Monday, December 22, 2014
Text Size

Current News

Pope Francis will visit Philadelphia in 2015

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

WASHINGTON—The visit of Pope Francis to Philadelphia in September 2015 for the World Meeting of Families will be a “joyful moment,” said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Pope Francis made his intention to travel to the United States public, Nov. 17, in an address to the Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman at the Vatican.

“The presence of Pope Francis at the World Meeting of Families in our country will be a joyful moment for millions of Catholics and people of good will. Our great hope has been that the Holy Father would visit us next year to inspire our families in their mission of love. It is a blessing to hear the pope himself announce the much anticipated news,” Archbishop Kurtz said.
The World Meeting of Families, sponsored by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family, is the world’s largest Catholic gathering of families and is held every three years. World Meeting of Families 2015 will be Sept.r 22-25, 2015, hosted by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. It will focus on the theme “Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive,” emphasizing the impact of the love and life of families on society.
More information about the meeting, including open registration, is available online:
The Vatican has not announced additional dates or cities for the 2015 papal visit at this time.

Pastors and principals unite to strengthen education

MYRTLE BEACH—Principals and pastors joined forces recently to discuss revitalizing and strengthening schools in the diocese.

Chris Trott, principal of St. Gregory the Great in Bluffton, said they went into the meeting with a bit of trepidation, not quite knowing what to expect; but they came away with a sense of unity and common purpose.

During the day-long meeting, participants split into five groups, based on school size, and focused on four categories: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and future threats.

Strengths included strong academics and Catholic values, said Erik Goldschmidt, one of the consultants.

Among the weaknesses listed by the groups was diminishing enrollment and a lack of resources, especially for the smaller schools and parishes.

Trott said one thing they fight against in terms of enrollment is a belief that children can get the same formation through the parish as they do in Catholic schools.

“Religion is woven throughout the day and the curriculum,” he said. “It is more than just a class. You will find Jesus Christ present in the morning through the afternoon, every day.”

At the meeting, Msgr. Chet Moczydlowski, pastor of St. John the Beloved in Summerville, said one of the challenges schools face is the need for more pastoral support. The diocese has 118 parishes that can support Catholic education in some manner.

Ways to increase collaboration between the parish and school in terms of religious education was one of the opportunities discussed by the groups. They also spoke about the growing Hispanic community and ways to appeal to them, Goldschmidt said.

Future threats that need to be addressed include methods to engage people in Catholic schools and parishes amidst a growing secular culture, and ways to keep up with technology, especially in older facilities.

Although the diocese will create its own solutions, the participants did look at national trends and creative answers used by other dioceses. Funding, for example, is a common problem, and some regions have responded with a diocesan-wide fundraising campaign exclusively for schools.

Other national trends focus on enrollment. One idea being tested by Wichita, Kan., is a total stewardship model that opens education to all Catholic families based on the gifts — prayer, service, finance — that the family offers the parish.

At the end of the session, the information was given to the consultants, who will help guide the diocese through the planning process and create a revitalization plan.

Next on the agenda are a series of community meetings asking for input from the public. See below for times and places.

Regional meetings:

The diocese is asking the public to attend input sessions in their region.
Please note changes from the earlier published schedule: sessions will be held at 9 a.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the following areas:
Columbia: Nov. 10, St. John Neumann School
Greenville: Nov. 11, St. Mary Church
Myrtle Beach: Nov. 17, Our Lady Star of the Sea Church
Charleston: Nov. 18, 9 a.m., Christ Our King School; 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, Cathedral Center
Ridgeland: Nov. 20, John Paul II Catholic School
Contact Sandra Leatherwood, (843) 402-9115 ext. 86 or sleatherwood@


Blessed Chavara holds special place with Carmelites of Mary Immaclate


Blessed Kuriakose Elías Chavara, founder of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, the first indigenous religious order of India, will be canonized by Pope Francis on Nov. 23 at 10 a.m. at St. Peter’s Square in Rome. This day will be most memorable for the Church in India, especially for the Syro-Malabar Christians.

Blessed Chavara was born on Feb. 10, 1805, in Kerala, India. At the age of 13, he joined the seminary, and in 1829, at age 24, was ordained a priest. Together with two learned and holy priests, Fathers Thomas Palackal and Thomas Porukara, he worked hard to start an indigenous religious congregation of men for the renewal of the Church in India. But the two priests died before their vision came to be a reality.

Father Chavara kept that dream alive and made his religious profession on Dec. 8, 1855, under the name Kuriakose Elias Chavara of Holy Family and became its first superior general. The religious life of the congregation was rooted in Indian, Oriental and Carmelite spirituality and traditions.

They were contemplatives in action who preached at retreats, established seminaries, educated youth, disseminated Christian literature, labored for the propagation of the faith and for the reunion of separated Christian brethren, undertook works of mercy, and started charitable institutions.

The Carmelites are now the largest indigenous religious congregation of India. At present, it has about 3,500 professed members including seven bishops, 2,100 priests, 33 brothers and 1,362 seminarians. They serve more than 30 countries around the world and more than 100 priests do pastoral service in various dioceses of the U.S. and Canada.

Blessed Chavara was a reformer in the Church, especially in the area of liturgy. He was a brilliant writer, well-versed in Latin, Italian and Portuguese, plus the Malayalam and Tamil languages. He was also an excellent preacher and an inspiring champion who fought against evil.

His services include the founding of the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel for women, establishing two seminaries, and creating a printing press of his own design. It was on this press that the first local daily newspaper ‘Deepika’ (Light-bearer) was printed.

As the vicar general of the Syro- Malabar Catholics, he took pioneering steps in 1864 to establish schools at every church in the Kerala state.

Blessed Chavara was a true apostle of the sanctity of family life. He worked unceasingly for the spiritual renewal of families through parish retreats, adoration in the churches, and various biblical and devotional prayers and publications. Some of his works included guidelines for the ideal Christian family life.

He also organized works of charity and would remind everyone that a day without a good deed of charity is not counted in the “Book of Life”.

A zealous priest with a prophetic vision rooted in divine intimacy, Blessed Chavara led a holy life committed to God and His people. Essentially a man of prayer and intense charity, he lived in close communion with the Lord amidst his religious and social activities. He had total confidence in God and in His loving and powerful providence.

He was greatly devoted to the holy Eucharist, holy family, Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph. His constant advice to his spiritual children was, “Live in the love of Jesus, sit with Him, walk with Him, and talk with Him always.”

At the end of his life he was able to say, “I have never lost the baptismal grace I received at my baptism.” After dedicating his congregation and all its members to the holy family, he breathed his last on Jan. 3, 1871.

Acclaimed as a saint by all who knew him, Blessed Chavara was beatified by Pope John Paul II on Feb. 8, 1986. He will be the second canonized Indian-born saint, along with St. Alphonsa, a Clarist nun who died on July 28, 1946, at age 34 and was canonized in 2008. St. Alphonsa testified in 1936 that Blessed Chavara had appeared to her twice during an illness and relieved her sufferings.

Carmelite Father Cherian Thalakulam is the pastor of St. Edward Church in Murphy Village.

Image from Wikimedia


Mary Shumpert has been counting her blessings for 100 years


GEORGETOWN—Mary Hughes Shumpert is a rarity in many ways.

Born a Catholic in the deep South on Oct. 19, 1914, she has lived to see the start of her own new century, and she’s never broken a bone or had surgery.

Among the few Catholic institutions in South Carolina 100 years ago were St. Peter Church and School in Columbia. That’s where Mary Shumpert grew up, was educated, and married.

She and her husband, J.C., have one daughter, Suzanne Harris. They had been married 15 years “with no hope for a child, and then here she comes. She’s the most wonderful person. She’s a good Christian woman,” said the proud mother.

During World War II, when Fort Jackson was a major training base for the U.S. Army, Mary opened up the Columbia Grill.

The Ursuline sisters who operated the school “would send us hungry people who came to the church.” And when Army trainees would get a brief pass to go into town, they’d come to the grill and Mary and her family would take care of them.

“I loved feeding people,” she said. “We had to stay open seven days to feed all of them.”

Her husband died 25 years ago, and for a number of years now she and her daughter have lived together on Pawleys Island, where they moved after a lifetime in the capital city. They attend Mass every day at Precious Blood of Christ Church and help out at Father Pat’s Kitchen.

The church feeds lunch to about 100 people on two days and breakfast on Saturdays. Mary’s regular station is wrapping silverware in a napkin, and she stays ahead of the need by several days.

She’s in good health and has never really been sick.

“I eat what I want. I don’t eat any junk,” she said.

While in Columbia, she was active at St. Peter.

“I taught Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. He was 6 years old. I was his Sunday school teacher,” she explained.

For her 100th birthday, Mary bought a new Mercedes convertible. Next year, for her 101st, she and Suzanne plan to drive across country to Las Vegas for a celebration.

For her new car, Mary wants to get a sign to put on it: “God is good.”

“I love my religion,” she said in a reflective mood. “I don’t think other religions have the Eucharist like we do. It’s not just social. It’s very serious. You don’t take the Catholic religion lightly.

“I just don’t think life could be any better than this.”


Page 7 of 16