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From the Rector's Desk: Some updates, a plea, and a job opening

Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Peter’s:

I realize it’s been a long time since I’ve written to you. Between serving you and my responsibilities to the Bishop and priests of the Diocese, I’m working at my full capacity and then some. I’m happy to report that on both fronts the work is progressing well.

The Bishop has given me the guiding principles of seeking to match parish needs to the best extent with those of our priests. Of course with a limited bench to work with, that can often be a mighty challenge. Nonetheless, I’ve brought in many statistics from our parishes in order to better ascertain needs and to evaluate ministries which has given me and the members of the Priest Personnel Board more information to use when making recommendations to the Bishop. For example, we look at operating income, Mass attendance and sacramental activity as indicators. Thus, looking at the Basilica parish objectively, we’re a very busy and active parish. I’ve often mentioned how young we are and this is also indicated in our high numbers of baptisms and marriages which well exceed the numbers of funeral Masses we celebrate.

Several weekends in the past month have also reflected this. Our Mass attendance for Catholic Schools Week was 1,380 and this past weekend with Confirmation exceeded even that with 1,420. Should this continue, adding a Saturday evening Mass will prove inevitable.

What has not changed, however, is our income. As members of our Finance Committee can attest, we strive to live within our means and continue to tighten our belts so as to be fiscally responsible and never wasteful. The Basilica staff know I often can be seen turning off lights because every penny counts. Yet, with the growth in attendance we should have the blessing of a corresponding increase in giving. In the next few weeks, I’ll provide you with graphs showing where your gifts are spent as well as the various sources of our income. I don’t think the lack of giving is necessarily a sign of ill intent or displeasure but more likely a lack of intentionality. And this is an area I seek your help. 

Every year, I evaluate my income from all sources and personally tithe 10% of it to the parish. That level of giving places me among the top contributors to the parish. Thankfully, there are others among us who give much more dollar-wise; otherwise, we could not continue to invest as we do in our ministries. I share all this to ask you to become intentional by heeding the word of God and more seriously planning your giving. Most Catholics give less than one percent to charity – keeping 99% for themselves. Yet, as Saint Francis reminds us, it is in giving that we receive so much more. We should never give to receive but should do so for the sake of the Glory of God. And when we view our parish, even though there is much more to be accomplished, we should all be able to see His hands at work.


Given our location and the fact so many of you commute to Mass, coupled with our young age, Saint Peter’s lacks the volunteer pool of our neighboring and more senior-in-age parishes. That means we demand a great deal from our staff. And if I’m working near my max, so are they. We really could use more but we do not have the financial means of hiring. Further, should we receive a full-time parochial vicar, we will have to use our savings to pay his salary at least until January 2026 when our obligation to pay the diocese for its bicentennial capital campaign is complete.

This brings me to another announcement. As you know, ours is a transient city. Between Fort Jackson, USC and our state government, we see many people come and go. And this is the same with our staff. For the past five-and-a-half years, we’ve been blessed to have Courtney Nowak Khan serve as our Director of Parishioner Engagement and Communications. Her masterful efforts to keep you informed of our activities through our website, Facebook page, weekly eblasts, personal phone calls and emails were especially critical before, during and after COVID. While Courtney, thankfully, is not leaving Saint Peter’s or moving away, she’s stepping down from her position at the end of our parochial school’s academic year to focus on being a full-time wife and mother to her children. She will leave BIG shoes to fill. We’ll be advertising her position on but want to make you aware in case you are interested or know of a qualified candidate. Being an active Catholic in good standing with the Church and engaged in our parish is essential along with having the gifts and talents necessary to accomplish all the work Courtney has done. So please pray and help us find the right candidate to take us to the next level of parishioner engagement! You can find the job listing here.

With Lent just now beginning, we have much to do. It is a season for introspection and consideration of who we are and who we should be as measured by our relationship with God. Last Sunday night, the Bishop and young men and women being confirmed asked me what I wanted from them. I answered them as I would answer you: that they love and serve the Lord their God with all their hearts, minds and souls and their neighbors as themselves and do so by serving one another joyfully in our parish and community. Might you examine whether you are doing this? Might Lent help us to cease solely going through the motions but lead us to an Easter joy of truly living for God. If we do this, our parish will be radically transformed… and I won’t have to worry as much about turning off those lights!


Fr. Gary S. Linsky 

The Very Rev. Canon Gary S. Linsky, VF, VP



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