CHARLESTON—The College of Charleston’s campus ministry program finally has a place they can call home.
On Nov. 1, members of the Catholic Student Association attended Mass at St. Patrick Church and a special blessing of their new space, known as the “Upper Room” of Father Egbert J. Figaro Hall.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone concelebrated Mass with Father Henry Kulah, administrator of St. Patrick, and Father Dennis Willey, pastor of Sacred Heart and Christ the Divine Teacher churches.
In the bishop’s homily, he focused on saints in tribute to All Saints’ Day.
“They deal with pitfalls, temptations, and still have faith,” he said. “They always managed somehow or another to stay in touch with God.” The bishop told the students we must all strive to do the same.
He spoke of the good advice Jesus gave in the beatitudes, which are a reflection of what heaven can be, and said it is a time to celebrate all those who have lived the presence and traveled the journey.
“Holy people are not those who never fail, holy people are those who know they need God in their life,” Bishop Guglielmone said.
After Mass, the group walked from the church to the neighboring hall where the bishop blessed the new room then joined St. Patrick parishioners and members of campus ministry for a reception.
The students are thrilled to have a place where they can kick back and relax. Claire DeBuys, 19, a sophomore on the leadership team, said it’s a perfect place to gather after Mass, hold leadership meetings, study, host parties and more.
In 2008, the student association had to leave their old spot, which was a classroom owned by the church. The building had mold, according to Jane LaMarche, PhD, director of campus ministry.
For the next 16 months, they were without a permanent home, although Father Kulah graciously opened the church for youth activities following Mass each week, she said.
“We just missed having [our own] space,” said Andrew Meggs, a senior. “We kinda felt bad mooching off the church.”
Students said they hope more people will come together for faith and fellowship after Mass now that they can provide refreshments and a cozy place to lounge and socialize.
The Upper Room is owned by the Diocese of Charleston and was originally used for storage of diocesan files, LaMarche said. It cost $3,500 to completely prepare the room, which included removing file shelves, painting, and purchasing furniture.
“The greatest advantage is that the building is safe and secure and within walking distance on [church] campus,” she said. “The students are grateful for the space, and an answer to their prayers.”