Bishop blesses new outreach facilities

Miscellany/Christina Lee Knauss: Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone cuts the ribbon for Catholic Charities' new facility in Columbia.

COLUMBIA—The new home for Catholic Charities in the Midlands now has the official blessing of our spiritual shepherd.

On May 4, Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony and blessed the new facility, which opened at 809 Calhoun Street back in April.

It’s the former site of Good Shepherd Church, which officially closed in 2017. After five years of planning and hard work, the former parish offices have been transformed. They now house Clean of Heart, the decade-old ministry that offers shower and laundry facilities for the homeless, as well as the Catholic Charities clothes closet for the needy.

Offices will be located in the former sanctuary, which is being renovated and could be complete by late summer. The building will also host RENEW, a program that helps men and women recently released from correctional facilities.

Bishop Guglielmone was joined by Msgr. Richard Harris, vicar general, as well as officials from Catholic Charities, including executive director James Kaiser and Deacon Gabriel Cuervo, director of field operations. The ceremony started with prayer in the parking lot adjacent to the building. Then the bishop cut a ribbon to symbolically open the new facility, even though clients have been coming for services since mid-April.

Inside the building, the bishop prayed with Catholic charities volunteers and others, and blessed the room where Clean of Heart’s washing machines are located and the clothing closet.

Bishop Guglielmone told the crowd that it was a special feeling to be able to bless a facility that helps so many people. He also reflected on the fact that the former site of a Catholic church was still being used to do the work of God.