Cathedral Mass honors pope

CHARLESTON — On Oct. 19, Msgr. Joseph Roth, vicar general and pastor of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, held a Mass in honor of Pope John Paul II’s 25th anniversary.

A letter from Bishop Robert J. Baker was read at the Mass, along with a poem honoring the pope, written by a South Carolina teen Bill Cossen Jr.

The following is the bishop’s letter:

“Your Holiness:

“I join Bishop David Thompson, retired Bishop of Charleston, my brother bishops of the United States and of the entire Church, the Catholic faithful in the Diocese of Charleston, and people throughout the world of all faiths who have come to know you and love you, in expressing our congratulations and gratitude to you on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of your election as the Vicar of Jesus Christ, the Successor of St. Peter, and the Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church.

“Please accept in a special way the greetings, prayers, and good wishes of the priests, deacons, seminarians, Religious men and women, and laity of the Diocese of Charleston, which covers the entire State of South Carolina.

“I was very fortunate to meet you on a number of occasions prior to my becoming Bishop of Charleston; and most recently, in January of 2002, I was honored to concelebrate Holy Mass with you in your private chapel.

“We were happy to have a special visit from you to the Diocese of Charleston and the city of Columbia for the interfaith celebration in 1987, when Bishop Ernest Unterkoefler was the Ordinary of our diocese.

“May the Lord shower many blessings upon you in a very special way in your days of celebration this week. We join you in prayer and gratitude to our Lord for giving us yourself as our great pastoral and spiritual leader these past twenty-five years. May the Mother of Jesus continue to bring you much joy in your continued dedicated service of Her Son.

“With prayerful best wishes and gratitude, I am

“Sincerely yours in Christ,”

Most Reverend Robert J. Baker