Thursday, July 24, 2014
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Remembering Bishop Thompson

CHARLESTON—Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone celebrated a memorial Mass for the late Bishop David B. Thompson on May 23 at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

Afterward, he blessed the tombstone of his predecessor.

Bishop Thompson was ordained to the episcopacy on May 24, 1989, and led the Diocese of Charleston until 1999. He remained active in ministry after retirement by celebrating Masses, and helping with confirmations and diaconate formation.

One of his many achievements was the Synod of Charleston, the first official gathering of clergy and laity in the diocese since 1956.

He died Nov. 24, 2013, at age 90.


Standing room only for Father Javier Heredia's ordination

Heredia prostration

CHARLESTON—Father Javier Heredia sums up his feelings about finally becoming a priest in two simple sentences: “I feel peace in my heart. I feel joy in my heart.”
His journey, spanning two decades and two nations, fueled by countless hours of hard work and prayer, was completed when Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone ordained him before a standing-room only congregation at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist on the evening of May 30.
Father Heredia, 40, is the first Hispanic priest to be ordained after going through the entire diocesan vocations program beginning at the parish level.
The occasion’s importance for the Hispanic community was evident when people started filling the pews more than three hours before the 6 p.m. start. Two busloads arrived from St. John of the Cross in Batesburg-Leesville, his home parish. Others came from the Midlands, the Pee Dee and the Upstate to celebrate.
Thirty-eight priests were also there to support him. Father Juan Rios of the Archdiocese of Miami, who was Father Heredia’s spiritual advisor, vested him with the stole and chasuble during the ordination.
Bishop Guglielmone thanked Father Heredia’s family members for supporting and encouraging him. During his homily, the bishop said a good priest by necessity works closely not only with his fellow priests, but with lay people in the parishes he serves. He encouraged Father Heredia to know the faithful, to “let them enter into your life, share with them and realize you are all working for the kingdom of God.”
“You and I are called to be shepherds to God’s people, reflecting Jesus’ reference to himself as the Good Shepherd,” the bishop said. “This will be an important part of your ministry — seeking out the lost and welcoming them back to the family of God.”
The hundreds packed into the Cathedral showed their joy during the ceremony.
Bishop Guglielmone led them in a round of applause for Father Heredia shortly after he was officially ordained, and they erupted into a spontaneous ovation for the new priest as he processed down the aisle at the end.
A reception held afterward at the Cathedral hall was an enthusiastic, and crowded, occasion. People packed the room to enjoy a mix of traditional Mexican and American foods, and many crowded around Father Heredia to take pictures, offer handshakes and ask for blessings and prayers.
His heritage was acknowledged in decorations which included a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe, bright paper flowers and displays of psalms and Scripture passages written in both English and Spanish.
Twelve members of Father Heredia’s family — his mother, three sisters and a brother, cousins, nieces and nephews — traveled from Mexico and other states to share in his joy.
His mother Graciela Heredia beamed and fought back tears as she sat with other members of the family outside the hall during the reception.
One of her daughters translated for her as she spoke in Spanish about her initial surprise upon learning more than 20 years ago that her son wanted to become a priest. His personality lends itself to ministry, she said.
“I am just so very proud and very happy,” she said. “He is going to be a great priest because he is very faithful to God and he loves to help others.”
His sister, Adriana Briones, and her husband Eduardo, presented the gifts during the ordination.
“We’re so happy for Javier — he is going to do well because he is very kind and he has a lot of love to give to people,” she said.
Father Heredia, the oldest of five children, was raised in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. His faith journey began in his teens when he was inspired by a priest at a local church. He first studied for the priesthood beginning at age 18 at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Mexico City, but left during the late ’90s to come to the U.S. to seek work to help his family.
While working on a peach farm in Lexington County, he joined St. John of the Cross Church and volunteered in ministries there. He became a seminarian in 2004. Father Heredia received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at St. John Vianney and graduated this year from Blessed John XXIII Seminary in Massachusetts.
The new priest said he was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for him by friends and perfect strangers. He admitted that being ordained brought mixed feelings stemming from the hope that he will fulfill his promises to God.
“There is a deep happiness, an inner peace that only God can give. At the same time there is a healthy feeling of unworthiness. I say healthy because I am not putting myself down. I know who I am, I know what I have been, and what I have done, but in being called to the priesthood nobody’s worthy,” he said.
“I’m just hoping the Lord will use me in any way he wants to. And I’m just so happy. I have no words ... it’s just beautiful. In fact, this is going to be the best day of my life,” he continued.
Father Heredia celebrated his first Mass on June 1 for a large crowd at St. John of the Cross. His first assignment will be as parochial vicar at St. John Neumann Church in Columbia.

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People & events


Father Headley 50th jubilee
CHARLESTON—St. Patrick Church, 134 St. Philip St., will host a 50th jubilee celebration for Father William R. Headley, C.C.Sp., who served in the diocese from 1967-1970. St. Patrick was his first assignment after it merged with St. Peter Church in 1967. The celebration will take place June 20-22. He will also celebrate Mass on June 21 at 6 p.m., followed by a reception in the church hall. On June 22, Father Headley will celebrate the 10 a.m. Mass. A reception and a short program will follow in Father Figaro Hall. Call the church, (843) 723-6066.

Fun Nun Bowl
MOUNT PLEASANT—Lucis Via will host a Fun Nun Bowl on June 22 from 2-5 p.m. at Sparians-River Bowl, 613 Johnnie Dodds Blvd. Cost: teams of 6, $30/person. Prizes and silent auction include golf, amusements, sporting events, memberships, restaurants, and more. Details:

Adoration celebration
CHARLESTON—Blessed Sacrament Church, 5 Saint Teresa Drive, will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its eucharistic perpetual adoration on June 24 at 6 p.m. with Mass, benediction and a dinner. Meal is $5 each or $15 per family. RSVP and ticket purchase is required by June 9 at the church office, or call (843) 556-0801.


Home Works summer sessions
COLUMBIA—Home Works will hold week-long summer sessions throughout the southeast for youth and adults to repair homes of the elderly and disadvantaged. Details: or contact Hank Chardos, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (803) 206-6974.

St. Mary anniversary
ROCK HILL—St. Mary Church, 902 Crawford Road, will celebrate its 68th anniversary on July 5-6. Call the church, (803) 329-1008 or Gwen Finley, (803) 322-3344.


Hurricane preparedness meeting
MURRELLS INLET—St. Michael Church, 542 Cypress Ave., will hold hurricane preparation meetings July 9 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the parish center. It will be broadcast on WPDE-TV. Representatives from Horry County Emergency Management, Georgetown County Emergency Management, WPDE-TV, the National Weather Service, and SC Insurance News, will discuss timelines and tracking, evacuation, insurance and answer questions.


Knights flag day
GREENWOOD—Knights of Columbus Council 7129 and Assembly 3100 will hold a flag day on June 14 at 6:30 p.m. at 330 Main St.

‘Mary and the Family’ retreat
SPARTANBURG/TAYLORS—A Spanish language retreat and concert on “Mary and the Family” led by Felipe Gomez, featured on EWTN, will be held June 20-21. The concert will be June 20 at 6:30 p.m. at Jesus, Our Risen Savior Church, 2575 Reidville Road. The retreat will be at Prince of Peace Church, 1209 Brushy Creek Road, on June 21 from 2-6:30 p.m. with Mass at 7 p.m. Cost: $5. Details: Dary Osario, (786) 223-2772, or Javier Cespedes, (864) 263-8320.

Sister Margie Hosch jubilee
GREENVILLE—Sister Margie Hosch, of the Sisters of St. Francis, will celebrate her 60th anniversary on June 22 at Mount St. Francis Center in Dubuque, Iowa. She has master’s degrees in religious education and counseling/ psychological services, and holds a certificate in marriage and family therapy. She leads Wholeness Holiness Retreats and days of reflection, and offers spiritual companioning, counseling and grief support. She also leads retreats in the Diocese of Solwezi and Lusaka in Zambia, Africa.

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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Deacons Morgan and Wilson: ‘Bring hope and love’ to God’s people

Transitional diaconate ordinationDeacon Wilson dispenses the Precious BloodCOLUMBIA—Roger Morgan and Richard Wilson experienced a milestone moment in their lives when they were ordained to the transitional diaconate by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone on May 16.
The ordinations were held before several hundred friends, family and well-wishers who packed St. Joseph Church. Twenty priests also attended.
The transitional diaconate is the final step men must achieve before they are ordained to the priesthood.
Over the next year, the new deacons will be able to proclaim the Gospel and preach during Mass, administer baptism, assist at and bless marriages, and officiate at burial and funeral services.
In his homily, Bishop Guglielmone described the duties Morgan and Wilson will now perform as deacons, and said they are part of a tradition of service that has been passed down to today’s Church from Christ Himself.
“Strengthened by the gift of the Holy Spirit, they will help the bishop and his priests in the ministry of the Word, the altar and of charity, showing themselves to be servants to all,” he said. “With the help of God, they are to go about all these duties in such a way that you will recognize them as disciples of Him who came not to be served, but to serve.”
He encouraged the men to look to Christ as the prime example of how to sacrifice selfish desires for the greater sake of the people of God.
“Be guided by a spirit of compassion, a sense of longing for the presence of God that so many in our contemporary society long for,” the bishop said. “You know what lies in the hearts of so many people, and how difficult the struggle of just going day by day is for many. It is our task to point to the presence of the Lord in their lives so that they might be lifted up.”
Bishop Guglielmone called the transitional diaconate “not simply a step toward priesthood, but an opportunity to bring hope and love to those who are in need.”

“Remember, my brothers, that this ministry is not about you,” he said. “Rather, it is a response that you offer to the Lord.”


Both new deacons found the Catholic faith as adults, and discovered a call to serve God as priests shortly after their conversions.
During his 20s, Morgan was searching for God in his life when he encountered and studied the Catholic Church and joined the faith. He has said he felt the call to the priesthood at age 31 and started applying to the seminary at age 35. Before that, he graduated from the School of Culinary Arts in Atlanta and spent about 15 years working as a cook and chef in Atlanta, Minnesota, and Texas.
“Being ordained a deacon is exciting and it feels like a fulfillment of so many years of work,” Morgan said. “I’m now really looking forward to proclaiming the Gospel at Mass and I’m looking forward to being able to preach. Those were some of the things that attracted me to the priesthood originally.”
Deacon Morgan said the year of seminary he just completed was one of his most challenging yet, especially a homiletics course that helped him begin to learn how to write and give homilies.
Morgan, 40, will spend the summer in Oakland, Calif., studying in a Spanish language immersion program.
Deacon Wilson, 62, was raised Lutheran in a family of eight in Minnesota. After retiring from the U.S. Army as a colonel in 1994, he was working as a financial advisor in Anderson when he became interested in Catholicism. He joined the Church in 1998 and started considering the priesthood in 2005. His home parish is St. Joseph Church in Anderson.
“It’s extremely exciting to become a deacon,” he said. “One of the other deacons at the seminary described the time in seminary as a ‘quick slowness,’ and that’s kind of what it’s like. Things sometimes seem to go very slowly in seminary and then all of sudden wow! Here we are!”
Deacon Wilson has been assigned to Blessed Sacrament Church in Charleston for the summer.
Both men will return to St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston in the fall to complete their fourth and final year of theology studies.


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