Father Sayer, pastor of St. Mary and Sts. Frederick & Stephen Mission, dies

YONGES ISLAND—Father Robert J. Sayer, pastor of St. Mary Church on Yonges Island and Sts. Frederick & Stephen Mission on Edisto Island, died Jan. 29. He was 60.

A Mass of Transferal for Father Sayer will be held Thursday, Feb. 4, at 6 p.m. at Sts. Frederick & Stephen Mission, 544 Hwy. 174. The parish will be open from 4-6 p.m. for personal prayer before Mass.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Friday, Feb. 5, at noon at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston. For those unable to attend, the Mass of Christian Burial will be livestreamed on the Cathedral’s Facebook page.

Father Sayer will be interred at Holy Cross Cemetery in Charleston.

Father Sayer

Born on Oct. 23, 1960, in Watertown, N.Y., he was a son of the late Douglas Sayer and Carol Moulton Sayer. His family was part of the U.S. Navy, moving frequently throughout the years.

Father Sayer was a graduate of Gordon H. Garrett High School and Trident Technical College, both in North Charleston, S.C., and earned an associate’s degree in commercial art. Through contacts in the former Catholic Youth Organization, he was hired at Bobbin Magazine, a trade publication for the apparel industry, in Columbia. He worked in public relations and research for five years before moving back to Charleston and working as a national marketing manager for Blackbaud.

Then, following his discernment path, he entered St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Pennsylvania, earning a bachelor’s in philosophy in 1995 and his Master of Divinity in 1998.

He was ordained a priest in June 1999 at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist by Bishop David B. Thompson.

“Priests aren’t handed out of heaven in full vestment,” Father Sayer said during his time as a transitional deacon in 1999. “They are normal guys who just happened to be called to this line of work. If God only called the holiest of the holies, we wouldn’t have too many priests.”

Father Sayer served in many parishes, including St. Michael in Garden City, Good Shepherd in McCormick, Sacred Heart in Abbeville, St. Thomas the Apostle in North Charleston, St. Theresa the Little Flower in Summerville, Our Lady Star of the Sea in North Myrtle Beach and Corpus Christi in Lexington. He was serving as pastor of St. Mary and Sts. Frederick & Stephen Mission upon his death.

Father Sayer was pre-deceased by his father, Douglas. He is survived by his mother, Carol, of North Charleston; his brother, Ron Sayer (Kathryn); and two sisters, Debbie Metts (Keith), and Cindy Sayer; and his nieces and nephews and great-nieces and great-nephews, Ronnie and Virginia Sayer, and their daughter Libby; Justin and Tyler Sayer and their children Finley and Reid; Trey and Megan Metts, and their children Drew and Brinley; and Maddy and Avery Peek.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Diocese of Charleston for prison ministry or to pregnant women in crisis, at 901 Orange Grove Road, Charleston, SC 29407.

Condolences may be sent to Mrs. Carol Mae Sayer at 5310 Eileen Street, North Charleston, SC 29418.