Friday, February 27, 2015
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St. Francis Cancer Center blessed by Bishop Guglielmone

GREENVILLE—Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone blessed the St. Francis Cancer Center at the millennium campus on Nov. 18.

Unique to Greenville, the free-standing oncology center provides the next generation of radiation therapy, which enables Bon Secours St. Francis physicians to treat many more types of cancer —including the most challenging cases — more effectively and with fewer side effects.

Outpatient cancer-treatment services currently offered at St. Francis downtown, including infusion therapy, clinical trial research, palliative care and nurse navigation, will be relocated to the new center.

Dr. Robert Siegel, Bon Secours St. Francis oncology and hematology program director, emphasized that the new center is more than just a state-of-the-art facility.

“Treating the patient as an individual is at the heart of how we provide cancer care,” he said. "Because we recognize and respect the whole patient, the new St. Francis Cancer Center is not only an advanced treatment center, it’s also a sanctuary.”

The center also houses a boutique, on-site pharmacy, health food café, chapel and a community room for support group meetings and other activities.

For the added convenience of patients and their families, the nationally recognized STAR Survivorship program — introduced at Bon Secours St. Francis in 2008 and the first of its kind in the state — will also relocate to the millennium campus. Outpatient oncology rehab services will move to the nearby HealThy Self gym in the Millennium Medical Office 2 building.



Be mediators of God’s goodness, Bishop says

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As we approach this wonderful national holiday we call Thanksgiving, we reflect on a year that has been difficult in so many ways.

We can certainly think of our economy that is still struggling, families in situations that challenge them, a world situation of terrorism and violence, and all kinds of challenges to our faith coming from many sides. If we were to focus on these negatives, we could easily fall into depression and possibly even to despair.

However, there are so many wonderful and beautiful aspects of our lives that offer us a sense of hope and produce in us positive joy: families that are experiencing great love and affirmation; a diocese where so much growth is occurring; young people who are living their faith in beautiful ways, especially in reaching out in so many ways to those who are struggling. God is so active in our lives that no matter how many challenges to a good life that we face, He always gives us the grace to live lives of hope, joy, and peace; serenity in the midst of sometimes chaotic situations is still quite possible thanks to a caring God who loves us.

It is so important to give thanks for all these graces. Let us never forget to thank our God on Thanksgiving Day, to get to Mass if at all possible, at least to pray with our families and friends as we celebrate this day. Let us also give thanks to and for each other, for it so often happens that God’s graces are mediated through the people who pass through our lives. So often our friends and relatives offer us the affirmation that helps us to see clearly God’s presence in our lives.

May this Thanksgiving Day be an opportunity for all of us to be mediators of God’s goodness by reaching out to those who may need, in one way or another, a healing and comforting touch.

Happy Thanksgiving and may God’s blessings be yours in abundance.

Most Rev. Robert E. Guglielmone
Bishop of Charleston


ID program helps Neighborhood House target service needs

CHARLESTON—Neighborhood House was chosen to participate in a pilot program that will enable them to keep track of all their clients and the services they use.

Nikki Grimball, director of the peninsula outreach, said the program provides photo identification with a bar code on the back for every client that comes in the door. The client then presents the bar code ID for every service he uses, whether it’s financial assistance, the soup kitchen, clothes closet or even the porch library.

“It shows where the greatest needs are, the most services used, plus areas where we need to outsource,” Grimball said.

The primary purpose is to compile data into an easily accessible format that can be used to apply for funding and grants, said Chloe Garrison, with Our Lady of Mercy Community Outreach, the parent organization for Neighborhood House.

The Sisters of Charity of Our Lady of Mercy founded Neighborhood House in 1915. For a while, it operated under the diocesan office of social ministry, but in 2005 it returned to the sponsorship of Our Lady of Mercy.

Garrison said the main outreach on Johns Island is part of the Charity Tracker system, but does not use the identification cards. Neighborhood House joined the bar code pilot program in October to help them keep track of more than 20 services available to those in need. The outreach aids a variety of clientele, from homeless people to workers eating at the soup kitchen to make ends meet. Grimball said they average 120 clients a day for hot lunches.

They also offer education courses for those trying to get ahead, and various enrichment classes for children and senior citizens.

Garrison said more than 280 clients have received bar code IDs so far and the intake process is ongoing.

In addition to helping the outreach keep track of their numbers, Grimball said it also benefits the clients by providing photo identification, which can be difficult for them to obtain. He explained that receiving a picture ID usually requires a person to have a fixed address, and most of the population at Neighborhood House are transients, moving from place to place as their finances dictate.

Another plus is being able to link to other social service agencies with Charity Tracker. That way, if a client needs to be referred elsewhere, the agency will only have to scan the bar code ID and have instant access to all the information.

“We’re trying to make it so their lives are a little less on the edge,” Grimball said.


First same-sex couple married in Charleston

Kristin Anderson and Kayla Bennett exchanged vows today outside the Charleston County Courthouse, becoming the first same-sex couple to marry in South Carolina.

They were among about 11 other couples to receive marriage licenses from Judge Irvin Condon's office by noon of Nov. 19, including the very first one of the morning to Colleen Condon and Nichols Bleckley, who sued in federal court for the right to marry.

Even as licenses were issued, the state moved to halt the proceedings.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson immediately filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court asking for a stay on gay marriages in the state until the high court can issue a ruling.

Also, because of continued legal proceedings, other courts are holding off on marriage licenses.

Berkeley County Court will issue licenses after noon on Thursday, the date set by Federal Appeals Judge Richard Gergel, who ruled on Nov. 12 that the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional but also granted a stay until Nov. 20.

The Charleston court began issuing marriage licenses ahead of that date based on two other rulings that came down on Nov. 18. In the first, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to put Judge Gergel's order on hold. The second came from U.S. District Judge Michelle Childs, who ruled in Columbia that South Carolina must recognize gay marriages from other states.

Together, the rulings have led some attorneys to state that same-sex marriage licenses may be issued unless the Supreme Court intervenes, while others urge caution pending a final decision.

A quick decision from the high court was requested by Wilson. Until that time, Greenville County Probate Court said it will not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

According to news reports, Probate Judge Deborah Faulkner said as long as the case remains in the courts, there is a legal impediment preventing gay marriages.

The issue has some people questioning whether or not their churches will be required to allow same-sex marriages.

Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone said court decisions have no bearing on the Catholic Church.

"Our Catholic faith upholds the dignity of every human person, including persons with same-sex attraction," the bishop said in a statement. "Regardless of any civil court ruling, the Catholic Church teaches and will continue to teach that marriage is a sacramental union between one man and one woman which bonds them for life. This teaching is not a judgment about persons who experience same-sex attraction, but a statement about how the Church has always understood the nature of marriage itself.”


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