Millions of Indians converted to Christianity


Masses celebrating the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe were celebrated in churches throughout the state, remembering the appearance of the apparition of the Blessed Mother to the Aztec Indian outside of Mexico City in 1521.

More than 200 people attended an evening of celebration at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in North Charleston on Dec. 11. The celebration included a dinner, an outdoor procession and a Mass. The procession was led by members of the congregation carrying a large banner of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, while everyone in attendance carried candles and recited the rosary.

Father Jose Antonio, a priest from Colombia who has served in the diocese since the spring, celebrated the Spanish liturgy, along with Father Art Dalupang, pastor of St. Thomas. Music for the evening was provided by a mariachi band from Atlanta.

The celebration at St. Thomas began at 7 p.m. and continued past 1 a.m. Friday. Similar events were held in Conway, Beaufort, Batesburg, Hardeeville, Greenwood and Sumter.

In fact, Father Art said it was due to his participation at the celebration at St. James Parish in Conway last year, while he was pastor of St. Ann Church in Kingstree, that motivated him to host this year’s event. He praised the fact that Anglo families in the parish, as well as Hispanic ones, saw the importance of the feast day and attended the festivities.

Father Jose Antonio was also pleased with the turn-out for the evening. He serves an area encompassing North Charleston, Johns Island, Beaufort and Hilton Head, serving as a spiritual director for the Spanish-speaking immigrants, conducting Bible studies for adults and youth, listening to confessions, training leaders for RENEW, and forming small Christian communities “comunidades de base.”

After serving in Hispanic ministry in the Diocese of Hamilton, Ontario, in Canada for over 10 years, Father Jose relocated to South Carolina due to the large need for Spanish-speaking priests.

… in Greenwood


It was standing room only the evening of Dec. 12 as over 340 people overflowed Our Lady of Lourdes Church for a fiesta in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Spanish speaking and English speaking parishioners and visitors from the greater Greenwood community joined together for this special celebration which was coordinated by Buscando Luz, the parish’s Spanish-speaking committee.

The Buscando Luz choir and Mariachi Atlanta provided music during the Mass which was celebrated in Spanish by Father Hayden Vaverek, pastor. Before Mass, a long procession of cars made its way from the New Haven Apartments, home to many participants. Leading the procession was a lighted float with a tableau of Our Lady of Guadalupe portrayed by Lorena Ramirez, and Juan Diego portrayed by Juan Villafuerte. A crowd greeted the procession as it entered the church grounds and Father Vaverek blessed the vehicles.

The green, white and red colors of Mexico and a huge banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe decorated the parish hall where members of the community enjoyed a evening of dinner and dancing to mariachi music.