A Celebration of the Year of Consecrated Life was held for Greenville area women religious on Feb. 7. Hosted by the Poor Clare Monastery and sponsored by Bon Secours St. Francis Health System, the event included Mass followed by reception and lunch.
Pictured are: Dominican Sister Mary Sheila Maksim, Poor Clare Sister Carolyn Forgette, Franciscan Sister Margie Hosch, Franciscan Sister Catherine Noecker, and Bon Secours Sister Dorothy Brogan.
COLUMBIA—The first “Catholic Day at the Capitol” offered the chance to learn how faith plays a role in the political process.
The event on Jan. 28 started with Mass celebrated by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone at St. Joseph Church. The crowd of almost 200 then moved to a building on the Statehouse grounds, where a catered breakfast provided a chance to meet with legislators and hear speakers.
Several Catholic lawmakers in the legislature attended and were introduced to the crowd. Speakers included Orin Smith of the Palmetto Policy Forum, Carol Walters of Catholics for Freedom of Religion, Alexia Newman from the Carolina Pregnancy Center, Lisa Van Riper of First Steps, and Jacqualine Kasprowski, associate director for secondary education for the diocese.
They provided information about religious freedom, early childhood education, school choice, and prolife legislation, including a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. A similar bill failed in the state Senate last year.
Bishop Guglielmone spoke to participants about how important it is that people of faith raise their voices in the public square.
“The question is, how do we make God’s kingdom come about here on earth? All of us have special gifts and opportunities to build up that kingdom,” the bishop said. “We have a role in making this state a better place for all God’s people, and we have a voice about what we envision in terms of what God is calling us to do. I pray that we will continue to work to make South Carolina more of more of what we want it to be — a reflection of God’s kingdom.”
After the morning session, participants had the chance to meet with their legislators to discuss issues.
Attendees included families with children, young couples, and senior citizens. A large delegation from Immaculate Conception Church in Goose Creek showed legislators models of 10- to 12-week old babies in the womb to remind them of the importance of life.
Around the globe, Catholics will spend the 40 days of Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday on Feb. 18, focused on prayer and fasting as they prepare for the joyful resurrection of Our Savior on Easter.
It is universal, and yet cultures throughout the world have put their own unique stamp on Lenten devotions and customs.
Here is a look at some of those traditions:
The day before Lent begins is called Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday, also known as Mardi Gras, Carnival, Pancake Tuesday, and more in various languages. This is the time when rich foods are enjoyed before the period of fast and abstinence.
The tradition of Carnival — which comes from carnelevare, and means removal of meat — began hundreds of years ago in Italy, when Catholics celebrated the last day before Lent with costumes, parades, dancing and feasting.
States in India, such as Goa and Kerala, host their own versions, with dancing, fireworks and a Raasa parade. The festival culminates with a celebration of Mass, and participants often exchange colorful lanterns.
Russians celebrate the entire week by eating blinis, or Russian crepes with caviar, smoked salmon, sour cream, onions, or sugary toppings.
The traditional start of Lent is marked with ashes made from blessed palm branches from the previous Palm Sunday. In some countries, such as Italy, instead of making a cross on the forehead, the priest sprinkles ashes on the crown of the head.
Of course, not all countries have palm trees, and use substitutions.
In Poland, for example, pussywillows, called bazie or kotki, are cut and placed in water on Ash Wednesday. On Palm Sunday, people bring the branches or custom-made wild flower bouquets to the church for the blessing.
In Ireland and the United Kingdom, Mothering Sunday is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent — Laetare Sunday. Originally a pagan tribute, it was adapted by Christians to honor Mary and Mother Church, and then all mothers. Often, a rich fruit-laden concoction called a Simnel cake is made and given to mothers as a gift.
Stations of the Cross
In the late fourth century, people began making pilgrimages to the Holy Land, where they would follow the path that Jesus took to Calvary. When travel became too dangerous, the faithful created a Via Dolorosa, or “Sorrowful Way,” in their towns and villages with paintings or sculptures.
Now the Passion of Christ is followed by cultures worldwide. Michael Tran, assistant director of ethnic ministries, said it is one of the most important aspects of Lent in Vietnam and Korea. Participants dress in white, the color of mourning in Asian countries, and chant at each station in a mournful voice.
“In Vietnam, a large number of parishes have a competition of who can contemplate the station in the most effective, sorrowful way,” Tran said.
Gustavo Valdez, director of Hispanic ministry, said there is a strong emphasis on sacrifice and penance in his home country of Mexico, and pilgrimages are especially popular.
He said it is not uncommon for pilgrims to drive 2,000 miles or more to visit the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City, adding that entire parishes of 200-300 people often travel together.
Many cultures enter Holy Week with elaborate penitential processions and re-enactments of the crucifixion of Christ.
In the Philippines, the tradition was introduced by the Spaniards, and is not just a reenactment.
“It’s a real crucifixion, it’s not a play,” said Adorno Father Jason Caganap, pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Goose Creek.
The person playing Christ is truly flogged and nailed to the cross, but not killed, he said. The Church discourages the custom, but it is deeply ingrained.
“It’s one of the oldest traditions in the Philippines,” Father Jason said. “It is a deep, deep devotion; they feel their sins are cleansed.”
In many African villages, there are no lights, so the Easter vigil begins in the afternoon and ends at dark. The church is decorated in hand-made fabrics shaped like butterflies, flowers, banana trees, and more. Christian hymns are accompanied by the beating of drums and Kigelegele, the high-pitched singing of women.
After Mass, traditional dances are held outside. When people return home the celebration continues with a meal of boiled or roasted rice and meat.
In Ethiopia, Easter is one of the most revered festivals, celebrated after 55 days of fasting. Families offer daily prayers and do not eat until 3 p.m., except weekends when prayers are held early.
Gifts are made for the children and most people wear their best clothes of white traditional dress.
The church is packed at the Easter vigil as everyone offers prayers until 3 a.m., when it is announced that Christ has risen.
The deaneries, geographical parish groupings, in the Diocese of Charleston are getting an overhaul.
After careful consideration and planning, the original five deaneries have been adjusted to create seven, with the two additions being carved into the Aiken and Rock Hill areas.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone, who recently approved the proposal as recommended by the Presbyteral Council, said the new regions were created “to make it more reasonable in terms of the deanery people being able to get together.”
“We’re hoping for a sense of unity for the people in those areas,” the bishop said.
The Midlands, especially, had grown too large in terms of time spent on the road for priests, deacons and other personnel as they traveled back and forth to meetings.
Lydia Doyle, director of the diocesan office of research and planning, said the suggestion to break up the deaneries was actually made several years ago by an outside task force, which noted that smaller areas can increase cohesion and collaboration.
The diocese had looked at different options, including an eight-deanery plan, but said the seven regions received a large majority of support.
The realignment will also change the names of the deaneries. Instead of Piedmont, Midlands, Lowcountry, Coastal and Pee Dee, the names will reflect the center-most city in each region: Greenville, Columbia, Aiken, Beaufort, Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Rock Hill.
Churches that will be in the new Rock Hill Deanery include All Saints, Divine Saviour, St. Philip Neri, St. Anne and St. Mary in York County; St. Joseph Church and St. Michael Mission in Chester; and St. Catherine Church and Our Lady of Grace Mission in Lancaster.
Churches in the new Aiken Deanery include Sacred Heart in Abbeville; Our Lady of Lourdes in Greenwood; Good Shepherd in McCormick; St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception and St. Edward in Edgefield; Our Lady of the Valley, Our Lady of Peace, St. Mary Help of Christians and St. Gerard in Aiken County; and St. Andrew in Barnwell.
The alignment goes into effect on Easter, April 5.
Bishop Guglielmone has appointed interim deans who will serve from Easter until the end of 2015. They are Father Robert Sayer for the Aiken Deanery and Father Fabio Refosco for the Rock Hill Deanery. At the end of 2015, permanent deans will be elected in all the deaneries.
Below is a map of the new deanery boundaries with church and school locations marked. Click the image to enlarge.
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the original and new deaneries. Click the image to enlarge.
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- February 28 2015 Marriage for Life course
- February 28 2015 Support medical missions at the Guatemalan Gala
- March 01 2015 - March 02 2015 Al Barbarino Lenten mission
- March 04 2015 Golf tournament
- March 07 2015 - March 11 2015 Lenten mission
- March 07 2015 Dinner and dance
- March 14 2015 Marriage for Life course