CHARLESTON—On April 30, Father Anthony Droze, pastor of Our Lady Star of the Sea in North Myrtle Beach, will join Msgr. Richard Harris as a vicar general for the Diocese of Charleston.
Father Raymond Leonard will move from his position as parochial vicar at St. Gregory the Great in Bluffton to become the new administrator of Our Lady Star of the Sea, effective April 30.
Msgr. Harris made the announcement concerning the change in a memo sent to priests on April 6. In it, he wrote that he and Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone had spent “many months discussing how to best serve the faithful, and we feel that this is the most effective solution”.
Msgr. Harris stated that since the bishop had appointed him as vicar general in 2009, the Diocese of Charleston has experienced tremendous growth and expansion.
“We are building new churches, ministry and activities buildings, purchasing property to establish new parishes, have built two new high schools, and relocated and developed a new campus for one of our existing schools, Cardinal Newman in Columbia,” he stated.
Msgr. Harris is also pastor of St. Joseph Church and School in Columbia. The parish has over 1,800 families, and the elementary school has 286 students.
This is one example of the immense responsibility that a priest has, and the needs for increased vocations in the diocese. A pastor is responsible for the spiritual, administrative and financial oversight of a parish. This involves celebrating the sacraments — including baptism, funerals, marriages and reconciliation — plus teaching duties, leadership, organization, administration, pastoral care such as visiting the sick, community involvement, and diocesan responsibilities. Some pastors are also responsible for schools.
Between the growth of the diocese, preparing for its bicentennial, moving many of its employees to a central location, readying to launch the capital campaign to ensure stewardship support for the diocese, “there are just too many tasks for one vicar general to handle,” Bishop Guglielmone explained. He added that the diocese has had two vicars general at one time before.
Father Droze will receive the title of reverend monsignor while he serves as vicar general. His appointment ends after the retirement of Bishop Guglielmone and his title will revert to reverend father due to new directives by Pope Francis.
Father Droze will relocate to Charleston and work in the daily supervision of the Pastoral Center.
Because of the size of the diocese, the deaneries, or geographic regions, will be divided between the vicars general. Msgr. Harris will continue to supervise the Aiken, Columbia, Greenville and Rock Hill Deaneries while Father Droze will oversee the Beaufort, Charleston, and Myrtle Beach Deaneries. They will also divide the supervision of the secretariats that comprise the bishop’s curia.
“In a large number of the secretariats, the responsibilities will overlap and interface with each other, so Father Droze and I will work closely together to assure that delays are minimized in addressing the needs and requests from the priests and parishes,” Msgr. Harris said. “We will also assist Bishop Guglielmone in continually leading the diocese forward as we approach our bicentennial anniversary in the year 2020.”
Msgr. Harris said he is looking forward to working closely with Father Droze.
“Between the bishop and the two vicars general, we pray that the diocese will continue to grow and be a strong, positive witness to the Catholic faith in South Carolina,” he said.
Photo, Miscellany/Deirdre C. Mays: Father Anthony Droze receives congratulations on his appointment as co-vicar general after a short service in the Chapel of the Holy Family in Charleston.