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Men’s conference offers key to a balanced life

COLUMBIA—Joseph Lombardi says three things were most important to his late grandfather, legendary football coach Vince Lombardi, “faith, family and football … in that order!”

Replace that sport with any other career or job, and that simple list offers the key to a balanced life, Lombardi told hundreds of men packed into St. Joseph Church on
March 1.

Lombardi, the current offensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions, was one of the keynote speakers at the first South Carolina Catholic Men’s Conference, “Building Men of Faith.” Sponsored by the South Carolina State Council of the Knights of Columbus, with help from the offices of Family Life and Youth Ministry, organizers hope the event will become an annual tradition.

It combined the spiritual and the practical, offering workshops along with the chance to go to the sacrament of reconciliation, participate in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and attend Mass celebrated by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone.

All the speakers focused on ways men can build better marriages and families through a deeper relationship with God.

Lombardi said many of the traits he looks for in football players are the same things that make a good Catholic. A solid quarterback, for instance, is committed to his team, follows the fundamentals of the game, and is coachable. In turn, he said strong men of faith need to commit themselves to seeking Christ, look for guidance in the moral and sacramental basics of the faith, and also be willing to listen to the teachings of Scripture and the Church.

“Players also need to have physical and moral toughness, and we as Catholics need that,” he said. “You have to be able to rebound from adversity, from falling short. That’s why we have confession, which offers a chance to start over and start fresh.”

People also should consistently try to live their faith to the fullest each day and be willing to talk about it with others at every opportunity,
Lombardi said.

Father Dwight Longenecker, administrator of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, spoke on the rule of St. Benedict and how its vows of stability, obedience and conversion could be useful to men in their daily lives.

Steve Wood, author and director of Family Life Center in Greenville, offered a session on becoming a stronger father through studying scriptural examples. He reminded the men that strong families are key to combatting a growing tide of secularism in popular culture.

“Parents are the primary educators of their children, and the strength of the faith conveyed to the child is directly proportional to the parents’ faith,” Wood said. “Remember that the family is the ‘domestic church.’ We can’t control what goes on outside, but we can make a decision to be a happy, faith-filled cell within society.”

Men who might not know how to discuss the faith with their children can begin by talking about the Gospel readings from Sunday Mass with them, Wood said.

“Share one intelligent thing from the Gospel every week,” he said. “It’s important your children hear you proclaim God’s word.”

In an intense afternoon session, Wood talked about pornography addiction, a fast-growing problem he said is one of the greatest threats to marriages, families and youth. Since the internet has made sexually explicit material instantly available, he said, more and more men of all ages are addicted to the constant stream of images, often viewing the damaging material at work.

“Pornography doesn’t just stimulate the brain, it alters it,” he said. “When a man uses pornography, neurochemicals put an imprint of the images in a man’s brain. There have been men in their 70s who say they can still vividly see the images of pornography they viewed as a teen. In order to get back the feeling they get from a first viewing, they
have to view more and more. It’s an addictive cycle.”

Like any other addiction, it requires accountability and commitment to stop, he said. He urged men who feel they have a problem to seek out counselors or spiritual advisors for help, and also to find fellow men of faith who will stay in communication and help keep them accountable.

Strong faith and commitment to Christian values can also prevent addiction in the first place, he said. He urged men to stay away from movies, music and other cultural influences that might lead to impure thought.

Developing a strong prayer life and reading Scripture daily can also help men avoid the cycle of temptation and lust that leads to an urge to view adult material, he said.

Wood said one of the main stumbling blocks for many Catholics when dealing with issues such as pornography is that the men focus too much on the details and practice of the faith instead of full awareness of God’s love and grace.

“When we put the emphasis on what we do rather than God first, that’s backwards,” he said. “Keep the emphasis on God, His goodness and His mercy. Ask Jesus to reveal His love to you. If you become aware of Christ’s love, you’ll have the power to overcome sin.”

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People & events

COASTAL

St. Joseph fish fry/bake
CHARLESTON—…Knights of Columbus Council 10334 will hold a fish fry and bake each Friday through Lent at St. Joseph Church parish center, 1695 Wallenberg Blvd., from 5-7 p.m. with a bake sale by the ladies club.

Gospel choir to perform
CHARLESTON—…Penn State University Gospel Choir will perform in an interreligious concert at St. Patrick Church, 134 St. Philip St., on March 14 at 7 p.m. Call the church, (843) 723-6066.

St. Patrick’s Day events
CHARLESTON…—The Ancient Orders of Hibernians, Knights of Columbus and others will host St. Patrick’s Day events March 17 with 8 a.m. Mass at St. Patrick Church, a parade at 10 a.m. on King Street, an Irish flag-raising at 11:30 a.m. and more. Details: (843) 556-3578, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or www.scirish.org.

Living the faith mission
NORTH CHARLESTON—…Father Dwight Longenecker, administrator of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, will lead a parish mission on living the faith at St. Thomas the Apostle Church on March 24-26 at 7 p.m., 6650 Dorchester Road. Details: (843) 552-2223.

LOWCOUNTRY

All-night prayer event
BLUFFTON—…St. Gregory the Great Church, 333 Fording Island Road, will hold a Night of Love on April 4-5. It includes all-night adoration, Mass dedicated to the Sacred Heart at 9 p.m., confession, rosaries, songs, processions, hourly intentions, Divine Mercy, and Mass dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at 5 a.m. April 5. Details: Bucky Grim, (843) 705-7534 or Peggy Kraus, (843) 788-9798.

MIDLANDS

Movie night
NORTH AUGUSTA—…Our Lady of Peace Church will show “The Passion of the Christ” on March 21 at 7 p.m. in the parish hall, 856 Old Edgefield Road. Only for 18 and up. Seating is first-come first-served.

Home Works blitz
COLUMBIA…—Home Works of America will repair 20 homes for people in need on April 12. No skill required. Planning meetings will be March 27 and April 3 at 6:30 p.m. in Benedict-Allen Community Development Center, 2001 Two Notch Road. Contact: Hank Chardos, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (803) 781-4536.

PEE DEE

Young adult eve of recollection
NORTH MYRTLE BEACH…—SPARK will hold a young adult evening of recollection on March 14 at 7 p.m. at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, 1100 Eighth Ave. The event includes meditations by Father Michael Cassabon, adoration, confession, and fellowship. Details: www.catholicyoungadultsofsc.com or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

St. Anthony fish fry
FLORENCE…—St. Anthony Church, 2536 Hoffmeyer Road, will hold a fish fry on Fridays of Lent from 4:30-7 p.m. in the parish center. Cost: $8, adults; and $5, children under 12.

St. Michael Lenten dinners
MURRELLS INLET—…St. Michael School, 542 Cypress Ave., will host fish fry dinners during Lent on Fridays through April 11 from 5-7 p.m. in the parish center. Cost: $10. Eat in or take-out.

PIEDMONT

Lenten fish dinners
GREENVILLE—…Knights of Columbus Assembly 1073 will hold fish dinners on Fridays of Lent at 6:30 p.m. through April 11 at 762 Mauldin Road. Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids 6-12, kids under 6 eat free. Seniors, $9; families with three or more under 12, $35.

Toddler Time
ANDERSON—…St. Joseph School, 1200 Cornelia Road, will hold a free Toddler Time for children 4 and under on March 18 at 9 a.m. Details: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (864) 760-1619.

Day of the Unborn Child
SIMPSONVILLE…—Knights of Columbus Council 1668 and Our Lady of the Rosary respect life committee will hold a rosary service for the Day of the Unborn Child on March 25 at 7 p.m. at Our Lady of the Rosary Church, 3710 Augusta Road.

‘Love Crucied’ mission
TAYLORS…—Prince of Peace Church, 1209 Brushy Creek Road, will hold a parish mission on March 25 from 7-10 p.m. and March 26 from 7:30-10 p.m., with Father Jordi Rivero of the Missionaries of the Cross. Details: www.lovecrucified.com.

Health care panel discussion
GREENVILLE—…St. Joseph’s Catholic School will host a panel on “The Affordable Care Act, SJCS, Religious Liberty, and Catholic Teaching on Love and Sexuality” on March 26 at 7 p.m. Speakers include: Father Jon Chalmers, hospital chaplain; Dr. Ingeborg Collins; Father Jeffrey Kirby, moral theologian; and Matthew Utecht, attorney. Details: www.sjcatholicschool.org.

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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Hundreds prepare to join the Church at Rite of Election

Donna Roberts was raised Protestant but drifted among several denominations during her life, never quite feeling she’d found the right fit. She remembers exactly when she realized she wanted to become a Catholic.
“I was invited to go to Mass and walked through those doors and there He was on the cross, and I knew I was home,” she said.
Roberts, who attends RCIA classes at St. Gregory the Great Church in Bluffton, joined many others who reached an important milestone in their efforts to join the Church at Rite of Election ceremonies held March 7-10.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone celebrated the rite for the Piedmont deanery March 7 at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Simpsonville; the Midlands deanery March 8 at Our Lady of the Hills Church in Columbia; the Coastal and Lowcountry deaneries at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist March 9; and the Pee Dee deanery March 10 at St. James Church in Conway.
About 340 men and women statewide took part in the ceremonies, said Michael Martocchio, director of the Office of Catechesis and Christian education for the diocese.
The event, traditionally held around the first Sunday of Lent, offers candidates and catechumens a way to cement their commitment to enter the Church at Easter Vigil services on Holy Saturday.
At the vigil, catechumens receive the sacraments of baptism, holy Communion and confirmation. Candidates, who have already been baptized in other Christian denominations, come into full communion with the Church by receiving the Eucharist and being confirmed.
In his homily at the Charleston ceremony, Bishop Guglielmone said people often spend much of their lives on fruitless efforts to find themselves or discover meaning in worldly things. By seeking to join the Church, he said, the men and women were on a higher journey.
“Our hearts remain restless until we meet God,” Bishop Guglielmone said. “My hope and prayer is that you are here because you want to find something more, a way to become close to God, and find that experience in the Catholic Church, through the life of the sacraments that give us a chance to encounter God over and over.”
The day’s readings, he said, offered a look at how worldly forces will constantly threaten those who seek God. He cited the stories of Adam and Eve in the garden and Jesus’ temptation by the devil during his 40 days in the desert. During the rite, catechumens lined up to sign the Book of the Elect. The candidates stood with their sponsors for a special prayer and blessing.
Leah Frank, a catechumen who attends St. Francis by the Sea Church in Hilton Head, said she was never really religious until her mother and other Catholic family members encouraged her to start going to church two years ago. She was thoughtful and quietly awestruck after the rite held at the Cathedral.
“The ceremony today was life changing,” she said. “After what feels like a very long time of study and work, it’s incredible to know we’re that much closer to God.”
Roberts, meanwhile, fought back tears of emotion and said she was so overcome she almost couldn’t sign the book.
She first became interested in the Church when she helped take care of a close friend who was Catholic during her fight with breast cancer, Roberts said. After that memorable experience of going to a church, she bought a Catholic bible, a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, prayer books and other materials and signed up for RCIA.
“This whole journey is a spiritual process, a wonderful thing,” she said. “I’m finally finding peace. The Church is what I’ve always wanted, but I didn’t know it until I saw Christ with his arms open, welcoming me.”

 

Break-in foiled at St. John Church

 

NORTH CHARLESTON—Brother Ed Bergeron recently found the answer to the question “what’s behind door number one?” to be a rather dangerous one.

St. John Church interior - North Charleston

Brother Ed, of the Congregation of Christian Brothers, is the parish life facilitator at St. John Church and lives in the attached rectory. At about 8:30 p.m. on March 11, he was walking to the kitchen to put some ice in his Coke and heard noises coming from the church, he said. He opened the connecting door and to his surprise found an intruder standing there.

“I said ‘Buddy, you don’t want to tangle with me and I don’t want to tangle with you so you better be gone before the police arrive,’” he recalled.

Brother Ed then calmly stepped back, shut the door and locked it.

The police arrived minutes later thanks to a call by the school custodian who had seen the man and heard the break-in, Brother Ed said. The intruder was gone by then but left some clues for the crime scene team. The suspect had smashed the glass in the front door and reached in to unlock the deadbolt. In the process, he cut himself and police were able to get fingerprints and a blood sample, Brother Ed said.

Nothing was taken.St. John Church - North Charleston

“There is nothing in the church other than pews and hymnbooks, so if he wants to spend time in prayer, he’s welcome,” said Brother Ed.

The composed parish life facilitator was not shaken by the experience and had the windows fixed the next day.

“God continues to take care of me,” he said.

 

 

 

 

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