Remembering Our Fallen

05-26-2019Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

First, please note that daily Mass on Memorial Day (May 27) will be at 9:00am in Old St. Mary’s. There will be no confessions or Mass that evening. How grateful we are for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country! God of power and mercy, you destroy war and put down earthly pride. Banish violence from our midst and wipe away our tears, that we may all deserve to be called your sons and daughters. Keep in your mercy those men and women who have died in the cause of freedom, and bring them safely into your kingdom of justice and peace. Though Christ our Lord. Amen.

In many places in the Northeast, Thursday, May 30, would mark the day Our Lord ascended into heaven after forty days: “[Jesus] presented Himself alive to them by many proofs after He had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).” However, liturgically in most of the United States (including our diocese), the celebration of this feast is moved to Sunday. So, if you have just joined us from a diocese that celebrates the Ascension on Thursday, note that it is not a Holy Day of Obligation here.

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Totally Yours

05-19-2019Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Pope St. John Paul II’s motto was Totus Tuus, “Totally Yours.” He had placed himself totally in the arms of the Blessed Virgin Mary so that he might imitate her eternal “Yes” to God in everything. She teaches us by her example and intercession how to offer an enthusiastic “Yes!” to God’s plan for our own lives. We can learn how to be good and faithful disciples of Jesus Christ by imitating the best and first disciple, Mary.

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Behold Your Mother

05-12-2019Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The first word that comes to mind to describe last Sunday’s May Procession and Parish Picnic is, “Wow!” First, we thank God for what turned out to be a beautiful morning and afternoon when all weather predictions had said otherwise. Our guests of honor were our First Holy Communicants, who had just received their first Communion the day before. They led the procession down Park Avenue with rose petals and flowers. This year we added flags from the countries of origin of our parishioners, showing that our faith is truly catholic, a word that literally means “universal.” (If you did not see your country’s flag, please let us know so we can add it next year. We’re still learning about the fantastic diversity of our parish!)

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Showing Honor to Your Mother

05-05-2019Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“Jesus said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother.’” – St. John 19:27

Saint Mary’s parish is your home, regardless of where you came from. Join your family as we celebrate our unity at our annual Parish Picnic, today, Sunday, May 5. (Please note that there is no 12:30pm or 5:00pm Mass on May 5 so that we can celebrate as a family.) At the end of the 11:00am bilingual Mass, we will make our annual Procession in honor of our Blessed Mother, Help of Christians, down Park Avenue and back to the church, where we will crown the statue of Mary to the left of the altar. This year the procession will include flags representing the heritage of all our parishioners and how the Church brings us together as one great witness. As we honor our Blessed Mother, let us learn through her help and intercession to incorporate her total and constant “Yes” to God’s will in our daily lives.

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Simply Grateful

04-28-2019Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

First, I am incredibly grateful for all the volunteers and staff that helped make our liturgies this past Holy Week and Easter so remarkable and profound. It’s amazing to see the enormous preparation that is necessary behind the scenes to support the beautiful, ancient (and sometimes a bit complex) liturgies that directly connect us to our very roots as Catholic Christians. I express my deep gratitude to all those who helped in any way. Thank you!

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He is Risen! Yes!

04-21-2019Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

You meet someone and say, “Christ is risen!” They respond, “Truly, He is risen!” This ancient Christian greeting is still used in countries with a strong, Catholic/Orthodox culture. Our western culture, particularly our American ethos, formed by a strong current of Calvinism that was suspicious of such outward expressions of faith, long ago abandoned such greetings. (Although “Merry Christmas” has hung on for now!) You and I must find new ways to evangelize just as the earliest Apostles, disciples, and martyrs did when they all but ran out into the world for the very first time, taking with them the good news of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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Walking in His Footsteps

04-14-2019Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

At last, you may have noticed the three plaques for the Our Gifts – His Glory program. Recall that OG-HG is the program (not the capital campaign) that allows parishioners to donate certain meaningful articles in and around our church in memory or in honor of a loved one, such as statues, pews, liturgical items, ornamental trees, etc. Plaques for the items within the church are displayed as you come in through the main doors, opposite the capital campaign plaques. The plaque for the items outside the church is located on the north wing (where the St. Vincent de Paul Society operates). We are immensely grateful to all who donated to help make our church even more beautiful. Thank you!

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A Resurgence of Holiness

04-07-2019Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Last Friday, March 29, “with a heavy heart and in the spirit of transparency and accountability,” Bishop Guglielmone published a list of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct or abuse involving a minor in the Diocese of Charleston since 1950. I encourage you to read the Bishop’s letter and the Q & A that accompany the list. You can access them on the diocesan website: sccatholic.org or charlestondiocese.org. None of the priests listed are in active ministry. Almost all of them are deceased.

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Joy in Lent

03-31-2019Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“Laetare, Jerusalem” – “Rejoice, Jerusalem… Be joyful, all who were in mourning!” (From Isaiah 66:10-11; Introit for the Fourth Sunday of Lent)

You deserve a break today! In fact, the Church insists on it. Here at the halfway point of our Lenten observance, Holy Mother Church gives us a last little break from our Lenten penances on the Sunday of Joy – Laetare Sunday. The priests and deacons don rose-colored vestments, the color of the sky just before the dawn. It is the color of hope and anticipation. After all, the reason we do penance is to prepare ourselves for the greatest, most awesome part of our faith: The man they put on a cross, who died and was buried, is alive. He was seen by literally hundreds of witnesses, who then darted about the world telling everyone they could, even if it meant their own deaths. Why? Because that death has reconciled us. It made an atonement you and I could not do on our own. “He bore the punishment that makes us whole; by His wounds we were healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

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Nine Months of Hope

03-24-2019Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Tomorrow, March 25, is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord. We pause our penances for all solemnities during Lent. And, yes, this means that it is only nine months until Christmas!

We celebrate the visitation of the Angel Gabriel to the Blessed Virgin Mary and her courageous “Yes” to God’s plan, not only for her, but for the salvation of the human race. Mary’s “yes” ushered in the Incarnation of the Lord. At that moment, the eternal Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity took on flesh and became man in time. Every time you and I say “yes” to God’s plan for us, every time we introduce another person to faith in Jesus Christ, we continue the Incarnation.

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Be a Saint - There's Nothing Else

03-17-2019Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

When many people work together toward one goal, the goal is not only accomplished faster and better, but also those working toward the goal grow together in unity. In the holy season of Lent, the entire Mystical Body of Christ – you, me, and the whole Church throughout the world – has entered the spiritual desert with Jesus to fast and pray toward the goal of greater holiness. If done well, our Lenten practices will refine our focus, polish our spiritual life, and free us from persistent sinful habits.

A lady once told me (don’t worry – it was a very long time ago and not at this parish!) that she didn’t like the notion that “holiness” was our goal. She thought no one could understand it, and it didn’t seem very attainable. So she wanted to know what was a different goal she should try. I hated to break it to her, but there isn’t one.

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Into the Desert With Jesus

03-10-2019Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” – St. Matthew 9:15 Into the desert with Jesus we go once again to fast and pray. Why bother? Well, Jesus did it (that should be enough reason), and He gives us instruction on how we should do it (see Matt. 6:16-18). Also, all the great Saints practiced it. “Fasting gives birth to prophets and strengthens the powerful. Fasting is a good safeguard for the soul, a steadfast companion for the body, a weapon for the valiant, and a gymnasium for athletes. Fasting repels temptations, anoints unto piety. In war it fights bravely, in peace it teaches stillness.” – St. Basil the Great
Jesus’ bride, the Church, gives us help. Here are the standards for Catholics in Lent:

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Becoming the Child of God You Are

03-03-2019Pastor's LetterRev. Gregory B. Wilson, VF

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

What a gift and a blessing it was to have Sr. Magdalena and Sr. Mary Avila here for our parish mission! I hope you were able to join us for at least part of the mission. It was a superb preparation for the holy season of Lent. Also, please pray for the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. They are a terrific example of a thriving religious community with around 140 sisters and a median age of 31. Their primary apostolate is teaching in schools. May God continue to bless them, and may their words to us in the parish mission bear great fruit!

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