Papal honors shines light on people serving Church, society

CHARLESTON—Ten people from the Diocese of Charleston were chosen to receive papal honors by Pope Francis.

Eight were honored with the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross while two received the Benerementi Medal. They are given for distinguished service to the Church.

The group, which includes men and women religious, deacons and laypeople, were formally recognized by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone and a crowd of family and friends at a vespers service on Jan. 13 at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.  

The honors, which were bestowed on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, recognizes the good works of the recipients. 

The Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross

Brother Edward Bergeron, CFC, is the parish life facilitator at St. John Church in North Charleston. He has been with the Diocese of Charleston since 1996, and is a tireless advocate for the poor and disadvantaged. He professed his vows 52 years ago, and spent 17 years in Peru teaching high school, leading adult education and working with other brothers in formation.

Dr. Michael Todd Crump is an emergency room physician who serves as assistant medical director at Lexington Medical Center and director of the Free Medical Clinic in Columbia. The clinic provides health care to those without health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. Dr. Crump demonstrates the true meaning and value of helping and serving those who are underserved and in medical need.

Oratorian Father John P. Giuliani has been a member of the Oratory since 1975, and was ordained to the priesthood on January 1, 1980. He served as administrator of St. Philip Neri Church in Fort Mill from 1993 until 1998, at which time he was appointed pastor. Father Giuliani believes that the Gospel of Christ is as relevant to our age as any other and that the calling of the Oratorians is to translate the Gospel to the people.

Rt. Rev. Stanislaus Gumula, OCSO, was ordained June 24, 2003, and served as abbot of Mepkin Abbey from 2006 to 2018. He made his solemn vows for the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance on Easter 1980. The former abbot also served as “cellarer” (finance officer) of the monastery and oversaw the transition from raising eggs to cultivating shitake and oyster mushrooms for sale. He is also involved with the Coastal Conservation League to protect our land and wildlife.

Bishop Guglielmone stands with papal honors recipients after Mass on Jan. 13. They are, from left to right, Michael Todd Crump, Joseph John “Jay “ Keenan, Joseph John Pazdan, Sister Christina Murphy, Wade McDaniel Sr., Bishop Guglielmone, Father Stanislaus Gumula, Arthur Ross Kuykendall, Brother Edward Bergeron and Deacon Gerard Castling White.

Joseph John “Jay” Keenan is a native Charlestonian, a graduate of the Citadel and a partner with Palmetto Commercial Properties. He was instrumental in the planning and construction of the new Pastoral Center of the Diocese of Charleston. He has been married for 38 years, has two children and four grandchildren and is an active member of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston.

Joseph John Pazdan has been a member of St. Mary Church in Greenville since 1955.  He was born in 1930 in Trenton, N.J.  He eventually moved to the South, where he met the love of his life, Allie McIntosh Haywood from Greenville. They were married at St. Mary’s in 1955 and became active supporters of the church. “Mack”, as he called her, died in 2014. The couple was involved in many outreaches, including St. Francis Hospital and St. Joseph’s Catholic School.

Sister Christina Murphy, SNDdeN, currently serves as pastoral associate for Our Lady of the Hills Church in Columbia. In addition to her duties with the parish, she works with incarcerated women, making weekly visits to maximum and minimum security facilities in the Columbia area. She also started a Dismas Ministry program to help women inmates transition successfully following their release.

Deacon Gerard Castling White was ordained to the permanent diaconate in 2017, and is currently assigned to Blessed Sacrament Church in Charleston, where he is also a parishioner. He is the director of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry and was key in the creation of the Diocesan Missionary Team. He has also served on several national youth boards.

Benerementi Medal

Arthur Ross Kuykendall is a member of the Diocesan Buildings and Renovation Committee, and has volunteered his time over the last 20 years to assist on more than 10 major projects. St. Gregory the Great School in Bluffton and John Paul II school and gymnasium in Ridgeland are three of his most recent achievements. He is an active member of St. Gregory the Great Church, and has served as chair of the church facilities and maintenance committee.

Wade McDaniel Sr. was employed by the Diocese of Charleston for almost 40 years before retiring in 2017. In addition to his custodial duties at diocesan properties, he has been involved in numerous projects and tasks for the diocese. He is an active member of St. Patrick Church in Charleston, and is a member of the Catholic Charities Board for the diocese.

Top photo, Miscellany/Doug Deas: Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone bestows the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice Cross on Sister Christina Murphy at the Papal Honors Mass held Jan. 13 at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston.