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Sister Margie returns to Africa to give renewing retreats

GREENVILLE—Franciscan Sister Margie Hosch spent two months this spring offering rest and spiritual nourishment to women religious who work under some of the harshest conditions imaginable.

For the sixth year in a row, she traveled to Zambia in southern Africa to give retreats for religious sisters in the Diocese of Solwezi who serve the poorest of the poor in the landlocked country.

She and fellow retreat leader Mary Catherine Harris met with a group of Comboni Missionary Sisters serving in Lusaka, the capital city, and Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Assisi working in remote, rural locations.

The retreats include prayer and song, time for sharing personal stories, writing poetry and reflecting on religious life, Sister Margie said.

The sisters told stories that were often hard to hear. One group worked at a medical clinic that had no water for five days. Others nurse in hospitals where most of the patients are already dying when they finally arrive.

A village where the Franciscan Sisters work is so poor that women and children live in houses made of grass and cardboard boxes.

Poverty is part of the sisters’ daily experience. Two of the Comboni Sisters live in a one room home where they sleep on mats, rely on candles for light and use a bucket of water heated by the sun for bathing.

“We’re there to relieve the fatigue the sisters have when they come,” Sister Margie said. “Every day for them is dealing with poverty and crisis situations. Part of what we do is help them learn how to deal with that daily walk. We help them find what gives them the passion to do that work day in and day out, with never a reprieve.”

The first retreat with eight Comboni Sisters took place during Holy Week. Sister Margie attended Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday Masses that lasted for more than four hours, with more than 1,000 people. Five couples were married and more than 30 babies baptized on Easter Sunday.

The trip included visits to schools, farms and other projects run by different communities of women religious. During a visit with the Poor Clare Sisters, Sister Margie experienced an emotional reunion with an elderly widow named Mafunasi, whom she met on a trip in 2012.

“They had invited her and didn’t tell us, and when she saw me she wrapped her arms around me and wouldn’t let go,” Sister Margie said. “I really felt the sacrament of presence in that moment.”

Sister Margie said she doesn’t know if she will make another trip to Zambia, but she hopes her retreats leave the sisters with some lasting joy and hope to help them in their work. She also wants to continue raising funds for multiple projects there, including building wells for villages that don’t have access to clean water and helping send children to school.

“The purpose of our whole life as Jesus gave it to us is to take up the cross and follow his footsteps,” she said. “I hope I was able to help the sisters recognize that, to encourage them and let them know how much they are loved.”

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Columbiettes open door to parish involvement

MYRTLE BEACH—Traci Ray had been a member of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in North Charleston for more than a decade in 2012, but still didn’t know many people.

That all changed when she joined the Columbiettes auxiliary formed at the church that year. Since then, Ray has been involved in parish activities such as bake sales and holiday parties, worked on an annual Christmas outreach to residents of local nursing homes, and been elected treasurer.

“It’s been a good experience for me because I’ve met more people at the church. I can be involved in the community, and as treasurer I can make decisions that have real, positive effects,” Ray said. “We’re involved in all kinds of activities at the church, and I’ve made some good friends through the group.”

She joined about 100 other women at St. Andrew Church on June 7 to celebrate the Columbiettes’ commitment to faith and service at their seventh annual convention. The theme was “Footprints in the Sand,” draw from the popular image of Jesus carrying the faithful during difficult times on life’s path.

The Columbiettes, formed in 1939 in New York, are a women’s organization that works alongside the Knights of Columbus.

Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone celebrated Mass to open the convention and drew on the day’s Scripture readings as he talked about the organization’s role in today’s Church.

He reflected on the first reading (Acts 28:16-20, 30-31), which offered an account of Paul being held prisoner in Rome, and said Paul’s persecution is reflected in the many ways Christians deal with persecution around the world today. He said groups like the Columbiettes offer an important witness in society, where religious freedom is often under attack and the value of human life seems to be dwindling.

“The Acts of the Apostles offers us examples of role models who were willing to give up their lives in witness to Jesus Christ,” Bishop Guglielmone said.

“You belong to an organization of lay people, and Jesus Christ has to be at the center of it. We need to go back to the teachings of Jesus to give us strength to deal with the problems of life. The last thing we can do today is to sit back and say that there is nothing we can do about the problems of this world.”

After Mass, the women honored members who have died in the past year with a memorial service.

During a luncheon held later in the parish life center, they discussed Support Our Sisters, a project auxiliaries have sponsored since January. Members send financial donations plus letters and cards to women from the diocese who are seeking to become religious sisters.

Father Jeffrey Kirby, vicar for vocations, offered them an update on the project, one of the first of its kind in the country. He said the group is currently supporting Kristin Davidson, now known as Sister Maria Thalassa, a novice in the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara, a missionary order founded in Argentina and based in Washington, D.C. Davidson, a graduate of Bishop England High School, joined the order in 2012. So far the auxiliaries have raised about $4,000.

“If it wasn’t for sisters, a lot of the missionary work in the Church today wouldn’t get done,” he said. “We’re called to serve God as disciples, and you’re here supporting these young women because we all want to do what God asks us to do. Thank you for taking the leap to support the young women who are taking a big leap of faith in discerning religious life.”

Newly elected officers were installed during a ceremony in the afternoon.

Nancy Romaniello was elected state president. She has been a member of the Father Bonaventure Brown Council 9672, based at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Camden, for about five years.

“I like being a Columbiette because it’s a women’s group that is faith based,” Romaniello said. “Our mission is asking first and foremost what can we do to serve our church and our community. I’ve always been involved in community service, and this gives me a chance to tie it in directly with my faith.”

Romaniello said she hopes to work directly with Bishop Guglielmone, Father Kirby and others to find ways the Columbiettes can offer help and support at both the parish and diocesan level.

Other newly elected officers are Gloria C. Kinney, vice president; Edith Van Demark, secretary; Caroline Paulhus, financial secretary; Joyce Recchia, treasurer; Lavon Massey, advocate; and Janice Hesson, sentinel.

Statewide, there are currently 376 Columbiettes in auxiliaries in Beaufort, Camden, Columbia, Loris, Myrtle Beach, North Charleston, North Myrtle Beach, Summerville and Taylors.

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Man destroys Jesus statues at Sacred Heart Church

CHARLESTONSacred Heart Church was the target of one or more vandals who smashed the heads off of two statues of Jesus.

A suspect was arrested just down the road from the church, located at 888 King St., after he was discovered covered in concrete dust and toting a sledgehammer in his backpack.

Charles Short, 38, told police he defaced the large concrete statue because "the second or first commandment states to not make an image of a male or female to be on display to the public," according to police reports.

Sister Pamela Smith, SSCM, secretary for education at the Diocese of Charleston, said the suspect was probably referring to Exodus 20, 4-5, which states "You shall not make for yourself an idol or a likeness of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or serve them."

She said some religions interpret that commandment very strictly and believe people should not make any representations of God. Catholics and most Protestant religions allow for statues as reminders of God and Jesus.

"We don't worship the idol, we don't worship the statue, it just serves as a reminder of who God is," Sister Pam said. "Especially the Sacred Heart, which is to remind us of the mercy of Christ."

Short was arrested for the destruction of the concrete statue representing the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which stands 6 feet and has been on the church grounds for 20 years.

Short is also being questioned in the vandalism of a second statue, which is about 4 feet tall, made of marble, and depicts Jesus with his hand on the head of a child.

Fred McKay, principal of Charleston Catholic, the parish school, said he discovered the marble statue with both heads demolished on Friday morning and called police. Then over the weekend, the second statue was vandalized.

In that incident, residents flagged down a patrol officer and pointed to a man walking on nearby Huger Street, stating that he had just knocked the statue's head off, the report stated.

When confronted, the suspect admitted to the crime and was charged with malicious injury to real property. On Tuesday, that charge was upgraded to reflect the seriousness and high monetary value of the property damage.

A representative for a local monument shop estimated the cost of the marble statue at $7,000 and the concrete one at $4,000, McKay said.

Parishioners and visitors said the sight of the headless statues was disturbing.

"There's no way to move them," McKay said. "But we covered them with cloth at the request of Father [Dennis] Willey."

Father Willey, pastor, is out of the country. McKay said they informed him of the incident and have been in contact via email.

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People & events


Children’s choir camp
SULLIVAN’S ISLANDƒ—The Children’s Choir Beach Retreat will be held Aug. 13-15 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Stella Maris Church, 1204 Middle St. For youth ages 7-18. Details: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Help with food pantry
JOHNS ISLAND—ƒHoly Spirit seeks volunteers for its Saturday Emergency Food Pantry to serve residents of the Sea Islands and migrant workers currently residing on three island campsites. The pantry supplies fresh vegetables and meat through parishioner donations and are distributed from the parish center. Call Kathy Coder, (843) 768-0357.

Engaged Encounter
HANAHAN—ƒAn Engaged Encounter weekend will be held June 27-29 at Divine Redeemer Church, 1106 Fort Drive. To register, visit Details: (864) 232-1222.


Silver Rose program
ROCK HILL—Knights of Columbus Council 6756 recently conducted a Silver Rose Program at St. Anne Church. Over 200 people attended. The prayer service was held in Spanish and English. The Our Lady of Guadalupe Silver Rose is a national pro-life campaign sponsored by the Knights. She is the patroness of the unborn and the roses are transported around the country to encourage a culture of life.

Black Catholics Reflection Day
COLUMBIA—ƒThe Diocese of Charleston’s Black Catholics Day of Reflection will be held June 28 from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at St. Martin de Porres Church, 2229 Hampton St. Cost: $20 adults, 18 and under free. Register by June 23. Contact the Office of Ethnic Ministries: (864) 331-2627 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Jewelry workshop and sale
COLUMBIA—The Friends of the Earth will hold a jewelry workshop and fundraiser for Cardinal Newman School July 23 from 3-5:20 p.m. at St. John Neumann Church hall, 100 Polo Road. Recreate or fix a necklace. The event includes a bake sale and children’s activities. Call the church, (803) 788-0811.

Homeschool convention
COLUMBIAƒ—A Midlands Catholic homeschool convention will be held July 24-26 at the Columbia Convention Center. It will feature exhibits, authors, and information on home education. Onsite childcare available with early registration at


Franciscan mini retreat
MURRELLS INLET—ƒBlessed John Duns Scotus Fraternity will hold a mini retreat on June 21 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. Michael Church, 542 Cypress Ave. It will include Mass at 8 a.m. and breakfast. Carolyn D. Townes, animator of the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation National Commission, will lead the retreat themed “Doing Love to Animate Peace.” Bring a bag lunch. Details: Ellen DeKleva, (843) 651-1359 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Pawleys Island 4th of July celebration
PAWLEYS ISLAND—The fourth annual Pawleys Island 4th of July evening celebration will be held on Friday, July 4, at 6 p.m. inside the Parish Life Center at Precious Blood of Christ Church, 1633 Waverly Road. The program is a salute to our nation and our military featuring the Pawleys Island Concert Band. Sandwiches, hot dogs, and soft drinks will be available for purchase. Doors open at 5 p.m. The event is sponsored by Knights of Columbus Assembly 3272 and Council 11028. Admission is free.


July 4 party
GREENVILLE—ƒKnights of Columbus Council 1668 and Assembly 1073 will host a July 4 party with games and fireworks beginning at 6 p.m. in the Knights Hall, 762 Mauldin Road. Cost: $5, includes burgers and hotdogs. Bring a dessert to share.

St. Kateri Tekakwitha event
GREENVILLE—ƒA Celebration of the Feast of St. Kateri Tekakwitha will be July 12 at noon at Our Lady of the Rosary Church, 3710 Augusta Road. A prayer service and reception will follow. Contact: Office of Ethnic Ministries, (864) 331-2627; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

SCCCW donates to chapel

GREENVILLE—ƒMembers of the South Carolina Conference of Catholic Women ( presented a check for $6,395.50 recently to Chaplain Kimberly Campbell to help build a women’s chapel at the Graham Correctional Institution in Columbia. The funds were raised from a collection during the annual convention in May. The check was presented by Marlene Grover, SCCCW president; Phyllis Atkins, past president; Chris Segars, past board member; and Oratorian Father Fabio Refosco, diocesan moderator for the council. The Women’s Chapel was the SCCCW convention project.

Creighton practitioner education
GREENVILLE—ƒApplications are being accepted for the 13-month Creighton Model FertilityCare practitioner education program for those interested in teaching others how to use the method. Education Phase I will be conducted over two sessions: July 31 to Aug. 3, and Aug. 21-24. Education Phase II will be Feb. 25 to March 2, 2015. To apply, contact Kelli Ball, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (803) 807-0158, or Nancy McGrath, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (864) 292-0475.

Marian Eucharistic Conference
GREENVILLEƒ—A Marian Eucharistic Conference will be held at St. Joseph’s Catholic School, 100 St. Joseph’s Drive, from Sept. 27-28. Featured speakers include: Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone, Fathers of Mercy Fathers Bill Casey and Wade Menezes, and Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers and Ricardo Castanon Gomez, Ph.D. Details:

The June 5 edition of The Miscellany incorrectly identified a photo of a woman receiving a blessing in the article, “A new priest to shepherd many who are united by one”, on page 9. She was unidentified and was not Nora Alvarez, from St. John of the Cross, as stated.

Also, the “Fortnight for Freedom renews the call to protect religious rights” article on page 5 contained an error. The opening Mass will be held at 10 a.m. at St. Mary Church in Greenville and not at 8 a.m.

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 and click on submit news.

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