Coverage Areas:  National |  South Carolina |  Aiken |  Beaufort |  Charleston |  Columbia |  Greenville |  Myrtle Beach |  Rock Hill
Menu

Parishes focus on growing needs of senior ministry

One of the fastest growing demographics for almost every parish is senior citizens. Officially listed as anyone over 55, this age bracket can stretch over a range of 40-plus years and a wide spectrum of abilities.

Msgr. Edward Lofton, pastor of St. Theresa the Little Flower Church in Summerville, said the whole coast — and state — is filling with retirees, making senior ministry and its goals one of the most important discussions a parish can have.

At 70, Msgr. Lofton said he personally understands many of the issues that his older parishioners have. As the director of continuing education for priests, he recently organized a workshop on senior ministry led by Jim Hilton at the diocesan pastoral center in Charleston. They discussed the needs of the elderly, the best ways to serve them, and how to utilize their time and talents.

“They are the most diverse group in the parish,” Msgr. Lofton said, “even more so than teenagers.”

He has appointed Michael Regan, a current diaconate candidate, to help him develop an intensive senior program at the church. One of the issues they will focus on that was highlighted in the workshop includes the importance of being active for physical and mental health.

“This is not the dying process,” Msgr. Lofton said, “it is a unique time of life.”

He said the retirees in his parish get bored and want things to do, such as more Bible study, opportunities to volunteer, and various ways to learn about their faith.

He noted that older men and women have a great deal of life wisdom and experience that can benefit the parish. At the same time, it’s important to understand the unique grief seniors face as they deal with the deaths of loved ones, and even the loss of certain abilities such as vision or mobility.

Father Anthony Droze, pastor of Our Lady Star of the Sea in North Myrtle Beach, also attended the workshop. He said the losses seniors face often lead to a level of discrimination that paints them as addle-minded and mocks health ailments. He pointed to TV shows and industries such as drug and make-up manufacturers that sell youth as a more valued commodity.

“There is value in age. There is wisdom and a broader perspective that comes with aging,” Father Droze said, adding that older people are generally healthier today than in the past.

Two of the issues he sees in his parish are the isolation of people who are homebound, and the economic frailty that comes with living on a fixed income. Sometimes, he said, seniors are forced to choose between filling a necessary prescription and paying a bill.

Father Droze said he plans to stress the positives of growing older and promote an active fellowship at the church to support the elderly and include them in parish activities.

Both priests also stressed the important contributions golden-agers can make, noting that they are generous with their time. They said it’s essential that parishes provide opportunities for seniors to volunteer and help others, utilizing their many talents.






  • Diocesan Events Calendar
    View All Events
    Nov 17 Diocese of Charleston Native American Catholic Heritage Celebration
    From the Calendar of Native American Ministry
    Nov 18 Vietnamese Martyrs Celebration
    From the Calendar of Vietnamese Ministry
    Dec 1 Black Catholics Heritage Celebration
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Dec 15 Simbang Gabi for Filipino Catholics
    From the Calendar of Filipino Ministry
    Dec 25 Diocesan Television Christmas Special Fox 21
    From the Calendar of Ethnic Ministries
    Jan 412:00 am Class 2019 Ordination Retreat
    From the Calendar of Diaconate
    Jan 812:00 am Retiro Espiritual de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Jan 1210:00 am Junta de Equipo Diocesano de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Feb 911:00 am Ordination of Permanent Deacons
    From the Calendar of Diaconate