Friday, February 27, 2015
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Bishop's calendar for February 2015

The following is Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone’s calendar for February:

Feb. 2—10:30 a.m., Priest Personnel Board meeting, St. Joseph, Columbia; 2:45 p.m., Secretariat meeting, St. Joseph, Columbia; 6 p.m., Consecration of new church, St. Mary Help of Christians, Aiken
Feb. 3—10 a.m., Secretariat meeting, St. Joseph, Columbia; 6:30 p.m., Bishop’s Annual Appeal reception, St. Anthony Church, Florence; 7 p.m., Confirmation, Immaculate Conception Church, Goose Creek, with Most Rev. Victor Galeone, Bishop Emeritus of St. Augustine, Fla.
Feb. 4—7 p.m., Confirmation, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, Simpsonville
Feb. 5—7 p.m., Confirmation, St. Paul the Apostle Church, Spartanburg
Feb. 6—7 p.m., Confirmation, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Camden
Feb. 7—5:30 p.m., Men’s fall discernment retreat Mass, White Oak Retreat Center, Winnsboro
Feb. 8—10:30 a.m., Confirmation, Precious Blood of Christ Church, Pawleys Island, with Bishop Galeone; 2:30 p.m., Boy Scout Convocation, St. Joseph Church, Columbia; 3 p.m., Ecumenical service for Hispanic Christians, St. David Lutheran Church, Columbia
Feb. 10—6:30 p.m., Bishop’s Annual Appeal reception; Charleston
Feb. 14—5 p.m., Statewide college retreat closing Mass, Buck Ridge Plantation, Orangeburg
Feb. 15—3 p.m., Marriage Anniversary Celebration Mass, St. Peter Church, Columbia
Feb. 16—Presidents’ Day, diocesan offices closed
Feb. 17—10 a.m., School Mass, St. John School, North Charleston; Noon, Finance Council meeting, Charleston
Feb. 18—Ash Wednesday; 6 p.m., Mass, Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Charleston
Feb. 19—8 a.m., Mass, St. Patrick Church, Charleston; 9:30 a.m., Secretariat meeting: Secretariat of the Clergy, Charleston
Feb. 20—7 p.m., Rite of Election, St. Paul the Apostle Church, Spartanburg
Feb. 21—11 a.m., Rite of Election, St. John Neumann Church, Columbia
Feb. 22—2:30 p.m., Rite of Election, Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Charleston; 6 p.m., Mass, Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Charleston
Feb. 23—9:30 a.m., Secretariat meeting, Charleston; 7 p.m., Rite of Election, St. Peter Church, Beaufort
Feb. 24—7 p.m., Pro-life prayer vigil, Charleston Women’s Medical Center, Charleston
Feb. 25—9 a.m., Mass, Charleston Catholic School, Charleston
Feb. 26—8:45 a.m., Mass, Blessed Sacrament School, Charleston; 10 a.m., Curia meeting, Charleston
Feb. 28—6 p.m., Project San Pedro Gala, Blessed Sacrament Church, Charleston


‘End the scourge of abortion,’ speaker says

WASHINGTON—Thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 22 for the annual March for Life. This year marked the 42nd anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion virtually on demand.

Tens of thousands gathered first to hear a lineup of speakers before marching from the Mall up Constitution Avenue to the U.S. Supreme Court Building on Capitol Hill.

Early in the day, Pope Francis showed his support of the pro-life gathering by tweeting the theme “Every Life is a Gift” with the hashtag #marchforlife.

The Diocese of Charleston was well represented at the event, according to Kathy Schmugge, director of the diocesan Office of Family Life. Busloads of people from Greenville, Aiken, Charleston and Garden City made the trip, with smaller groups from Rock Hill, Columbia and more.

The theme of this year’s march stressed that “Every Life is a Gift” regardless of a person’s difficulty or disability, and also emphasized that everyone has a call, a mission and a role to play creating a culture of life.

The marchers included a military delegation led by Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services.

A large congressional delegation in attendance emphasized the importance of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act before yielding the floor to a passionate address by Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, who called the defense of life “the responsibility of every single person in America.”

One of the most inspiring addresses of the day came from Julia Johnson, a senior at Shanley Catholic High School in Fargo, N.D., who said it was up to the youth of America to “end the scourge of abortion.”

Johnson’s message had special relevance for the youth and young adults from South Carolina who took part in the event.

James Alexander, 22, a Rock Hill native who recently graduated from the University of South Carolina, made his first trip to the march. He was visiting his mother in nearby Reston, Va., and traveled to D.C. with a group from her parish there.

Alexander said he was by himself at the main rally when he ran into a group from St. Joseph High School in Greenville, then met up with others from the diocese and spent the day with them.

“It was very special for me to be there as a young adult Catholic male,” Alexander said. “I was always personally against abortion, but as a man I sometimes felt like I wasn’t supposed to have a public opinion. So, it was wonderful for me to be with other prayerful Catholics there in D.C., and with a lot of prayer I realized there are certain moral things you should always stand up for. I heard incredible stories and learned how important it is to stand up for life.”

The magnitude of the event struck Alexander, he said, when he looked behind him during the march and “couldn’t see the end of the people.”

“The prayer during the march was just so moving,” he said. “Some people were praying through megaphones, others were praying and chanting and proclaiming God’s word, others praying the rosary silently. It was a more moving and spiritual experience than I could have thought possible.”

Jonathan Cordova, 17, a high school senior from St. Philip Neri Church in Fort Mill, rode to the march with a group of youth from Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville. He first attended the event when he was in eighth grade, and said the experience meant even more to him now that he is in high school.

“When you’re a kid, you don’t really notice the magnitude of how many people of all ages are there marching for life right alongside you,” Cordova said. "It was important to me to see everybody there to fight against abortion, especially people of my generation.”

Cordova was especially struck by the testimony of a young priest who gave a homily during one of the Masses he attended in Washington. The man’s mother, he said, had faced the option of abortion with all three of her children, and chose life each time.

“That story was incredible — it left me shaken up,” Cordova said. “Hearing that story gave me reassurance of how incredible life is, what a blessing it is just to be living. Every person has the right to live. We’re not allowed to take that away from anyone.”

Staff writer Christina Lee Knauss contributed to this report.


Priest appointments

CHARLESTON—Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone has made appointments for the following five priests in the Diocese of Charleston:

Father Marcin Zahuta, chaplain for the St. Thomas More Center in Columbia, was appointed as pastor, effective Jan. 1.

Father Mark S. Good, in addition to his duties as administrator of St. Mary Church on Yonges Island and Sts. Frederick and Stephen Mission on Edisto Island, was appointed as the associate director of vocations, effective Jan. 19.

Father Richard B. Tomlinson, formally on loan to the Diocese of Trenton, is appointed parochial vicar at Prince of Peace Church in Taylors, effective Feb. 1.

Father James M. Crowley, pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Greenwood, is appointed parochial vicar at St. Francis by the Sea on Hilton Head Island, effective Feb. 2.

Father Timothy D. Tebalt, parochial vicar at Stella Maris Church on Sullivan’s Island, is appointed pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes Church with sacramental responsibilities at Leath Correctional Institution, both in Greenwood, effective Feb. 3.


Teacher draws on art skills to share the faith

GARDEN CITY—Most people look at comic books as a fun way to escape reality.

Andrew Thomas sees them as a way to save souls.

Thomas teaches art and religion at St. Michael School in Garden City and is also studying for the permanent diaconate. He recently started his own Catholic comic book company, Bonaventure Comics (

He has loved comics since childhood, especially the superheroes of Marvel. In recent years, however, Thomas became dismayed at what he saw as an increase in violence and a decline in the moral message of mainstream comics.

Then, he asked himself why not try to combine his love for the comic medium with his deep Catholic faith?

Bonaventure was born.

Thomas has created two full length comics that can be read on the website or purchased for e-readers. He has also published a few hard copies of each one.

One, “Borderline,” focuses on fantasy stories with a moral message told by a fictitious Argentinian nun, Sister Francesca Huerta. The other, “The Life of St. John Berchmans,” tells the story of the Belgian Jesuit scholar who died in his early 20s and is now a patron saint of students and altar servers.

Thomas’ creative passion for art started as a child raised in a devout Catholic household in Baton Rouge, La.

“Art is something I’ve always done,” he said. “I can remember drawing in front of the TV or trying to learn how to draw some of my favorite comic strip characters as a kid. I loved it but I never thought it was something I would go into as a career.”

God had other plans. Thomas said he tried different majors in college, including chemistry and engineering, but neither one worked. His parents suggested he go back to art, his first love, and he enrolled at the prestigious Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla., where he majored in illustration.

After graduation, he worked in the design studio at Franklin Mint in Media, Pa., and then at Lamar Graphics and Advertising in Baton Rouge.

He loved the creativity of his jobs, but after four years of an art career, Thomas felt drawn to a different vocation.

“I started to feel a call to enter the seminary,” he said. “I had been attending daily Mass for quite a while and I started to have a stronger and stronger sense that I should discern whether or not to become a priest.”

In 2002, he entered Notre Dame Theological Seminary in New Orleans to begin studies to become a priest for the Diocese of Baton Rouge. While he loved his classes and the idea of a vocation, Thomas admits that it was difficult to give up his full-time work as an artist.

“No matter what I’m doing, I always still see myself as an artist,” he said. “If I don’t get to work on art for at least three hours a day, I feel unstable.”

He loved his three years at the seminary, but in 2005, the storm that uprooted thousands in New Orleans also uprooted his plans for his life.

“Hurricane Katrina hit and caused quite a bit of damage to the seminary, so I was basically out of a home for about a month and a half,” he said.

During that time, Thomas lived with his parents and volunteered at area shelters helping hurricane victims. That short break led him to realize he needed a longer time away from the seminary to discern if the priesthood was really the right choice for him.

He moved to Philadelphia to work with a sculptor there and was considering whether or not to return to the seminary. Instead, he discovered he was called to marriage with a woman he had met while studying Spanish in Mexico several years before. They were married in 2006 and now have four children: three daughters and a son.

Thomas and his wife Patricia lived in Mexico for a while before he accepted the teaching job at St. Michael School in 2010. She also works as a Spanish teacher at the school.

Shortly after moving to Garden City, Thomas decided to start Bonaventure Comics as a way to bring the new evangelization to a wider audience.

“I still love superheroes and things like that, but it seemed to me most comics today were too immoral for kids,” he said. “What I try to do with my work is to have a strong moral message. I have characters who worship God, who get their strength from the Lord. I really think comics are a great way to evangelize both kids and adults.”

He also decided to study for the permanent diaconate and is currently part of the class of men who will graduate in 2017.

“I never completely gave up my desire to serve the Lord, to learn more theology and philosophy and to minister in a more prominent role in the Church,” Thomas said.

His roles as husband, father, teacher and student leave precious little time to promote Bonaventure Comics, but he hopes to spread the word to more people in 2015, perhaps having copies of his work sold in local comic book stores or at conventions.

“I love everything I do, whether it’s art or teaching or simply living the life God has blessed me with,” he said.


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