Msgr. Charles J. Baum, ordained in 1934, dies at 92

Msgr. Charles J. Baum died Dec. 19 in Greenville at the age of 92. He was born in Charleston on Jan. 2, 1908, and ordained a priest for the diocese on May 20, 1934.

He served in many parishes of the diocese, including St. Peter in Beaufort, the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston, St. Joseph in Charleston, St. Joseph in Anderson, St. Peter in Columbia, St. Louis in Dillon, and St. Paul in Spartanburg, but most memorably at St. Mary in Greenville from 1952 to 1973. As an active priest, he was on the faculty at Bishop England, a chaplain of the Newman Clubs at Clemson and the University of South Carolina, dean of the Greenville deanery for 21 years, the vicar for religious, a diocesan consultor, and the moderator for the Diocesan Council of Catholic Men.

In 1965, he became the first chairman of the diocesan Commission for Ecumencial Affairs. Always a head of his time in ecumenism, he was instrumental in bringing the National Workshop on Christian Unity, sponsored by the National Conference of Christians and Jews, to Charleston in 1974.

Msgr. Baum helped further the ecumenical movement as an invited speaker in Protestant churches and in his role as chaplain and member of the Sertoma Club for 16 years.

For his service to the civic community, Msgr. Baum received a plaque of recognition by Mayor Max Heller, the first Jewish mayor of Greenville.

Msgr. Baum was made a domestic prelate with the title of Right Rev. Msgr. by the late Pope John XXIII in December 1959, the year of his silver jubilee.

During his tenure as pastor of St. Mary’s, the parish doubled in size. After various projects of remodeling and building, the pastor retired, leaving his parish debt free.

Bishop Ernest L. Unterkoefler appointed Msgr. Baum pastor emeritus of St. Mary’s in 1973 upon his retirement. He continued caring for the people of St. Mary’s, getting involved in community efforts and administering the sacraments to the faithful long after his retirement.

A vigil service was to be held Dec. 20 and the Mass of Christian Burial was to be celebrated Thursday, Dec. 21, at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s in Greenville. Burial will be in St. Mary’s churchyard.

More on Msgr. Baum will appear in The Miscellany.