ANDERSON, S.C. — St. Mary of the Angels Parish here will officially open its new sanctuary on Jan. 18, with a 7 p.m. dedication Mass celebrated by Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM. He will be assisted by St. Mary’s pastor Aubrey McNeil, OFM, and Thaddeus Sapio, OFM, the new parochial vicar.
St. Mary of the Angels was founded by Holy Name Province in 1943, under the leadership of Francis Anthony Gorman, OFM. Established to minister to Anderson’s African American community, the church has been a spiritual guiding force for 64 years, nurturing youth and touching the lives of both Catholics and non-Catholics alike, according to Aubrey.
The parish has grown from fewer than 20 founding members to more than 300 families, today serving a multi-cultural congregation, Aubrey added. The weekend worship schedule has expanded to three Sunday Masses. Daily Masses are celebrated in the new sanctuary, while the old church building has been converted into a religious education center.
Funds for the building were raised through a Rebuild My Church pledge campaign, according to Aubrey. Chair of the building committee is Anthony Soignoli, who was recognized for his work at a Transitus service in October.
The parish history can be found on the church Web site, including the seven pastors who served before Aubrey. Francis, for whom the parish hall is named, was pastor for 30 years, at three different times.