Bishop Guglielmone receives pro-life award

Miscellany/Anne Clark: Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone holds the plaque he received for his pro-life advocacy during a special Mass in the Chapel of the Holy Family in Charleston on Jan. 22.

CHARLESTON—Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone was honored for his years of dedication to the pro-life movement in South Carolina at a special Mass held at the Chapel of the Holy Family on Friday, Jan. 22.

Holly Gatling, executive director of South Carolina Citizens for Life, presented Bishop Guglielmone with the organization’s annual “Citizen for Life” award, which was officially changed to the “Bishop for Life” award this year in his honor. The distinction is given annually to a person who shows great dedication to working to promote the sanctity of life in South Carolina.

The accolade is usually given at the Stand Up for Life March and Rally held annually at the Statehouse, which fell this year on Jan. 9. Bishop Guglielmone was unable to attend the march because of previous commitments.

Instead, he received the award at another fitting event — a special Mass for Unborn Children which was held to offer prayers for unborn children and for a continued decline in abortions in South Carolina.

Bishop Guglielmoe celebrated the Mass and also took time during the liturgy to bless men and women who had been named as Respect Life coordinators at their parishes. He gave the blessing to several coordinators who attended in person, along with many who watched a livestream of the Mass.

The bishop summed up his focus on the importance of promoting life in his homily for the day. He said it is more important than ever for people of faith to stand up for the unborn and other vulnerable people in what has largely become a secular society.

“We all have the responsibility to do everything we can do to build up the kingdom of God, and as part of that we should work for the respect of all life and the dignity of all people,” Bishop Guglielmone said. “Let us see if we can change hearts so that the evil of abortion can be overcome.”

Also present was a contingent of students from the University of South Carolina, who originally planned to travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in the annual National March for Life on Jan. 29. The national march was changed to a virtual event because of the pandemic and earlier concerns about unrest in the Capitol.

Gatling praised Bishop Guglielmone for being a vital part of the pro-life movement from the moment he first came to the Diocese of Charleston in 2009. She described his regular presence at public pro-life events, including the many years he took part in the Stand Up for Life march and offered the opening prayer at the rally.

She described how the bishop has been a leading voice in prayer vigils outside Planned Parenthood sites in Columbia and Charleston, and thanked him for promoting pro-life legislation in South Carolina through efforts such as starting the South Carolina Catholic Conference. The SCCC serves as a nonpartisan public policy voice on matters of concern to faithful Catholics.

“He has really been the good shepherd of the pro-life movement in South Carolina,” Gatling said. “We gave him this award because of his long and faithful service and his gifts of prayer and work to promote life.”

Bishop Guglielmone instantly smiled when he received the plaque from Gatling, and with his trademark humor joked that “This is one of the few plaques I’ve received over the years where my name is actually spelled correctly.”