By JORDAN MCMORROUGH
CHARLESTON — Msgr. James A. Carter, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese of Charleston, has announced the appointment of two new staff members in the Vicar General’s Office.
Sister Susan Schorsten, HM, has been named assistant to the Vicar General, while Father Richard D. Harris has been chosen to be assistant to the Vicar General for Priestly Ministry.
In her role, Sister Susan serves as the executive assistant to the Vicar General, managing daily operations in the Office of the Vicar General. In addition, she serves as the Liaison for Religious, and supervises the various ethnic ministry programs.
Duties include being the primary liaison to the Office of the Vicar General, and maintaining open lines of communication with the priests, the members of the Curia, diocesan departments, parishes, and other internal and external agencies.
Concurrently, Sister Susan is also continuing in her position as director of Social Ministry for the diocese until a replacement can be named.
That job encompasses all the Catholic Charities agencies (adoption services, senior outreach, counseling services, Respect Life Office, migrant services, Neighborhood and Echo Homes, St. Vincent de Paul Society and Carter-May Home) and all other diocesan social services, including the Offices of Persons with Disabilities, Migration and Refugee Services, Campaign for Human Development, Office for Black Catholics, and the offices of Hispanic Ministry and Vietnamese Ministry, along with health care ministries.
Before coming to the Diocese of Charleston in 1994, Sister Susan was CEO of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Youngstown, Ohio, before taking a year’s sabbatical to study at Washington Theological Union. A Humility of Mary nun, her congregation is based in Villa Maria, Pa., and is structured after a model of providing both direct service and financial support to people in need, especially in health care and education.
Since graduating from St. John College in 1969, she has served as a teacher, a nurse and a health care administrator; she holds master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Minnesota and in administration from Ohio State.
Sister Susan is a member of the national honor society of nursing, Sigma Theta Tau, and the national honor society for Catholic women, Kappa Gamma Pi.
Father Harris, as assistant to the Vicar General for Priestly Ministry, acts in the absence of the Vicar General in priestly matters and oversees the implementation of the recommendations from the Priests’ Convocation.
He is the primary liaison with the priests and the Vicar General, working closely with the director of Continuing Education for Priests to provide regular opportunities for the priests to gather for educational and spiritual activities.
Father Harris is currently pastor of St. Patrick Church in Charleston. A native of Aiken, he was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 11, 1993. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina and holds a masters degree from Pope John XXIII Seminary in Weston, Mass.
Prior to his ordination, Father Harris previously owned and operated a florist shop before turning to social work as the director of an adult day care program for mentally and physically handicapped people. He also played music professionally.
Father Harris has also been honored by the South Carolina Christian Action Council with its annual Christian Action in Service Award, along with the Downtown Ministerial Association of Union, for his “commendable pastoral leadership for the people of Union during the stress of the trial of Susan Smith.” During the trial, Father Harris served as pastor of St. Augustine Church in Union.
Speaking of Sister Susan Schorsten and Father Richard Harris, Msgr. James A. Carter said, “I’m very fortunate to have them on my staff because of their skills, knowledge and expertise.”