the phi lipian
A P U B L I C AT I O N O F S T . P H I L I P N E R I C AT H O L I C C H U R C H
Italian Festival Volunteers Make Event a Success A Great Opportunity to Engage in Stewardship and Fellowship
he Italian Festival is the quintessential community fellowship event at St. Philip Neri. Over the course of three days, we are able to share our happiness in God’s abundance and love, extending our celebration to 2022 auction Vendor fair include the whole community. It takes hundreds of volunteer hours both in the days and weeks leading up to the festival and at the event itself to ensure success. For this year’s Italian Festival, Kelly Gunnels ran the silent and live auctions, and Sandi Trabert was tasked with handling the vendor fair. Gloria Izral and Jada Dunn also helped Sandi. Like all of the Italian Festival volunteer positions, the live and silent auction event and the artisan/ vendor fair require work to make them run smoothly. The vendor fair had 62 displays. The silent and live auctions included more than 200 items. For this year’s Italian Festival, Kelly moved the auction format to online bidding, so even people not in attendance could bid on their favorite items. “The online format worked really well,” she says. “I think it will get better each year.” continued on page 5
Living According to God’s Will Forming a Conscience and Moral Code
s Christians, it is important that we recognize the difference between right and wrong — both morally and ethically. Sometimes, though, this line can become blurred. Many situations we encounter in our lives include variables that can leave us internally conflicted and unsure of how to move forward in accordance with God’s will. So, how do we work through these moral conundrums? One way is to develop a solid Christian conscience. A moral conscience exists in the heart of every individual. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “When he listens to his conscience, the prudent man can hear God speaking. Conscience is a judgment of reason whereby the human person recognizes the moral quality of a concrete act that he is going to perform, is in the process of performing, or has already completed” (1777, 1778). Think of your conscience as the “angelic” version of yourself sitting on your shoulder, giving you sound advice. While everyone is blessed with a conscience, each individual has a responsibility to develop this conscience from the time they are young. Parents obviously play an important role in developing their children’s consciences. As the primary educators of their children on ethical issues and the Catholic faith, parents have a responsibility to teach virtue
to their children and help them to avoid fear, selfishness, and pride. As we grow older, we take on the lifelong challenge of continually forming our own consciences, and establishing a moral code that enables us to make the proper judgments. One valuable tool in forming a conscience is the practice of introspection. “It is important for every person to be sufficiently present to himself in order to hear and follow the voice of his conscience” (CCC 1779). In contemporary society, where there are so many distractions and routines, it is extremely important that we take the time to look inward and truly listen to what our inner voice is telling us. Another way to ensure we are developing a good moral code is by conforming to the mind of Christ. God the Father gave us Christ, physically present on this earth and recorded in Sacred Scripture, as the ultimate example of what to do and how to behave according to God’s will. In turn, when we act in loving imitation of Christ, we are certain to make practical judgments of conscience. The next time you are faced with a moral dilemma, take some quiet time to look inward, weigh the positive and negative outcomes, and listen to the voice of your conscience. Read the Gospels for examples of Christ’s teachings. By making this a regular practice, you will find that the voice of your conscience will come in louder and more clearly than you may have initially expected.
The next time you are faced with a moral dilemma, take some quiet time to look inward, weigh the positive and negative outcomes, and listen to the voice of your conscience. Read the Gospels for examples of Christ’s teachings. By making this a regular practice, you will find that the voice of your conscience will come in louder and more clearly than you may have initially expected.
A Letter From Our Pastor
Understanding the Gift of
t may seem hard to believe, but summer is just about over! Some of us are trying to squeeze in that one last vacation or sit outside for just a few more minutes. But for the most part, we’ve started to transition back into the swing of fall. How has this happened? Wasn’t it just yesterday the kids were getting out of school and the sun decided to show its beautiful face again? I once heard from a psychologist that time seems to pass more quickly as we get older because we’re experiencing fewer “firsts.” When we’re continually experiencing new things, time tends to stand still while we’re living them. After we’ve repeated those events numerous times, they don’t faze us much anymore — and before we know it, months have passed, seasons have changed, and it’s time to start the annual cycle again. Yet, we should not allow our time to be something that simply evades our grasp, trickling through our fingers. After all, time itself — every moment on this earth — is a gift from God. We each have 24 hours today and seven days this week to use however we please. Not one of us gets more time than another. At the end of this summer, there is cause to look back and see how we chose to use our time these last few months. Did we set aside time to pray? Have we set aside time to serve others? Did we devote time each day to serve God? When we assess the use of our time, we must make a spiritual examination: “Have I been a good steward of the time given to me?” Maybe now is a good time to make some changes in our lives and get more involved. There is no better time than right now to seek out ways to serve God, our parish, and those around us. This is what it means to be a good steward! As the lazy days of summer give way to the busyness of fall, remember to keep God in your hearts, in your minds, and on your tongue as we continue our stewardship journey as a parish family. Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Fabio Refosco, C.O.
Parish Italian F Long-Awaite
Bringing Togethe Efforts of All Festival Volunteers
his year, the Italian Festival was certainly one for the books! Held on May 19-21, it was the first back-to-normal festival since 2019 — the festival was canceled in 2020 and scaled back in 2021 due to the pandemic. Yet, even as our community celebrated the return of the full festival, a severe storm arrived suddenly on Saturday afternoon. Attendees had to be rushed inside, while there was some damage to vendor booths, the main stage and other areas on the festival grounds. But Chair Jim Funk and Co-Chair Tim Gunnels didn’t let that dampen their spirits, and they tried to keep things very similar to before the pandemic and enjoyed the welcome relief of a “normal” Italian Festival. This year’s festival cleared about $50,000. Most of the money raised from the event goes to the parish growth and expansion fund, and 10 percent goes to a local charity — this year, Oratory Ministries was the beneficiary. Jim has been involved with the Italian Festival for at least 10 years, having handled everything from ticket sales to working with suppliers and vendors on items for the event. He has also helped make food for many years. “The food is by far my favorite part of the Italian Festival,” Jim says. “The homemade Italian meatballs are just fantastic.” Having served as Co-Chair, Tim will serve as Chair for next year’s Italian Festival. He has enjoyed all his past opportunities to serve and looks forward to this new role in 2023. Tim received a cancer diagnosis in 2005 and since then, has worked hard to make a positive impact. Helping with the Italian Festival is just one way he serves.
“It’s gratifying to look back and consider accomplishments,” he says. “But it’s more gratifying to look at others and consider the positive influence on them and how they will further make a positive impact.” Tim and Jim agree that the Italian Festival is just as much about building community as it is about fundraising. “At the Italian Festival, we welcome the community to come to check us out and learn about us,” Jim says. “We want them to have fun and eat a lot of great food. We want to make sure we are being good stewards.” “The Italian Festival has the potential for a huge impact on the community beyond the Parish,” Tim says. “As a parish, we have the opportunity to bring the community to our little slice of Italy and show them what we are all about. It’s a chance to evangelize and invite so many people into the parish and to become a part of our community.” All Italian Festival volunteers have committed to doing what needs to be done to make a successful event. Tim and Jim believe it’s part of being a member at St. Philip Neri. They ask all parishioners to consider how they can help, whether serving on the leadership team or giving two hours of your time during the festival. “There is no more important community fellowship event we have at our parish than this,” Jim says. “In order to make this a successful event for everyone who comes to our parish grounds, we all have to step forward to help.” “The Italian Festival is an essential part of the St. Philip Neri Parish,” Tim adds. “The festival is a chance to bring the energy and efforts of all parishioners together and focus on a common goal.”
Festival Makes ed Comeback
er the Energy and Parishioners Festival vendors
Tim and Jim extend their gratitude to all those who have worked hard to make the Italian Festival what it is today, and they look forward to a successful event in 2023. “What I love the most is working with a great team
of people in a worthy cause toward a worthy mission,” Tim says. “It takes a huge effort to execute the Italian Festival, but it’s fun to work hard with so many great people. I ask all parishioners to consider helping as much as they are comfortable with.”
Italian Festival Volunteers continued from front cover Sandi worked hard on securing new vendors. “With the volunteer help that I had, everything went so smoothly,” Sandi says. This was the first year that Sandi took a lead role in the Italian Festival. She stepped in right before last year’s event to help. Sandi moved to Fort Mill about two years ago and wanted to meet people after the separations brought forth during the pandemic. “I needed to get involved for something to do and find people to talk to,” Sandi says. “It was really great and gave me a chance to meet people. I met some really nice people.” Kelly ran the auction for many years but took a break starting in 2015. Her husband, Tim, will serve as Chair of the 2023 Festival, so she stepped forward to help. Kelly thanks Gary Champa for all his work starting and paving the way for a successful live and silent auction. “We wouldn’t have half of what we have now without him,” Kelly says. “It’s successful because he got it started.” Both Kelly and Sandi have enjoyed the opportunity to serve at the Italian Festival. They
hope more parishioners will consider giving their time to help for future festivals — it’s not only a way to give back to the parish, but it’s also a lot of fun. There is always a need for more volunteers — the more the merrier! “This is a great way to meet people,” Kelly says. “You can get to know other parishioners who go to a different Mass than you.” Sandi wants to make sure everyone knows how their volunteer time is appreciated. The vendors at the Italian Festival take notice. “The vendors love our festival because we are really good stewards,” Kelly says. “They are happy to come back year after year.”
Please consider how you can get involved in the 2023 Italian Festival — it’s a great way to engage in both stewardship and fellowship! Be sure to watch for sign-up slots next spring. Every hour matters when it comes to this large community outreach event.
The Faith Journey of
eing a performer and a comedian may sound like a fun way to make a living. St. Genesius, an outstanding actor, playwright and comedian in late Imperial Rome, certainly did have some fun for a while. But his career and life came to an abrupt end when his work ultimately led him to Christ. Genesius was a comedian of some renown, but in the fourth century, Christians were often discouraged from becoming actors because ancient Roman comedy was highly sexual, crude and offensive. In the year 303, Emperor Diocletian launched what would be the last great Roman persecution against the Christian Church. So, Genesius used the persecution as an opportunity to write a comedy about Christianity. He thought it might attract the attention of the Emperor, increase his fame, and make him some money in the process. Genesius approached leaders of the Christian community in Rome and presented himself as a catechumen seeking Baptism. He was then invited into a period of instruction in the faith, in order to learn the beliefs of the Christians. He was particularly taken by the idea of Baptism. But at the time, he had no plans to convert to the faith — it was all just a part of his plan to research new material to use for his comedy. But a strange thing happened to Genesius as he began to work on his play, which was to be a comedy on Baptism. As Genesius began teaching the other actors about Baptism, he began to believe, and a desire to be baptized grew within his heart. The opening night of the play was a great success, with Emperor Diocletian in attendance. But at some
point during the play, the Holy Spirit touched Genesius. He was no longer acting. “You fools, I wish to die a Christian,” Genesius said. When the other actors asked him why, he said, “All my life I have been a fugitive, and only today have I found God.” Everyone, especially Emperor Diocletian, laughed as Genesius spoke. Genesius, standing in a pulpit designed to look like the goddess Venus, began to preach to the audience. He told the crowd how he once hated Christians and enjoyed insulting them. He told the crowd how he deserted his own family as a child because they were Christians. From there, Genesius addressed Diocletian, stating that he wrote the play to mock Christians, but had been converted on the spot during the course of the play, by the power of the Holy Spirit. “I now know that the Lord Jesus Christ is the true God, the Light, the Truth and the Mercy of all who have received His gift of Baptism,” Genesius said. “O great Emperor, believe in these mysteries! I will teach you, and you will know the Lord Jesus Christ is the true God.” Diocletian was furious and stopped the play, having the troupe arrested and beaten, while Genesius was condemned to torture. Through all of his sufferings, he continued to confess that Jesus was God. When this failed to break his spirit, Diocletian ordered Genesius be beheaded. His final words were, “Our Lord Jesus Christ is God and we shall have life in His name.” St. Genesius is the patron of comedians and actors. His feast day is Aug. 25.
POPE ST. PIUS X: A Modern Traditionalist
n Aug. 21, the Church commemorates the feast of a great saint — St. Pius X, the peasant boy who became the Vicar of Christ. St. Pius X is a wonderful saint for our times because he effectively and definitively worked for a balance between upholding the Tradition and Faith of the Church and adapting to the Modern Age. St. Pius X — Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto — was born in 1835, one of eight children in an impoverished peasant family. He pursued God’s call on him to the priesthood from an early age. Even as a young priest, he possessed great personal and pastoral skills. In addition to his deep holiness and virtue, St. Pius had a passion for defending and preserving the truth of the faith, which he carried with him into his pontificate. As pope, he gave as his motto: “Instaurare Omnia in Christo” — “to restore all things in Christ” — a mission proclaimed not a moment too soon. Already in Europe, secular governments, social institutions, and the mass media were driving the faith out of public life and education, all the while upholding individual freedom — understood as unlimited license — as the ultimate good. Worst of all, these philosophies had made their way into the minds of many clergy and Catholic laity, who claimed that modern science had discredited many dogmas of the Church. They proposed a new Christianity based what they called the “religious experience,” a
continually changing and evolving human experience that would in turn continually transform the meaning of Catholic teachings. The problem was that the new teachings proposed by these modernists contradicted the very foundations of the faith established by Jesus Christ.
Fortunately, the Holy Father saw through the modern theories immediately and exposed the false doctrines, all the while acting with extreme discretion and pastoral charity. Pope Pius X reminded us that God, the Author of both faith and continued on back cover
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POPE ST. PIUS X: A Modern Traditionalist continued from page 7 reason, and in Whom there is no contradiction, cannot allow science and true religion to contradict. Moreover, he declared that all the essential teachings of the Catholic faith and of Scripture could be defended rationally, and he encouraged the faithful to study the faith and read the Scriptures daily. While Pius X spent much of his pontificate defending Catholic dogma from the threat of Modernism, he recognized the need for legitimate modern reforms within the Church. For instance, he initiated the codification of Canon Law, because the laws of the Church had little organization up to that time. He reformed
the administrative offices of the Church. He also reformed the Liturgical Calendar, giving precedence back to the Sunday liturgies, which were too often being trumped by celebration of the daily saint’s feast. Pius X initiated a renewal in liturgical music, as well, bringing back Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony to their primary place within the liturgy. Two of this saint’s most noted acts are reassigning the time of First Communion of children to the age of reason (about 7 years), and advising and promoting daily Communion, saying, “Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to heaven.”