Fort Mill Times

St. Philip Neri on track for Indian Land church

Father John Giuliani
Father John Giuliani

Indian Land's Catholic faithful will soon have a place to call their own.

Since January, Father John Giuliani and Father Edward McDevitt of Saint Philip Neri in Fort Mill have been holding Mass for Indian Land Catholics at 4 p.m. on Saturdays at Belair United Methodist Church. But thanks to a gift from an anonymous donor, the congregation will soon form a church of its own.

The donor has offered 12 acres for the new church, with the stipulation that the first building be built within three years. That first building will likely be a multipurpose building, Giuliani said, with a sanctuary coming later after more funds can be raised.

"It's a wonderful thing because the land there is so expensive. That was a big challenge," Giuliani said.

The property is located on Hwy. 75 near the Edenmoor community and less than four miles from the entrance to Sun City Carolina Lakes. Many of the church members are also residents of Sun City, Giuliani added.

"I would probably have preferred closer to the heart of Indian Land, but in retrospect it's probably a good location."

A new church cannot officially be formed without the approval of the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Charleston, which governs the Catholic churches in South Carolina, Giuliani said. The bishop was recently reassigned and a replacement has not been named yet.

The leader of the new church in Indian Land, as well as any other personnel decisions, will also have to be made by the bishop, Giuliani added.

Fundraising for the new church building will begin immediately. The congregation is also working on starting Sunday School classes.

When Giuliani visited the donated property a few weeks ago, he said he was delighted to discover it is near railroad tracks. Giuliani has a lifelong interest in railroads.

As he was looking over the property, a train passed by. Giuliani waved to the conductor, who blew the train's horn in greeting.

"I thought that was a good omen," Giuliani said.