Sunday, October 26, 2014
Text Size

Current News

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.


St. Anthony of Padua will celebrate its 75th anniversary

GREENVILLE—W.C. Daniels is a passionate supporter of St. Anthony of Padua Church and is looking forward to its 75th anniversary celebration Nov. 17-19.

"We're the only church I know that has a sign right out front saying Welcome All People," he said.

Recently, Daniels, a founding member of the church, said he wrote a letter to the pope asking for recognition of their milestone, the tremendous progress they've made, and the leadership of Franciscan Father Patrick Tuttle.

"There've been good priests and bad priests — man is man," Daniels said, but Father Tuttle is one of the best.

At 92, Daniels has seen a lot of changes. He recalls a time when the Catholic church he attended was divided right down the middle, with whites on one side of the aisle and blacks on the other. One day, the pastor asked everyone to mix it up and everyone's eyes got big, he said, chuckling.

That marked the beginning of changes, wrought by faith and determination. The community campaigned for their own place of worship, and St. Anthony of Padua was founded in 1939.

Racism was an ugly force then, and members recall crosses being burned on the church lawn, but they drew together and overcame the prejudice, finding joy in the sacraments and social gatherings.

Now, that seed of change has bloomed into a riot of color, with St. Anthony boasting over 1,000 parishioners, and lighting the way as a beacon of diversity.

Read more on the church's history and stories from its parishioners in the Oct. 23 edition of The Catholic Miscellany.

Read more about Catholics like you by subscribing to The Catholic Miscellany.



School revitalization plan asks for public input

The Diocese of Charleston kicked off the process to revitalize and strengthen its schools with a meeting of the task force steering committee at Christ Our King Church on Sept. 30.

The steering committee, comprised of 14 members, received an overview of the coming year from Regina Haney, executive director of the National Catholic Education Association Boards and Council Department, and Frank Donaldson, president of the Institute of School and Parish Development.

They looked at goals and timelines, as established by the vision of Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone.

First up will be a meeting of principals and pastors to discuss the individual challenges faced by their schools. This will be held in Myrtle Beach on Oct. 16.

Next the diocese will seek input from the public at four regional meetings planned for Columbia, Greenville, Myrtle Beach and Charleston. Visit prior to the meetings to confirm locations.

Lydia Doyle, diocesan director of Research and Planning, said they will compile the information gathered from principals, pastors and the public, plus data on areas of import such as demographics and enrollment, to create a diocesan-wide plan for the schools.

In her opening remarks, Sandra Leatherwood, diocesan director for Catholic education, noted the drop in enrollment that occurred with the recession in 2008. She said the schools have regained ground, but are still looking for enrollment solutions.

In 2007-08, total enrollment was 7,212 students, according to diocesan records. For 2013-14, that figure was 6,218 students, with some schools recovering better than others.

Leatherwood said one of the goals of the revitalization process is to address the huge shift in how education is delivered, especially in areas of technology. All of the schools are addressing it, but for some, the age of their buildings and the cost of the required infrastructure is a challenge.

Other changes include a higher cost of instruction, more variety in teaching methods to meet individual learning styles, and the inclusion of special needs students, Leatherwood said.

By December, the task force will begin to address the challenges that have been identified and start looking at solutions. The goal is to present a finalized plan to Bishop Guglielmone by May 2016, followed by a diocesan-wide Congress to present it to the public.


Page 2 of 30