COLUMBIA – Catholic scouting has opened up a whole world of new possibilities for Stas Watson of Mount Pleasant.
The 18-year-old shared his experiences with the crowd at the annual Catholic Scout Convocation on Feb. 2 at St. Joseph Church in Columbia. The event honors Scouts who have earned religious emblems during the previous year.
Watson, a member of Venture Crew 1907 at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston, said he is an example of how the religious emblem program helps prepare young Catholics for a life of commitment to the faith.
“I’ve learned about the importance of vocations and considered a vocation to the priesthood, I became an altar server, I went on retreats and I took part in the St. George Trek at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico,” he said. “…I’ve learned that God has called each and every one of us in a special way. We all have a duty to work for our country and for God.”
The convocation drew members of the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and American Heritage Girls, a faith-based girls’ group. Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone presented emblems to the young people and thanked them for their dedication.
“I am aware how much work goes into these emblems and that they are not easy,” Bishop Guglielmone said. “Wear your medals with pride, and remember you are not just Scouts but Catholic Scouts. In your Scouting lives, show that faith means something to you. It is that faith that helps us make sense out of our daily lives.”
Fifty Boy Scouts and Venture Crew members received the Ad Altare Dei emblem, and 23 earned the Pope Pius XII award. Eleven Girl Scouts and American Heritage Girls received the Mary, the First Disciple emblem, two Girl Scouts each earned the Spirit Alive and St. Agnes emblems, and six Boy Scouts completed Pillars of Faith.
Bishop Guglielmone said he was happy about the large group who earned the emblems, and challenged the Scouts to increase the numbers next year.
Tommie Robinson, 14, said he spent about six months working on the Pope Pius XII and Pillar of Faith emblems. He belongs to Boy Scout Troop 20 in Mount Pleasant and attends Christ Our King Church.
“It was a lot of work, but it gave me a chance to grow deeper in my faith and learn about different aspects of the church I didn’t know about before,” he said.
Emily Poplawski, 12, completed the Mary, the First Disciple program along with five other members of Girl Scout Troop 2074 at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Spartanburg. One of their projects included presenting live tableaus of scenes in Mary’s life for members of the parish.
“It was a really cool experience to work on the emblem because I learned that Mary was a real woman who went through a lot of different things in her life,” Emily said.
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Beth VanVorpe found it a challenge to practice her faith once she started classes at the College of Charleston. The 21-yearold from Dayton, Ohio, didn’t know where or how to meet other Catholics her age.
Thanks to funding from the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, the college’s campus ministry program came to her rescue. VanVorpe now attends student Mass on Sundays, Bible study on Tuesdays and a newly formed Wednesday evening prayer group. She and other students participate in regular service projects, helping Neighborhood House, Habitat for Humanity, local food banks and animal shelters.
“It’s like a home away from home,” she said. “It offers something that is familiar: the spirituality and faith that you grew up with. It’s like a support group. When you’re not with your family anymore, you realize you have to make it on your own, and it’s very encouraging to have Catholic friends to get together with and have that faith connection.”
College ministry is just one of the important programs that rely on the Bishop’s Annual Appeal, which kicked off the weekend of Feb. 1-2. Pledge Weekend will be Feb. 15-16.
The goal for the 2014 campaign is $3 million and a 25 percent participation rate by people in the diocese. Last year, 24 percent of the diocesan community contributed to the effort.
“The appeal funds and offers resources to so many of our programs, and we’re continuing to have great demands in all areas of life in the diocese,” said Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone. “We’ve been able to do all that we do because people have been so generous, and we’re just asking them to help keep it going.”
Bishop Guglielmone said the campaign is important because donations have such a broad impact, from assisting the needy and retired priests to supporting Catholic schools and parish ministry.
It helps to pay for the education of seminarians, supports the 82 men currently studying for the permanent diaconate, and provides an important source of funding for the state’s 96 parishes and 22 missions.
Franciscan Sister Catherine Noecker, principal at St. Anthony of Padua School in Greenville, said the appeal makes Catholic education possible for many children. According to figures compiled by the Office of Stewardship and Development, more than 320 students received $385,000 in financial aid for the 2013-14 school year from the BAA and the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Endowment.
“Families face circumstances — health issues, the loss of a job — that make them unable to afford tuition,” Sister Catherine said. “There are some families whose children couldn’t be here otherwise. We count on the contribution from the appeal.”
Because of help from the BAA, Catholic Charities offices around the state are able to assist people with everything from emergency financial assistance and food to immigration services. One program, Save-A-Smile, even helps some regain the ability to greet the world — and prospective employers — with a confident smile.
Deacon Gabriel Cuervo, regional coordinator for the Piedmont Deanery, said Save-A-Smile has helped more than 600 people receive dental care and dentures in the past four
years. The program is offered in Greenville, North Charleston, Columbia and Conway.
“People that have bad teeth can have health issues because they don’t eat well, and they have self-esteem issues because they’re embarrassed about how they look,” Deacon Cuervo said. “We have had success stories in the Upstate where people who got new dentures through Save-A-Smile are working now because they felt more comfortable with themselves and were able to go out and look for a job. You can really change someone’s life with something as simple as a set of dentures.”
SUMMERVILLE—Father Louis Guardiola, a Father of Mercy, will lead a Lenten Mission on Feb. 16-20 at 7 p.m. at St. Theresa the Little Flower Church, 11001 Dorchester Road. Father Guardiola will concelebrate Masses Feb. 15-16. Details: (843) 875-6911.
Defense of Life icon
CHARLESTON—An Icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Defense of Life will be in Charleston Jan. 28-29. Father Peter West, from Human Life International, will celebrate Mass Jan. 28 at 12:05 p.m. in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, 120 Broad St. The icon will be at the Charleston Women’s Medical Center, 1312 Ashley River Road, for a 7 p.m. prayer vigil. A closing Mass will be held Jan. 29 at 12:05 p.m. at the Cathedral. Details: Office of Family Life, (803) 547-5063.
Knights golf outing
40 Days for Life spring campaign
CHARLESTON—40 Days for Life begins its around-the-clock spring campaign March 5 to April 13 at Charleston Women’s Medical Center, 1312 Ashley River Road. To join, visit 40daysforlife.com/Charleston.
Science and religion talk
HILTON HEAD ISLAND—Jesuit Father George V. Coyne, long-time director of the Vatican Observatory, will speak at St. Francis by the Sea Church on March 16 at 4 p.m. He will discuss “The Dance of the Fertile Universe: Science Meets Religious Faith” and answer questions.
Charity book fair
ORANGEBURG—A Potluck and Pro-Life Seminar will be held March 1 at 6 p.m. at Holy Trinity Church, 2202 Riverbank Drive. Featured speakers include Wayne Cockfield of the National Right to Life Committee, and Michael Acquilano. Call the church, (803) 534-8177.
COLUMBIA—The South Carolina Catholic Men’s Conference will be held March 1 at St. Joseph Church, 3600 Devine Street. Cost: $40 pre-registration, $50 at the door, $10 discount for Knights. Details: www.sccatholicmensconf.org.
ROCK HILL—St. Mary Church, 902 Crawford Road, will hold a Lenten Mission on March 2-4 at 7 p.m. with Father Jerome Chavarria, C.Ss.R., the vice provincial from Richmond, Va. The theme is “Living a Christian Life.” Call the church, (803) 329-1008.
Black History Program
FLORENCE—St. Anne Church, 113 S. Kemp St., will hold its annual Black History Program on Feb. 16 at 3 p.m. featuring Nikky Finney, a National Book Award winner, poet, and Sumter native. Call Denise Abraham, (843) 245-3012.
NORTH MYRTLE BEACH—The South Carolina Council of Catholic Women’s Pee Dee Deanery will host their annual retreat, “You Know I Love You, Lord”, on Feb. 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, 1100 Eighth Ave., featuring Jennifer Fitz, of the Catholic Writers Guild. Cost, $12, includes lunch. Register by Feb. 19. Call (843) 692-9932 or (843) 283-4445.
UNION—The St. Augustine ladies guild will hold a lasagna dinner Feb. 16 after 4 p.m. Mass at the church, 103 E. South St. Cost, $6. Takeout available. Details: (864) 427-7240.
Toddler Time at St. Joseph School
Engaged Encounter weekend
CLEMSON—An Engaged Encounter weekend will be held Feb. 28 to March 2 at Camp Hope at Clemson University. Registration: www. cce-sc.org. Details: (864) 232-1222.
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CHARLESTON—A packed house rose to its feet and applauded the completion of Charleston Catholic School’s new building during the dedication Mass and blessing held Feb. 11 in Sacred Heart Church.
One of the longest rounds of applause was given to Fred McKay, principal, who was praised by Mayor Joseph P. Riley for his dedication to the project.
Ronnie Richter, chair of the school’s capital campaign committee, thanked everyone involved for their perseverance, noting that the project came together over the course of 10 years and the guidance and support of two bishops.
Plans to expand Charleston Catholic began under the late Bishop David B. Thompson, who secured a $1 million donation in 2004, Richter said. The project was put on hold until 2009, when supporters took it up again with fresh resolve and the blessing of newly appointed Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone, who has been described as a champion of education.
Cold, rainy weather forced the cancellation of some of the planned festivities at the dedication, but it didn’t put a damper on the enthusiasm of the crowd. After Mass, people wandered the halls and rooms of the new building, exclaiming over the science room and pausing to hear the band students play up-tempo songs in their new space.
An unusually wet winter also delayed completion of the project, McKay said, noting that a few details needed to be finished in the science lab and other areas. He said all the classrooms would be organized and ready to go by Feb. 18, when students return from a long weekend.
The total cost of the project was close to $2.4 million and includes office space, art and music rooms, a science lab, a roof-top plaza for educational use, and new classrooms for sixth- through eighth-graders. The upper-grade students have been housed at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist community center while construction was underway, and everyone is excited to have the whole school under one roof again.
“I’m really looking forward to having everyone back together and being like a family again,” said Grace Barnes, a fifth-grader.
Funding for the project also included converting space in the existing building into a faculty work area and breakroom, a renovated kitchen, and storage area, plus elevators, handicapped ramps, and additional restrooms.
Students will also be able to enjoy an outdoor basketball court and revamped playground.
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- March 08 2014 Irish Ceili for the family
- March 08 2014 - March 09 2014 Eucharistic Miracles presentation
- March 08 2014 St. Patrick’s dinner
- March 10 2014 - February 13 2014 St. Mary School testin
- March 14 2014 - March 15 2014 Conference on youth issues
- March 15 2014 Pro-life rosary
- March 15 2014 Women’s day of reflection