Br. David Boone, CO

Posted on Aug 23, 2011

Br. David Boone, CO

In September 1958 the Oratory assigned me to serve St. Mary’s Parish. Now fifty years later, it does not seem like fifty years at all. The memories of my first months in the ministry are still vivid. And yet many of the events which took place so long ago seem vague.

The most recent significant event for St. Mary’s was the building of our new church, dedicated in 2008. We were very cramped in the recreation center converted into a church. Our new church seats about five hundred. This met our growth from 175 families in 2005 to 240 families in 2008. Our liturgies are beautiful with our new appropriate space and design. While planning for growth, with growth comes new headaches. We are still cramped for classroom space for the all important religious education programs. The many inconveniences attached to lack of space for classes is a challenge faced.

In our effort to reach out to fill the needs of a larger parish family we now have forty-six ministries. The number will soon reach fifty requiring more space. The acquisition of property for future expansion is still another challenge. We have some property being investigated and face the challenge of having money to buy the properties. The more space we have, of course, the higher the maintenance costs. But all these challenges are the blessings of growth of God’s Kingdom here at St. Mary’s.

Hanging over our heads for the first time is debt. The original buildings going back to 1946 were paid by the Oratory, and the Diocese of Charleston is $1,710 a month. We pray every Sunday enough will come in to pay the debt.

Our parishioners and other groups we serve in the area surrounding St. Mary’s try to have fundraising events such as the concert by the Ecumenical Chorale and St. Mary’s Gospel Choir.

In the civic community my involvement has changed over the fifty years. Initially I helped provide ball fields for the city. Now serving on the Rock Hill Parks and Recreation Commission, I help oversee proper maintenance. I’ve been appointed and re-appointed to three year terms by the Rock Hill City Council. I believe in these capacities I’ve helped accomplish a lot of good for Rock Hill. I’ve served on the Board of Carolina Community Action since 1978 with several terms as Chair. I missed a meeting in 2007 for my chemo treatment and they named the main headquarters on Oakland Avenue the Boone Building. I welcome the challenge of the group for its anti-poverty agency for York, Chester, Lancaster and Fairfield counties. The agency pursues federal and state grants to alleviate poverty. The need in these areas has grown immensely. I serve on the board of the NAACP, striving for equal rights for all. I find these groups I serve strive toward many of the goals set in St. Mary’s vision statement, so I feel I can play a useful role. “Rolliking Rock Hill” is another project in which I was involved as co-chair. This committee recruits volunteers to paint the outside of houses of people with low income.

St. Mary’s reaches out in many ways to the poor. Bannon Hall is where the Dorothy Day Soup Kitchen serves meals. This soup kitchen was started in 1986. It was the vision of three Oratorians and compassionate lay people. I sit on the five member board. The soup kitchen is well known and well staffed by generous volunteers

I hope this article gives you some idea what the Oratorian ministry is, not only to our five York County parishes and one mission, but also shows an involvement in the needs of many others, regardless of race or creed, simply responding to the spiritual and corporal needs.

Each Sunday at St. Mary’s at the end of Mass, as parish administrator I stand before our good people and say, ” God is good all the time.” The congregation responds, “All the time God is good.” My fifty years of mnistry at St. Mary’s and in the city, verify these words for me. I thank God for the Oratory entrusting these ministries to me and for all the blessings over that half century.

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