Thursday, December 18, 2014
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Burglary at St. Benedict's Store does not rob owners of their compassion

GREER -- Even a Catholic bookstore isn’t safe from crime.

St. Benedict’s Catholic Store was the victim of a burglary sometime during the early morning hours of Oct. 16.

Someone broke into a back window of 900 West Poinsett St., headed straight for the office and stole containers of change and small donations for things like coffee, said Kipp McIntyre, who owns and runs the store along with his wife, Stephanie. The thieves left with no more than $40.

“They were so quick there was a line of nickels and dimes strewn around the back yard and into the neighboring yard,” McIntyre said. “It was mostly rolled coins, dimes and nickels.”

The window has since been repairedNo religious objects were disturbed, damaged or taken. St. Benedict’s carries books and Bibles as well as statues, jewelry, rosaries and other items.

“There was nothing else out of place,” he said. “What we consider a miracle is there was a statue of the Blessed Mother wearing a lace mantilla not inches from the window that was smashed. There was glass all across the store and the statue was not touched.”

The incident took place less than a week after the store’s two-year anniversary. It opened on Oct. 10, 2012, a result of the couple’s mutual vision to help more people learn about the faith.

So far there are no suspects, but local police are still investigating.

Community outreach has been part of St. Benedict’s mission since it opened, and the McIntyres have been moved by an outpouring of support and sympathy. Local people stopped by to check on them and also helped with donations to repair the estimated $1,000 cost of fixing the window, which has already been replaced.

“The experience has helped us carry on the community conversation about what it means to be Catholic today,” Mr. McIntyre said. “We live the Gospel and we try everything we can to help folks see in us the tangible benefits of being a practicing Catholic.”

Many people who stop by are outraged that thieves would target a religious store, but the owners are urging everyone not to be angry, but instead to pray for those who committed the crime.



Ask about religious callings during Vocations Awareness Week

SOUTH CAROLINA—People who have joined the priesthood or entered religious life are typically encouraged to do so by at least three people, according to a study conducted by the Georgetown University-based Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

“When three or more people encourage someone to consider a religious vocation, he or she is far more likely to take serious steps toward answering that call,” said Father Shawn McKnight, USCCB’s executive director of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.

So if you know someone who may have a calling to consecrated life, don’t hesitate to tell them and support that potential — you could be the difference in someone choosing to become a priest, brother or sister.
In fact, during National Vocations Awareness Week celebrated Nov. 2-8, the diocesan This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it is challenging everyone to ask three young people if they have ever thought about the priesthood or religious life, said This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

He said it is amazing how many students are never asked that question, even in Catholic schools.

“It’s surprising how many students there are, even in college, who haven’t heard that word — and they’re Catholic — and they haven’t heard of vocations,” Gaeta said.

So talk to your children, talk to your students, talk to the kid sitting next to you in church.

It is just one of many things people can do to support vocations.

It’s also important for youth to see priests and religious sisters as real people, so encourage your children to ask questions and talk to their pastor about his own childhood and how he followed God’s call, Gaeta said.
In addition to nurturing the discernment process, Gaeta said the diocese’s seminarians also need support.

There are currently 12 men engaged in the process. Read their profiles at and say a personal prayer for them.

“Praying for them is the No. 1 way to provide support,” Gaeta said.

He also encourages people to write letters to the seminarians, noting that their addresses can be found on the website.

Another suggestion from the USCCB advises each person to reflect on their own vocation and strengthen their personal relationship with Christ, and educate young people about the importance of silent prayer and taking the time to truly listen to God’s voice in our hearts.

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Diocese passes audit for charter compliance

CHARLESTON—Once again, the Diocese of Charleston has been found compliant with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
All U.S. dioceses and eparchies are audited every year with an on-site visit every third year. StoneBridge Business Partners spent two days at the chancery earlier this month reviewing documentation on how safe environment programs are run and how the charter is processed through the diocesan policy concerning allegations of sexual misconduct or abuse of a minor by church personnel. The auditors are engaged by the USCCB and are a private firm.
“Being in compliance means that we meet criteria set by the charter for creating and maintaining safe environments for children,” said Bonnie Sigers, manager of the Safe Environment program for the diocese. “There are 17 articles, the most well-known being the background screening and education piece, which we surpassed.”
The diocesan policy is derived from the charter and requires every employee and every volunteer with access to children to have a background screening and receive education on the prevention of sexual abuse of minors.
In the United States, one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was established in 2002 by the U.S. bishops to create comprehensive procedures addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. It includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse by creating a safe environment for children and young people.
“The charter and the Diocese of Charleston believe the screening and educational components of our policy create an atmosphere where abuse is less likely to happen,” Sigers said. “We believe that we do directly impact incidences of child sexual abuse due to our safe environment program, and limiting access to those who work and volunteer with our children. And we do.”
For more information about the Safe Environment Program, diocesan policy or the charter, visit


Eucharistic conference focuses on the greatest gift

GREENVILLE—Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers uses a vivid image to show how the Eucharist reflects Christ’s unique bond with the faithful.

“The drop of water added to the wine during Mass symbolizes how blood and water flowed out of Christ’s side when the Roman soldier, Longinus, pierced it after the crucifixion,” he said.

“It also represents all of us. Once you drop that water into the wine, you can’t take it out again, and the Eucharist connects us so deeply and intimately with Jesus that we can’t remove our lives from Him and from God’s love,” the deacon continued.

The Oregon-based evangelist’s talks about the Eucharist, the power of the cross and sharing the Good News were highlights of the annual Marian Eucharistic Conference held Sept. 27-28 at St. Joseph’s Catholic School. Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone celebrated Mass for the participants on Sept. 28.

About 400 people from as far away as Massachusetts and Vermont attended, said organizer Heesun Devlin, a member of St. Mary Magdalene Church in Simpsonville.

She has spent many years promoting events about eucharistic miracles and other related subjects to promote the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

“A lot of people don’t believe in the real presence even though they say they are Catholic, and I hope we really proved His presence to the people who attended,” she said. “I’m getting a lot of emails already with people telling us that we really touched their hearts.”

In one of his talks, Burke-Sivers said the Eucharist is a powerful way to realize Christ’s ultimate sacrifice for all, and urged people to remember the crucifixion when they are going through their darkest moments.

“When we have those ‘agony in the garden’ experiences, the real cross appears and helps us believe that Jesus is Lord in every situation in our lives,” he said. “Through his suffering, Jesus wanted to show us how to do the Father’s will, and that even suffering and death cannot overpower His love for us. The cross is a symbol of love and self-gift.”

Participants were also reminded of how many Christians face violence or death when attempting to gather in celebration of the Eucharist.

Father Bill Casey, of the Fathers of Mercy, talked about the stark reality of violent persecution of Christians in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and other places.

“We need to pray for their safety and their protection, and that they will have strength to bear whatever crosses come their way. But along with praying, we also need to be very vocal about what is happening to these Christians,” Father Casey said.

Other speakers included Fathers of Mercy Father Peter Striker, rector at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help in Wisconsin, and Ricardo Castanon Gomez of Bolivia, who offered scientific evidence to support Eucharistic miracles in Italy and other places.


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