2015 has been a year for the record books; a time when people felt their faith repeatedly tested by extreme situations, but were buoyed up by the face of Jesus in their fellow men.
Ultimately, faith in the goodness and mercy of God prevailed in South Carolina as people reached out to each other over and over in compassion and love — seen in small daily actions and on a grand scale.
A poignant example came in the wake of the most shocking event in the state: the shooting deaths of nine people at Emanuel AME Church in July. The tragic event led to the rallying of an entire nation, which called for love to triumph over violence and racism. Dylann Roof was arrested and confessed to the killings, but his call for a race war was smothered in the forgiveness of Christians. Then, when photos of Roof wrapped in the Confederate battle flag linked that banner to hate and death, it led to the flag being removed from Statehouse grounds.
In another example of mankind’s unity, a visit by Pope Francis to the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia in September drew enthusiastic participants from the diocese and around the world, who united in the brotherly love of global faith.
A week later, the state once more came together in outreach and comfort when vast sections of the coast and Midlands were devastated by unprecedented flooding, from which people are still recovering.
Both internationally and locally, Pope Francis continued to dominate the news, stirring the world with his encyclical on the environment, “Laudato Si”, On Care for Our Common Home, and his urgent call to help the world’s refugees. The pontiff also spoke passionately against terrorism and the horrific attacks in Paris.
Looking back on 2015
The Year of Consecrated Life began.
40 Days for Life began.
Christian Brother Ed Bergeron and Sister Rosemary Render of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet each celebrated their golden jubilee.
Protestors call for the federal government to end funding to Planned Parenthood after the release of disturbing videos.
Our Lady of Grace parish held a groundbreaking for a new church in Indian Land.
Trappist Brother Robert Wojciechowski, 85
Ursuline Sister Anthony Wargel, 100
Ursuline Sister Denise Roberts, 93
Franciscan Sister Clare Carty, 78
Deacon John H. Brown, 92
Deacon Frank Petrusak, 71
Filippini Sister Norma Garbaccio, 92
Deacon Henry Dillard, 86
Ursuline Sister Andrea Callahan, 90
Trappist Father Christian Carr, 100
Franciscan Father Tom Vigliotta
Father Francis Patrick Obong
Deacon Joseph Anonie, 73
Adrian Dominican Sister Sharon Culhane, 76
Deacon Michael Alexander Kulungowski, 67
Father Carl Bauer, 78
Deacon Charles Poole, 88