Dear Friends in Christ:
In November of 2001, I launched an effort to build a residence for the retired priests of the Diocese of Charleston. The St. Joseph Residence at the Carter-May Home in Charleston was conceived and initiated to provide an adequate retirement setting for your priests who have provided a lifetime of faithful service to the Catholic people of the diocese.
We began this important and much needed effort with a plea to you, the faithful of the diocese, for the necessary financial support to finally make this enduring dream a reality. The good Catholics of our diocese, together with friends from outside South Carolina, responded generously with contributions totaling more than $1.7 million. These pledges of support were generous indeed. But, my dear people, the total cost of the project is in excess of $2.3 million, and thus we find ourselves in need of approximately $600,000 to complete payment of the project.
The ground has been broken and construction has begun on the St. Joseph Residence addition to the Carter-May Home. A large portion of this project involves an extensive renovation of the existing Carter-May facility and the construction of a wing especially for the laity. New amenities will be added to the Carter-May Home, including private bathrooms, a new and expanded kitchen facility and additional recreation space.
The St. Joseph Residence addition will contain six suites for retired priests. Each suite will include a living room, bedroom and private bath. In addition, there will be a commons room with library, a chapel and kitchen facilities. Several retired priests have already indicated their wish to move into the St. Joseph Residence as soon as it is finished. In order for us to complete the project without the diocese assuming a large debt burden, it is urgently necessary for us to successfully conclude our fund-raising efforts. I am asking the generous faithful Catholics of South Carolina to consider making an additional financial sacrifice to help us honor those men who have given their lives in the service of our church and continue our efforts to provide quality care in a Catholic environment to the elderly lay population.
In this final push to complete the funding for the St. Joseph Residence at Carter-May Home, we have provided two special giving opportunities for donations totaling $100,000 each. We are seeking gifts to name the chapel for Most Rev. Ernest L. Unterkoefler, 10th bishop of the diocese. We are also asking for cumulative gifts totaling $100,000 to name the priests’ wing of the new facility in honor of my predecessor, Bishop David B. Thompson. Donors will also have the option to make a gift to honor or memorialize those priests who have had a special meaning in their lives. In addition to those special giving opportunities, I am also seeking individuals interested in naming the suites in the new wing for laity and the St. Joseph Residence for our priests. These opportunities would be in the amounts of $15,000 and $50,000. A priest, deacon, religious sister or brother, or lay person can be memorialized in one of 12 rooms.
This coming week, a mailing will be sent to each household with a letter from me, requesting your generous support, and a contribution envelope. You can also send your contribution directly to the diocese at Diocese of Charleston/St. Joseph Residence at Carter-May Home, P.O. Box 300, Charleston, SC 29402. Also, if you have any questions or would like more information on the special naming opportunities associated with this project, please call the Office of Stewardship and Mission Advancement at (843) 853-2130 ext. 211.
Once again, I appeal to the generosity of the good Catholic people of the Diocese of Charleston. I am confident that you will respond as you always have with an outpouring of love and support for the men who have served you so faithfully and so well for so many years.
Gratefully yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Robert J. Baker
Bishop of Charleston