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Catholic radio speaks to those who want to hear Good News

Catholic radio helps Marsha Beach of Mount Pleasant turn rush hour into a spiritual experience.

“Just hearing the programs they offer while I’m sitting there in traffic helps me learn more about my faith and, I think, become a better Catholic,” said Beach, who attends the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston.

She is one of thousands of listeners who benefit from daily programming offered by Catholic Radio in South Carolina, based in Greer. Founded in 2002, the station originally only broadcast programming from the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN).

Local material now plays a more prominent role. Offerings include “More Christianity,” a syndicated program by Father Dwight Longenecker of Greenville, live coverage of important events, broadcasts of Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone’s annual messages for Advent and Lent, and occasional noon broadcasts of Sunday Mass from parishes around the state. They will broadcast from Stella Maris Church on Sullivan’s Island later this month.

The annual Radiothon on Oct. 16-17 is a fundraiser and chance to raise awareness of what they offer, said Gary Towery, president of Catholic Radio South Carolina.

Listeners can also call (864) 877- 8458 during those two days to offer feedback about the programming.

Tune into Catholic radio on WCKI 1300 AM (Upstate), WQIZ 810 AM (St. George in the Lowcountry), or WLTQ 730 AM (Coast, broadcast out of Charleston). Towery said they also are exploring ways to add a station in the Midlands.

Streamed broadcasts are available at, or download the Tunein App to listen on smartphones or tablets.

Michael Brennan, executive vice president, said Catholic radio helped him in his journey back to the Church. He listened while traveling between St. Louis and Spartanburg in 2003, and got involved with the project when he moved back to the Upstate permanently in 2008.

“Our purpose here is two-fold,” he said. “First thing, we are a tool of the Holy Spirit to bring people closer to their faith and let them experience it more, and our other goal is to serve the Diocese [of Charleston] and its apostolates, to serve as a medium of information that people can really use.”

Brennan said they try to run as many announcements as possible for parishes and organizations such as the Knights of Columbus, and do special programs in advance of events including the annual March for Life in Columbia and the recent Marian Eucharistic Conference in Greenville.

Catholic Radio also tries to build community ties with events, such as the Catholic business breakfasts they host in Greenville and Charleston.

“We’re trying to bring all the parishes and Catholics around the state a little closer,” Brennan said.

They don’t maintain a count of listeners, but Towery said they know they’re making an impact from phone calls and emails they receive. He said one man recently called to say he had fallen away from the Church, but went to confession and sought counseling to heal his marriage after listening to one of the programs while driving through the Charleston area.

Laurie Rappl of Simpsonville started listening about two years ago and especially likes programs that talk about faith and current events.

“I don’t have the patience to read through a lot of books and don’t have the time to go to some of the educational activities at my church, but I’ve always got Catholic radio,” she said. “Even if I turn it on just for 10 or 15 minutes, I feel like I learn something.”

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Families bond at Scout Camporee

SALUDA—Andrew Stewart called upon his faith to help him through a walk across a 30-foot high ropes course at the annual Catholic Camporee.

“I talked to God when I was out there,” the 12-year-old said with a laugh.

Stewart and his group of Columbian Squires from Prince of Peace Church in Taylors joined more than 500 other kids and adults Oct. 3-5 for a weekend of activities, worship and family fun. The event is open to Boy and Girl Scouts, Venture Scouts, American Heritage Girls and the Squires.

There was a little something for everyone, from an old-fashioned pie-eating contest to canoeing, archery, and racing Pinewood derby cars made out of Legos. A little bit of frontier flavor came through at rifle shooting and tomahawk throwing sessions available for the older kids.

The weekend was a chance for the Adkins family from Greenville to have a good time together. Joey Adkins, 9, is a Webelo Scout with Troop 420 from St. Mary Magdalene Church in Simpsonville, and his sibling Emily, 6, was allowed to join in the fun, such as tackling a climbing wall.

“I love how family-oriented this whole thing is,” said Debbie Adkins. “There are so many things that all the siblings can do together, and it’s been nice to see all the groups of kids are meshing together and getting along.”

Mrs. Adkins also liked the religious activities, including a living Stations of the Cross that helped children Emily’s age learn about each station using props and a kid-friendly script.

Alyssa Koren, 8, a Brownie from Troop 703 at St. Andrew Church in Myrtle Beach, bore a bit of a resemblance to Katniss Everdeen, the archery expert from “The Hunger Games,” as her dad Kevin Koren helped her with the finer points of handling a bow and arrow. It was the third time Mr. Koren and his wife Theresa had attended a camporee with their daughter.

“It’s a great way for us to spend some time as a family together outdoors,” Mr. Koren said. “It gives the girls a chance to learn about the different things they can do, and helps them build more confidence.”

Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone celebrated Mass outdoors on Oct. 4 and recognized youth who have earned religious emblems.

Nineteen Boy Scouts earned the Ad Altare Dei emblem, and five received their Pope Pius XII emblems. Five Girl Scouts earned the Family of God emblem, six received I Live My Faith and two earned Mary, the First Disciple. Sixteen Cub Scouts received the Light of Christ emblem and 12 received the Parvuli Dei.

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Sister Deanna is a role model for wisdom and fairness

CHARLESTON—As Sister Deanna Bartolomei enters her golden jubilee year with the sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, she finds herself at a crossroads.

She has been at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist for 16 years and is leaving her spot as pastoral associate once they find a replacement, although Msgr. Stephen Brovey, pastor, said that will be difficult to do.

“I see in her a great wisdom and I’ve always gone to her seeking guidance,” he said.

Sister Deanna has worked in schools and parishes since she first professed her vows in 1964, and has made an impact on many lives along the way.

When one of her former students, Matt Piotrowsky, was named Student Teacher of the Year, he was praised for teaching from the heart. Piotrowsky credited his favorite teacher for his success —none other than Sister Deanna.

“I learned more in the nine months I spent in her classroom than I did in all my other years of school,” he said at the time.

Sister Deanna downplays her own contributions. Sitting at her tidy desk, she smiles and speaks softly, but with obvious authority and sharp intelligence. She deflects the conversation from herself, talking instead about the courage of other sisters, especially those on the front lines of prominent issues.

Her love and respect for her community is obvious as she applauds their willingness to follow Jesus and do whatever it takes to serve others.

Those who know Sister Deanna said she is right up there at the top of that list.

“She’s amazing,” said Marie Donnelly, who works in senior ministry at Christ Our King Church and has known Sister Deanna for 13 years. “She has such a sense of justice and fairness, and she’s able to apply it to all her ministry.”

Fairness and justice are essential in her role as a counselor to engaged couples or those seeking annulments, or even during Bible study.

Sister Deanna speaks passionately about the Gospels and trying to follow Christ’s example, noting in particular how inclusive and humble He was.

“You have to be able to love unconditionally and that’s very hard because you have to accept people as is,” she said.

That was a quality she saw in the Franciscans who taught her in school, and it pulled her even at an early age.

“I witnessed how happy they were. They were just very joyful, and always willing to help,” she said. “I think I knew from grade school that I was going to join those sisters.”

Although she has spent most of her life in the Diocese of Charleston— opting to come here for the challenge of mission work in the ’60s — she grew up in New Jersey with her brother John and parents Otileo and Yolanda, who emigrated from Italy.

After graduating from Catholic high school, she worked very briefly as a bank teller, but said she knew right away that life wasn’t for her. She wanted to be a Franciscan, but was not enthused about either of the associated career options: nursing or teaching.

“God calls us sometimes to do things we don’t want to do. God doesn’t let go. It can be very irritating at times,” she said, smiling. “So you do, and you enjoy, and your learn from those around you.”

Her sense of humor, along with a lot of prayer, has guided her through the good times and bad, and made her a favorite among friends and coworkers.

Linda Lyons, Cathedral secretary, has worked with “Sister D” all 16 years. The first thing she comments on is the Franciscan’s sense of humor and her ability to comfort those who are hurting.

“Sister Deanna has been one of my favorite people since the moment I met her, from when she first walked in the door,” Lyons said, adding that she will be missed terribly when she leaves.

The Franciscan said her decision took a lot of prayer, but she feels her rheumatoid arthritis is preventing her from giving the 100-plus percent that people deserve. Walking is painful, but one thing she will not give up is visiting the sick and homebound and taking them Communion.

“She’s a very good person,” said Esther Tecklenberg, Cathedral member. “She’s very brave and has a good outlook on life to visit sick people, because it isn’t easy.”

Sister Deanna said there won’t be a lot of fanfare at her farewell, nor for her 50th jubilee. It will be quiet and simple, like her life.

“I’ve had a great time as a Sister of St. Francis,” she said, noting that her vocation opened many doors to meet people and travel, including Rome, England, France and Ireland.

One thing she has never done in her ministry is work with the poor, marginalized or oppressed, she said. But now she’s moving to new adventures and plans to volunteer at Neighborhood House with her dear friend and fellow Franciscan, Sister Noreen Buttimer.

“I think God’s calling me now to go in that direction,” she said.

As Donnelly said, “Our loss, wherever she lands, is going to be someone else’s gain.”

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Family synod report: Welcome gays, nonmarital unions

Cardinals talk at synodBy Francis X. Rocca
Catholic News Service

In strikingly conciliatory language on situations contrary to Catholic teaching, an official midterm report from the Synod of Bishops on the family emphasized calls for greater acceptance and appreciation of divorced and remarried Catholics, cohabitating couples and homosexuals.
"It is necessary to accept people in their concrete being, to know how to support their search, to encourage the wish for God and the will to feel fully part of the church, also on the part of those who have experienced failure or find themselves in the most diverse situations," Hungarian Cardinal Peter Erdo of Esztergom-Budapest told Pope Francis and the synod Oct. 13.

Cardinal Erdo, who as the synod's relator has the task of guiding the discussion and synthesizing its results, gave a nearly hourlong speech that drew on the synod's first week of discussions.
"Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community," the cardinal said. "Often they wish to encounter a church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and evaluating their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?"
The statement represents a marked shift in tone on the subject for an official Vatican document. While the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls for "respect, compassion and sensitivity" toward homosexuals, it calls their inclination "objectively disordered." A 1986 document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith called homosexuality a "more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil." In 2003, the doctrinal congregation stated that permitting adoption by same-sex couples is "gravely immoral" and "would actually mean doing violence to these children."
While Cardinal Erdo said that same-sex unions present unspecified "moral problems" and thus "cannot be considered on the same footing" as traditional marriage, he said they also can exemplify "mutual aid to the point of sacrifice (that) constitutes a precious support in the life of the partners."
He noted that the "church pays special attention to the children who live with couples of the same sex, emphasizing that the needs and rights of the little ones must always be given priority."
The cardinal said a "new sensitivity in the pastoral care of today consists in grasping the positive reality of civil marriages and ... cohabitation," even though both models fall short of the ideal of sacramental marriage.
"In such unions it is possible to grasp authentic family values or at least the wish for them," he said. "All these situations have to be dealt with in a constructive manner, seeking to transform them into opportunities to walk toward the fullness of marriage and the family in the light of the Gospel. They need to be welcomed and accompanied with patience and delicacy."
Similarly, the cardinal said, divorced and civilly remarried Catholics deserve an "accompaniment full of respect, avoiding any language or behavior that might make them feel discriminated against."
Cardinal Erdo noted that various bishops supported making the annulment process "more accessible and flexible," among other ways, by allowing bishops to declare marriages null without requiring a trial before a church tribunal.
One of the most discussed topics at the synod has been a controversial proposal by German Cardinal Walter Kasper that would make it easier for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive communion, even without an annulment of their first, sacramental marriages.
Cardinal Erdo said some synod members had spoken in support of the "present regulations," which admit such Catholics to Communion only if they abstain from sexual relations, living with their new partners as "brother and sister."
But the cardinal said other bishops at the assembly favored a "greater opening" to such second unions, "on a case-by-case basis, according to a law of graduality, that takes into consideration the distinction between state of sin, state of grace and the attenuating circumstances."
As a historical example of the "law of graduality," which he said accounts for the "various levels through which God communicates the grace of the covenant to humanity," the cardinal quoted Jesus' words in the Gospel of St. Matthew (19:8) acknowledging that, "because of the hardness of your hearts, Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so."
Critics of Cardinal Kasper's proposal commonly cite the Gospel's following verse, in which Jesus states that "whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery."
At a news conference following the synod's morning session, Cardinal Erdo said no one at the synod had questioned church teaching that Jesus' prohibition of divorce applies to all Christian sacramental marriages.
Also at the news conference, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, one of the assembly's three presidents chosen by Pope Francis, said Cardinal Erdo's speech "is not to be considered a final document from the synod," but a pretext for the further discussion, which concludes Oct. 18.
The synod is not supposed to reach any definitive conclusions, but set the agenda for a larger world synod to be held Oct. 4-25, 2015, which will make recommendations to the pope. Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the synod, announced Oct. 13 that the theme of next's year assembly will be: "The vocation and mission of the family in the church and in the modern world."

Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone said the Diocese of Charleston is paying close attention to the synod discussions.

“The Catholic Church has always upheld the dignity of every human person, including people with same sex attraction, divorced men and women, and cohabitating couples,” he said in a statement released to the media today. “Once the final Synod report is released, we will take the document’s conclusions to heart as we pastorally reach out to people in a manner that is consistent with Church teachings.”

PHOTO: Cardinals Luis Antonio Tagle of Manila, Philippines, and Timothy M. Dolan of New York speak before the morning session of the extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the family at the Vatican Oct. 13. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Read more about the synod here:



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