Changes made in diocesan offices; three priests receive papal honors

CHARLESTON — Bishop Robert J. Baker has announced some honors and some changes in the diocesan administration. Pope John Paul II has given the title of Protonotary Apostolic to Msgr. Joseph Roth and Msgr. Charles Rowland.

Father Martin Laughlin, pastor of St. Francis by the Sea Church in Hilton Head, has received the title of prelate of honor. The bishop has also appointed Msgr. Laughlin as a vicar general for the Diocese of Charleston. He replaces Msgr. James A. Carter who served in that role for seven years. Msgr. Laughlin will serve alongside Msgr. Roth as vicar general. Msgr. Rowland, pastor of St. Joseph Church in Columbia, is judicial vicar.

“I join all in the diocese in thanking Msgr. Carter for his years of very capable service as vicar general, serving under two bishops,” Bishop Baker said. “He always gave generously of his many talents to assist us in serving the needs of the Church in South Carolina.”

Bishop Baker will present the honors at a time to be announced. He said he was grateful to Msgr. Roth and Msgr. Laughlin for their assistance to him for the past five years and now in the daunting task of vicars general.

“In putting the needs of the diocese beyond their own they will be making many sacrifices for the benefit of all in our diocese,” he said. “I thank Msgr. Rowland for his great labors of love as judicial vicar, as he guides the tribunal of the diocese and assists us in a variety of ways. He is a devoted servant of God’s people.”

Bishop Baker also appointed Father Edward Fitzgerald as diocesan chancellor. Father Fitzgerald, pastor of Divine Redeemer Church in Hanahan, recently completed his licentiate degree in canon law.