From the Pastor’s Desk:
Just seven weeks ago, we bid Father West farewell, and in only a few days, we’ll see Deacon Andrew off to return for his final year of Seminary in Houston. In one sense their departures reminds us that many will pass through our hallowed doors while at-tending College or university, serving in our Armed Forces or simply working for a while in the local area. We always hope that all who pass through will have found a warm welcome and opportunities to have deepened their faith in Jesus Christ while with us and leave with fond memories, too.
Like many of you who have had the opportunity to meet Deacon Andrew, I have greatly appreciated his maturity, quick-studied and warm nature as well as his great work ethic. If Deacon Andrew is a foretaste of the quality of seminarians studying for the priesthood for our Diocese, I have even greater hopes for the future! Thankfully, eleven men will join the eight or so already in Seminary for the Diocese of Charleston, a number that we can only pray will continue to grow. I pray that, in the not too distant future, they may be joined by young men from our parish!
We fete Deacon Andrew after today’s 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Masses and he leaves us on Friday morning to join the Bishop and his fellow seminarians for an evening gathering. If you see him, please tell him how much you’ve appreciated his service and as-sure him of your prayers as he completes his preparation for ordination to the priesthood next summer.
In addition to saying farewell, we have also had the joy of welcoming two new members of our parish staff. Dr. Andy Kotylo, our new Organist and Choirmaster, joined us on July 1. He has already proven to be a delight to work with and a master of hymnody on the organ. We’ll be testing his flexibility over the next five weeks as he plays the piano for our Masses in lieu of the organ. I am also thrilled to have Mr. Louis Melendez join us part-time as our Hispanic Ministries Coordinator. Originally from Puerto Ri-co, Louis will help me to address the many sacramental and educational needs of our Spanish parishioners. We’ll welcome Andy and his family as well as Louis and his wife at some point in August.
Last Saturday and Sunday, we also welcomed six children into the Church through the Sacrament of Baptism. What a joy to see continual growth in our parish family and the many young children and their parents participating at Mass. At our Spanish Mass we have the custom of inviting all present to come forward and welcome the newly baptized and their families immediately fol-lowing the baptisms. I began this custom when I was stationed in Japan and realized that most families rarely had the joy of hav-ing family members present given the cost and distance of travel. By having the parish family come forward, we created a greater sense of warmth that overcame the absence of parents and often god-parents too. Perhaps one day we’ll try this at an English Mass even though it might add a few minutes to our celebration.
You’ll note by the scaffolding, we’re in preservation season at Saint Peter’s. There’s a lot to be re-plastered and the ceiling is the greatest and most costly challenge. Hopefully, we can finish the ceiling next summer before focusing on the walls which are easier and less expensive to do. Altogether, this summer’s work on re-pointing the back wall in the cemetery as well as the chimney in the rear of the church and the re-plastering of the rear of the Nave among other things will cost us in excess of $250,000. We hope to have all of this work accomplished before our 200th Anniversary in 2021. Of course, your generosity will make this possible.
While this summer has been both extremely hot and busy for us at Saint Peter’s, I hope all of you will find time to relax in the next few weeks before life picks up and school starts up again.
Fr. Gary S. Linsky
The Very Rev’d Canon Gary S. Linsky, V.F.