WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - Priests gathered in the Lowcountry Monday to dedicate a new pastoral center for the Catholic diocese in South Carolina.
Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone said when the diocese started nearly 200 years ago, life was simple.
There were "only a few Catholics so you didn't need too much."
The Catholic population has grown since. So has the need for space.
As a result, the diocese is unifying all of its ministry under one roof.
"We needed something that was going to address the needs of the present and also look down the road to the future," Guglielmone said.
The bishop led the diocese in the blessing of the 170-seat chapel and its altar, part of a three-building center in West Ashley.
The center also has an office building and an assembly building, which can accommodate up to 200 people for workshops and retreats.
The pastoral center will serve as a home base for the 119 parishes and more than 200,000 Catholics in the state.
The bishop called the waterfront location on Orange Grove Road "inspirational" but uniting the ministry was the primary goal for building the new center.
The diocese offices were previously spread across seven different sites in Charleston.
"All of the folks that work for the diocese in Charleston will be together in one place," Guglielmone said, adding the change will be "magnificent" for the diocese's mission.
The opening festivities continue this week, and the diocese welcomes the community to view the pastoral center Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.