Pilgrims celebrate new Marian feast day

KINGSTREE—Despite the threat of bad weather, pilgrims from parishes around the state journeyed to a eucharistic celebration of Mary at the shrine of Our Lady of South Carolina-Our Lady of Joyful Hope on Pentecost Sunday, May 20, in honor of a new liturgical feast day.

Pope Francis called for Catholics worldwide to observe “Mary, Mother of the Church” on Monday, May 21.

However, due to the expectation of large crowds and the small size of the chapel at the shrine, the event was hosted in the chapel of Williamsburg Funeral Home. The celebration consisted of Mass, a reception, recitation of the rosary, the consecration of the diocese to Mary, and a conference on “Our Lady, Mother of the Church of Charleston.” It concluded with a benediction.

Msgr. Anthony Droze, vicar general, made his pilgrimage from Charleston to celebrate Mass. During the recep­tion, he visited with former parishio­ners from churches he has served, and meet new ones. They shared their sto­ries of peace, of answered prayers, of graces and healings that they received after praying at the Marian shrine.

Father Stanley Smolenski, director of the shrine, concelebrated Mass and delivered the homily. He also led the conference discussion.

“I was happy to have such a cele­bration at the shrine that focused on the meaning of Mary’s presence in the Gospel,” Father Smolenski said.

Williamsburg Funeral Home’s owners, Billy and Beth Horton, said they were proud to have the only shrine in the state next door.

Gil and Joan Cushing, who trav­eled from Murrells Inlet, have been involved with the shrine since 2006.

“It was providential that the cel­ebration was on Pentecost Sunday. You could truly feel the presence of the Holy Spirit as Father Stanley shared his wisdom, knowledge, and great devotion to Our Lady, along with quotes from the popes and saints,” Cushing said.

Following the event, Msgr. Droze said that he was deeply touched by Father Smolenski’s homily on the Holy Spirit, and is looking forward to the priest’s 50th jubilee.

Msgr. Droze was also impressed by the deep faith and generous support of the shrine of Our Lady of Joyful Hope that was shared by all those present.

He thanked everyone “for the opportunity to make a pilgrimage to our diocesan shrine in Kingstree, South Carolina. Our Lady of Joyful Hope, pray for us.”

Provided: Msgr. Anthony Droze celebrates Mass at the shrine of Our Lady of South Carolina on May 20 in honor of a new liturgical feast day. Father Stanley Smolenski, director of the shrine, concelebrates.