Gallivan Center housing Catholic agencies is dedicated

GREENVILLE — People who work in Catholic social ministry in the Upstate and those who fund their work turned out for the dedication and blessing of the new Gallivan Center May 15.

The center is a new building on Douthit Street that houses offices for Catholic Charities, Mercy Housing, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System and St. Anthony of Padua Parish. All are committed to helping people in need, according to Gallivan Center coordinator Sister Margie Hosch.

“We’ve come to serve the poor,” the Franciscan sister said. “Over 400 people contributed to this place.”

The big contributors financially were the Gallivan family members, Harold Gallivan and his four sons, who presented a plaque to the social ministers who work at the center.

Bishop Robert J. Baker blessed the building and gave the opening remarks.

“This is not just social work we do here, but we follow the social Gospel. To do this work once or a hundred or five hundred times takes more than the average amount of Christian charity; to do it perpetually, as these folks do, takes a supernatural grace,” Bishop Baker said.

Dorothy Grillo, director of Catholic Charities for the diocese and one of a dozen social ministers who journeyed from the Lowcountry to participate in the dedication and blessing ceremony, was impressed with the collaborative effort it took to get the center financed and built. She compared the building to a tool for working with the poor and said she hopes to see more tools like it for social ministers.

Grillo said she saw the Gallivan Center as a model. “Having all these ministries under one roof will go a long way toward coordinating our efforts to fight poverty.”

Michael J. Doiron, vice-president of mission for the St. Francis system, called the concept and construction of the Gallivan Center a true church-based ministry.

“We are the church,” Doiron told the assembled crowd. “Together we can do wonders.”

Bishop Baker thought that the wonders might take longer than they did to accomplish the actual coordination it took to put the building in place and staff it completely the way it has been done. He figured the project for a few years in length, he said, and attributed its early completion to the Greenville connections that Sister Hosch has cultivated over the years.

The nun herself credited the cooperation of lay people that allows the ministers of the poor to do their work. Sister Hosch said that the work and dedication of the laity make her optimistic about the future of the Catholic Church’s social ministries.

“I feel the Spirit moving as the church truly becomes the people of God,” she said. “The hope for the church lies in the dedicated laity who are ready to give of their time, talent and treasure.”

The Gallivan Center is already fully operational in the neighborhood that its ministers serve, adjacent to St. Anthony of Padua Church and School.