In the spring of 1979, the Bishop of Charleston decided to form a new Catholic community in the every growing area of Spartanburg. This new Catholic community was to be located on the western side of the city. Father Christopher Lathem was asked to form this new community. On July 16, 1979, the first Mass was celebrated at Spartanburg Methodist College Chapel and, also in private homes.

The Parish of Jesus, Our Risen Savior

The Parish of Jesus, Our Risen Savior

In September 1979, it was decided to give a name to this Catholic community and on November 18, 1979, the Diocese chose the name of “Jesus, Our Risen Savior.” In the spring of 1980, the Mass was celebrated at the Lutheran Church on Reidville Road.

In October of that same year, St. Paul the Apostle Parish donated property and a house on Reidville Road to Our Risen Savior Catholic Community. Masses continued to be celebrated at the Methodist Chapel and in the basement of the rectory.

Father Latham was transferred to St. John the Beloved Church, in Summerville, SC and Father Timothy J. Watters was assigned as the new pastor. Under the guidance of Father Watters came the plans to build a Worship Center. The lack of adequate funding dictated the type of building the community could afford. In December the community moved into the new building. It included a large all purpose hall to be used as the temporary church, offices for the parish staff and a community center. In 1989 the parish built the present catechetical center.

Father Watters assignment was followed by a number of visiting priests until Father Eugene Leonard was appointed pastor. At that point the community had grown to 300 families and was able to meet most of the needs of the parishioners. Father Leonard was followed by Father Basil Congro, Father Charles Snopeck and Father Michael Polewezak. Unfortunately, Father Michael passed away in the summer of 2009. On November 1, 2009, Bishop Robert Guglielmone appointed the Adorno Fathers to serve the people of Jesus, Our Risen Savior Church. Father Frank Palmieri was appointed as the Administrator and Father Teodoro Kalaw as the Parochial Vicar.

I have been in the parish the better part of the month of November and I am beginning to get familiar with the parish structure. The parish is situated near exit 22 off Interstate 26. The church and the rectory are located in the corner of 27 acres of land. The rectory has three bedrooms, a living room, a den, a sunroom, kitchen and a two-car garage. It is comfortable and inviting. The church complex consists of one building. It is centered by the church itself, which accommodates 500 people comfortably. It has a large vestibule, parish offices for the parish staff, a community center and a catechetical center.

There are four weekend Masses, three in English and one in Spanish. Each Mass has its own choir with its own rendition of music. The results are very interesting. The entire congregation responds by singing along and thus creating a very festive and devout atmosphere.

The Spanish community is very active. The Mass is attended by an overflowing crowd. The Mass has its own choir and a full schedule of ministries. They also have a youth group, 14 to 17 years, a young adult group, 18 to 35 years, and active prayer groups.

The interior of the CHurch

The interior of the CHurch

There is a full schedule of parish activities and parish organizations. The CCD has 400 children, and the youth ministry has more than 100 high school students. There is also a very active Knights of Columbus council and Ladies Auxiliary. There are other groups that I have not yet discovered.

The parish , for one reason or another, has been, at more that one interval, without the direction of a resident pastor. It has functioned under the direction of a permanent deacon as administrator, with Masses celebrated by visiting priests from other parishes or those coming out of retirement.

During these difficult times, the parish did not lose its identity, but created a community of parishioners very much concerned with the spiritual and physical welfare of all the parish community. I have found here a community very much alive and concerned for all aspects of parish life, whether it is liturgy, economics, ministry to the sick and homebound or preparation for the sacraments. I found a community rooted in the traditions of the Catholic Church, yet open to a modern understanding of the Liturgy.