ANDERSON, S.C. — Aubrey McNeil, OFM, celebrated his anniversary of 25 years as a priest with parishioners of St. Mary of the Angels Church, where he is pastor, close friends and family members.
“The parish was honored to commemorate this momentous anniversary with him,” said parishioner Rose Ellen Davis-Gross, who said the event included “reminiscing, laughing, hugging and, of course, food.”
The event, held mid-afternoon on Oct. 17, was made especially memorable by the presence of Aubrey’s 90-year-old mother, Monica, who traveled from Cape Cod, Mass., with Aubrey’s brother and a friend. Davis-Gross said, “Their attendance was a complete surprise to Fr. Aubrey.”
She described the pastor as “loving, caring and having a great sense of humor. He’s an outstanding ambassador for St. Mary’s and the Catholic Church. We are very blessed to have him.”
Friars from neighboring areas — including Henry Fulmer, OFM, of Columbia, S.C., David Hyman, OFM, andThomas Vigliotta, OFM, of Athens, Ga., John McDowell, OFM, of Clemson, S.C., and Patrick Tuttle, OFM, of Greenville, S.C. — participated in the festivities.
An Active Leader
In his five years in Anderson, Aubrey has done much to continue the work of his predecessors.
“He’s overseen and coordinated the building of a new sanctuary and a new parish hall, which was dedicated in mid-September,” Davis-Gross said. “The new hall means that we can celebrate as a church family in our own space.”
The hall was the realization of many years of planning. Margaret Mack and Annie Thompson served as mistresses of ceremonies at a Sept. 17 celebration that included the dedication of the hall, a dinner, silent and live auctions.
Promoting Justice & Peace
On Oct. 14, 2010, St. Mary’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Committee hosted a “Know Your Rights” event, which focused on the rights afforded when immigration issues arise. Two lawyers from Catholic Charities led the event, attended by nearly 50 parishioners.
The parish also hosted Dr. Mohammed Alikhail, who discussed Islam and Afghanistan in a presentation to more than 40 participants on Oct. 28. In the two-hour discussion, Dr. Alikhail and those attending talked about how Muslims are depicted in the media as well as essential truths about the religion. This event also was organized by the parish’s JPIC Committee.
— Rebecca Doel is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.