Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Mark your calendars! The celebration of the bicentennial of our diocese will begin soon. On July 11, 1820, Pope Pius VII created the Diocese of Charleston. Our first Bishop, John England, arrived in Charleston on December 30, 1820. At the time of its creation, the diocese covered both North and South Carolina as well as Georgia. I will be sharing more about our history as the year-long celebration unfolds.
The official kickoff will be a Solemn Vespers, celebrated by the Most Rev. Robert E. Guglielmone, 13th Bishop of the Diocese of Charleston, on Thursday, July 11, 2019, at 6:00pm at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, 120 Broad Street in Charleston. All are invited to this special celebration.
Saint Mary’s also will host a Solemn Vespers for the entire Aiken Deanery at 6:30pm, Friday, July 26. More details will follow. I hope you will join me and others from the deanery as we give thanks to God for our past, and ask His divine help as we go forward in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Keeping Christ as our focus, our future can only be bright.
You also may have noticed in the Catholic Miscellany that the diocese is sponsoring a pilgrimage to Ireland in the footsteps of Bishop England, May 14–24, 2020. It’ll be full of history, faith, and fun. I will be chaplain for the pilgrimage. The cost of the pilgrimage starts at $3,698. For more information or to book, visit www.Regina-Tours.com, click on “Group Itineraries,” and then click on “Charleston Diocese 200th Anniversary Trip to Ireland with Dr Cormac O’Duffy, PhD.” Also, you may contact Dr. Cormac O’Duffy at 812-201-2208, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, Independence Day, Thursday, July 4, is a wonderful opportunity for us to pray for our nation and its leaders. We will have a special Holy Hour on July 4th beginning at 8:00am. During the Holy Hour, we will pray a special rosary for the nation, one Hail Mary for each state, as well as praying for the various branches of government. After Benediction at 8:45am, we will offer Holy Mass at 9:00am. This Mass will be a Votive Mass of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, patroness of the United States. Let your celebration be more than barbecues and fireworks. Begin the day with prayer.
“You were called for freedom, brethren. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love” (Galatians 5:13).
True freedom is the power and right to do what is right and good. It is an essential requirement of human dignity. We become increasingly free to the extent that we turn away from sin and choose instead to direct our lives and actions toward God in service to one another, doing what we ought rather than merely what we want. Yes, you are free. Let us use our freedom to become holy / to become a saint.
Yours in Christ and Our Lady,