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JULY 2021

the phi lipian


Eucharistic Adoration

Time Spent in Puts Our Relationship with Jesus First


n Matthew Chapter 26, Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, before His crucifixion. Peter and the two sons of Zebedee fall asleep — Jesus asks them, “So, you could not keep watch with me for one hour?” How fitting it is that we have the opportunity to keep watch with our Lord 24 hours per day, from Tuesday to Saturday, at St. Philip Neri. Eucharistic Adoration means the Blessed Body of Christ is exposed in what’s called a monstrance — the Blessed Body of Christ cannot be left alone when exposed. Back in 2007, John de Jong had a desire to start adoration at our parish. Then, it was held in a room near the offices for a period during the day on Fridays. Over the years, adoration grew one day at a time, and the chapel was added when the new church was built. The program has grown over those years to include overnights, as well. continued on page 2

John de Jong, who helped to start Eucharistic Adoration at our parish


Eucharistic Adoration Puts Our Relationship with Jesus First

continued from front cover

Adoration begins at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and ends before the Saturday Vigil Mass. Many of the hours have two committed adorers. There are about 100 people who commit to at least one hour each week. Tom Torrense and Tony Antonangeli cover most of the overnights, from midnight to 5 a.m. “We are blessed to have so many committed adorers,” says Sabina Fernandez, who coordinates adoration and also covers the Thursday 5 a.m. “Without them, we couldn’t cover all of these hours.” Currently, the chapel is only open to committed adorers, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the threat of the virus has passed, it will be open again for those who’d like to stop in at any time for a few moments. The door has a code and is always kept locked. When the church was closed last year, in the wake of the pandemic, the Adoration Chapel was also closed. On June 14, 2020, the chapel reopened, and committed adorers very much looked forward to returning. “That was hard,” Sabina says. “There were a lot of people who asked to stream adoration. They really missed adoration.” There is always space for more adorers, and Sabina hopes parishioners will consider signing up for an hour — she knows what a blessing adoration has been in her life. In addition, Sabina will help find a substitute if you are not available for your hour on a given week. She has a list of nearly 350 people who she may contact when a substitute is needed or if an hour needs a committed adorer. All of the sign-ups are handled online. Sabina says it would be helpful to have an hour with a friend, so you can cover for one another when needed. For Sabina, being a busy mother of three, adoration is a quiet time that offers a valuable opportunity for personal prayer. If for some reason she can’t attend her hour, she feels Jesus is there waiting for her. “Adoration is a time when Jesus is truly there with us,” Sabina says. Sabina spends her time praying in thanksgiving, then

prays a Rosary, following a meditation from St. Teresa of Calcutta. Parishioners who have a committed hour have found that they grow spiritually, forging a bond with Christ in the Eucharist. “Committing to a slot helps prioritize Christ at the center of our busyness,” says Lara Savage. “Not only are we blessed to receive an hour of quiet reflection and peace in an ever-chaotic world, but we also believe the parish to be honoring God by welcoming Jesus and staying with Him as He dwells among our Church family in a truly present way.” “This is a private time with God,” says Joyce Crabtree, who has been a committed adorer for more than five years. “It has helped me through some challenging times in my life and I am at peace in the chapel.” “It brings comfort and peace of mind,” says Mike Gallagher. “Be candid in your conversations with the Lord. He listens and responds in kind.” Sabina hopes to eventually start Eucharistic Adoration on Mondays. “Adoration is such a blessing to our parish,” Sabina says. “We have people that have been doing this since the beginning.”

Our Adoration Chapel

If you would like to learn more about Eucharistic Adoration, please contact Sabina Fernandez at spnadoration@comporium.net.


A Letter From Our Pastor

What Is the Real Purpose of Our Lives?


o you ever think about your purpose in life? Even as a priest, I certainly do. There are days and times of frustration when I think, “What am I really supposed to do? What does God want me to do? Why am I here?” For eons, philosophers have considered these very questions and written about them. But the truth is that we, as Catholics, already know the answers. When we consider the many facets of life in our parish community, there are numerous activities and endeavors that go beyond attending Mass. From fundraising efforts, to social outreach/service, childcare and more, there are many ways in which we serve our community. Yet, as we undertake these important pursuits — both within and outside of the parish — we must always remember that our ultimate goal is salvation. After all, the only reason we exist, the only reason our Church exists, is the same as the reason Jesus joined us and became a part of us here on earth — He came to save humanity. We use the term the “body of Christ” to describe the Church with Christ as the head. We are all parts of that body, and the parts of the body must move in the same direction as the body itself — it simply won’t function if the parts are moving in different directions. We are all in this together.

When our lives are complete, we do not base our success or failure on how much money we have, or whether or not we are famous. Nor does our success or failure depend upon the difference between health and sickness, or pleasure and pain, or even being nice or nasty. Rather, it is the difference between being saved and not being saved. I often think of my family members who have passed away, and as a priest, I deal with that issue with others on a very regular basis. Sometimes, I wonder if they ever fully realized that salvation was the answer to so many of our questions in life. I am surrounded by memories of those who have gone before, as are almost all of you. We are apt to use the term “the communion of saints” in many ways in our Church. Someday, we will know more about the “communion of saints” and how it all works. In the meantime, we pray for everyone who has gone before us, hoping they have made it home. Pray for me as I pray for you! Sincerely yours in Christ,

Fr. Fabio Refosco, C.O.


Vince & Carrie




here is an old saying that goes, “home is not a place... it’s the people.” When Vince and Carrie Lawrence left their native Chicago suburb in 1999, they could not have imagined how truly at home they would feel in Fort Mill over 20 years later. This abiding sense of place and community is tied inextricably with the couple’s faith home here at St. Philip Neri. Vince and Carrie were born in the same Chicagoarea neighborhood and attended the same parish grammar school. Vince then went to the all-boys Catholic high school while Carrie was a student at the all-girls school. Shortly after they had both graduated, they met at a local sock hop dance. The couple was married in their home parish, and Carrie joined Vince in Puerto Rico, where he was stationed with the U.S. Army. Following Vince’s two years of military service, they returned to the Chicago area. In their small suburb of Elk Grove Village, the Lawrences were known to all as “Vince the Barber” and “Carrie the Lunch Lady.” Between their two highvisibility jobs, they always knew what was happening in the town and school! Vince and Carrie raised their two sons, Tom and John, in Elk Grove. Just over 20 years ago, they moved to the Fort Mill area to be closer to John and his family. Almost a thousand miles from their native Illinois,

the Lawrences discovered St. Philip Neri through an ad in the paper. “It all goes back to when I was looking at the paper and there was a notice of all the church services in the area,” Vince says. “I saw an ad for St. Philip Neri and we drove down and found it. As God would have it, Fr. John [Giuliani] was walking out from a Saturday Baptism and showed us around. That was how it all started.” Having served as a Eucharistic Minister at the couple’s home parish, Vince quickly stepped up to fill the same role here. Carrie began lending her baking skills for various parish activities and events, including the annual Italian Festival. Then, thanks to a chance meeting, the couple became even more involved in parish life. “It turned out that one of our son’s neighbors knew a Catholic couple, Jack and Del Hayes, and wanted to know if we had ever met them,” Vince says. “So, Jack and Del had us for coffee. They were involved with the Pilgrim’s Inn and asked if we wanted to help on their day. Soon we had a day as well, and we helped them and they helped us. That became a very close relationship with them. It got us more involved with St. Philip Neri and we got to know more people.” When the Lawrences later faced a health scare, continued on page 5


Vince and Carrie Lawrence continued from page 4 they turned to their Catholic faith and the support of our parish priests to help them through. Carrie had been diagnosed with colon cancer and was preparing for surgery. Vince asked Fr. John for his prayers and half-jokingly mentioned that if all went well, he would provide his personal barber services to all the priests at St. Philip Neri. Thanks be to God, the surgery was a success — and ever since, Vince has cut and trimmed the hair of all our parish priests! “That is my main way of giving back for what the good Lord gave me and Carrie,” Vince says. “We have been so fortunate over the years. When I look back on our life and think of all the things that have happened, it’s amazing, and I’m very thankful that it’s all worked out the way it has.” This October, the Lawrences will celebrate 66 years of marriage. With immense gratitude for all of life’s blessings, they hope to continue to serve in any way they can as time goes on. “I’m thankful that God brought Vince and I together and that we’ve been married all these years and have a happy marriage,” Carrie says. “I have friends at St. Philip Neri, and I like to bake and take things in there. Just working my way to heaven, I hope!” From a newspaper notice about church services, to the many people who first said “hello” to them across a pew, to the close friendships cultivated while serving together in our parish ministries, Vince and Carrie feel blessed by the faith family they have found at St. Philip Neri. Today, they couldn’t imagine anywhere else they would rather call “home”! “I was ‘Vince the Barber’ in Elk Grove and then came here and nobody knew me and I didn’t know anybody,” Vince says. “We were very ready to go back to Chicago until we got to meet Jack and Del and the others. Things kept multiplying, and we are now home. It all revolves around St. Philip Neri.”

Vince and Carrie Lawrence

“I’m thankful that God brought Vince and I together and that we’ve been married all these years and have a happy marriage. I have friends at St. Philip Neri, and I like to bake and take things in there. Just working my way to heaven, I hope!” — Carrie Lawrence


Traits of the Christian Steward



ach day, we strive to live stewardship in our lives, recognizing our roles as “God’s co-workers” in His creative, redemptive and sanctifying work. But in our quest to live as disciples of Christ, many obstacles often arise. One of the most prevalent roadblocks in living stewardship is understanding the traits that make up a good Christian steward. Surely, it would be much more convenient if we had some sort of “stewardship list” that could lay out the necessary steps to becoming a good steward. Unfortunately, it more often feels like living stewardship is a lifelong journey that we will never fully comprehend. Fortunately, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ pastoral letter on stewardship, Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response, gives some insight into the characteristics that make up a good Christian steward. The Christian steward should display some of the following traits:

Joy — Christian stewards are often presented with difficult obstacles, but they should remain joyful in the face of challenges to their lives of stewardship. Like Paul, the good steward is able to say, “I am filled with encouragement, I am overflowing with joy all the more because of all our affliction” (2 Cor. 7:4). Only by serving with a joyful spirit will stewards fully reap the rewards of their service, both in this life and the next.

Insight — Before the disciples could live what we know as the stewardship way of life, they needed a flash of insight, or a certain way of viewing the world and their relationship to it in a fresh light. This “divine grandeur,” more than anything else, is often what sets people on the path to Christian stewardship (Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response, 39). Conscientiousness — Stewards are fully conscious of their accountability in sharing of their time, talent and treasure. As caretakers of the gifts that God has given them, they have the opportunity and responsibility to use them to their fullest potential to spread God’s Kingdom on Earth (40). Generosity — Christian stewards are generous out of love as well as duty. They should display a desire to share with and care for others based on the sacramental graces they have received. And they are also cognizant of the many warnings that the New Testament presents to those who fail in charity and authentic love (40).

Indeed, living as a Christian steward is a lifelong journey with many ups and downs along the way. But if we strive to consciously incorporate each of these characteristics into our giving of time, talent and treasure, we will find that the responsibilities oaf a good Christian steward will become much clearer with each experience of service.


Rose Garden Guild Ministry Fosters the Beauty of Our Church While Honoring St. Therese


visit to a saint’s shrine — and the scent of roses — led to the founding of our beautiful rose garden, cared for by our Rose Garden Guild Ministry. The rose garden is a peaceful sanctuary on our church campus, often visited by those seeking a tranquil place for prayer, and for joyous wedding parties looking for a beautiful place to photograph their momentous day. The garden draws compliments from parishioners and nonparishioners alike. The rose garden has its origins in a pilgrimage in 2016 to the Canton, Ohio, shrine of St. Therese of Lisieux. Fr. Giuliani, then our Pastor, led the trip that included Joe Knippenberg and his wife. The shrine is a simple cottage once owned by Rhoda Wise, a Catholic convert, who became a stigmatist and who dedicated her life to St. Therese, known for her love of roses. “We visited it, and became so impressed with the simple things Rhoda left,” Joe says. “When I entered the cottage, I didn’t know much about St. Therese, and her connection with roses during her lifetime. She was a simple Carmelite nun who became a nun at age 15 and somehow was connected with roses. “When I entered this simple cottage, I smelled roses,” Joe adds. “I looked around and there was a bouquet on a sideboard, but the flowers were artificial. I asked one of the guides whether they were using a rose scent. She said, ‘No, why?’ I told her I smelled roses.

The beautiful rose garden planted and maintained by our Rose Garden Guild Ministry is dedicated to St. Therese of Lisieux, whose statue centers the garden.

She asked, ‘Do you know anything about St. Therese? If you smelled roses, St. Therese has something for you to do.’ That’s how I got involved. I needed to become more active in spreading the life of St. Therese.” On the bus ride home, the 20 other pilgrims decided to establish a rose garden at the church. The group began to collect money from our parishioners, and their

generosity enabled the project to get underway. The new ministry ordered a Carrera marble statue of St. Therese from Italy and hired a rose garden nursery to plant the roses. There were 72 rose bushes initially planted, and the garden became a reality in 2017. “I became the coordinator of the Rose Garden Guild, and there are 24 people who do the regular continued on back cover

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Rose Garden Guild Ministry continued from page 7 ‘deadheading’ of the roses,” Joe says. “The 24 are divided into 12 teams of two each, and I set up the schedule annually. Each team works once a month.” As the project was in its early stages, Joe received an apparent message from St. Therese that the rose garden was important to our parish. “My wife and I were on our way from the parking lot to the sanctuary for Mass on a winter Saturday evening,” Joe says. “Our rose garden was dormant at that time. All of a sudden, I saw rose petals on the path to church. I mentioned this to my wife, ‘Where did they come from?’” When they reached the church, the couple met several friends in the vestibule, and Joe asked them if they had seen the petals. They had not. There were no petals, they said. “But I saw them,” Joe says. “I don’t know where they came from. There were no roses in church, and no one had brought roses up the path. But St. Therese had said of the time of her death, ‘I

will let fall from heaven a shower of roses.’ That strengthened my resolve to make sure the rose garden was a success.” The simple life of St. Therese and her firm faith made an impact on Joe. As he is working in the garden, he feels drawn closer to Christ, thanks to St. Therese. He has made note of St. Therese’s writings — termed “simple,” but significant enough to earn St. Therese the designation as a Doctor of the Church. She is the youngest receiving that designation, despite her lack of a theological education. She died in 1924, and, as she foretold, there was a shower of roses at the convent. She was canonized May 17, 1925. New Rose Garden Guild Ministry members are always welcome. Those wanting to join or who would like more information may call Joe Knippenberg at 803-400-3838.

Profile for Catholic Stewardship Consultants

The Philipian, A Publication of St. Philip Neri Catholic Church — July 2021  

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