Friday, December 19, 2014
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People & events


Christmas Trees
SUMMERVILLE—Summerville Catholic School, 226 Black Oak Blvd., is selling Frasier Firs and wreaths. Prices range from $45 to $85. The stand will be open from 5-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Wreaths are $20, or $15 each for three or more.

CSO holiday concert
SUMMERVILLE—The Charleston Symphony Orchestra Brass and Percussion Ensemble will perform Dec. 7 at 4 p.m. in St. John the Beloved Church, 28 Sumter Ave. The concert will feature holiday music from various eras and locales, and a carol singalong.

AOH cancer talk and music
CHARLESTON—The Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians will host a talk by Mary Ussher, a breast cancer survivor and author of “The Pink Ribbon Path”, on healing and hope Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m. in College of Charleston Building 95, at the corner of St. Phillip and Liberty streets. Reception and book signing to follow. The event will include Irish dancers and music, and information on the college’s Irish studies program. Limited to 100 seats. Contact: Cheryl Daniels, (843) 709-5839.

A Cappella Christmas
MOUNT PLEASANT—Palmetto Vocal Project presents “An A Cappella Christmas” with the Southern Harmony Chorus on Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. at St. Benedict Church, 950 Darrell Creek Trail. Tickets are $15 and available by calling Chris Conway at (843) 884-6681.

Misa de Gallo
GOOSE CREEK—Misa de Gallo, the annual Filipino tradition of nine Masses in preparation for Christmas, will be Dec. 15-23 at 7 p.m., except Dec. 20 which will be at 5:30 a.m., at Immaculate Conception Church, 510 St. James Ave. Mass will be followed by Christmas carols, fellowship and food to share. Details: Sally Ani, (843) 789-9292.

Pro-life rosary
CHARLESTON—Deacon Larry Roberts from Immaculate Conception Church in Goose Creek will lead a pro-life rosary and prayers Dec. 20 from 8-9 a.m. at the Charleston Women’s Medical Center, 1312 Ashley River Road. Call Stephen Boyle, (843) 763-0681.


Honored parishioners
HILTON HEAD ISLAND—Leigh Bullen, and Tom and Katie Strub recently received the St. Francis by the Sea Church recognition award for their outstanding contributions to their community. Bullen has spent over 10 years in the stewardship ministry and seven on the parish finance council. He is also on the maintenance committee and is an extraordinary minister of holy Communion. Mr. and Mrs. Strub have led the Kairos prison ministry for over 13 years, are active in prayer groups, and serve as lectors, and extraordinary ministers of holy Communion.


SC march and rally for life
COLUMBIA—The 2015 Stand Up For Life March & Rally will be Jan. 10 from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Statehouse on Gervais Street. Line up for the march at 11 a.m. at the University of South Carolina Russell House on Greene Street. The march steps off at 11:30 a.m. led by the Knights of Columbus, and the rally begins at noon. Sponsored by the South Carolina Citizens for Life. A Proudly Pro-Life Dinner will be held Jan. 9 featuring Melissa Ohden, who was aborted at seven months and lived. Dinner is $30. Tickets available through This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call (803) 252-5433.

St. Joseph School gala
COLUMBIA—St. Joseph School’s 60th anniversary gala celebration will be Jan. 23 at the parish hall/gym. Details: Terri Boyle, (803) 622-3650 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Petrina Marsh, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Catholic Days at the Capital
COLUMBIA—The South Carolina Catholic Conference will host Catholic Days at the Capitol on Jan. 28 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Statehouse. The event features breakfast with Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone and legislators, briefing on policy issues affecting human life and dignity, meetings with elected officials, and a Red Mass. Pre-registration is required. Details:

Marriage for Life course
AIKEN—A Marriage for Life workshop will be held Feb. 28 and March 14 from 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at St. Mary Help of Christians Church hall, 203 Park Ave., SE. The course is for engaged couples, recently married, or even more experienced couples seeking to renew the love that brought them together. Call Deacon Bob and Donna Pierce, (803) 474-6011 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Christmas dinner and dance
NORTH MYRTLE BEACH—Knights of Columbus Council 7122 will hold a Christmas dinner dance on Dec. 13 from 7-11 p.m. at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church hall, Eighth Ave., N. Tickets: $25 single, $45 couple, includes dinner, music and entertainment. Tickets are available at the church and Sunshine Cleaners. All proceeds benefit the parish. Details: (843) 249-2356.

Language classes
FLORENCE—St. Anthony School, 2536 West Hoffmeyer Road, will offer lessons for all ages in Spanish, French and Arabic beginning on Thursdays Jan. 8 from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in the Elya Family Center. Cost: $40/month. All proceeds will go to St. Anthony School. Call the office at (843) 662-1910.

Marriage Encounter
MYRTLE BEACH—A Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekend will be held Feb. 27 to March 1. Contact: or call (803) 810-9602.


AOH donates to St. Clare Home
GREENVILLE— The Ancient Order of Hibernians Division 1 donated $18,500 on Nov. 17 to help build the St. Clare’s Home of Joyful Hope, a maternity home. The donation is from proceeds of their Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day party. Pictured are Tom Farrell, president, Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone, and Jim Sullivan, event chairman.


National March for Life
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The 2015 National March for Life will be Jan. 22 at noon at the National Mall. The event features a conference, expo, speakers, dinner, a 5k run and more. Visit for event details, trip planners and hotel information. For buses leaving from around South Carolina, contact the Diocese of Charleston’s Office of Family Life at (803) 547-5063 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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.


McLester McDowell, friend to all, dies at 85

McLester McDowell, before he said his daily prayers each morning, asked the Lord to “please make me a blessing to someone else.” He truly believed he was on Earth to help those less fortunate, whether they were hungry, homeless or ill.

This man of simple needs died on Oct. 20 after a brief illness. He never married but had a huge, loving family of friends and fellow parishioners.

McDowell faithfully attended Mass at St. Mary of the Angels in Anderson, but was so much more to the parish and the community. He demonstrated his faith in God by example.

He was born to sharecroppers in Anderson in 1929, served in the U.S. Army as a sergeant, and retired from his job in 1991. The next day he began volunteering at the Anderson Soup Kitchen. He quickly became chairman of the board and managed operations and volunteers every day, serving between 75 to 100 meals a day. He was also a founder of Clean Start in 1996, which is a volunteer organization created to assist the homeless with laundry, showers and job searches. He served as manager of operations at Clean Start and volunteered there three days a week.

McDowell was also a member of the Anderson Housing Authority board of directors for over 20 years, where he volunteered to assist less fortunate families in search of housing. He was so highly regarded that the community voted to name a new housing authority building the “McLester McDowell Achievement Center”.

He was an active member of the Knights of Columbus and in 2013 was named the “South Carolina Knight of the Year”. His tireless and loving service to the community has earned him acclaims from a number of prominent publications.

There was much more to this humble, kind man and words on paper will never truly portray the love and compassion he displayed.



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.



Summerville dads organize to support their children’s school

SUMMERVILLE—The annual oyster roast and cook-out thrown by the Summerville Catholic Fathers Association has quickly become a huge success, just like the group itself.

The club was started three years ago by Travis Piscitelli, who was looking for a way for dads to be more involved with school life. They tackled several projects and quickly established an easy camaraderie, leading Piscitelli to realize “we’re more than just a work crew so let’s try to put on an event.”

He said the oyster roast was never meant to be a fundraiser; it was simply a way to say thank you to the teachers and staff, who get in free. But in just its second year, they netted enough to buy the school its own grill — saving the cost of renting one for every function — and this year brought in another $500-$700 that they’ll put toward improvements.

Lisa Tanner, principal, said all schools have involved parent volunteers, but Summerville Catholic may be the only one whose fathers are organized into a dedicated work force. The oyster roast is their biggest event, but it’s far from the only thing they do.

They helped renovate the science lab by ripping out the heavy, old tables, repainted the swing sets and shoveled sand on the playground. A number of dads also volunteer as coaches for sports at the school.

Tanner said all she has to do is email Piscitelli and before she knows it, there’s a dad at the school, ready to build stage props for a play or grill burgers for a picnic.

“It’s an opportunity for the dads to get to know each other on many levels, and it brings the whole family to be more involved in the school,” Tanner said.

It was the perfect ice-breaker into a new community for Jack Collins. A member of the U.S. Navy, Collins said he, his wife Kelley and two young children move often and struggle to start fresh each time. The fathers association has been a wonderful experience for everyone, and helped ease their transition to a new place.

He’s been a member for three years, and said the group has become like family.

“I’ve met the guys I’d consider to be my closest personal friends,” he said, adding that the wives and children have all bonded too.

Piscitelli said the group has a core membership of about 15 dads who come to everything, and about 25 who help at big events.

He said there are a lot of moms at the school who make time to volunteer during the day, but noted that dads have a tougher time carving out volunteer hours in the workday. So he wanted to create a group for those dads, so they could contribute in the afternoons and evenings, or as a family on weekends.

“We hope it gets bigger and better every year,” he said.


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