Prayers for our President and all Elected Officials
The people of the United States have once again spoken by choosing through our democratic process President Barack Obama to continue to lead our nation for another four year term. As citizens of this great country we must now come together to work for a better America that respects the dignity of every human person from conception until natural death and cherishes religious liberty for all.
It is time to bring civility back to our society through respectful conversation and dialogue. These past few years have been wrought with divisive rhetoric and crass politics thus hampering the true spirit of democracy on which our nation was established and further impeding the perpetuation of the Common Good.
Therefore, it is my fervent prayer that our president, our congressional representatives and all elected officials will use the powers of the offices which have been entrusted to them by the American people to heal the wounds of division and bring about a world of peace, justice and true freedom, especially for the most vulnerable members of our society – the unborn, the poor, the marginalized and the elderly.
+Joseph N. Latino
Bishop of Jackson
Catholic Hill, Natchez - Monument for Bishops Heslin and Gunn - 09-23-2012
02-02-2012 Bishop Joseph Latino visits grandparents hometown in Sicily to celebrate Mass and pay respects to his ancestral home. On Thursday, Feb. 2, Bishop Latino celebrated Mass in the presence of the Eparch of Piana degli Albanesi at his grandparents home church Santa Maria della Favara in Contessa Entellina, Sicily. After the Mass Bishop Latino met several relatives from the town.
Here in the United States we still practice Capital Punishment. We are one of the few countries around the world that still uses the death penalty. In our country there is a great debate as regards its justification. There are strong voices for and strong voices against. Along with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) I raise my voice as one against the practice and acceptance of Capital Punishment. The penalty of death for the taking of life serves no logical purpose. The death penalty cannot, and does not return the life of a murdered victim nor does it serve any purpose other than revenge following the Old Testament precept of an “eye for an eye”, which Christ has abrogated in the New Testament. In Jackson this past June, James Anderson was beaten and then murdered by being run over by a pickup truck. This brutal and senseless taking of a life was met with outcries from all over the community. In her letter to the Hinds County District Attorney, Mr. Anderson's sister has asked that he not seek the death penalty.
6-6-2011 Approved Mass Settings for New Translation of the Roman Missal
Mass Setting for Transition to New Translation
In order to better facilitate the transition to the new translation of the Mass, music ministers play a pivotal role in teaching the congregation the people’s parts of the liturgy.
After consultation with other bishops around the country, much review of various settings and listening to the comments of parish music ministers at and following the workshop on April 2, at St. Joseph Church in Gluckstadt, two Mass settings are approved for use in the Diocese of Jackson during the transition period of Nov. 27, 2011 – June 10, 2012.
The two approved settings are: The Belmont Mass by Christopher Walker from Oregon Catholic Press and Missa Simplex by Richard Proulx from WLP/Paluch Music. Both settings are straight forward and based in plain chant so that they should fit easily into any parish. Either setting will facilitate our faithful learning the new English translation of the Mass in a simple and prayerful manner.
As Bishop and Guardian of the Liturgy for the faithful in the diocese, I mandate all parishes in the Diocese of Jackson to use only the above two Mass settings for Masses in English for the above listed transition period. This applies to all Masses including school and youth Masses.
After the transition period, parish music ministers may choose from the myriad of new and revised Mass settings, keeping in mind that Catholic musical tradition is about singing the Mass and not singing at Mass. Settings chosen should lend themselves more to congregational participation than to performances.
The Roman Catholic Liturgical Tradition is a beautiful and sacred treasure. As Bishop and protector of that treasure, I appreciate your full cooperation during this time of transition.
On this feast of the Resurrection of the Lord, the liturgy proclaims: This is the Day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice in it. Alleluia! This is the Feast that sums up all the Sundays and feast days throughout the whole liturgical year. This is the Feast that gives credence to all the other celebrations of our Catholic faith. This is the Feast that celebrates salvation. Read more.
Holy Week begins this Sunday with the celebration of Palm Sunday. Around the world and across the Diocese of Jackson our Catholic faithful will bless palms and hear the passion narrative of St. Matthew’s Gospel read. And so we commence the holiest of weeks in our church’s tradition.
On Tuesday, April 19, at 5:45 pm in the Cathedral of Saint Peter the Apostle we will celebrate the Mass of Chrism, where with the presbyterate gathered around me, I will bless the oils of catechumens and the sick and consecrate the Sacred Chrism. These oils presented to parish representatives will be taken back to home parishes and used throughout the year to anoint the sick and baptize infants and adults. The clergy will renew their priestly commitment at this Mass as well. Read more.
As you have seen in the news, the catastrophic devastation in the country of Japan caused by one of the largest earthquakes in modern times and a 33-foot tall tsunami is indeed incomprehensible in scope. The death toll is rising each day. Images of displaced families, destroyed coastlines and farmland, burning neighborhoods and industries, homes and buildings are vivid reminders of the unfathomable destruction. Click on above link for rest of letter.
On Wednesday, March 9, with the distribution of blessed ashes, we began the solemn penitential season of Lent. Lent is traditionally the time when we are invited and encouraged by the liturgy to join Jesus in His journey to Jerusalem. It is the preparation time to anticipate Easter and Christ’s victory over sin and death. It is a time individually and collectively for all of us to be transformed by the mercy of God, through the death and resurrection of His Son.
Most often Lent is associated with the idea of depriving oneself of legitimate pleasures or recreation. Frequently our personal concept of Lent is defined by the things we decide to give up, and not so much by the things we choose to do. To willfully decide to abstain from food, drink or legitimate entertainment is indeed a form of penance and praiseworthy, but it is not the only valuable penance we might choose.
Lent is a time for each of us to think positively, not just negatively. Lent is a time to choose to do more, not less. It is a time to make right whatever is wrong in ourselves. It is an opportune time for each of us, through soul-searching, to come to a better knowledge of ourselves and our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Lent is an excellent time to seek forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, especially if we have not done so for a long period of time. This sacrament affords us the opportunity to examine our lives and once again do something positive by seeking forgiveness and mercy.
Receiving the Eucharist, the source and summit of spiritual life, more often, especially if we have neglected to do so lately, is a positive turn for Lent. This holy season truly is a great time to pray more and worship more by reciting the rosary, participating in the Way of the Cross, attending a weekday Mass if possible and immersing oneself in the Gospel passion narratives.
Lent is also a wonderful time to love more and forgive more. Offering alms to charity, volunteering in local initiatives for the poor, reconciling with someone who has hurt you, reconciling your own faults with the Lord by making a good Confession are integral parts of the journey through Lent to Easter.
All of these actions are positive, spiritual and symbolic bonds with the Lord during Lent. Our late Holy Father John Paul II of happy memory, in one of his Lenten messages said: Penance is not just an effort, a weight; it is also a joy….The whole period of Lent, since it is a preparation for Easter, is a systematic call to this joy that comes from the effort of patiently finding oneself again. Let no one be afraid to undertake the effort.
May this positive approach to this Season of Lent be the grace occasion for all of us to become what God created us to be. As we enter into this journey let us make it a time to do more, not to settle for less. If we live this Lent in a manner that deepens our relationship with God, it may not be an easy time, but indeed it will be the best of times.
The current bill in our State Legislature on immigration that mirrors the Arizona immigration law, though perhaps well-intentioned by the authors, is an unnecessary, mean-spirited and retrogressive bill. We do not need to pass a state law requiring the enforcement of federal laws. Law enforcement agencies are already tasked with enforcing these laws.
We call upon our legislators to drop this unnecessary legislation. What we need is national comprehensive immigration policy change. State initiatives, such as the current proposed legislation, will not remedy our broken system of immigration and may even intensify the situation on a local level. Read more...
Payday Lending Reform is an ethical and moral issue that the State of Mississippi desperately needs to address. Payday lending businesses currently exist in practically every community in our State. These businesses operate outside the Small Loan Act and often charge exorbitant amounts of interest to those who borrow from them at times exceeding 500% annually.
As most of their clients are poor, these businesses entrap individuals in a vicious cycle of borrowing and indebtedness. We recognize the need for poor people to have an opportunity to borrow small amounts of money to make ends meet, but we should not allow lending businesses to prey on those living in poverty. Read more...
On this the First Sunday of Advent, the new diocesan directives for Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest take effect. Click here to learn more about the SCAP directives.
10-11-2010 Today is the day Pope John Paul II assigned as the Feast day of Blessed John XXIII because it is the anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. Assigning him this day on the calendar, forever links Blessed John XXIII with the council. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' web site released the following video on YouTube profiling Blessed John XXIII and the first day of the council.
Our Lady of Guadalupe and Advent’s Gaudete Sunday
In the midst of the season of Advent falls the wonderful Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, on Dec. 12. Many of our parishes and missions will be planning festive celebrations to mark this feast. Though a beautiful feast dedicated to Our Blessed Lady, this feast does not take precedence over the Advent Sunday Mass.
Therefore, because of the important nature of the liturgical season of Advent and the readings on each Sunday of Advent, and in an effort to honor the Feast of the Patroness of the Americas, as Bishop of the Diocese, I am transferring the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe to Saturday, Dec. 11.
All Masses prior to 4 pm on Saturday, Dec. 11, should be the Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Vestments should be white. Masses celebrated after 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11, or anytime on Sunday, Dec. 12, shall use the Mass and readings for the Third Sunday of Advent – Gaudete Sunday. Vestments should be rose or violet in keeping with the liturgical color of the season.
Let us look forward to the festive celebration of the Patroness of the Americas and use these liturgical notes to make the celebrations of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Gaudete Sunday joyful, hope-filled and awe-inspiring for all those who participate in them.
+Joseph N. Latino
Bishop of Jackson
Oct. 7, 2010–Our Lady of the Rosary
10-02-2010 Today Bishop Houck and I concelebrated the Mass of Dedication for San Miguel Church in Saltillo, Mexico. Bishop Francisco Villalabos was the principal celebrant of the beautiful liturgy among a new mission church filled to capacity. Fr. Bennie Piovan, retired priest from the Archdiocese of New Orleans, now serves as pastor of our mission in Saltillo. Fr. Piovan has done a great job in continuing the work begun there so many years ago by Fr. Patrick Quinn. The ceremony was very moving and the people were most joyous and grateful for the new place of worship. I came home to Jackson with a renewed sense of the mission of our Catholic church throughout the world.