Giving Thanks for Two New Priests

07-12-2020Pastor's Letter Fr. Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

What joy for our parish, our diocese, and all of Holy Mother Church! On Friday, July 10, the Most Rev. Robert E. Guglielmone, Bishop of Charleston, ordained a son of our parish, Fr. Will Frei, to the holy priesthood of Jesus Christ, alongside Fr. Michael Cellars, who served at our parish as a seminarian the summer of 2017. For Fr. Frei, this is the culmination of nine years of preparation, starting with college seminary way back in 2011. His educational journey led him to the Basselin Program at the Catholic University of America, an exceptional three-year fellowship in philosophy, and then on to major theological studies in Rome. After ordination, Fr. Frei will briefly help at a parish in the diocese until returning (hopefully) to Rome to finish his license in spirituality. Father Cellars will be the parochial vicar at St. Mary Magdalene in Simpsonville, SC.

On Sunday, July 12 at 5:00pm, Fr. Frei will offer a Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving here at St. Mary’s. Of course, as with everything in this most unusual year 2020, it’s not a typical Mass. We will still have limited capacity, no congregational singing, and social distancing is still a must. However, we plan to make it the most joyful and holy Mass we can muster in this atypical year. Father Frei will have a small and safe-as-possible reception in the garden outside after the Mass, where you can ask for his first blessing. Our current plan is to have another, even more joyful Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving next year when Fr. Frei returns full time, hopefully to a safer, post-COVID world. We live in hope, after all! In the words of St. Paul, “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thes 5:16-18).

A brief update on our precautions: By God’s grace, the precautions we are taking seem to be doing their job as no one has come down with the virus from attending Mass. You will notice that all priests, deacons, and extraordinary ministers now wear facemasks during the distribution of Holy Communion (so we aren’t breathing on the Sacred Hosts). Our bishop has very strongly encouraged parishioners to wear a face covering as an act of charity for others. From the CDC: “Everyone should wear a cloth face cover in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.” Recall that the face covering helps prevent the wearer, who may not be showing symptoms, from spreading the virus. We want to keep Mass going, but if someone gets sick from attending, we will have to completely shutter our doors again. Know that we continue to clean pews between every Mass. Ministers also disinfect their hands both before and after distributing Holy Communion. Above all, let us continue to pray for a swift and safe end to our present situation.

Yours truly in Christ,

Father Wilson