Father Charles Day, a retired diocesan priest, dies at 83

11-06-14-day-charles_2MAULDIN—Father Charles J. Day, a retired priest for the Diocese of Charleston, died Oct. 19. He was 83.

The Mass of Christian Burial was held Oct. 30 at St. Peter Church in Beaufort. The burial with military honors was in Beaufort National Cemetery.

Father Day was born July 2, 1931, in Philadelphia, Pa., the only son of James Martin and Mildred Mary Somers Day. He was a graduate of LaSalle College High School and attended LaSalle College in Philadelphia, University of Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., and University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

In 1954, he followed his father’s footsteps and joined the U.S. Marine Corps, earned a commission, and spent three years as an infantry officer. He returned to the Marines in 1959, serving in the Vietnam War and remaining until his retirement as a lieutenant colonel in 1975. He entered Pope John XXIII National Seminary that year and earned his Master’s of Divinity.

Father Day was ordained on June 20, 1981, by Bishop Ernest L. Unterkoefler in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston.

As a priest, Father Day served as an associate pastor of St. John the Beloved in Summerville and St. Peter in Columbia. He was pastor of St. Edward in Murphy Village, St. John in North Charleston, Our Lady of Lourdes in Greenwood, Corpus Christi in Lexington, and St. Philip Benizi in Moncks Corner.

He also served as a judge on the diocesan Tribunal, a campus minister at Baptist College, a member of the priests’ personnel board, and as vocations director.

Due to poor health, Father Day retired in 1992 to Beaufort, where he assisted in local parishes. In 1996, he was very aware of a clergy shortage and felt he needed to return to active ministry.

“I looked around and said to myself, good grief, we’re losing too many priests. Having been on the personnel board, I knew how difficult it is [to fill assignments].” So he prayed over it, asked the vicar for clergy if he could “use the
services of a crusty old priest,” and resumed active ministry to help fill the need.

“My health was good and I had been ordained to serve the people and serve the Lord,” he said in a Miscellany article. He was assigned as administrator pro tem, and later pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary in Greenville.

He retired for the third time in his life in 2003 and remained in the Upstate.