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Cretzmeyer discovers a rare vocation to the Church

MURRELLS INLET— Stacy Cretzmeyer, Ph.D., an author and licensed professional counselor, will receive one of the oldest sacramentals in the Church on Aug. 15.

The long-time member of St. Michael Church will be consecrated as a virgin living in the world, according to Canon 604.

The vocation of consecrated virginity dates back to the earliest centuries of the Catholic Church. The consecrated virgin’s mission is to serve the Church as virgin, bride, and mother. She strives to imitate Mary in leading a life of prayer, penance, sacrifice, and service, especially to her diocese.

This is different from vows professed by religious sisters, who follow the charism of their particular community, however.

The consecrated virgin is called to live her apostolate in a personal way, guided by the Holy Spirit. She does not live in a community, but in her own home, and must earn her own living. Cretzmeyer will continue to work as a counselor in private practice, but much of her free time will be spent in prayer, assisting at Mass, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Her canonical status is indicated by a ring.

“This vocation is definitely counter-cultural,” Cretzmeyer said in a press release. “[Father Thomas] Dubay calls it ‘the most radical lifestyle one can imagine.’ It is not easy to give witness to a different way of life, but our Lord gives us the grace to do what He asks of us for the sake of the kingdom.”

She will join in a vocation shared by approximately 200 others who are currently registered in the United States, according to the Association of Consecrated Virgins based in Lansing, Mich.

Though she dated and wanted to marry and have children, Cretzmeyer said she felt a growing call to a deeper relationship with Christ.

“The Lord was making a growing statement to me over a period of years,” she said.

She had a deep desire to help people grow closer to Jesus, but discerned that she did not have a vocation to the religious life. Cretzmeyer was considering making private vows to God when a priest suggested she consider being consecrated to Christ.

“Father Christian Carr, the retired Abbot of Mepkin Abbey, encouraged me to pray about it every day, in the sense of turning my life over to the Lord,” she said. “At the time, I was not ready for such a public witness. I thought I could just make private promises to the Lord, and that would be the end of the vocation question.”

The meaning and focus of her vocation became clear when she joined the Corpus Christi Marian Movement, developed by Father Stanley Smolenski, spma, director of the Shrine of Our Lady of South Carolina — Our Lady of Joyful Hope.

A group of prayerful friends helped her form a Corpus Christi Cenacle at St. Michael Church in 2011 that followed the format developed by Father Smolenski. Soon, they decided to make a deeper commitment, and with his guidance, they made their Corpus Christi oblations on Dec. 12, 2011.

Cretzmeyer still felt a growing call to dedicate her life to pray and sacrifice for priests, however.

“The Mass is the source and summit of our Christian life, so we need priests,” she said.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#923): “Virgins who, committed to the holy plan of following Christ more closely, are consecrated to God by the diocesan bishop according to the approved liturgical rite, are betrothed mystically to Christ, the Son of God, and are dedicated to the service of the Church.”

By this solemn rite (Consecratio Virginum), the virgin is “constituted… a sacred person, a transcendent sign of the Church’s love for Christ, and an eschatological image of this heavenly Bride of Christ and of the life to come.”

Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone will consecrate Cretzmeyer on Aug. 15, the Mass of the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at noon at St. Michael. All are welcome to attend.

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Catholic presence felt at homeschool convention

COLUMBIA—Christopher and Laurie Tollefsen have educated all nine of their children at home.

The Tollefsens, members of St. Martin de Porres Church in Columbia, want other parents to know the joy and fulfillment that come with homeschooling, and especially want to reach out to other Catholics. They both led sessions at the Midlands Homeschool Conference at the Carolina Convention Center July 24-26. The event drew parents and vendors from across the Southeast who exchanged ideas, checked out a variety of teaching tools, and attended dozens of workshops on different home teaching techniques.

“Homeschooling gives you an opportunity to help your children develop in a way that is very personal to them and to your family,” Mr. Tollefsen told a small group who attended his workshop on “The Rights and Responsibilities of Homeschooling.”

“The family is a special kind of society, and I know our family community has really been strengthened through this experience. It helps the family to get to know each other better,” he said.

Mr. Tollefsen, who teaches philosophy at the University of South Carolina, said educating children is one of the main responsibilities of a parent. He believes home education is an important option to consider as public schools increasingly seem to operate on the theory that parents should “be walled off” from any decisions about what their child is exposed to in the classroom.

Mrs. Tollefsen led a session on “Making Homeschool YOUR Homeschool,” where she reminded parents that no two families will approach home education the same way, even though all will have to meet certain standards and teach the same subjects.

“Each marriage and each family is a unique entity, so each approach to schooling will be a little different,” she said. “What we have to focus on is that as homeschoolers, we have the responsibility not only for the full and complete intellectual development of our children, but their moral and spiritual education as well.”

It was the first time Catholic homeschoolers had their own exhibit at a statewide convention, said Jennifer Fitz, of Columbia, who helped set up the display. Visitors browsed a variety of textbooks, workbooks and other materials offered by Catholic companies like Kolbe Academy and Catholic Heritage, and picked up materials offering information on Catholic homeschool co-ops and support groups around the state.

The Tollefsens and other homeschooling parents said a variety of factors led them to teach their kids at home. Some wanted their children to have a Catholic education, but tuition costs at their parish schools led them to pursue the home option. Others felt home education offered their children a better chance to develop intellectually, to spend more time on special interests and integrate Catholic values in all subjects.

Gaby Hicks, of Columbia, considered homeschooling for her 4-year-old son after his years at a “Mom’s Day Out” and preschool program kept him away from home for long hours.

“I had a sense of grief about the way we were living our life … we were always rushed, late, frazzled and had very little quality time together,” she said. “We toyed with the idea of homeschooling after that and haven’t looked back.”

Hicks is not using one specific curriculum, but has selected a variety of workbooks, books and flash cards to help her son learn the basics of reading, math and religion. He will also be taking religious education classes at their church. She also plans to homeschool her other two children, who are 3 and 1.

“The main thing I want my children to get from this is a love of learning,” she said. “I want them to have an internal drive to chase their curiosity and interests that will last a lifetime. I worry that a conventional school setting can start to seem like a set of tasks for a child to complete, that it can stifle their natural imagination, creativity and curiosity.”

The parents were eager to debunk common myths about homeschooling, especially an idea that children taught at home won’t develop good social skills or learn to interact with other children.

Theresa Van Pilsum, who attends St. Joseph Church in Columbia, said her five children learn at home but also take part in a wide range of activities, from sports to music and dance classes.

“We’re not pulled in a million different directions,” she said. “We’re much more in control of our own schedule, and that’s brought a lot of peace to our family.”

Van Pilsum said parents just starting out shouldn’t expect to get everything right automatically, or to set up the perfect home classroom on their first try.

“Pray about it and do your homework,” she said. “Don’t feel intimidated or pressured. You can feel overwhelmed with all you have to accomplish, but as my husband said, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourselves and put your life in God’s hands and it will work out.”

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People & events

COASTAL

Catholic Night at The Joe
CHARLESTON—Father Greg West, pastor of St. Clare of Assisi Church on Daniel Island, will throw out the first pitch for Catholic Night at The Joe at the Charleston Riverdogs’ baseball game against the Hickory Crawdads on Aug. 11 at 7:05 p.m. Gates open at 6:05 p.m. Tickets are $7 for upper reserve seats along the first base line. To purchase visit: http://tinyurl.com/2014catholic.

40 Days for Life rally
CHARLESTON—40 Days for Life will hold an informational “Cast the Vision” rally on Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. at Blessed Sacrament Church hall, 5 Saint Teresa Drive, to discuss the program and volunteering. Speakers will include Pastor Gordon Cashwell from Without Walls Ministries and Carrie Mc-Ginnes from the Lowcountry Pregnancy Center. Details: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Pro-life rosary at clinic
CHARLESTON—Deacon Mario Cardenas of Holy Spirit Church on Johns Island will lead a pro-life rosary and prayers Aug. 16 from 8 to 9 a.m. at the Charleston Women’s Medical Center, 1312 Ashley River Road. Call Stephen Boyle, (843) 763-0681.

MIDLANDS

Hillbillies concert
AIKEN—Single, Single Again will host a Hopelands Concert with the “Hillbillies in Training String Band” on Aug. 4 at 6:15 p.m. Parking available at Green Boundary, 780 Whiskey Road. Bring a picnic. On Aug. 15 at 6:30 p.m. they will go bowling at 2205 Whiskey Road. Cost: $9 for two games and shoes. RSVP by Aug. 12. Details: Carla Noziglia, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Karen Perry, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or Jeanne Shanks, (803) 663-3839.

Bioethics/life issues workshop
AIKEN—A workshop to clarify Catholic understanding of human dignity and moral discernment, and explain various end-of-life documents, will be held Aug. 16 from 9 a.m. to noon at St. Mary Help of Christians Church, 203 Park Ave. S.E. Register with S.C. Catholic Conference, Michael Acquilano, at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (843) 853-2130 ext. 231.

PIEDMONT

Children’s consignment sale
SIMPSONVILLE—An Angel’s Attic consignment sale featuring children’s and maternity items will be July 31 and Aug. 1 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Aug. 2 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. Mary Magdalene Church, 2252 Woodruff Road. Visit www.anangelsatticsale.org.

Yard sale
CLEMSON—St. Andrew Church will hold a yard sale Aug. 2 from 8 a.m. to noon in the parking lot, 209 Sloan St., to benefit the building fund.

Rachel’s Vineyard
GREENVILLE—Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats help acknowledge and work through unresolved feelings that individuals struggle with after abortion. The next retreat will be Aug. 15-17. For registration and questions, call (803) 554-6088 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

John Michael Talbot concert
SIMPSONVILLE—St. Mary Magdalene Church, 2252 Woodruff Road, will host a concert featuring John Michael Talbot, an author and host of “All Things are Possible,” on Sept. 5 at 7:30 p.m. Cost: $20 adults, $18 seniors, $14 students. Details: (864) 288-4884, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit www.smmcc.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.

 

 

Father Frederick Masad dies at age 79

Father Masad

COLUMBIA—Father Frederick F. Masad, retired pastor of St. John Neumann Church, died July 16. He was 79.

The Mass of Christian Burial was held July 21 at St. John Neumann and burial was at St. Patrick Cemetery.

Father Masad was known as a pastor who took the time to get to know his flock. In a 2012 article on his 50th jubilee, retired U.S. Army Col. James Higgins described his priest.

“He’s just really been the good shepherd of everything at St. John Neumann, the church, all the members and the school. The church and the school have grown so much over the years and he’s worked really hard to make it a really comfortable Catholic community all the way around. He’s a wonderful man doing a pretty tough job.”

Father Masad made his commitment to his parishioners apparent.

“The people here have been wonderful to me," he said during his golden jubilee. "They are wonderful, faithful, first order Catholics. I’ve baptized people here, married them and in many cases buried members of the parish. I’m now holding weddings for the children of couples whose weddings I celebrated.”

A native of Columbia, he was born Oct. 9, 1934, to Frederick F. and Cathleen Metz Masad. He was a 1952 graduate of Bishopville High School in Bishopville, and immediately entered St. Bernard Seminary in Cullman, Ala. He earned a master’s degree from the Catholic University of America Theological College in Washington, D.C.

Father Masad was ordained on May 21, 1960, by Bishop Paul J. Hallinan in St. Peter Church in Columbia.

His first assignment as an associate pastor was at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston, followed by St. Joseph Church in Columbia; Stella Maris Church on Sullivan's Island; Church of the Nativity on James Island; and St. Joseph Church in Charleston. He was also a faculty member at Bishop England High School in Charleston and a chaplain for St. Francis Hospital in Charleston.

His first assignment as pastor was at St. Mary Church, the Virgin Mother, in Hartsville, and St. Joseph Mission in Darlington from 1971-1975; and he went on to serve as pastor at St. Anthony Church in Florence from 1975-1981; Our Lady of the Hills Church in Columbia from 1981-1987; St. Andrew Church in Myrtle Beach from 1987-1988; and then to St. John Neumann Church, where he ministered for 22 years until his retirement in 2010.
Father Masad said the best part of his work was “being able to be with the lay people, to deal with them on a personal basis and help them. It’s also such a privilege to celebrate the Eucharist together. That is so important to us as Catholic people.”
He encouraged young men considering vocations to make kindness the center of their mission.
“If you can practice kindness to all people, then you can do all kinds of things,” he said. “It’s important to relate to people as human beings, and then relate to them as an ordained priest. If you relate to them first with kindness, then you can relate to them as Christians and then talk to them about the faith, about doctrine and worship. With the increased diversity of Catholics in this diocese, we need to be able to practice our faith with tolerance and understanding.”

Father Masad is survived by his brother, Cleve Masad of Petaluma, Calif.; a niece, Jolene Masad; a nephew, Marquan Masad; a great-nephew, Bradin Masad; a sister-in-law, Jaffra Masad; and his cousin, Bette Blankenship of Columbia.

 

 

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