Father Enverga celebrates 25 years of straight talk

MONCKS CORNER—Adorno Father Edgardo O. Enverga recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of his ordination.

One of his parishioners said now he jokingly refers to himself as The Golden Boy.

For almost four years, Father Enverga has been pastor of St. Philip Benizi Church and Our Lady of Peace Mission in Bonneau.

His parishioners smile when they talk about him, painting a picture of a down-to-earth guy with a warm sense of humor and straightforward manner.

“I love him; he’s a dear,” said Roz Mir, a church volunteer.

Father Enverga says he is “not what you call uptight.”

He likes life to be simple, which is why he chose the Clerics Regular Minor, and why he enjoys leading the small church and mission, with about 250 families total.

The priest said he likes to look out at the congregation and know the faces and the names.

A free spirit in what is typically a rules-oriented society, Father Enverga talks openly about all manner of subjects — nothing is taboo.

Sometimes, he said, his direct style can get him in trouble. For the most part, however, his parishioners find him refreshing, responding with laughter rather than affront.

“If parishioners experience that you love them, you can talk straight to them,” Father Enverga said.
And if they get upset, well, the priest shrugs and makes the raspberry sound.

He said people aren’t there to follow him, but to follow Christ and to share in the real presence of the Eucharist.

“You can have the lousiest priest and the lousiest choir, but you should always get something out of the service,” he said.

The Adorno does his best to make sure the congregation also gets something out of the homily.

“I don’t want the people to go out of the Mass and not know what is the point,” he said.

Father Enverga reads the Gospel, sees the point, and shares it. Mary Collette, secretary, said his homilies are awesome. She described his words as down-to-earth and always connected to real life.

Irene Gray, a parishioner, said she remembers his homilies long after Mass.

“I love him to death,” she said. “He has come up with some outrageous sermons.”

One she’s still chuckling about compared religion to pizza, and noted that other faiths have only one sacrament, but Catholicism has seven, like seven toppings on a pizza.

“One of the ladies said ‘That is one supreme pizza!’” Gray said, laughing again.

The two parishes came together at St. Philip Benizi on June 5 to celebrate Father Enverga’s golden jubilee. Collette said more than 200 people shared camaraderie and food, which is one of the priest’s passions.

Italian and Filipino dishes are his favorites, as long as they also contain meat, he said. His congregation added sausage biscuits to their breakfast gatherings just for the priest.

Father Enverga first came to the United States from the Philippines in 1992. Of his seven siblings, three sisters and a brother live near him, and his mother is in New Jersey.

The priest said life in America is far better than his native country, where he served 7,000 people by himself, and had no money for food, bills or retirement.

He would like to remain in Moncks Corner, but said his order makes those decisions.

Wherever he is appointed, he will continue to be faithful to church teachings and the words of Christ.

“I’m here to glorify God, not me,” he said.