Summer Camps 2024!

Summer Camps 2024!

  • All are welcome to Summer Art Camp with Marilyn Alber.  A great way to start your summer and get creative. Registration deadline is Friday, 28 May. No refunds given after 29 May.  Registration forms are available here or by emailing Marilyn Alber at
    • Two weeks to choose from [6/10- 6/14] or [6/17 – 6/21] for students entering 1st – 8th.  (Limit 10 students per session)
    • Classes are held for 2 hours a day Monday through Friday. (Students 1st-3rd (10a-12p) (Students 4th-8th (1p-3p)).
    • Fees for one week session is $190 (materials provided).
    • Classes will be held in the Walsingham Building – Art Room.
  • Dribble for Destiny Summer Basketball Camp is 15-17 July from 9a-12p for ages 8-13 boys and girls. Fee: $119 includes free t-shirt and ball; 2 ball dribbling, passing, shooting, ball handling, video, daily contests, and daily devotions. THIS IS A 3 DAY CAMP. SIGN UP AND PAY NOW TO RESERVE YOUR SPOT. See registration form.
  • Our annual Summer Choral Theatre for rising 3rd – 8th graders will be held Monday, 10 June through Friday, 14 June with a performance on Saturday, 15 June. This half-day camp runs 9.30a-12.30p, and includes singing, acting, and basic choreography, as well as snacks and games. This year’s show will be Rescue in the Night, a comedic retelling of the story of Daniel in the Lions’ Den. To register, please complete the form (also available in the parish and school offices) and return it to the parish office with payment. Program fee is $70 per child, $190 family maximum. Deadline for registration is 15 May.
  • Prince of Peace VBS 2024 will be 8-12 July 2024. Our theme for this summer’s VBS is Saints and the Eucharist. Students need to bring a bagged lunch, Monday-Thursday and a pizza lunch will be provided on Friday afternoon (new this year–parents will be invited on Friday for our lunch AND a brief showcase of the songs our students have learned during the week). We will have our traditional water day fun on Friday afternoon after the showcase.  Registration forms are only available by contacting Registration Fee per child – $40/ Family Maximum Fee $110
    • Our youth evening program for students entering grade 7th-12th, will start on Sunday evening (7 July) and end on Thursday evening and will run from 6-7:30p nightly.
Advent Confession Times

Advent Confession Times

Our normal schedule of Wednesdays 5-6p and Saturdays 3.30-4.30p. In addition, the following are added for Advent:

  • Sunday, 17 Dec 7.30-9p
  • Monday, 18 Dec 5-7p
  • Tuesday, 19 Dec 7-9a, 11a-2p, 5-9p
  • Wednesday, 20 Dec 7-9a, 11a-2p, 5-9p
  • Thursday, 21 Dec 7-9a, 11a-2p, 5-9p
  • Friday, 22 Dec 5-7p
  • Saturday, 23 Dec 11a-2p & 3.30-4.30p

Confession before Christmas is encouraged in Catholicism to purify the soul and embrace the spiritual renewal symbolized by Jesus’ birth. It allows believers to reflect, seek forgiveness, and reconcile with God, fostering a deeper connection to the essence of Christmas. By acknowledging shortcomings and receiving absolution, one enters the season with a cleansed spirit, ready to embrace the significance of Christ’s arrival. It embodies the spirit of repentance and prepares the heart to fully appreciate the transformative message of hope, love, and redemption that Christmas represents, fostering a meaningful and spiritually fulfilling celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Join us for Compline during Advent!

Join us for Compline during Advent!

Join us for Compline on the Sundays of Advent, 3 December – 17 December, at 7p.

The official public night prayer of the Church’s Liturgy of the Hours, Compline is a time where we gather as Christians to examine our conscience, sing psalms with their proper antiphons, and listen to the Word of God.  The highlight of the service is the Anthem to Our Lady, in which we process to the Lady Altar and the faithful are sprinkled with Holy Water.

The Seminary Process for Dummies

The Seminary Process for Dummies

Seminarian talk can often sound like its own language, since seminary is so unique, and usually the only people who understand it perfectly are the ones who have been seminarians. For this reason, I have written a quick Everything-You’d-Ever-Want-to-Know-About-Seminary.

Basic Requirements
To qualify to be considered to be a Catholic seminarian, one must be a single, Catholic male of at least eighteen years of age. Oftentimes there is not an age limit on the men entering, as the oldest seminarian studying for the diocese right now is 62.

Who the Seminarian Studies For
A seminarian is always studying either for a diocese, a particular see tasked with parishes over a certain geographical area, e.g. the Catholic Diocese of Charleston oversees all of the Catholic parishes in the state of South Carolina, or a religious order, a group of priests, brothers, and/or sisters who live in community, take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and have their own particular charism, or work. For example, the Dominicans are a religious order of priests whose charism is preaching. Once a seminarian is accepted by a particular diocese or religious order, his education is typically all paid for by that diocese or order.

The Application Process
The application for seminary is notably thorough and lengthy. First, a candidate must reach out to his vocation director, a priest given the job of interviewing candidates, to speak with him and let him know he is interested in seminary. If he commits to applying, the director will give him a list of things he needs to get done. The requirements depend on who he is applying for. However, A seminary application almost always includes references from friends, family, and coworkers, an autobiography, a psychological evaluation (this one is particularly joked about in the seminary because everyone has had to go through the weirdness of the psych eval), and a health physical. There is also usually an interview of some kind, which may just be with the vocations director. However, the Diocese of Charleston interviews candidates with a board of the bishop, the vocations director, as well as priests, religious, and lay expects from around the diocese. This is not as common but is sort of unique to our smaller diocese.

Seminarians Today
In recent decades, the men entering the Catholic seminary have come from more and more diverse backgrounds. There are eighteen-year-olds entering right out of high school, college students transferring in to finish their undergrad (such as myself), men entering right out of college, men entering after a few years in the workforce (which is probably the most common), but then even men entering the seminary after having already worked several careers over many years (these men are typically called late vocations), oftentimes never having married,
sometimes having being widowed, and even in some cases having been divorced. Most of them are born Catholic, but still some are converts, and some may have even been away from the Church for a time and struggled with serious sin. The diocese when considering an applicant only looks at if the man is devoutly practicing his faith now and has done so in a stable way for at least a few years. His family is also normally Catholic and supportive, but could just as well be non-Catholics who are bitterly opposed to his decision. What is important to know is that seminarians are not perfect men who grew up in perfect settings. They are otherwise normal men, except that at one point or another they felt a call from God to serve Him in the Catholic priesthood.

Where the Seminarian is Sent
Once a seminarian is accepted and needs to be sent for studies, his diocese or order must send him somewhere to do his formation and studies. This mostly comes down to the closest seminaries and which the bishop and vocations director prefer. For a diocese to have its own seminary, it must have the money, the available priests to serve as formators, and the amount of seminarians to sustain the seminary. Typically, only big dioceses have their own seminary, and only the largest have seminaries for both college and theology. Because of this, many seminarians will have to attend at least two seminaries before ordination.

The Diocese of Charleston is particularly spontaneous with where it sends seminarians because there are no seminaries close by. The closest is the newly-opened St. Joseph College Seminary in Charlotte, but it currently only has Diocese of Charlotte seminarians. Other than that, some of the closest seminaries would be in Ohio, Maryland, Indiana, DC, or Pennsylvania. As you can see, pretty much all the options for the Diocese of Charleston are not close. This upcoming year, ten seminarians will be studying theology at St. Vincent Seminary in Latrobe, PA, five will be doing either Propaedeutic, philosophy, or theology at St. Vincent de Paul in Boynton Beach, FL, four will be doing either propaedeutic or philosophy at St. John Vianney in Miami, FL, and one will be doing philosophy at Theological College in Washington DC (yours truly), for a total of twenty seminarians.

Some things the diocese may look at in a seminary other than its proximity are how strict or loose the formation is, how good the priest formators are at the seminary, how liturgy is done and taught, how much it emphasizes learning Spanish and Hispanic culture, how good the academics are, how much it emphasizes learning Latin, if the classes are taken in-house or at a co-ed university, or how much it costs to send a seminarian there. Each diocese has its own specific needs for future priests to meet.

Studies and Process
The Catholic Church mandates that for a man to become an ordained priest, he must study first philosophy, then theology. In the Diocese of Charleston, the seminary process has always been about 6-8 years: 2-4 years of philosophy and 4 years of theology. However, the United States Bishops decided in 2022 to mandate a year of prayer and service called “The Propaedeutic Year,” before a seminarian goes full force into studies. This change goes into effect August 2023 and makes the formation process now 7-9 years at the minimum.

Once entering studies, a seminarian will take one of the following paths: If you are entering out of high school, you must study philosophy for four years as your major in college to get your undergraduate degree. For transfers, you will just need whatever amount of time left to finish undergrad with a major in philosophy, which of course may put you behind your original graduation date. If you already have an undergraduate degree, then you study philosophy for two years, which is sort of like getting a graduate degree, but since the classes are undergraduate, it typically doesn’t equate to anything in the real working world other than a certificate. Studying philosophy is one feature that makes Catholic seminary unique, since Protestant denominations don’t require philosophy. However, the Catholic Church still firmly believes philosophy is necessary to gain a solid ground in thinking and reasoning in order to study Sacred Theology.

Regardless of how one does philosophy, each seminarian must study theology for four years afterwards to get a theology degree, usually in the US it is what’s called a Masters in Divinity. Theology studies are mostly intellectually centered but also include some practical how-to classes on things like Baptism and Confession. When the seminarian has finished the first three years, and the seminary and diocese both decide he is ready, he is ordained a deacon. After the fourth and final year of theology, he is ordained a priest.

What I have just laid out is a pretty typical seminary process. However, many exceptions may come into play, such as if the seminarian is studying for a religious order. Additionally, many dioceses mandate what’s called a pastoral year during theology, in which a seminarian works in a parish for a year to gain some experience of what that’s like. For those dioceses, the now 8-10 years.

At the Seminary

The seminarian must live in a seminary institution, in which he lives with other seminarians, often from other dioceses, in a building set for that purpose. The seminary usually has its own kitchen, cafeteria, library, work-out room, classrooms, and conference rooms. Each seminarian typically has his own room, although the living situation of course depends on the seminary. At the seminary, he is obliged to attend Mass and some communal prayers every day. Other than the Mass each seminary prays the Liturgy of the Hours together, which is prayed by religious sisters, brothers, and priests, as well as diocesan priests, deacons, and any others who may pick it up around the globe. No matter where you are or what language, the readings and psalms for a particular hour on a particular day are the same. There are five different hours to be prayed in a day, but the most important are Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer, so they are usually the ones prayed in community.

A seminary may be a completely self-operating institution, in which all the classes are taught in- house, the professors are employed by the seminary, the seminarians only take classes with other seminarians, and the seminary offers the degrees. Or, it may offer no classes of its own, but have a nearby co-ed university where the seminarians take all of their classes along with non- seminarians.

One common misconception is people think that if a man is in seminary then he is going to for sure be a priest. However, it cannot be stressed enough that seminary is a process, and part of the daily life of a seminarian is praying to discern the call. Just like in dating and marriage, you just don’t know for sure if a man is going to stay in or out until he is up there on the altar. When someone leaves the seminary, it’s called discerning out. I have heard of one man who discerned out during his first week of orientation at the seminary, and I have also heard of men who have discerned out right before being ordained a deacon. Seminarians in college are especially known to discern out, as usually rates of around 50% of college seminarians are not ordained priests. We shouldn’t be too surprised at this, since these seminarians are young and college age people are known to change majors and career paths rather rapidly. Usually seminarians entering after college and especially seminarians in theology tend to stay in seminary and have much higher rates of ordination. But this goes to show that the men studying to be priests are completely and totally free to stay or leave at any time.

A formation staff of priests lives at the seminary and oversees the formation of the seminarians. These priests often come from the diocese that owns the seminary.The seminarian meets with one priest, a spiritual director, who hears about his spiritual and moral life in confidentiality and is not allowed to say anything about the seminarian to others. The seminarian also has regular meetings with a second priest, a formation advisor, who talks with the faculty and helps to evaluate the seminarian’s progress. A seminarian does have to be asked back to return each year to the seminary, and it is possible he is forced out by the faculty. This, of course, is more rare and most seminarians leave on their own.

The United States Bishops have for a while set out four dimensions of formation: intellectual, pastoral, human, and spiritual. The Catholic seminary is unique in that it focuses on growth in every aspect of the seminarian’s life. Many Protestant denominations only require intellectual studies, but do not have a set living space where the potential minister is evaluated daily in their personal growth. It is not uncommon to hear a seminarian say that he picked up on some ordinary practical skill while living in the seminary, such as cooking, video editing, lifting weights, etc. I myself learned Spanish in the seminary without having taken an academic class for it there.

From the Diocese of Charleston

  • Jan 12-14, 2024 — Men’s Discernment Retreat at Camp Gravatt in Aiken
  • Feb 2-4, 2024 — Men’s Seminary Come & See
  • Feb 24, 2024 — Women’s Day of Discernment in Columbia
  • May 24, 2024 — Four seminarians are set to be ordained deacons, 6 p.m. at St. Joseph Church in Columbia
  • June 7, 2024 — Two deacons to be ordained priests, 6 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston

Interest in the priesthood, diaconate and religious life is increasing in our diocese! Please continue fostering the openness to serve God and his people. The most fruitful environments for religious vocations are always with faithful priests celebrating reverent liturgies with quality music. In addition, let us promote prayer time in front of the Blessed Sacrament and invite young people to take those graces out to serve the people of God.

If we can be of any assistance in resources or information, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Rev Rhett B Williams, Director of Vocations, by email at

Octave of Christmas

Sunday, 24 December-Christmas Eve

  • 4p Family Mass (English) with the Children’s Choir *livestreamed on YouTube and Facebook
  • 6p Vigil Mass (English) with the Youth Choir

Monday, 25 December-Christmas Day

  • 12a Solemn Midnight Mass (Latin) with the St Cecilia Choir, Music begins at 11.30p
  • 10a Solemn Mass (English)

Tuesday, 26 December-Holy Family

  • no Mass

Wednesday, 27 December– Blessing of Wine

  • 9a Daily Mass

Thursday, 28 December-Blessing of Children

  • 9a daily Mass

Friday, 29 December

  • 9a Daily Mass

Saturday, 30 December

  • no Mass

Sunday, 31 December-New Years Eve

  • 5p Sung Vigil Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God

Monday, 1 January- New Years Day – Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God

  • 10a
  • 12p Low Mass of the Circumcision (EF)

Tuesday, 2 January

  • no Mass
Advent & Christmas

Advent & Christmas

The Christmas season is a time for holiday cheer, friends and family. As Catholic Christians, we have a unique way of celebrating Jesus, Who is the reason for our season. 


  • Confession before Christmas is encouraged in Catholicism to purify the soul and embrace the spiritual renewal symbolized by Jesus’ birth. “Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin, all hope consists in confession; in confession there is a chance for mercy.” -St. Isidore of Seville
  • Attend Rorate Mass, a traditional Catholic Advent service celebrated before dawn, focusing on the anticipation of Christ’s birth, often lit only by candlelight. See the schedule here.
  • End your Sunday with Compline. Compline is the final prayer service in the Liturgy of the Hours, traditionally observed before bedtime to seek peace and protection through psalms, prayers, and reflections. See the schedule here.
  • Spend time before our Lord present in the Eucharist in the Christ the King Adoration Chapel. Learn more.
  • Pray the St Andrew’s Christmas Novena 15 times a day from 30 November until Christmas.
  • Visit the Advent Market on Saturday, 2 December where The Great Nativity will be unveiled and will remain open for visitors through the Christmas season. Learn more.
  • Bring your Christ child figurine for a Blessing of the Bambinelli at all Sunday Mass times on 3 December. This tradition was first instituted by St. John Paul II! Each year, the children of Rome are encouraged to bring the baby Jesus (Bambinelli) from each of their Nativity sets to St. Peter’s Square. Following the Sunday Angelus address, the Pope blesses the figurines. This Advent tradition is a way for children to connect their Nativity scene at home to the celebration of Christmas at their church.
  • Put up a Nativity Scene. In Advent, the three wisemen should be stationed far away from the central figures of Mary and Joseph. And the Baby Jesus too should not be displayed yet. As Advent unfolds, day by day have someone – ideally a small child – in your family move the wisemen closer to the Holy Family. On Christmas Eve, put the Baby Jesus in the manger and say the traditional family prayer to bless the Nativity scene. Keep advancing the wisemen until 6 January, the Feast of the Epiphany, when they finally arrive to adore the newborn King. Children should know the difference between Christmas and the Epiphany and understand the 12 Days of Christmas are those between the two feasts – not the 12 days leading up to Christmas.
  • The Jesse Tree is a traditional Advent practice in Catholicism. It involves displaying a tree or a branch decorated with symbols or ornaments representing biblical stories and figures from Jesus’ genealogy. Each day leading up to Christmas, a new ornament or symbol is added, recounting the lineage of Jesus through Jesse, the father of King David. It serves as a visual and devotional way to reflect on the anticipation and preparation for the birth of Jesus while connecting to the broader narrative of salvation history. Learn more and get the graphics. Or, here’s a coloring book for young children.
  • Read Fr Smith’s recommended Advent Reading, which he explains caveats about in his pastoral letter here.
  • Check out these family-friendly ideas on how to celebrate Advent in your home from our Catholic Identity Committee of the parish school.
  • Celebrate the saints with feast days during Advent, especially St Nicholas on 6 December (here’s how), St Lucy on 13 December (here’s how) and St Martin (here’s how).
  • Fasting helps prepare us to celebrate the one Holy Day of Obligation during Advent: The Immaculate Conception on Friday, 8 December.  For those not already fasting throughout Advent, 7 December is an ideal day to fast (on years when it does not fall on a Sunday). Mass times are 7a, 8.30a, 12p (Latin) and 7p. 
  • Ember Days are set aside to pray and offer thanksgiving for a good harvest and God’s blessings. If you are in good health, fast on the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday immediately following the Feast of St. Lucy on 13 December.
  • The Blessing of Expectant Mothers is on Gaudete Sunday, 17 December, at 10a and 12n Mass.
  • Pray the O Antiphons as part of Vespers on 17-23 December. Each of the titles of the O Antiphons addresses Jesus with a special title given to the Messiah and refers to a prophecy from the Prophet Isaiah. Listen to the O Antiphons chanted here. Or, print this prayer companion for home.
  • Bless your Christmas tree! Here are the prayers to be said on Christmas Eve, which is when your tree should be put up. Use candy canes in your decor – read about the meaning of the sweet treat here.

ChristMASS Schedule

  • Get ready for back-to-back Fourth Sunday of Advent & Christmas Masses this year! The Fourth Sunday of Advent is Sunday, 24 December. Christmas follows the next day. Both are days of obligation. Therefore, we have two obligations to fulfill – we must go to two distinct Masses. For the purposes of fulfilling one’s obligation, the hymns, readings, prayers, or vestment color of the Mass have no bearing. The obligation is to attend any Mass within the timeframe allowed.
    • To fulfill one’s Sunday or Holy Day obligation, one may do so by attending any Mass between 4p the evening before and 11:59pm of the day itself. That means, for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, you can go to any Mass between 4p on Saturday, 23 December and 11:59p on Sunday, 24 December.
      • 4th Sunday of Advent Mass: Anticipated Mass on Saturday at 5p (English); Sunday at 8a (Low Mass, English), 10a (Sung Mass, English), and 12n (Latin)
    • For Christmas, you can go to any Mass between 4p on Sunday, 24 December 24 and 11:59pm on Monday, 25 December.
      • ChristMass
        • Sunday, 24 December: 4p Family Mass (English) with Children’s Choir, 6p Vigil Mass (English) with Youth Choir; Midnight (Latin) with St Cecilia Choir (music begins at 11.30p)
        • Monday, 25 December: 10a Mass (English)