St. Thomas the Apostle members re-enact Palm Sunday procession

NORTH CHARLESTON — The Palm Sunday procession at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in North Charleston was extra special this year as newly ordained Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone joined the celebration.

It was one of the bishop’s first pastoral visits in the Diocese of Charleston since his ordination on March 25.

He joined the congregation, which includes a vibrant Latino population, as they re-enacted Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

About 350 parishioners participated in the event, which started with prayer under the gazebo. A procession then appeared from around the corner of the church.

A barefoot man with long black hair led the re-enactors, which included altar servers bearing the cross and others carrying palm fronds.

Near the front, walking beside a young man carrying the cross, was Bishop Guglielmone, followed by church members singing and playing guitar. The group wound through the parking lot and around the church before processing inside.

Father Emmanuel Efiong, supply priest at the church, said everyone was happy to have the bishop present.

Bishop Guglielmone celebrated the Mass at the 10:30 a.m. service on Palm Sunday with Father William F. Leonard, administrator, as the concelebrant.

During his homily, the bishop spoke of the importance of maintaining fidelity to the mission of the church. He told the congregation that everyone must work together to live the Gospel and spread the word of Christ.

The bishop has said he does not have a specific agenda at this time as he becomes acquainted with the needs of the various deaneries of the diocese, but evangelization and outreach are always priorities.

One young participant at the event had a special request that the bishop reach out to Catholic youth and draw them into more active participation within the church. Bishop Guglielmone may be uniquely qualified to do just that based on his past involvement with youth in Scouting.