2003 was a year of steady growth in diocese

CHARLESTON — Last year was a year of change and growth for the Diocese of Charleston. Here are some of the stories that made news in The Catholic Miscellany:

JANUARY: St. Anthony of Padua parishioners in Green-ville celebrated the rededi-cation of their renovated, enlarged church. In Simpsonville, Bishop Robert J. Baker dedicated St. Mary Magdalene’s new education center, the Conner Ministry Building. The bishop also joined other Catholic prelates, including Archbishop John Donoghue of Atlanta, in signing an endorsement of the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the Federal Marriage Amendment.

Nearly 100 South Carolina Vietnamese Catholics met with the bishop to share their concerns about their faith. The meeting was organized by the diocesan Office of Ethnic Ministries to help outline the diocese’s strategies for better serving the state’s Vietnamese Catholics.

FEBRUARY: The groundbreaking and blessing for the St. Joseph’s Residence at the Carter-May Home was held in Charleston. Plans for the addition include a priest wing and additional facilities for lay people. Teens from the Piedmont Deanery held a 24-hour food fast at Prince of Peace Church and raised around $2,000, with a $2,000 match from the church for Catholic Relief Services. Knights of Columbus Council 1668 celebrated its 90th anniversary in Greenville. The third annual diocesan wedding anniversary celebration, held at Immaculate Conception Feb. 9, was a testimony to a team consisting of God, a husband and a wife. St. Francis Church in Walhalla led an effort to include more Hispanic Catholics in the Disciples in Mission program. More than 215 adorers of the Blessed Sacrament gathered at St. Gabriel Church to celebrate the tenth anniversary of perpetual adoration. The religious of the diocese gathered at Our Lady of the Lake Church in Chapin for their annual meeting with Bishop Baker to share information and learn more about the needs of Catholics in South Carolina.

MARCH: Hispanic leadership from throughout the Diocese of Charleston worked on the draft of a one-year plan for 2003-2004. The five goals discussed were to coordinate a diocesan Hispanic Celebration, to address social concerns, to increase the number of Hispanic leaders within the diocese, to establish a quality program for Hispanic youth, and to create a pastoral formation of a  Latino-American Institute within the diocese. Kitty McDonough, a parishioner of Our Lady Star of the Sea in North Myrtle Beach, wrote “The Stations of the Cross for the Sick.” The South Carolina Council of Catholic Women Convention was held with the theme of “Faithful Servants Making the Connection.”

APRIL: St. Peter Church in Columbia celebrated the addition of its new Peragallo organ with a solemn blessing and dedication recital by Father Francis Kline, abbot of Mepkin Abbey. Getting too caught up in the “end times fever,” made currently popular in the “Left Behind” series, can be detrimental to one’s religious health, Paul Thigpen, Ph.D., a former evangelical Protestant pastor and the priesthood at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. The Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine Providence Hospital celebrated 65 years of healthcare.

JULY: Black Catholics from throughout the South gathered in Charleston to celebrate the UMOJA heritage festival led by Archbishop Anthony J.V. Obinna of Nigeria. The Cursillo movement in the Diocese of Charleston celebrated 25 years with a Mass held at Our Lady of the Lake in Chapin. Our Lady of Mercy Sisters Marie Amelia Ferillo and Carmelita Boyd celebrated 110 years of ministry between them. Construction began on the St. Joseph’s Residence at Carter-May. Bishop Robert J. Baker dedicated and blessed nearly 200 acres of land that will serve as the site of the future unified Catholic community in Sumter. Blessed Sacrament Church began perpetual adoration 19 years ago on the Feast of Corpus Christi. The new Gallivan Center for Catholic Social Ministry was blessed next to St. Anthony of Padua in Greenville.

AUGUST: In a statement on same-sex unions, Bishop Robert J. Baker, stated: “As a matter of fact the Roman Catholic Church holds same-sex unions to be immoral.” A special dedication of the Neighborhood House was held to celebrate the completion of repairs and the resumption of business after a fire. St. Mary Help of Christians Church celebrated its 150th anniversary as a parish. St. Mary Magdalene in Simpsonville opened its child development center for children not old enough for conventional schooling. The Diocese of Charleston completed revision of its sex abuse policy and awaited its turn in a national audit to document the progress made in implementation of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.

SEPTEMBER: The Cursillo movement held its first Spanish-language weekend at St. Philip Benizi Church with nine Hispanic candidates. Prince of Peace in Taylors opened the school year with new first- and second- grade classes, and St. Joseph Catholic School in Greenville opened sixth- and seventh-grade classes. Teachers from the four Greenville area schools participated in a workshop on sensitivity and diversity sponsored by the diocesan Office of Ethnic Ministries. Jessica Eddins, 24, of North Charles-ton, a Catholic, competed for the Miss America title. Bishop Robert J. Baker rededicated Our Lady of Mercy Church. More than 125 people packed into the church to celebrate its resurrection after a fire damaged it in 2002. The bishop also dedicated the new 17,000-square-foot Prince of Peace Church in Taylors. It will seat 1,200 and the Romanesque church has already received awards for its design. Transfiguration Church in Blythewood began construction on its parish center. St. Cyprian Church marked 52 years of existence and the anniversary of the Daughters of Charity who have given a decade of service there.

OCTOBER:  More than 700 people from throughout the state prayed, processed and listened to Marian music and spiritual talks during the diocesan-sponsored Rosary Celebration at Corpus Christi Church. Bishop Robert J. Baker commissioned and introduced the new icon of Our Lady of Joyful Hope. A meeting to address the needs of international priests was held at Our Lady of the Lake in Chapin. St. Joseph in Chester celebrated its 150th anniversary in the same building used by six generations. Heather LaDue is not only accomplished, driven and organized, but the 17-year-old St. Joseph’s Catholic High School student is an honor student, Merit Scholar and one of the top five percent of all high school students in the nation.

NOVEMBER: Father George Frank-lin led St. Mary Church’s revival, telling parishioners “you will never know the joy of life unless you make Jesus Christ number one.” The diocese celebrated Black Catholic Month with a traveling 50-image pictorial display that is proving to be an effective way of establishing the place of African-Americans in Catholicism. Hundreds of Vietnamese Catholics gathered at Our Lady of the Rosary Church to celebrate the Feast of the Vietnamese Martyrs.  The Knights of Columbus annual Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble walk drew a record crowd of nearly 2,200 in Charleston.

DECEMBER: Franciscan Sisters Noreen Buttimer and Deanna Bartolomei work in ministry as pastoral associates and love their vocations as they are loved by the people they serve.  Holy Cross Mission was rededicated after a renovation by parishioners. Robert Higgins was accepted into candidacy for the priesthood. The Office of Stewardship and Mission Advancement received an honorable mention for excellence in materials for total diocesan stewardship effort from the International Catholic Stewardship Council. Bishop Robert J. Baker urged Catholics to light a Christ candle during the Christmas season to bring light into a world of darkness and hope into a world of despair.

Published Jan. 1, 2004
The Catholic Miscellany