Photo by Barry Burleson
Bishop Joseph Kopacz blesses the site of the new volunteer house. Pictured in back are Paul Smith (left), SHSM project manager, and Tim Courts (right), SHSM director of finance.
Photo by Laura Grisham
Holly Springs Mayor Kelvin Buck joined Sacred Heart Southern Missions board members last week for a groundbreaking photo. From left are Fr. Thi Pham, SCJ; Christine Greer; Barbara Caldwell; Mayor Buck; Fr. Jack Kurps, SCJ; Most Rev. Bishop Joseph Kopacz (Diocese of Jackson); and Sr. Nancy Schreck, OSF.
Photo by Barry Burleson
From left are Carter Hord, Hord Architects; Jamie Linkous, Linkous Construction Company; Danny Johnson, Linkous Construction Company; and Holly Springs Mayor Kelvin Buck. The mayor told the construction team the city would assist with a successful project in any way it could.
Sacred Heart breaks ground for house
Father Thi Pham, SCJ, referred to the Parable of the Mustard Seed during the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Father Gregory Bezy Volunteer House.
He said, “How will we liken the Kingdom of God? Or with what parable will we illustrate it? It’s like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, though it is less than all the seeds that are on the earth, yet when it is sown, grows up, and becomes greater than all the herbs, and puts out great branches, so that the birds of the sky can lodge under its shadow.”
– Mark 4:30-32
The new facility will be built directly behind the Holly Springs social services office of Sacred Heart Southern Missions (SHSM), 295 Francisco Avenue. Construction should start in mid-February.
It will house volunteers working in the eastern part of the SHSM service area. Housing accommodations for 32 volunteers will be provided. In addition to sleeping quarters, there will be common areas including a living room, dining room, kitchen and multi-purpose room. At its center will be a chapel that will allow the volunteers to reflect on their work within the context of God’s call in their lives.
“This is a very special day,” said Father Jack Kurps, SCJ, executive director of SHSM. “We unveil plans for a new residence for volunteers who donate their time and talents to benefit the poor and elderly. Many of these volunteers are high school and college students, full of energy who want to make a difference.
“In volunteering, they find that they, too, have been changed. They learn what it means to be a Christian.”
Father Gregory Bezy, for whom the volunteer house is named, came to Mississippi in 1952 and served as director of SHSM for more than 30 years. He was instrumental in establishing many local churches, expanding schools and initiating many social outreach programs.
“He touched the lives of many in Mississippi and across the nation,” Kurps said. “And through this project, many will be able to serve God and their neighbors.”
SHSM is a Catholic ministry in northern Mississippi sponsored by the Priests of the Sacred Heart. The main office is located in Walls.
Programs include six social services offices, two elementary schools, housing, six parishes, a soup kitchen, a thrift store and food pantries serving thousands of people each year.
SHSM has been a safety net for individuals and families since 1942. With the help of generous volunteers and donors, SHSM helps those living in poverty experience God’s love and mercy through food, clothing, housing, education, spiritual enrichment and other assistance.
The Most Reverend Bishop Joseph Kopacz of the Diocese of Jackson said, “This day has been a long time coming.”
He blessed the project and the grounds.
“Let us pray, my brothers and sisters, that God will bless the work we begin today and help each of us to contribute to the building up of the kingdom of God,” Kopacz said.