By TIM BULLARD
MYRTLE BEACH As Bishop David B. Thompson anointed the altar of St. Andrew’s Church newly renovated sanctuary June 22, Msgr. Joseph Roth and his parish celebrated the conclusion of a challenging quest.
“I am delighted to be here today to rededicate your church and bless again your altar,” said Bishop Thompson in his homily at the Mass that had an overflow crowd lining the aisles and lobby. “This is a place we come to meet God and where we hope God meets us. We can hear the word of God and because we have an altar here, we can offer sacrifice to God to receive his grace, especially through the sacraments.”
The bishop commended Msgr. Roth for his work on the project, provoking applause. Msgr. Roth said the $1.2 million renovation has been ongoing for about five years. Msgr. Robert Kelly began work on the outside of the building and the brick work, while Msgr. Roth has been involved with work on the inside of the structure for the past three years.
“Now we are buying more land, and we are extending with the hope of enlarging the parking capacity and putting up a big family life center which would be a gymnasium for the school, a place for the older folks to come and congregate during the day,” said the pastor.
The church continues to thrive on the Grand Strand as Easter services attract over 13,000 worshippers. Between 400 and 500 people attend daily Mass during Lent and parking room on Sundays is scarce.
Msgr. Roth described St. Andrew’s parishioners as “top notch. These people are workers, and they are very generous. We are following the Synod model, and we have our meetings with the parishioners so they know what’s going on. We are growing as a parish, and Mass attendance is excellent, even during the weekdays with our retired community.”
At a reception following the Mass, church members looked back on the long journey to the sanctuary’s fruition.
Golf legend Jimmy D’Angelo said, “I think Msgr. Roth did a terrific job. I think it’s very beautiful.” In addition, student Jimmy Hunter and his father, Jim, were excited about the dedication. “It was a great event because it was really a culmination of a lot of years of refurbishment of the whole church, both outside and inside,” said the elder Hunter. “It’s wonderful to have the bishop here. It makes it so special.”