New staff added to support ethnic, stewardship, young adult ministries

The Diocese of Charleston is reaching out more broadly than ever before through their young adult, ethnic ministries and stewardship programs.
To help accomplish their goals, three new positions were created and, as of January, were filled by new faces that will soon become well-known across the state.
Michael Tran is assistant director of Ethnic Ministry, Valerie Soop is associate director of Young Adult Ministry, and Carrie Mummert is associate director of Stewardship and Development.
Tran emigrated from Vietnam 15 years ago and lives in Greenville with his family. He attended seminary in Iowa, but after five years, decided that wasn’t his calling.
“When I was young I wanted to be a priest so I could help people. That didn’t work out, but God gave me this gift, so I had to bring that gift to the people in some way,” he said.
Tran first worked with Father Dac Tran and the Vietnamese community at Our Lady of the Rosary church and school, and has served as liaison between the community and the parish for two years.
He became assistant director at the end of 2011 and said his goal is to help all the ethnic groups grow into a cohesive Catholic community.
Tran noted that the Vietnamese in Greenville have a strong community, and he would like to create that same cohesiveness for Korean and Filipino groups, as a start.
Soop hails from Michigan and a Protestant background. She converted to Catholicism while attending the College of Charleston.
She said it was a gradual process of feeling like something was missing, and meeting a friend who was truly excited about his faith.
“Slowly, God was really drawing me into the Catholic Church,” she said.
Now Soop wants to take that same excitement to other young adults and help them answer the call to holiness, she said. One of her goals is to host diocesan-wide events and retreats for young adults, to let them know they aren’t alone.
She said the age group of 18-35 is a vulnerable time and she wants to keep them connected and knowledgeable about their faith.
Already, she has a mission trip planned for July 14-21 to the Mustard Seed Community in Kingston, Jamaica. Space is limited, and the deadline is Feb. 24.
Mummert moved to Charleston from Pittsburgh and has been a member of Blessed Sacrament Church for 18 years. Her three children were all baptized by Msgr. Joseph F. Hanley, pastor, and attend the parish school.
She has seen first-hand all the ways that diocesan programs touch lives, and is passionate about letting other people know it too.
She mentioned all the things Msgr. Hanley has done for the community over the years and how much she wants to help provide for him in the future. The priest retirement fund is just one of the programs provided for by the Bishop’s Stewardship Appeal. There are also youth programs, campus ministry and so much more.
“My passion has always been for non-profit and missions in general,” she said. “This really seemed like where the good Lord wanted me.”
Mummert said her previous jobs with national non-profits involved travel all over the state, and helped prepare her for her new role — sharing the ministry of the BSA with all the parishes.