Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Some of you may have heard – or soon will hear – that “Father Wilson is being transferred to Our Lady of Peace in North Augusta.” The sentence itself is true. However, the “Father Wilson” going to OLP is Fr. Richard Wilson, not yours truly. On July 15th, Fr. Renaurd West will begin his new assignment at Sacred Heart parish in Charleston, and we will welcome Fr. Richard Wilson to the Aiken Deanery as pastor of Our Lady of Peace in North Augusta. So, yes, we will have two Fathers Wilson within twenty minutes of each other!
Also, I am very happy to report that July 15th also marks the official beginning of the assignment of our new parochial vicar, Fr. Francisco Oñate-Vargas (presently assigned to St. Michael’s in Garden City, SC). Father Francisco was ordained on February 11, 2019, at Our Lady of Lourdes parish just north of us in Greenwood. We are blessed that he speaks both English and Spanish with amazing fluency. Because he had already planned a vacation before receiving his assignment, Fr. Francisco will not join us until after August 3. We continue to be extremely grateful to Fr. Filip Wodecki, who has been helping us tremendously in the interim.
Very soon our Bishop will ordain two excellent men for our diocese, Deacon Michael Cellars and son-of-the-parish Deacon Will Frei. Due to renovations at the Cathedral, the July 10th ordination has been moved to Holy Spirit parish on John’s Island just outside of Charleston. Unfortunately, as of the writing of this column, I am not sure how many people will be able to attend in person due to the need to keep social distancing and other important precautions. The ordination Mass, however, will be livestreamed. Information on livestreaming is forthcoming. The soon-tobe-Father Frei will offer a Mass of Thanksgiving here at St. Mary’s on Sunday evening, July 12th at 5:00pm.
We are so grateful to God for these men, who, in the same radical spirit of Jesus Christ Himself, are laying down their lives for you, the faithful of the Diocese of Charleston. Please pray for them and for more men to answer the call to serve as priests. With many retirements on the horizon, the need will soon be even greater. God still calls; however, you and I must help those called to hear and encourage them to follow in order to become “fishers of men” (St. Matthew 4:19). “Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come” (Mark 10:29-30)
St. John Vianney, Patron Saint of all Priests, pray for us!
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