COLUMBIA - Catholics joined with members of other faiths April 23 to try and convince state lawmakers to support Medicaid expansion that would help more of the state’s poorest citizens gain access to health care.
The South Carolina Christian Action Council sponsored an advocacy day with speeches and prayer at Wesley United Methodist Church and a press conference at the Statehouse. Clergy and lay people were joined in the Statehouse lobby by members of the Midlands’ Jewish and Muslim communities. After the press conference, participants went upstairs to speak personally to their legislators about the issue.
Medicaid expansion, as proposed under the Affordable Care Act, would extend coverage to about 300,000 uninsured citizens in South Carolina. Gov. Nikki Haley and many South Carolina legislators have opposed expansion, saying it would be too expensive because states that accept new coverage would have to pay 10 percent of the total costs after three years of complete funding by the federal government.The proposal has already been voted down in the state’s House of Representatives.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone has expressed support for Medicaid expansion and recently wrote a letter urging lawmakers and the state’s Catholic voters to do the same.
Sister Judith Ann Karam, president and CEO of the Sisters of Charity Health Systems, said Medicaid expansion would greatly improve the lives of many needy people around South Carolina who either do not seek the health care they need or go to the emergency room for primary medical care because they can’t get it anywhere else. Her organization runs Providence Hospital and other health care facilities in the Midlands.
“This is critical for people in South Carolina,” she said. “We need to set aside politics because this is about people, and they deserve access to health care. We believe in the dignity of the human person. Education is considered a basic right for everybody in this country … why not health care? Health care is not a commodity, it’s a basic right.”
Father Sandy McDonald, a member of the Christian Council’s board and pastor of St. John Neumann Church in Columbia, said Catholic social teaching has "long included a call for access to health care," and adherence to Scripture demands genuine concern for the poor.
“We must always balance our convictions about the common good with what is economically and politically possible, but expansion of Medicaid offers the best pathway for the working poor of South Carolina to be given care, without which their lives and livelihoods are left in a fragile state …The healthiest of lifestyles cannot always stop the onslaught of so many diseases that devastate and bankrupt good citizen families in our state.”
He called on Gov. Haley and state legislators to reflect on their own religious beliefs and about what God asks of us all in regard to looking out for the least fortunate.
"Why can we not at least try this pathway to health care for families and their employers who are trying to make their way in our economy and who truly need it?” Father McDonald asked. “Does your faith not have something to say to you, not only about the obligation to make a difference on this issue, but to bear the sacrifice it will require of all of us to make it happen?"
SIMPSONVILLE - Language shouldn’t be a barrier for couples trying to figure out if they are ready for the lifetime commitment of a loving and sacramental marriage.
That’s why, St. Mary Magdalene Church in Simpsonville started offering Catholic Engaged Encounter sessions in Spanish. Organizers said it is the only community in the Southeast currently doing this. The Upstate parish already hosts sessions in English, but wanted to add Spanish as an additional outreach, said Mary Reimer, who organizes the sessions with her husband Bob Reimer.
The format requires engaged couples to spend a weekend with two married couples who offer presentations on a wide variety of topics conducive to a successful marriage, including communication, finances, stewardship and intimacy. The engaged men and women then write down their perspectives and responses on each topic, and discuss them with each other.
The Reimers have been involved with Engaged Encounter for about eight years, and consider it an important resource for couples before they take their vows.
“The emphasis is on living a sacramental lifestyle in the vocation of marriage, and it provides tools for the engaged couple to use as they face challenges throughout their married life,” Mrs. Reimer said. “One of the most important things is communication. A lot of times people say money is the main reason married couples split, but if you don’t talk you’re not going to stay together.”
The first Spanish weekend drew only three couples.
Alejandro and Paola Munoz of Greenville were one of the couples who gave presentations. Mrs. Munoz, 31, said they both wish they could have attended a session while they were engaged.
“I would have loved to go through it because as we were preparing and doing the talks, we had to reconnect on a whole different level,” she said. “It’s amazing how we as a married couple became closer from considering these topics, and it would have been great to have this when we were engaged.”
Mrs. Munoz said several of the couples who attended told her they appreciated that the presenters made themselves vulnerable and discussed their experiences in a frank and honest way.
“The weekend offers tools you can use throughout your marriage,” she explained. “The topics are things a lot of couples don’t even consider, and you might not be ready for marriage if you don’t address them. Problems can come up later in marriage if you don’t discuss these things, and some couples might even realize they need to hold off and postpone the wedding until they work some things out.”
The next Spanish Engaged Encounter is being planned for the fall. To learn more about the program or to register for a future session, visit www.cee-sc.org.
CHARLESTON—Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone has made the following appointments for priests in the Diocese of Charleston.
Father Christopher Smith, in addition to his duties as administrator of Prince of Peace Church and School in Taylors, was appointed administrator of Blessed Trinity Church in Greer, effective May 1.
Father Paul D. MacNeil, administrator of St. Peter Church in Beaufort, was incardinated into the Diocese of Charleston effective May 1.
Oratorian Father Elbano Munoz, pastor of St. Anne Church in Rock Hill, was appointed part-time parochial vicar of Our Lady of Grace Mission in Indian Land, and Oratorian Father Fabio Refosco, parochial vicar of St. Anne was appointed as pastor, both effective May 4.
Effective July 1: Oratorian Father Agustin Guzman, administrator of St. Mary Church in Rock Hill, was made pastor; and Oratorian Father Joseph Pearce, full-time parochial vicar of St. Philip Neri Church in Fort Mill, is relieved of duties at Our Lady of Grace Mission in Indian Land.
HARDEEVILLE—Sister Guadalupe Stump, a Sister of Mercy of Americas, an outspoken advocate for social justice and co-founder of Mercy Ministries in Hardeeville, died April 20. She was 86.
The Mass of Christian Burial was held May 1 at St. Gregory the Great Church in Bluffton.
She was born in Kewanee, Ill., on April 20, 1927, a daughter of the late Leandro Domingez and Modesta Sabala. Her life's passion was to help the poor and oppressed. She received her master’s in social work and was a social work professor at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. She was married to the late Robert Stump and was the director of Family Focus of Aurora, Ill., which provided service to the Hispanic population. She joined the Sisters of Mercy on Dec. 12, 1987. Between 1988-1991 she served on the staff for the Eight Day Center for Justice in Chicago.
In 1997, Sister Lupe arrived at the Diocese of Charleston with the late Sister Mary Gallagher to work with the Hispanic population at the invitation of Oblate Father Michael Hussey, then pastor of St. Anthony. In 1997, the women religious founded Mercy Ministries of the Lowcountry — formerly known as the Hardeeville Thrift Store. The non-profit serves food to approximately 15,000 people a year and helps nearly as many with clothing, furniture and household goods.
They worked to provide affordable housing for local residents helping found Jasper County Neighbors United, which built 26 homes in Jasper County that opened in 2008. In 1999, Sister Lupe she was selected as the coordinator of Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Charleston until 2003.
St. Anthony Mission had only 10 families registered when the sisters arrived and, thanks to their efforts, has grown to over 250 families.
Sister Lupe is survived by her son, John Stump of Savannah, Ga.; two daughters, Susan Stump of Wilmette, IL and Cindy Meyer of Crystal Lake, IL; two brothers, Leandro Domingez Jr. of Kewanee, IL and Dave Domingez of Mount Vernon, IL; a sister, Connie McKinley of Oneida, Tenn., and a granddaughter, Courtney Meyer.
Please send memorial gifts to Sisters of Mercy, 10024 S. Central Park Avenue, Chicago, IL 60655 in memory of Sister Lupe Stump
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- May 24 2013 Golf Tournament
- May 25 2013 | 11:00:00 AM Honoring Mary
- May 27 2013 | 8:00:00 AM Run For Heros
- May 31 2013 Saints Soccer Camp
- June 01 2013 Memorial Gold Tournament
- June 08 2013 | 7:00:00 AM Breakfast Fundraiser
- June 14 2013 - June 16 2013 Exploring Religious Life
- July 11 2013 - July 17 2013 Project Good Help Summer Service Program
- July 12 2013 - July 14 2013 Worldwide Marriage Encounter