SUMMERVILLE—A growing community of Catholics now meets weekly for Mass at a new mission in the Cane Bay area near Summerville.
The new mission was started by the Diocese of Charleston in 2019 to serve the region’s growing population, fueled mainly by an influx of retirees to the nearby Del Webb and Four Seasons communities. Couples and families with children are also starting to move into the area, riding the overall wave of growth in and around Charleston.
Cane Bay Mission (catholiccommunityofcanebay.org) is under the direction of Immaculate Conception Church in Goose Creek. The first liturgy was celebrated by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone on June 2, 2019. The community meets at 10 a.m. Sundays for Mass in a gymnasium at the Cane Bay Family YMCA, located at 1655 Cane Bay Road.
Adorno Father Noly Berjuega, pastor at Immaculate Conception Church, said this is the first mission the parish has directed.
“It’s challenging to serve a new mission but also very fulfilling to see the joy and the anticipation of the people there,” Father Berjuega said. “They are excited about the mission and praying in God’s perfect time that eventually they will become a new parish and have their own church there in Cane Bay.”
Father Berjuega said history has come full circle for Immaculate Conception, because the Goose Creek parish itself started as a mission of St. Phillip Benizi in Moncks Corner.
The YMCA will be the mission’s home for the near future, but plans are already in the works for growth and expansion. In January 2019, the diocese purchased a 10-acre parcel of land in Cane Bay near S.C. 176, meant to be the site of an eventual new church.
Weekly Masses at Cane Bay draw an average of 200-250 people, and those numbers are expected to grow as more people learn about the mission, said Deacon Daniel McNerny, who is based at Immaculate Conception. He has helped with events at the mission because he lives across the street from the YMCA.
“The people who live in this area are very excited and happy to be a part of this new mission and to participate in the activities,” Deacon McNerny said. “They’re really responding to any needs that come up.”
Enthusiasm is definitely not a problem. As an example, Deacon McNerny said that musicians from Immaculate Conception provided music for the mission’s first few weeks. When that ended, he asked a woman who belonged to a music group at Del Webb if she would mind playing keyboards at Mass. She showed up the following Sunday with 18 additional singers and musicians in tow.
Teams of volunteers are being organized at the Cane Bay Mission to serve as greeters, ushers, and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. A small choir is forming, and Deacon McNerny said plans are in the works for religious education classes in the fall.