Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity’s Presence in Greenwood, MS

St. Francis of Assisi Mission is located on the Eastern edge of Greenwood, MS. and claims a rich history of service and promotion of justice for the dispossessed.   Our parish began in 1948 and the school opened its doors in 1951. Today, St. Francis School educates children from Pre-K through Grade 6. The Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity (FSCC) have been serving this community since the fall of 1997, when a request for Sisters reached our Motherhouse in Manitowoc, WI. Though our Community had been serving in various schools and health care facilities across the country, Mississippi offered a new setting for evangelization.

 

 

Many of us met the FSCC as teachers during our grade school education. We were often attracted by the spirit and joy those Sisters radiated in, and out of school. This is not how most young women meet a Community today. The internet has now become the source of searching and finding Religious Orders. Over time, several young women from the South have shared their discernment journey with us here at St. Francis. How does that happen? Initially we meet at a McDonald’s or similar location between their home and ours. Or we may invite the young woman to spend a weekend with us in our convent home. A lot depends on what the young woman is comfortable with. Through visits, questions; texting, and phone calls she picks up our spirit and determines prayerfully how God is working in her life. Does our spirit match her spirit and the longing in her heart or not?

 

“The Lord Bless and Keep you.”

 

 

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 of Assisi Student Triumphs at Spelling Bee

Five students from St. Francis of Assisi School participated in the Leflore County Spelling Bee. This group joined students from across the county in competition.  All of these super spellers returned to school cheering and wearing big grins! Mrs. Lewis, the Principal and Mrs. Banks, their Sponsor, shared their excitement when Ruben, a fifth grader,  brought home  the second place trophy. They had all worked hard to prepare for this annual competition. The trophy was a wonderful reward for all of their efforts and a source of pride for the whole St. Francis School community.

 

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!

St. Francis Kindergarteners Learn Respect for Life

As our country marks the anniversary of the passage of Roe vs. Wade, St. Francis School Kindergarteners began their week long set of lessons on respect for life.  The morning began with thinking about the Creation story and how God created people to be his friends.  The children reflected on the preciousness of a newly created person as they shared ways they would show respect for a little baby.  Expressions of love and care appeared in many gentle forms as the baby passed carefully from child to child.

Next, all began work in their special coloring books.  The first page helped them understand how very tiny we are when God first begins our life inside our mother’s womb.  Statements of amazement and quiet coloring prevailed.

The classroom bulletin board shows a child growing in the mother’s womb and reminds us all of the words of Scripture, “I am wonderfully made.  Truly these reverent moments and sincere faces are witness to the beauty of God’s presence in his little ones.