The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston celebrates its 200th anniversary | New
Catholic priests often say that they need three things to celebrate Mass: bread, wine, and the Bible. Yet Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, said that amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a fourth board has been added to this list – people.
Dolan and Robert Guglielmone, Bishop of Charleston, led a special mass on July 11 at St. John the Baptist Cathedral to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston – a celebration that was postponed for a year due to the pandemic.
âI’m sure you’ve probably spoken to priests who will tell you how scary and strange it was to offer mass in an empty church,â Dolan said. “When people are not there, you are missing something essential.”
At the same time last year, the cathedral was hosting services at 25% of its capacity, said Maria Aselage, spokesperson for the diocese.
Today, Aselage said about 425 people crowded the cathedral benches to attend the service in person.
Dolan and Guglielmone said the number of participants reflects the growth of the Catholic population in Charleston, which has grown from 10,000 to about 350,000 over the past 200 years, according to the diocese.
Dolan said he felt encouraged by the Catholic presence in Charleston.
âSometimes we’re tempted to fall into the trash a bit and get discouraged,â Dolan said. âWe hear bad news across the world, across society and across culture. We even hear bad news about the church, we have to admit it. And then you see the excitement and the passion and the commitment, the generosity of these peopleâ¦ It leaves you excited.
Among those who attended were Mayor John Tecklenburg and Lieutenant Governor Pamela Evette.
While serving, Evette awarded Guglielmone the Order of the Palmetto.
The Order of the Palmetto is an award given to the citizens of South Carolina for their extraordinary service and achievements of national or national significance.
âThe bishop has spread the word of God in our prisons,â said Evette, acknowledging the contributions Guglielmone has made to the Carolinians of the South. âThat’s one of the first things we talked about when I thought about running for lieutenant governor. We talked about how to educate, because at that time we could not bring wine into our prisons and we as Catholics cannot have mass without wine. “
Guglielmone was surprised to receive the award.
âIt’s really not so much an honor for me first, but an honor for the diocese,â said Guglielmone. “And it’s nice to know that someone has recognized the good people of God in the diocese of their choice.”
John England was the first bishop of the diocese. He started the church’s Catholic Miscellany magazine and established the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Seminary, which is today the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Cathedral.
At the time of its formation, the jurisdiction of the diocese included North Carolina and Georgia. The jurisdiction now covers all of South Carolina and is the seventh oldest Catholic diocese in the United States.
Over the past two centuries, it has established more than 30 diocesan high schools, private high schools and parish schools. He also oversees Catholic charities, which provide food distribution, financial aid and other services to people in need.
Follow Olivia Diaz on Twitter @oliviardiaz.