Dear Friends in Christ,
1. Deacon John Heuser is leaving us for a few years, and the reason why requires some back story. John served in the US Navy for 20 years, and when he left active duty he continued to serve the Department of the Navy as a contractor at the Donaldson Center supervising the maintenance of the Lockheed P-3 Orion, an anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft essential to the defense of the United States and our allies. John has just completed 19 years of that work at Donaldson, and now the Navy has asked him to move to Greece with wife Veronica to continue that same mission abroad for the next three years. Accordingly, in mid or late October Deacon and Mrs. Heuser will depart the United States for life in Greece, and so it will be at least three years before he is back at the altar of St. Mary’s. Deacon John has been an integral part of our pastoral team since his ordination in 2007, and he will be sorely missed. Deacon and Mrs. Heuser go with our prayers and best wishes, and we will count the days until their return. The tasks that have been entrusted to Deacon John will now be divided among our most recently ordained deacons, and I am grateful to them for taking up these new burdens.
2. You may have noticed recently in the pages of our diocesan newspaper that St Mary’s has a new parochial vicar, Father Orlando Cheverría Jiménez, but you have not yet seen or heard anything about him locally and that is because he won’t be working with us at St. Mary’s. Since December 2012 St. Mary’s has had a mission congregation about two miles from our campus: San Sebastian Catholic Church on Old Buncombe Road. Normally a mission is founded by a mother parish, but in this case, the Diocese of Charleston simply gave a canonical identity to a prayer group that was organized several years ago and had slowly taken shape as a distinct congregation of people. When Bishop Guglielmone issued the decree which acknowledged San Sebastian, St. Mary’s became the sponsoring parish simply because the physical home of San Sebastian lies within the parish boundaries of St. Mary’s, and for this reason the clergy appointed to serve San Sebastian are technically assigned to St. Mary’s. Father Cheverría will be providing pastoral care to San Sebastian and to the Spanish speaking parishioners of Our Lady of Lourdes in Greenwood, so although his canonical appointment is to St. Mary’s, we will not actually see him here except on special occasions.
3. Finally, please remember that the Wednesday after Labor Day, September 7th, is the beginning of three different formation programs: 1) religious education for grades one through eight, 2) An Introduction to Catholicism, and 3) the Program of Catholic Studies. Anyone interested in joining the Catholic Church or simply in learning more about Catholic Christianity should take An Introduction to Catholicism, and also welcome are any Catholics who need to be confirmed or who have been away from the Church for a while and need a refresher. And all adults in the parish are invited to share in the riches of our Program of Catholic Studies.