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Corpus Christi celebrates a 750-year-old tradition

LEXINGTON—Members of Corpus Christi Church took part in a meaningful celebration on June 22 to commemorate the 750th anniversary of Corpus Christi, the feast day that is also their parish namesake.

Hundreds turned out for a Mass celebrated by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone and an elaborate eucharistic procession that wound its way around the parish property off Augusta Road.

Father Raymond Carlo, the pastor, said it was a wonderful way for parishioners to celebrate the meaning of the Eucharist.

“The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith, it is at the heart of our faith,” Father Carlo said. “Only our Church has the teaching of transubstantiation, the real presence of Christ, and we wanted to celebrate that.”

Corpus Christi, Latin for “Body of Christ,”  is celebrated each year on Sunday, two weeks after Pentecost.

According to a written history prepared by Father Carlo for the celebration, the feast was first promulgated by Pope Urban IV in 1264.

It started thanks to a priest named Peter of Prague, who came to Rome on pilgrimage in 1263. At the time, he was struggling with doubt about whether Christ was really present in the consecrated host, even though Church teaching stresses the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist as central to the faith.

Peter stopped in the town of Bolsena in the Umbria region of Italy, where he celebrated Mass in the Church of St. Christina.
According to the history, “when he began to speak the words of consecration, blood began to seep from the consecrated host and trickle over his fingers and hands and onto the altar and the white altar cloth.”

Peter first tried to hide the blood, but then halted Mass and asked to be taken to the city of Orvieto, where the pope lived at the time.

Pope Urban IV then sent emissaries to Bolsena to investigate the priest’s story. When it was confirmed, he had the host and the blood-stained linen brought to Orvieto, where they were placed in the cathedral as relics.

The pontiff then commissioned St. Thomas Aquinas to compose an order of worship and prayers that honor the Holy Eucharist.

Two of these chants are still used today, one on Holy Thursday and also the “Tantum Ergo” sung during Benediction.  Then, in August of 1264, Urban IV proclaimed a papal bull that instituted the feast of Corpus Christi.

Traditionally, Catholics in Europe and the U.S. have observed Corpus Christi with Eucharistic processions along town and city streets, followed by Benediction. This was exactly how Father Carlo and others planned the Lexington event.

After the 11 a.m. Mass, Bishop Guglielmone held the Eucharist aloft in a monstrance while walking under an elaborate canopy held by men of the Knights of Columbus. He was accompanied by Father Carlo and the parish deacons, and followed by a large crowd of about 200 that included members of the choir who prayed, sang and played handbells during the procession.

They all made their way to four prayer stations set up around the church property, including a spot tucked away down a shady woodland path and a grotto to Mary in the back of the church.

The stations were set up and decorated by the parish youth group, the women’s group, the Knights and the Legion of Mary.

Bishop Guglielmone incensed the monstrance and prayers were said at each stop.
At the end, participants filed back into the church for Benediction.

Afterward, everyone enjoyed a meal that included an elaborately decorated cake donated by a parishioner to commemorate the feast.
Behind the cake stood a painting of a chalice and host done by Shannon Neusch, a convert who came into the church in 2009. She said the painting took about 13 hours and offered a way for her to honor the day.

“For me, Corpus Christi represents a lot of what I felt coming into the Catholic faith,” she said. “I feel like becoming Catholic was the first time I ever really understood the whole Christian experience, and the Eucharist is a big part of that.”

Sandy Butler of Lexington said she loved the celebration because it is a way of bringing back traditions she remembers from her Catholic childhood.

“This celebration really brings back to us why we receive Communion and what it truly means,” she said. “A lot of times we take it for granted.”

Read more about the Feast of Corpus Christi.

 

Day of reflection focuses on inspirational saints

COLUMBIA—The annual Black Catholic Day of Reflection was a chance to reflect on holy people from the past and learn how to build a better future for the Church.

About 170 people attended the June 28 event held at St. Martin de Porres Church and sponsored by the Office of Ethnic Ministries. The theme was “Walking the Walk and Talking the Talk: On the Path to Sainthood.”

Father Michael Okere, vicar for black Catholics, began the day with a discussion of four leaders currently being considered for sainthood: Venerable Pierre Toussaint, a freed slave and philanthropist known for his charitable work in New York;  Venerable Henriette DeLille, founder of the Sisters of the Holy Family; Father Augustus Tolton, the first black priest ordained in the U.S.; and Elizabeth Clarisse Lange, also known as Mother Mary Lange, who founded the Oblate Sisters of Providence.
He encouraged the crowd to learn about these men and women, pray for their canonization and use their examples to advance the faith at the parish level.

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“The history of the Church tells us about the efforts people like this made so we can have what we have today,” Father Okere said. “We need to remember these men and women because we can see the face of God through them. The life of a saint is about doing simple things extraordinarily, and we can use these examples to help us with evangelization. Our children will learn about them and know we have a history in the Catholic Church.”

Music played a big part in the event, as the crowd learned about different styles available in the latest edition of “Lead Me Guide Me,” a hymnal especially designed for historically black parishes.

Aaron Mathews, a musician from Columbia, and Charlton Singleton, director of music at St. Patrick Church in Charleston, showed participants how everything from traditional spirituals and hymns to more contemporary gospel music could be used in worship.

Discussion also focused on a pastoral plan for evangelization of African Americans in the diocese, and discussed strategies for promoting holiness in daily life, the dignity of the human person, more effective worship and evangelization, and outreach to children, teens and young adults.

Barbara Downs of Columbia said the day provided a good opportunity to think about ways to keep the Church a vital and important presence in the community.

“It’s good to see black Catholics getting together, being rejuvenated and awakening, and it’s good to see young people getting rejuvenated,” she said. “That’s our job as parents and grandparents. God put us here to make sure these babies get back to church.”

   

A prayerful start to Fortnight for Freedom

GREENVILLE—Temperatures soaring into the 90s couldn’t keep people from taking their faith out in the open at the Diocese of Charleston’s third annual Fortnight for Freedom kickoff on June 21.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone celebrated Mass for more than 500 people in St. Mary School’s gymnasium, then led a eucharistic procession down a nearby street and around the church campus.
The Fortnight for Freedom began in 2012 as a response to threats against religious liberty coming from the federal government, and continues to be observed because those threats have not diminished, according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Running through July 4, this year’s theme is “Freedom to Serve,” focusing on the right to serve the poor and vulnerable in accord with Church teaching and human dignity.
Bishop Guglielmone gave a passionate homily that included specific descriptions of how limits on religious freedom are affecting Catholic education, outreach to the poor and immigrants, and health care.
He said that some Catholic universities have removed religious symbols such as crucifixes from classrooms in order to remain eligible for federal funding. As for Catholic health care, it is constantly threatened by a culture that disregards the sanctity of life from beginning to end.
The bishop also mentioned the HHS mandate, which requires employers to provide services such as contraception, which goes against Church teaching. The mandate was one of the rallying cries for the first Fortnight and is still being fought in the courts.
“Pope Francis just yesterday addressed a conference on religious liberty, and he said that freedom of religion is not just that of thought or private worship, but the freedom to live according to our ethical principles and core beliefs,” Bishop Guglielmone said. “That is why we are here praying. We need to have the ability to do things to make this world a reflection of the kingdom of God … This affects every person in the country. If we are going to continue to be the American people we have been all these years, we need to offer prayers for religious freedom every day between now and July 4.”
The celebration drew a crowd that included many different groups in the Upstate, including the Knights of Columbus, Knights of Peter Claver, Ancient Order of Hibernians, and the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
Gwen Whitner and Virginia Robinson, who attend St. Anthony of Padua Church in Greenville, wore the white hats and dress that symbolize membership in the Knights of Peter Claver Ladies Auxiliary. Both women echoed the bishop’s call to prayer as the answer to the question of how to preserve religious freedom.
“We’re a prayerful people and we need to believe in the power of prayer,” Robinson said.
Children who recently received first Holy Communion donned their suits or ruffled dresses and veils, and scattered rose petals ahead of the procession. Young girls in white dresses and blue sashes from the Guild of Our Lady and St. Gianna, a girls’ faith group at Prince of Peace Church in Taylors, followed. Ashley Maddox’s two daughters, Alaina and Belle, belong to the guild.
“It’s important they’re out here today because I want these girls to be educated, to know what they’re up against and their responsibilities as Catholic women in this society,” she said.
Members of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville represented the growing Vietnamese community in the Upstate.
“We know that we have to fight for religious freedom today and we want to be a part of that fight,” said Lan Nguyen. “We have to let the younger generations know that they have a part in this too and it’s important to keep up the fight.”
Dustin Evancho, a member of St. Mary Church, said the freedom to express faith in all aspects of his life is especially important to him because he converted to Catholicism after spending years as an atheist.
“I understand and value what the Church gives me, and I’m only truly free with the Catholic faith,” he said.
In an effort to make young people more aware of the issues, the diocesan Office of Family Life sponsored an essay contest connected with the Fortnight for Freedom. 
Caroline Daly, a senior from St. Andrew Church in Myrtle Beach, won first prize. Her essay can be found here.
David Truluck, a senior from St. Michael Church in Murrells Inlet, won second prize. Honorable mentions were given to Taylor Lewis, a freshman from Corpus Christi Church in Lexington, and Patrick Daly, another senior from St. Andrew.
Each of the winners received a gift card.

   

People & events

COASTAL

Bishop’s dog, Mickey, dies at 18
CHARLESTON—Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone’s beloved canine companion, Mickey, died June 11 at age 18.

Mickey was received with great warmth by adults and children in his New York home at the Diocese of Rockville Centre and when he came to the Diocese of Charleston in 2009.

The bishop adopted the stray pup 17 years ago.

Bishop Guglielmone would be grateful that instead of cards and flowers, messages of condolence be made only in the form of prayer.

The bishop will not seek out another dog at this time and well-intentioned sympathizers are respectfully asked not to attempt to gift him with a new one.

Pro-life rosary
CHARLESTON—Father Artur D. Przywara, parochial vicar at St. Theresa the Little Flower Church, will lead a pro-life rosary and prayers July 19 from 8-9 a.m. at 1312 Ashley River Road. Call Stephen Boyle, (843) 763-0681.

LOWCOUNTRY

Seminar on nuptial theology
BLUFFTON—Father David Nerbun, parochial vicar at St. Gregory the Great Church, will give a summer seminar on the Pharisee, Nicodemus, in the Gospel of John, on July 28-31 from 3-5 p.m. in St. Andrew Hall. The course will discuss specifics of Johannine nuptial theology and show how St. John develops and uses the character of Nicodemus to unveil how we are called to share in the nuptial love of Christ, which culminates in rebirth at the foot of the Cross on Calvary. Call the church to register, (843) 815-3100. Space is limited.

MIDLANDS

St. Peter School info session
COLUMBIA—St. Peter School will hold a 60-minute info session for parents on July 22 at 6 p.m. at the school, 1035 Hampton St. To attend, contact Emily Hero, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or (803) 779-0036.

Father Thalakulam at Vatican
MURPHY VILLAGE—Father Cherian Thalakulam, CMI, pastor of St. Edward the Confessor Church, attended the world meeting of bishops and national directors of ministry to Gypsy and Traveler communities held in June at the Vatican. The representatives from 26 countries met with the Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant Peoples and had an audience with Pope Francis. In the meeting, “The Church and gypsies: proclaiming the Gospel in the peripheries,” the pontiff called for a new pastoral approach from the Church, saying local, national and international groups need to identify projects to improve quality of life.

Family day at Carowinds
ROCK HILL—Join the Catholic Bishops of the Carolinas for the second annual Catholic Family Day at Carowinds on July 27 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Cost: $45 per person includes admission, Mass in the theater from 10:30-11:45 a.m. and picnic lunch at noon. Make checks payable to Diocese of Charleston. Deadline for ordering tickets is July 11. Details: www.sccatholic.org/youthand-young-adultministry, or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Lunch in the Tea Room
COLUMBIA—St. Joseph Church women’s society will host a Tea Room Lunch on July 23 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with all proceeds going to Birthright. Cost: minimum of $10.

Engaged Encounter weekend
ROCK HILL—An Engaged Encounter weekend will be held Aug. 15-17 at The Oratory. To register, visit cee-sc.org. Details: (864) 232-1222.

Secular Carmelites
COLUMBIA—The Order of Carmelites Discalced Secular will begin formation classes in January 2015. Those interested in joining formation for the community of lay persons who live according to the spirit of the Order of Discalced Carmelites must visit the group by the end of December. Meetings are held on the fourth Sunday of the month from 1:30-5 p.m. at Good Shepherd Church, 809 Calhoun St. Roman Catholics over 18, participating fully in the sacramental life of the church, can contact Sharon Crocker, (803) 309-2480 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

PEE DEE

July 4 celebration
PAWLEYS ISLAND—The annual Pawleys Island Fourth of July Celebration will be at 6 p.m. in Precious Blood of Christ Church center, 1633 Waverly Road. Featuring the Pawleys Island Concert Band with food and drinks for purchase. Doors open at 5 p.m. Sponsored by Knights of Columbus Assembly 3272 and Council 11028.

Worldwide Marriage Encounter
MYRTLE BEACH—Restore, renew and rekindle your marriage at an upcoming Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend. The next weekend is Oct. 3-5. Apply early. Details: scmarriagematters.org or (803) 810-9602.

PIEDMONT

Job workshop
CLEMSON—A Work Forward workshop will be held July 14-18 from 9:30 a.m. to noon at St. Andrew Church hall, 209 Sloan St. Improve your job search skills, resume and more. Free instruction and materials. Contact Sandy Kluck, (864) 944-9592 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Rachel’s Vineyard
GREENVILLE—Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats help acknowledge and work through unresolved feelings that individuals struggle with after abortion. The next retreat will be Aug. 15-17. Registration and information: (803) 554-6088 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

PEOPLE & EVENTS includes items of general interest and events that are open to the statewide community. To send a notice, please include time, date, location address, city and contact email and/or phone number with area code. Items are run at the editor’s discretion and publication or frequency is not guaranteed. Send notices at least three weeks in advance of publication date to: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For details visit www.themiscellany.org and click on submit news.

 

   

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