Blythewood Catholics celebrate opening of new community


BLYTHEWOOD — The Catholic Community Northeast of Columbia began a new chapter last Sunday as Bishop David B. Thompson celebrated the opening liturgy for the congregation at the Blythewood Life Long Learning Center, the current meeting place for the group.

A packed auditorium of over 200 persons from at least a dozen communities greeted the head of the Diocese of Charleston.

In his homily, Bishop Thompson emphasized the three characteristics of the Church: One, holy and Catholic. “One in the Body of Christ. Holy in the saints we have, and Catholic in that we are united in faith with the Holy Father through the bishop.”

The Catholic Community Northeast of Columbia is a baby, said Bishop Thompson, adding that babies need names. He asked attendees to consider the name Transfiguration for their new congregation.

“I urge you to unite in faith and good works,” the bishop said. “It is important for us to be a Gospel people.”

He closed by saying, “You now have a special place in my prayers.”

In her remarks before the end of the Mass, Sister Clare Reinert, SSND, pastoral administrator for the congregation, announced that Mass will be celebrated Feb. 8 in Blythewood by Father Willam F. Carey, an Army lieutenant colonel from nearby Fort Jackson. She also stressed her ongoing efforts to have a priest available to celebrate Sunday Mass.

Sister Reinert also thanked the various priests in attendance from the Columbia area, Father Frederick Masad, Msgr. Leigh Lehocky, Father Jerome Schwab, Father Joseph Wahl, Father James LeBlanc and other religious for the role they have played in helping get the congregation started.

Parishes from across the diocese also played a part in the new beginning Feb. 1. From the Church of the Resurrection in Loris, the community received the processional cross and candles. From St. Peter’s Church in Columbia, the Lectionary and Sacramentary used in the Mass were given as a gift. The sacred vessels used for the Eucharist were received from St. John Neumann Parish. From Our Lady of the Lake in Chapin, a chalice, ciborium and censer were procured. And, the School Sisters of Notre Dame provided the flowers used to decorate the former elementary school building.

Financially, it was announced that the congregation had received a $10,000 matching grant from the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy. The funds will be used for the development of ministries, especially religious education, youth ministry, RCIA, liturgical ministries and preparation for sacraments.

In addition, a tithe was also received from the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston for $463.

Sister Reinert was named pastoral administrator of the Catholic Community Northeast of Columbia last August. The area is the first in which the diocese has employed the model of ministry of appointing an administrator to a developing community to work with its people to develop a Catholic presence.

Sister Reinert came to the diocese from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, where she had been employed for 15 years. She met with hundreds of families in the area Northeast of Columbia to share their common issues, gifts and problems. Lay leadership was also stressed in these house meetings.

In the first bulletin handed out to parishioners leaving the liturgy, volunteers were listed for such ministries as sacristan, communications committee, site committee, child care coordinator, music coordinator, financial committee, hospitality coordinator, choir and religious education.