Parishes find alternative ways to reach out spiritually to their flocks

Updated: The Miscellany will continue to add events as more parishes let us know what they are doing.

The coronavirus crisis may have disrupted the celebration of public Mass throughout the Diocese of Charleston, but that doesn’t mean people are left without guidance to practice their faith.

Many parishes across the state are finding alternative ways to nourish the spiritual needs of people stuck at home. Churches are opening for limited hours for personal prayer, and will be disinfected and cleaned at the end of each day. Live streams of daily and Sunday Masses are available, along with access to prayer and Scripture resources.

Parish small groups are getting together virtually to study Scripture and pray. Also, outreach continues as the faithful find ways to help elderly and medically vulnerable parishioners, such as bringing them food and supplies and staying in touch through phone calls, emails or text messages.

Father Wilbroad Mwape, pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Orangeburg and St. Theresa Mission in Springfield, said a simple phone call helped him comfort a woman who was depressed because she could not attend Mass.

“One of the parishioners left a message on our emergency extension voicemail saying she was feeling depressed that she cannot go anywhere for Mass,” he wrote in an email. “I called her back and prayed with her on the phone, and that made her feel better.”

Here’s a look at what parishes are doing to maintain relationships and to help parishioners stay connected with their faith practices:

  • Holy Trinity Church in Orangeburg and St. Theresa Mission in Springfield created a video link meeting for their regular Wednesday night Bible sharing and discussion group. Each week a different member will set up a separate group through meeting software.
  • Transfiguration Church in Blythewood is live streaming the 6 p.m. daily Mass (Monday-Friday) through its Facebook page and website.
  • St. Joseph Church in Columbia is reaching out to parishioners with daily prayers and video messages from clergy and women religious and other content via email, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Mass will be live streamed on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. at and broadcast on the radio at 90.9 FM.
  • Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville has a network of 11 small groups of parishioners spread out through three Upstate counties. Members regularly help each other with needs such as yardwork for seniors or taking meals to the sick, and they are stepping up these efforts since the coronavirus crisis started. Father Dwight Longenecker, pastor, set up an online “Lockdown Diary” offering news and encouragement at
  • St. Anthony of Padua Church in Greenville is working to establish an online education and worship experience and will be live streaming Sunday homilies, hopefully by March 22.
  • St. James Church in Conway is using Flocknote, Facebook, email and phone calls to reach out to all parishioners, especially to the elderly and homebound. Masses, Stations of the Cross and other prayer opportunities are being recorded and will be offered to parishioners. Mass will be live streamed Sundays in English at 10 a.m. and in Spanish at noon, along with daily Mass Monday-Friday at 7 p.m. from the church Facebook page. Also, parish youth groups are meeting online.
  • Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Camden will keep in touch with members through the parish website, Facebook and the MyParish app. Bulletins are still being issued online and in limited print editions for those who don’t have internet access.
  • St. Gregory the Great Church in Bluffton is live streaming daily Mass at 8:30 a.m. and Sundays at 11 a.m. (English) and 1 p.m. (Spanish). To watch, visit
  • Christ Our King Church in Mount Pleasant is live streaming Sunday Mass at 9:30 a.m. and is exploring ways to reach out to parishioners through prepared videos, webcasting and live stream Stations of the Cross, Liturgy of the Hours and other prayers,
  • St. Philip Benizi in Moncks Corner will live stream Sunday Mass celebrated by Father Marreddy Allam.
  • The Basilica of St. Peter in Columbia offers live streams of daily Mass at 10 a.m. in English, and on Sundays at 10 a.m. (English) and 11 a.m. (Spanish).
  • St. Michael Church in Murrells Inlet is streaming Mass daily (Monday-Friday) at 8 a.m.; on Saturdays at 4 p.m.; and Sundays at 7 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The church will be open and live streamed 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Stations of the Cross will be streamed at 6 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday.
  • St. Mary Help of Christians Church in Aiken will offer streaming of Sunday Mass through its Facebook page.
  • St. Rafka Maronite Church in Greer features Father Bartholomew Leon, pastor, who began praying a Novena to St. Rafka as the coronavirus crisis started escalating. He has been sharing daily prayers with parishioners by email, asking them to pray for an end to the pandemic. Father Leon will also celebrate Divine Liturgy on Sunday which will be streamed through the parish Facebook page.
  • St. Theresa the Little Flower Church in Summerville is working to start a parish phone tree so parishioners can check on each other. The faith formation director will send parishioners with children messages through FlockNote, with suggested assignments to keep up with their religious education. The Wednesday morning Bible study will post class material on the parish website each week.
  • Coastal Carolina University Chaplain Father David Nerbun, who is also priest-in-residence at St. James in Conway, offers Holy Hour from his Facebook page: