Saturday, November 22, 2014
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Catholic Charismatic Conference spotlights the merciful Christ

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH—Rituals, liturgy and theology mean nothing if Catholics don’t truly know the love of Jesus Christ.

Father Richard McAlear of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate delivered that message to over 270 people from five states during his third appearance as keynote speaker at the annual Catholic Charismatic Conference Oct. 24-26 at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church.

“People need to have a relationship with Jesus because He is alive and He is in the Church,” the priest said. “The bond we have with Jesus is a true relationship, not just theology or a theory.”

The charismatic movement focuses on the Holy Spirit, and Father McAlear said this is important because that aspect of the Trinity helps the faithful to develop a relationship both with God the Father and His Son.

“The Holy Spirit comes to glorify Jesus, and once you have the Holy Spirit you come to know Jesus,” he said. “Once you know Jesus, everything else follows. Because Jesus is alive and present with us, we are able to pray, we are able to work in ministry.”

Father McAlear used examples from Scripture to illustrate Christ’s all-encompassing love and mercy. He described Jesus’ kindness to the sinful woman who washed his feet with her tears and the adulterous woman whom he saved from being stoned by an angry crowd.

“When Jesus was on earth, nobody ran away from Him — they ran to Him,” he said. “He was not frightening and not angry. He was Jesus being Jesus, the merciful face of God the Father.”

It is important to learn about Christ’s mercy because that knowledge helps the faithful to live merciful lives, he said.

“You become what you worship,” Father McAlear said. “If you worship a jealous, vengeful God you will become vengeful. If people believe God only condemns sinners, you get an angry, condemning version of Christianity. If you really understand Christ’s mercy, you become more merciful, and you can’t do that if you don’t first know His love. That is the model we need to follow.”

The weekend offered participants a chance to pray together, attend Mass and receive the sacrament of penance. Father Edward J. Kelley, a retired U.S. Army chaplain based in Columbia, was introduced as the newly appointed diocesan liaison for the charismatic renewal.

Sharon Crocker of Columbia worked to organize the weekend. She said Father McAlear’s talks and the rest of the activities helped people discover God’s love in their lives.

“It’s said the one true sign of maturity in faith is to know that we are loved,” she said. “I know people sometimes get tired of hearing that, and we all have days where we feel like we missed a blessing and ask if we’re doing something wrong. We all need to hear that God loves us, that we are doing what he wants us to do.”


SC federal district court overturns same-sex marriage ban


CHARLESTON—S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson is appealing a federal judge's decision that would allow same-sex marriage in the state.

On Thursday, Nov. 13, Wilson filed with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals asking it to stay the order until the matter can be brought before the entire appeals court.

In his filing, Wilson said the state will suffer "irreparable injury" if the stay is denied. He noted that if same-sex marriages are allowed before the appeals process runs its course, and the state prevails in its appeal, those marriages could be declared null and thrown into legal confusion.

The appeal comes after Judge Richard Gergel ruled on Nov. 12 that the state's ban unconstitutionally infringes on the rights of same-sex couples who wish to be married in South Carolina.

Judge Gergel had already granted a temporary stay until noon on Nov. 20.

The federal decision is the result of an injunction filed by Charleston County Councilwoman Colleen Condon and her partner, Nichols Bleckley, to prohibit state officials from enforcing the ban on same-sex marriage. They contend the state must allow the marriages following the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal a month ago to review the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling overturning Virginia's gay marriage ban.

In his ruling, Judge Gergel cited the decision from the federal appeals court, stating that it is binding precedent on South Carolina.

Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone noted that the ruling has no impact on the Catholic Church.

“Our Catholic faith teaches us that marriage is defined as the union of one man and one woman in a permanent commitment with an openness to life and family,” the bishop said in a statement. “This teaching regarding marriage 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.

“The federal court’s decision today does not change the fact that the Roman Catholic Church has consistently taught and will continue to teach that marriage is a sacrament. It is a covenant of love between one man and one woman which bonds them for life and to any children that come from the union."




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New appointments for Fathers Sotek and Boyle

CHARLESTON—Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone announced the following priestly appointments for the Diocese of Charleston.

Effective Oct. 10, 2014:

Rev. Marek Sotek, new to the Diocese of Charleston, is appointed Parochial Vicar at St. Gregory the Great Church in Bluffton.

Effective Nov. 1, 2014:

Rev. Michael G. Boyle, Parochial Vicar at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Simpsonville, is incardinated into the Diocese of Charleston.


Honoring those who serve

Xavier Wedderburn, a pre-kindergartener at St. Gregory the Great in Bluffton, hugs his mom, Kay Wedderburn, who is in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, after a Blue Mass held in October. Every year, many schools take time to honor all first responders, including men and women who serve in the military or law enforcement, or as emergency responders, firefighters and more. Photos provided.


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