GLOVERVILLE – The peripatetic bishop of South Carolina traveled down to the rural reaches of Aiken County on Sept. 28 to celebrate the feast day of St. Vincent de Paul with the Vincentians who live and minister in a farming community called the Valley.
“We had a big turnout, with people from neighboring parishes and an honor guard from the Knights of Columbus,” said Congregation of the Mission Father John Lawlor. “The bishop was very gracious to come help us honor St. Vincent de Paul and the service to the poor being carried out in his name.”
Bishop Robert J. Baker spoke about the work of Vincent, who is the universal patron of all works of charity sponsored by the church, according to Father Lawlor, pastor of Our Lady of the Valley Church.
The Vincentian priest also congratulated Bishop Baker on the fourth anniversary of his bishopric, which he celebrated Sept. 29.
Although Our Lady of the Valley Church is the center of Vincentian activity in the state, St. Vincent de Paul Societies at parishes throughout the diocese carry out most of the work of caring for poor people.
This is the seventh consecutive year of celebrating the saint’s feast in Gloverville. That’s when Father Lawlor arrived at the parish. He, too, will celebrate an anniversary when he turns 85 on Oct. 10.
When asked if he ever planned to retire, the priest said he thinks about it once in a while but treats the thought as a temptation and shoos it away.
He is joined by four resident Sisters of Charity at Our Lady of the Valley, Sister Deborah Mallott, Sister Mary Patanorius, Sister Mary Sheehan and Sister Mary Jean Doyle.
After the celebratory Mass, the parish ladies prepared what Father Lawlor called “a lovely luncheon for everybody.”