To make an impact, give and spread the message of Christ

St. Teresa of Calcutta once said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

You don’t have to be St. Mother Teresa, or any saint, to make ripples. You just have to take up the cross of the new evangelization and carry the message of Christ out of the church and into the community, and every person you encounter can create a ripple.

Mary Ann Ridenour decided to do just that after seeing an ad for Catholic Charities in the diocesan newspaper, asking for volunteers.

“Mother Teresa said to love the person in front of you, so I had to get out and find the person,” Ridenour said.

Provided: Immigration Services

She joined other volunteers and staff at the Fresh Express produce giveaway on Feb. 8 and helped Catholic Charity clients pack bags of cabbage, sweet potatoes, onions and carrots. They smiled and chatted with everyone that came by, seeing the face of Jesus in each one.

The food pantry and new Fresh Express are just two of the many ways that Catholic Charities and other diocesan programs spread ripples of Christ’s love.

Dawn Pittman will happily share a radiant grin and tell how her life was changed by the Save-A-Smile program. After receiving dentures, Pittman said she had the confidence to interview and land a job, where she is now up for promotion. She credits the group for launching her to success.

Then there’s prison ministry’s RENEW program, an eight-week course that helps soon-to-be paroled inmates develop the skills and resources they need to get a better start once they are released. Staff and volunteers help them find temporary shelter, proper identification, and jobs.

Provided: Charles Mathis, a recipient of the RENEW program.

Charles Mathis, who had been incarcerated 10 times before taking part in RENEW, called the ministry recently to express his “great appreciation” for helping him turn his life around. Mathis now has a job with the City of Charleston and is saving up for his own place.

Another program that impacts lives is Immigration Services.

Maria Garcia Riopedre explains how the Hilton Head office changed her life by helping her earn status under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. She was so inspired by the services that Catholic Charities offered her that she decided to raise money to help other Dreamers pay their immigration fees, spreading the ripples of change a little farther.

Each of these diocesan programs — and so many more — impact lives for the better every single day. It is a constant ripple effect that everyone can be part of through the Bishop’s Annual Appeal.

Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone has asked every person to use this time as an opportunity to create a ripple that can make a difference.

“I pray that the Holy Spirit will inspire all of us to serve as the eyes and hands of Christ. Let us seek to bring hope and reveal Christ’s love to every person we encounter,” he said. “Contributions serve as a sign of gratitude for each blessing bestowed upon us. They are a reminder that everything we are and everything we have comes from God and God alone.”

To view the video for the 2018 Bishop’s Annual Appeal, visit

Top photo, Miscellany/Doug Deas: Kathy Keane, a volunteer with Catholic Charities, helps hand out produce at the Fresh Express event held Feb. 8. It was the first one in the Charleston area.

Below are photos of just a few of the programs that benefit from the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, and are then able to reach out and help others.

Provided: Will Frei, a seminarian with the Diocese of Charleston, prays while on a mission trip to St. Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India.


Provided: Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone visits with parishioners after celebrating the Chrism Mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.


Provided: A lady impacted by one of the many storms to ravage South Carolina applies for disaster services through Catholic Charities.


Provided: A volunteer with Clean of Heart in Columbia helps wash and dry a client’s clothes.


Provided: Participants at a Junior High Rally, sponsored by the Office of Youth Ministry, celebrate a stronger relationship with Jesus.