Diocese postpones bicentennial celebrations

Bishop John England, the first bishop of the Diocese of Charleston, founded 200 years ago.

CHARLESTON—The Covid-19 pandemic shut down plans for the Diocese of Charleston’s Bicentennial celebration, temporarily at least. 

The diocesan-wide event, scheduled for June 20 in Columbia, has been cancelled, but planners are hopeful that a celebration of some sort will be held later in the year.

Lydia Doyle, diocesan director of Planning and Operations, said funds from the June clebration will go toward a future event. There are no dates yet, however, as the diocese is waiting to see what happens with the coronavirus and precautions currently in place.

Other events that were on the calendar for May have also been cancelled, including an academic conference in collaboration with the College of Charleston on the international history of Catholicism in the South.

Also, the Bicentennial Pilgrimage Tour to Ireland has been postponed until next year, Cormac O’Duffy said.

The Bicentennial Mass planned for the Basilica of St. Peter on July 11 — the actual date of the founding of the diocese 200 years ago — is still on and will be held in some capacity regardless of the pandemic, Doyle said.

The Bicentennial campaign is also ongoing, said Carrie Mummert, director of the diocesan Office of Stewardship and Mission Advancement. The diocese is in the final block of fundraising, with 20 parishes still working to raise their contributions.

Because parishes receive a 50/50 split with the diocese on fundraising, it is imperative they reach their goals so they can address their individual priorities, such as maintenance and repair work and replenishing savings, Mummert said.