COLUMBIA—The first “Catholic Day at the Capitol” offered the chance to learn how faith plays a role in the political process.
The event on Jan. 28 started with Mass celebrated by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone at St. Joseph Church. The crowd of almost 200 then moved to a building on the Statehouse grounds, where a catered breakfast provided a chance to meet with legislators and hear speakers.
Several Catholic lawmakers in the legislature attended and were introduced to the crowd. Speakers included Orin Smith of the Palmetto Policy Forum, Carol Walters of Catholics for Freedom of Religion, Alexia Newman from the Carolina Pregnancy Center, Lisa Van Riper of First Steps, and Jacqualine Kasprowski, associate director for secondary education for the diocese.
They provided information about religious freedom, early childhood education, school choice, and prolife legislation, including a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. A similar bill failed in the state Senate last year.
Bishop Guglielmone spoke to participants about how important it is that people of faith raise their voices in the public square.
“The question is, how do we make God’s kingdom come about here on earth? All of us have special gifts and opportunities to build up that kingdom,” the bishop said. “We have a role in making this state a better place for all God’s people, and we have a voice about what we envision in terms of what God is calling us to do. I pray that we will continue to work to make South Carolina more of more of what we want it to be — a reflection of God’s kingdom.”
After the morning session, participants had the chance to meet with their legislators to discuss issues.
Attendees included families with children, young couples, and senior citizens. A large delegation from Immaculate Conception Church in Goose Creek showed legislators models of 10- to 12-week old babies in the womb to remind them of the importance of life.
Students from Cardinal Newman School in Columbia and St. Anne School in Rock Hill attended to learn more about the political process and their role as Catholic citizens in South Carolina.