Missionaries are bringing ‘joy of God’ to Natchez

Published 8:47 am Saturday, March 4, 2023

Nearly 30 young men and women are bringing the joy and love of God to the Natchez community this week as part of a mission of the Institute of the Incarnate Word.

The mission, coordinated through St. Mary Basilica and St. Joseph Monastery in Adams County, began on March 1 and continues through March 12.

The young men and women are seminarians and postulants preparing to join orders within the Institute of the Incarnate Word and the Servants of the Lord and of the Virgin of Matara, communities that are in relationship with the monks at St. Joseph Monastery at Edgewood.

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“They are so full of joy; it is extremely contagious,” said Heddy Boelte, who is helping coordinate the mission with the Rev. Aaron Williams of St. Mary and the monks at the monastery, which is housed at Edgewood under the generosity of the Boelte family.

“St. Mary’s is hosting the novice classes of the communities, meaning the younger men and women who are preparing to make their profession as brothers and sisters,” Boelte said. “During their stay, the missionaries will primarily be engaged in evangelical efforts in our area, including visiting homes and preaching.”

Describing the mission as a providential opportunity to share their faith and the love of God, Boelte said the missionaries will be actively engaged throughout the community during their visit. The program includes daily Mass, adorations, home visits with small groups, evening mission talks, visits to Cathedral School, and visits to nursing homes, hospitals and other areas.

The programs and activities are open to Catholics and people of all faiths.

“This really is an opportunity to learn more,” Boelte said, adding that the missionaries are “so genteel, so non-judgmental and … so full of joy.”

Activities this weekend and week include:

  • Saturday, a retreat for children and youth at 1 p.m. at St. Joseph Monastery; confessions at the Basilica at 4:30 p.m.; and Mass at the Basilica at 5 p.m. with Fr. Mariano Ruiz officiating.
  • Sunday, Solemn Mass at the Basilica at 10 a.m. and Solemn Vespers and Benediction at the Basilica at 6 p.m., both with. Fr. Ruiz
  • Monday, Missionaries at Cathedral School
  • Tuesday, Missionaries at Cathedral School; Benediction at the Basilica at 5:20 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Missionaries at Cathedral School; School Mass at the Basilica at 8 a.m.; Mission Conference in Spanish at St. Joseph Monastery, 6 p.m.
  • Thursday, Morning home visits by missionaries at 9 a.m.; Mission Conference in Spanish at St. Joseph Monastery, 6 p.m.
  • Friday, Morning home visits by missionaries at 9 a.m.; Procession in Natchez, 5:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 11, Morning home visits by missionaries, 9 a.m.; family day at St. Joseph Monastery, 11 a.m.; Mass at the Basilica, 5 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 12, Solemn Mass at the Basilica, 10 a.m.

Anyone seeking more information about the mission can contact St. Mary’s office at 601.445.5616.