Originally created 01/01/00

Services mark new century



With less than 12 hours remaining before 2000, the Rev. Allan J. McDonald added a millennial flair to Friday's Mass at the Church of the Most Holy Trinity.

"As we conclude this century and millennium with this Holy Mass, let us open our hearts to what God can do for this church and let us pray that we will always be one with him," the Rev. McDonald said.

Various churches in the Augusta area spent part of Friday heralding the new year. A small group of faithful met under chilly gray skies at 11 a.m. at Warrenville First Baptist Church to begin a marathon reading of Scripture that will continue for 26 hours.

Before the sequential readings conclude at 1 p.m. today, 75 volunteers, largely from the seven churches of the Warrenville Christian Council, will have completed the last chapter of Revelation, St. John's vision of Jesus Christ's second coming.

"God's word survived millennia before, and it will survive millennia after," said South Carolina state Sen. Tommy Moore. Mr. Moore took up the Scripture after the Rev. Steve Cartin, narrating the visit of the Magi and John the Baptist's prophecy of the Messiah.

At Augusta's Church of the Most Holy Trinity, more than 200 people attended afternoon Mass.

"I was pleased we embellished it a little, but it was really a simple daily Mass," the Rev. McDonald said.

The church planned to celebrate the first day of Jubilee 2000 with the ceremonial opening of one of the church entrances. The doors have been sealed since Dec. 26.

"It is a symbolic gesture," the Rev. McDonald said. "During this jubilee year, the door signifies passage to Christ, opening the doors to Christ."

During Friday's afternoon Mass, church leaders read the Book of John, including a piece of Scripture from the traditional Latin Mass.

"It is appropriate on this Dec. 31, the end of the year, the end of the century, the end of the millennium, that we hear that last reading," the Rev. McDonald said. "While there is always sadness of something coming to a conclusion, there's also joy for God opening other doors."

In closing, the priest said a special prayer for New Year's revelers.

"Let us especially pray for all the millennium celebrations going on in the world this evening, even in our city," he said.

Reach Jason B. Smith at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 115, or jbsmith@augustachronicle.com; or Pat Willis at (803) 279-6895 or scbureau@augustachronicle.com.