each young woman had made.

 

 

We had a wonderful time together with our young Catholic ladies. Before we knew it, the parents were arriving to pick up their daughters. As goodbyes were said, the usual question was asked; “When are we doing this again?”

Greenwood Secular Franciscans Gather for Annual Retreat

 

The St. Francis Secular Franciscan Fraternity at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Greenwood, came together this past weekend for their annual retreat. Brother Patrick McCormack, OFM, led the  Seculars in a very stimulating and prayerful time together.

 

Brother Patrick McCormack, OFM is a member of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province.

 

All gathered Friday evening for a Holy Hour after which Br. Patrick gave the group several questions to ponder; “Is this what I want with my whole heart?”  “What is it that I value?” “What is my understanding of Community/Fraternity?” With much to consider, the evening came to a close with Night Prayer.

 

On Saturday, Brother challenged the group to think about the word Community and opened it up starting with its Latin roots. Com=Cum=with and munity = munas=gift. He continued with the question, “What gift do I bring to Community?” A familiar question all remember from Initial Formation! The discussion broadened to consider, “What gifts do I bring to this Fraternity? What gifts are shared with me?”

 

 

The weekend was filled with reflecting, sharing , praying, enjoying meals and celebrating each other. All were enriched by a sense of peace and assuredness, as well as insight and gratitude for all that God has done in them, for them, and through them.