By SHEILA OJENDYK
GREENVILLE — St. Mary Parish welcomed three new staff members on Aug. 16 with a buffet reception. Father James Dubrouillet is the new parochial vicar, Sister of St. Joseph Beverly Nonte is the new Hispanic minister, and Mickey Farmer is the new youth minister. All followed winding roads to get where they are now.
Father Dubrouillet holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. He originally came to South Carolina from Missouri to work as an engineer at the Savannah River Plant. He worked there for three years, specializing in radioactive metals, and then did an about face by applying to the Diocese of Charleston to become a diocesan priest. He began his studies in the Carmelite order and then transferred to Mount Saint Mary’s College in Maryland. After a year as a transitional deacon, he was ordained in 1997. Father Dubrouillet came to St. Mary on Aug. 1 from Christ Our King in Mount Pleasant.
Mickey Farmer, youth minister, was a Methodist when he came to St. Mary 23 years ago to teach physical education at the parish school. He credits nurturing friends at St. Mary for taking him under their wings and making him part of their family before he joined the parish family. He converted to Catholicism 15 years ago and was baptized at St. Mary.
Farmer is very enthusiastic about his new position, which was created after Fr. D. Anthony Droze, pastor at St. Mary, identified the need for a full-time youth minister. Farmer’s love for young people is obvious. He emphasized the importance of young people when he said, “Youth today is the future. We must build today, in the present, for the future.”
Farmer will be in charge of all youth programs. Youth ministry activities will include teaching, extracurricular activities, sports and service projects. Because children listen best to other children, Farmer wants to prepare them to minister to other children. He plans to train high school students to teach CCD to younger children. High school students are already coaching younger children in sports activities.
Sister Beverly started out to be a teacher. This Sister of St. Joseph taught in the primary grades for 11 years in Michigan. Her career changed paths during Vatican II, when Pope John XXIII asked non-missionary communities to send 10 percent of their members into mission service. She had a four-month crash course in Spanish and was sent to South America to learn about the culture and to work with the poor. Sister Beverly explained, “We were sent to evangelize. Little did we know that we would be evangelized.” That was 27 years ago, and she’s been deeply involved in Hispanic ministry ever since.
Sister Beverly stressed the importance of identifying with people of different cultures. Every culture has gifts and people of talent. “The idea is not to be a stew — the melting pot idea — but to be a salad where people enrich each other. We lose too much with the melting pot.”
She believes it is important for people to worship in their mother tongue. Expressions of faith change when the language changes, and people can lose their memory of faith if they lose the traditions that are part of their language and their culture. Sister Beverly told of the fervent devotion to the rosary she has seen in Latin American people. Feast days are also very important in Hispanic cultures. Sister Beverly is eager for Hispanic parishioners at St. Mary to put on a fiesta and invite the rest of the parish to celebrate with them. And who can say no to a singing nun?