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?”

Franciscan Sisters Capture St. Francis School Fall Festival

The day for the annual St. Francis of Assisi School Fall Festival turned out to be a beautiful day in the Delta. The weather was perfect for outdoor fun and games. Many volunteers had arrived early to grill the BBQ chicken, fry our traditional catfish and prepare many other foods for the hungry festival goers.

While the adults enjoyed bingo and kept an eye on the Silent Auction the younger ones easily migrated to the games and activies.

Each of the Friars and Sisters were eager to serve and do all they could to contribute to the success of the event.

Sisters Emy Beth and Monica Mary came to St. Francis to support our efforts and share in the days activities.

As the day wound down and the crowd deserted the cafeteria, we found Mrs. Lewis happily enjoying a well needed break and a few quiet moments, grateful for all the God had done at St. Francis… again.

 

 

 

Franciscans Remember 20 year Anniversary in Greenwood MS.

Twenty years ago the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity answered the request of the Franciscan Friars of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province to join them in ministry at St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Greenwood, MS. On July 28, 1997 four sisters; Sister Natalie Binversie, Sister Rochelle Kerkhof, Sister Delores Vogt and Sister James Ellen Woolsey left the Motherhouse as the Community blessed them singing, “The Blessing of St. Francis”.

Many of our Sisters have served here since that day and have found the blessings of life and ministry at St. Francis to be as real for them as it was for those pioneer Sisters. In remembrance of these 20 years of presence and all the Sisters who have served here over the years, Fr. Jim Gannon, Provincial, and the Franciscan Friars of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Province gifted us with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.  We are enjoying them with deep gratitude.

Tribute to Sister Margaret Held, SSSF and Paula Merrill, SCN

Saturday, May 20 started out like a normal Saturday. The St. Francis of Assisi Sisters were getting lots done in school and the convent but they reserved time to drive to Durant,MS to attend the dedication and blessing of a monument in honor of the two Sisters who had been murdered in their home in Durant in August, 2016. The sun was out and it was getting hot and humid. The trip to Durant took about 50 minutes. As things would have it sometimes, we arrived for a 2:00 pm dedication only to find out that it had been rescheduled for 3:00pm. This provided a nice chance to visit and relax as we waited. Six Sisters, members of the School Sisters of St. Francis and of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth had arrived before us. These are the communities that mourn the loss of Sisters Margaret and Paula.  The monument stood somberly covered in readiness for the ceremony.

Soon others gathered along with Fr. Greg Plata, priests and a deacon of the diocese, and Bishop Joseph Kopacz .

As we had driven into Durant we saw many buildings and homes with evidence of temporary repair due to the tornado which had hit the town just three weeks earlier.

Now as we waited, the sky began to darken.

At three o’clock all seemed to be in readiness and Fr. Greg began the service.

Soon more and more umbrellas opened up as the sprinkles grew steadier.

The Bishop, who had come from celebrating a parish Confirmation and needed to leave shortly for another Confirmation, was getting his share of this MS storm also. Thunder and lightning accompanied the strong wind and heavy downpour with no let up. The rain came at us in all directions. Everyone was getting drenched.

The service continued, and Bishop Kopacz never paused until Fr. Greg began searching for the Holy Water for the blessing. The Bishop spoke to the crowd and with a grin,  asked, “Do we really need Holy Water with all this rain?  It seems that God has provided more than enough!”

The crowd did not stay around long as all were invited to St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Lexington

 where the two Sisters served, prayed and were were a powerful presence in the Faith Community.  Mass and a fried catfish dinner followed with more sharing of the blessings these two Sisters had been to the people there.

The rain poured down as we drove back to Greenwood. Our pace was slow, but following the tail lights of the car ahead of us helped. Suddenly the tail lights became flashing alert lights and a line of red lights. There had been a bad accident ahead of us. As we waited in the pouring rain we thanked God for our safety and prayed for the victims of the accident. We returned home wet, but grateful for the many blessings of that day.

St. Francis of Assisi Parish Celebrates May Crowning

Many parishes honor Mary in the month of May by crowning her Mother of Us All. St. Francis keeps this tradition alive each year.   Some of our First Communicants returned this Sunday to do the honors for us. After Mass we all processed to the grotto for the occasion.

The familiar verses of Immaculate Mary accompanied the beat of feet in the procession.  Then, with great care, Brother Craig assisted the children in the crowning, while all sang Hail, Holy Queen.

This was a great day for photo-ops and celebrating, so following the picture-taking everyone was invited to the school cafeteria for a lunch and cupcakes to honor the occasion.  And yet again Brother Craig was right there to assist in the service!  This “Good Shepherd Sunday” at St. Francis was marked by many happy lambs and sheep as all made their way home.

Greenwood Parishes Celebrate 25 First Communions

The last weekend of April was a big weekend for the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity in Greenwood. Twenty five young Catholics, under the care of Sisters Elena and Kathleen, participated in a retreat on Saturday while the parents gathered with Fathers Greg, OFM and Michael C.Ss.R.  The children came from Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish and St. Francis Parish combined with 2 children from Sacred Heart Parish in Winona.

Anticipation before mass!

Offering of self and the gifts.

Presentation of the First Holy Communion Candles

The Padrinos holding the Communion candle for the Hispanic Communicants.

Such radiant faces after mass told the story!

Mrs. Jackie Lewis, Principal of St. Francis School joins the communicants, Fr. Greg and Sr. Elena.

St. Francis Students Celebrate Seder Meal

With preparations being made for the  upcoming Seder Meal St. Francis School students, under the guidance of Brother Patrick and assistance of Sister Kathleen, made these beautiful bouquets of flowers for the tables .

All of the students gathered together in the school cafeteria to celebrate a Seder meal. As each person was about to enter the hall they were invited to wash their hands in memory of Jesus washing the feet of His Apostles.

 Once gathered together and seated quietly, Fr. Greg introduced our three students who will be Baptized on Easter and invited all to attend and celebrate with them. A few brief explanations of the celebration and directions followed.

The Seder began.

When the time of partaking of the bread came it was broken and shared. Then small pieces of lettuce were shared and dipped into salt water. The salt symbolized the bitter tears shed by the Hebrew people during their slavery.

As the meal drew to a close the students shared the remaining food items and enjoyed each other before returning to their classrooms.

Franciscan Sisters and Hispanic Community Honor Our Lady of Guadalupe

Balloons, streamers, costumes and flowers surely signal a celebration!  All these elements lent themselves to the celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe here at St. Francis Parish in Greenwood.  Families bedecked a trailer with balloons, drapery and ribbon in the colors of Mexico where Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego.

Those gathered in the street soon moved inside a parishioner’s home to bring out the image of the Virgin.

After the blessing of the image, it was time for the last minute preparations of the float!

Clouds filled the December sky and a brisk wind pushed us along the route of the procession.  Participants joined in praying the rosary and singing Spanish songs honoring the Virgin of Guadalupe.

The procession ended in front of St. Francis Church where many more members of the Hispanic Community waited.

St. Francis church held a joyful congregation of the faithful.  Some of the families spent most of Saturday preparing the church for the liturgy.  The beautiful statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe was banked in roses of every hue.  Those coming to celebrate brought countless more bouquets and plants so that Mary was surrounded with the beauties of God’s creation. So, beauty abounded in so many forms–the beat of feet following the image in procession, the lilt of voices raised in praise, the rhythms of the rosary prayed in faith, the reverent faces of children honoring their heavenly Mother, and the vibrant colors of blooms opening at the feet of the Virgin.  Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

St. Francis School Kindergarten Transportation Fair

What is a transportation Fair?

That’s what happens when an excited group of Kindergarteners complete a reading unit on transportation.  Parents and community friends joined in the excitement by bringing several types of vehicles for the children to look at, study and even climb on.

Once the vehicles were all parked on the playground, Sister Kathleen reminded students of their task and off they went with clipboards and worksheets in hand!

Students moved from vehicle to vehicle filling in their worksheets.  They had to draw the vehicle, count the number of wheels, circle the colors they saw, determine whether the size was L, M, or S and tell if the vehicle was used for work or play.  With such a variety of types of transportation, the children had plenty of work to do!

Children drove, climbed, honked and steered their way around the vehicle lot. Everyone had a great time, made lots of noise and learned lots too.

Time marched on and it was finally time to say goodbye to the vehicles and their owners. All joined for a group photo op with Sparky and then it was back to school.

Who knew that transportation could be such a fun topic?