Catholic Schools Week is January 30 – February 5, and all across the country Catholic schools are celebrating the positive contributions that the schools, their students, and graduates bring to the nation.
Sacred Heart Catholic School (SHCS) is no exception. Our local Catholic School has been a cornerstone of the Catholic community, as well as downtown Hattiesburg, for over 110 years. Many people have seen their lives blessed by Sacred Heart Catholic School and the high level of service provided to the local community. One graduate of Sacred Heart Catholic School, Monsignor Joseph Mercier, continues to support Catholic education.
“Monsignor Mercier became an ordained priest in 1955 and has continued to serve the Catholic community in numerous roles for over 55 years,” stated Andy Mercier, Monsignor’s nephew. “The extended Mercier family is very proud of Monsignor Mercier having served the Catholic Church and the youth of the diocese for so long and we are grateful to be able to establish seed money for this fund in his honor”
Monsignor Mercier has been deeply involved in the education of Catholic youth as the majority of his assignments connected the church and Catholic schools. He has taught at three Catholic high schools in Mississippi, and while he served at Sacred Heart parish, he also served the Catholic students at the University of Southern Mississippi as chaplain of the Newman Club on campus.
Mercier served as assistant pastor at St. Mary, Jackson; Nativity BVM Parish, Biloxi; St. John the Evangelist, Gulfport; and Sacred Heart Parish, Hattiesburg. He was also the pastor of Christ the King and of Holy Family in Jackson; Sacred Heart, Pascagoula, St. John the Evangelist, Gulfport; and Sacred Heart Parish, Dedeaux, where he also served as director of the Cursillo Movement of South Mississippi. Mercier also served on the Diocesan Board of Consultors, Clergy Council, Diocesan Liturgical Commission, Personnel Board, Synodal Examiner, and Parish Priest Consultor. In addition,
Although Monsignor Mercier is retired, his ministry with the Cursillo Movement and his availability to help out at parishes keep him active in the diocesan community.
“Monsignor Mercier has touched the lives of thousands of parishioners and students throughout his years of service to the Catholic community,” stated Brian McCrory, principal of Sacred Heart Catholic School.
“I am confident in saying on behalf of all priest in the diocese that we are proud for Monsignor Mercier to have this perpetual fund established in his honor” stated Father Ken Landry of Sacred Heart Church. “He is a priest we all should like to emulate for his dedication to the church and his fellow priest.
“I have worked with him for 25 years and have seen God work miracles through him. He is an extraordinarily dedicated Christian and priest,” stated Father Tommy Conway, the priest of St. Thomas Catholic Church.
For his unwavering dedication to the future of the Catholic faith and to honor Monsignor Joseph Mercier, an Endowment was established at The Greater PineBelt Foundation. This Endowment will provide financial assistance to students and funding for specific projects that benefit the students of Sacred Heart Catholic School.
Anyone also wishing to honor Monsignor Mercier can do so by making a tax-deductible donation to The Greater PineBelt Community Foundation and marking “Catholic Education Fund” in the memo line. Please mail your donation to 1507 Hardy Street, Suite 208, Hattiesburg, MS 39401.
For more information about the PineBelt Foundation, please visit www.PineBeltFoundation.org, www.Facebook.com/PineBeltFoundation or call 601.583.6180.