Bishop Kopacz holds Mass at St. Aloysius

Published 8:06 pm Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Vicksburg Catholic Schools have carried out a tradition of providing its students a Catholic Education in Mississippi dating back to the mid-1800s, Bishop Joseph Kopacz, bishop of Jackson, said Wednesday.

“It was amazing the way here, in Natchez and Greenville, and in Madison and Jackson, the schools popped up all around. From 1847 to 1888, four high schools formed,” he said after celebrating Mass at St. Aloysius in observance of Catholic Schools Week.

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In his homily during the Mass, Kopacz compared the formation of Catholic Schools to the work of St. John Bosco, who developed a school system in Italy.

“This was going on about the same time this school (St. Aloysius) got started,” he said. “He gathered others with him and said, “What’s most important is that we start caring for the young people and teaching them, educating them and giving them a chance in life. He was amazing in what he did; he turned a lot of people around.

“We celebrate this Catholic Schools Week with a great sense of joy and pride and desire to make this school something very special.”

Referring to St. John Bosco’s efforts, he said Catholic education was “like this beautiful following of faith and knowledge and a purpose to do what Jesus said, ‘Go and teach all nations and baptize in the name of the Father and Son and the Holy Spirit’ so that the world can be a better place and we are on the road to heaven.”

Vicksburg Catholic Schools was one of four Catholic school systems in the state visited by Kopacz during Catholic Schools Week.

He called Catholic education, “A wholesome education. It’s a full education that welcomes people of different faith traditions, race and ethnic groups. It’s always been that kind of diversity, and it’s an opportunity, obviously, to teach the faith in Christ and our Catholic tradition and educate the whole person, body, mind and spirit.

“We’ve always had a strong commitment to that in the modern era. It’s just amazing how much energy and time and resources and everything poured into Catholic Schools. We’re forming leaders.”

Organized in 1974 by the National Catholic Education Association, National Catholic Schools Week is an annual observance of Catholic education in the United States. This year’s theme is “Catholic Schools: Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed.”

Besides the Mass, the school will hold an open house for prospective families will be held Thursday; and a student appreciation day will be Friday.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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