Welcome! Thank you for visiting our website. Ours is a very vibrant faith family, and we hope that you find that enthusiasm for the faith reflected in these pages. Our Mission Statement calls for us “to strive to be Christ for each other and our neighbor.” Whether you are simply visiting to find information or you are interested in becoming part of our community, may you encounter Christ within our parish.
¡Bienvenido! Gracias por visitar nuestra página web. Nuestra familia es una de fe muy vibrante y esperamos que encuentre ese entusiasmo por la fe reflejado en estas páginas. Nuestra misión nos llama “a esforzarnos juntos para ser Cristo el uno para el otro y para nuestro prójimo.” Ya sea si usted está simplemente visitando para encontrar información o si está interesado en formar parte de nuestra comunidad, esperamos encuentre a Cristo en nuestra parroquia.
Fr. Sandy McDonald, Pastor
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Promise to Protect
St. John Neumann Catholic Church presents
A Parish Forum to Discuss:
The Catholic Church and the Problem of Sexual Abuse
Tuesday, October 30, 6:30 PM
in the St. John Neumann School Cafeteria
A Letter from Fr. Sandy
I remain on vacation this weekend and will be back for Masses October 20-21. For a message, I thought I would provide to you my responses to a list of questions about the scandals in the church that a student reporter for the school paper at Richland Northeast High School asked of me. I hope sharing them might be helpful.
Fr. Sandy McDonald
- What is the role of the priest at St. John Neumann?
I serve as pastor of St. John Neumann. “Pastor” comes from the Latin word for shepherd, and the role of a pastor follows the model of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, who sought out the lost, offered care to those entrusted to him, and gave his life for his sheep. My role includes leadership, proclamation of the Word of God, celebration of the liturgy and sacraments of the church, and care for those entrusted to me.
- What are St. John Neumann's policies concerning prevention of incidents [of abuse]?
The parish upholds the policies and procedures as required by the Catholic Diocese of Charleston (which encompasses the state of SC). Procedures include background checks for every staff member and for all volunteers who work with minors and vulnerable adults. Staff and Volunteers are required to take training on how to recognize and report potential abuse. We must also endorse a code of conduct. All children in religious education in the parish are given an annual lesson on safe touching so that they will be better equipped to avoid inappropriate behavior by adults and to report it when it is attempted. The parish must participate in an annual audit to prove compliance with all these policies and procedures.
- Have you noticed any change at St. John Neumann after the Pennsylvania grand jury's report came out?
Yes. One can tell there is discouragement among the people of the parish. Attendance at Sunday services seems to be normal despite the anger and dismay we all share. I addressed the issues from the pulpit for two weekends in a row after the Pennsylvania report came out. Many people have expressed appreciation for this. We must be transparent as a parish, embracing this painful situation while also trusting that with God’s help good will prevail.
Although I hear there are some people who are simply walking away from the church, by far I have heard directly more expressions of prayers and support for the church and for me as a priest than I have heard condemnation. People are angry, however, and I continue to invite them to express their dismay and anger to me personally and to share what they believe the church should do in light of this crisis. As hard as it may be to face the ugly truths of this scandal, Jesus himself said that “the truth will set you free.”
- What would you tell concerned students in light of recent events?
Concern for and recognition of those who have suffered abuse in any form is critically important, and we must be diligent in our commitment to their good and to full accountability for offenders. Students are making a difference in the national discussion about guns in the aftermath of the Parkland shootings. I hope they will contribute to making their churches and society better, more accountable, and safer in light of this scandal. Their voices and their passion are needed to bring change for the good in the church as in society in general.
I can understand that trust in institutions of all types is difficult these days, especially regarding the institution of churches of all types and the Catholic Church in particular. It is no secret that young people are leaving behind religious practice in ever greater numbers. The reasons are many and complex for this trend, but this kind of failure on the part of the country’s largest religious body, the Catholic Church, does not help in regard to this trend.
Yet, living within a tradition and a faith community is still of great, even essential, value. I have faith that the Catholic Church will find its way through this scandal and crisis. It will no doubt bear scars from this that will last a long time. I pray and hope that those very scars will inspire a deep commitment to be the church people expect it to be and to be even more a leader in society for the protection of the most vulnerable. May it be a credible voice for the vulnerable, a voice not just for children but for anyone in society (Catholic or not) and around the world who is exploited.
- What was your reaction to learning about the abuse detailed from the Pennsylvania Grand Jury?
I was heartbroken. I struggled to find meaning in the innocent suffering of so many. I was ordained more than twenty-five years ago. I especially recall 2002, when the revelations of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston came to light. The present revelations have kicked up a lot of painful memories of the past. The more recent revelations of failures by some bishops in the church to faithfully follow and implement the policies and procedures have brought out a new phase in what we have been dealing with since 2002. The Pennsylvania report describes many incidents of abuse in the past, and the details have been nothing less than horrific. On the other hand, it is clear that there has been a change—by no means perfect—for the good since 2002 when the bishops implemented the charter for the protection of children that was issued in 2002. We thought we had turned the corner toward renewed integrity and protection of the innocent, but we realize today that more is required—further action and continual diligence.
Do you feel like some people see priests as a whole in a different light because of these events?
We already know that the esteem society holds for church ministers in general has declined. I have no doubt that this new recounting of the sins of Catholic priests and bishops will affect many more people in ever deeper ways. It is hard to be a priest today, but I am called to witness to what it means to be a follower of Christ even in times that are hard. I know that somehow in being faithful to him and what he stood for, I—and the Catholic Church—can find the way forward. I hope all clergy can find the grace and strength while carrying this cross to be the shepherds we are called to be.
Engaging the Word
Engaging the Word
What is “Engaging the Word”?
The life of the Church revolves around the cycle of the Eucharist from Sunday to Sunday. We live as disciples during the week, and we come to Sunday Eucharist to give thanks to God and to be nourished for a new week by the Word of God and the Body and Blood of Christ.
In this weekly column, I would like to offer a short reflection on some aspect of one of the readings from the Scriptures that we will hear on the upcoming Sunday. I will also offer an open-ended question for reflection. The question can be used as a source for faith-sharing to open meetings of ministry groups, as a way to discuss the faith in the car or over dinner within one’s family, or simply as a question to pose within one’s personal devotional time alone.
If you have any thoughts or questions that arise from discussions or personal reflection, feel free to pass them on to me. Send your thoughts by email to email@example.com. I hope and pray this column will help us engage the Word of God more deeply, revealing the wisdom, grace, relevance, and challenge of the two-edged sword of God’s Word.
October 21, the Twenty-ninth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year B
“For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mk 10: 45)
In response to two disciples asking for places of honor at his side, Jesus can only promise a share in his passion. He then articulates perhaps the most pointed statement of his purpose in Mark’s Gospel—he is here not to be served but to serve. The pathway to redemption, the source of true power, is to serve.
For your reflection this week: How do you define being a servant? How does Jesus’ description of his purpose to serve challenge your understanding?
To access the readings in their entirety, go to www.usccb.org/bible/readings/.
Growing Together in Faith
For information about the Growing Together in Faith Campaign, please click here.
Sunday- 8:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 5:00 PM
Monday, Wednesday-Friday 12:00 PM (Closed at noon on Fridays until August 3)
Tuesday - 9:00 AM
Spanish Mass - Sunday- 2:00 PM, Thursday – 7:00 PM
Korean Mass - 2nd and 3rd Saturdays- 7:00 PM
Occasionally, a Mass will be held in the school gym. For these dates, please look for a notice in the bulletin.
Parish Office Hours
Dear SJN Families:
This year we have tried a different schedule for children’s choir. Based on feedback and enrollment we have realized that this new rehearsal time may not be the best time for ALL SJN parishioners. With that being said, I am writing this letter to gauge whether more people would be able to join if we did a 4:00 PM rehearsal time on Tuesdays. If we can get 7-10 additional singers for the children’s choir, we will move the rehearsal to the 4:00 PM time.
If you are interested and can make a Tuesday 4:00 PM rehearsal time, please sign up by clicking the link below and registering. We need your child’s voice!
Respect Life Ministry
Join us on Saturday, October 20 at 9:00 AM in the church as we pray a rosary for an increase in respect for the dignity and value of each human life from conception to natural death. Your prayers make a difference!
If you cannot join us, please pray a rosary wherever you are. Praying the rosary as a family is very powerful.
For more information about our Respect Life Ministry, please contact Betsy Schneider at 803-269-1499 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are joining St. John Neumann, or thinking about joining, consider investing some of your time in one or more of the ministries we offer. Volunteering is a great way to meet other parishioners, to learn more about our community, and to enjoy the rewards gained from sharing your gifts and talents. We are looking forward to seeing you at Mass and getting to know you better.
Need Help? Click here for instructions.
Office/Mailing: 721 Polo Rd.
Church: 100 Polo Rd.
Columbia, SC 29223
Phone: (803) 788-0811
Fax: (803) 788-1501
Welcome Returning Catholics
First, we welcome you. We recognize you are considering a significant step on your spiritual journey. Some see this as a journey back to their spiritual home; others are looking for reconciliation with God and the Church. Whatever your reason for being away, we have missed you and celebrate your desire to take another look. See more information for returning Catholics.
7 - Good Samaritan Fund
14 - Backpack Ministry/Crisis Ministry
21 - Harvest Hope
28 - Palmetto Place Children's Shelter
Harvest Hope - is supporting Hurricane Florence victims, delivering free food to areas affected by the hurricane in North Carolina and South Carolina.
- Father Sandy McDonald, Pastor
- Father Sylvère Baloza, Parochial Vicar
- Gerard (Stick) Thibodeaux, Deacon
- Genie O'Shesky, Business Administrator
- Wendy Bobadilla, Parish Nurse
- Catherine Combier-Donovan, Pastoral Associate for Liturgy & Adult Formation
- David Cochrane, Choir Director
- Maria Correa, Assistant to Business Administrator
- Silvia Goodman, Administrative Assistant
- Tammy Melson, Director of Communications
- Johnny Sanchez, Youth Minister
- Cherie Smith, Director of Christian Formation and Pastoral Associate
- Michael Wells, Sexton
- Verónica West, Assistant to Director of Christian Formation
Flower and Plants
Opportunities to remember or honor loved ones and special occasions with flowers and plants for our church and sanctuary are available for upcoming weekends. Your donation of $75 will be used to create unique and beautiful arrangements for weekend Masses. Please contact Silvia Goodman in the church office at 788-3252, ext. 318 to make arrangements for donations.