Catholic services canceled at Parris Island & MCAS Beaufort - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Catholic services canceled at Parris Island & MCAS Beaufort

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Worship services for Catholics have been canceled at Parris Island and the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort because of the partial government shutdown. Worship services for Catholics have been canceled at Parris Island and the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort because of the partial government shutdown.
BEAUFORT CO., SC (WTOC) -

Worship services for Catholics have been cancelled at Parris Island and the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort because of the partial government shutdown.

The Marine Corps Air Station contracts out its Catholic services since there isn't an active duty Catholic priest on base.

Because of the government shutdown, they're suspending those services indefinitely until they get more funding.

Faith is important to Cliff Wimberly. He spent 30 years in the military and served two tours in Vietnam.

"I feel like if it wasn't for my faith, I probably wouldn't be here," said Wimberly.

Over the weekend, the retired Marine was shocked to learn that Catholic services have been suspended at both Parris Island and MCAS Beaufort where he works.

"I couldn't believe that because I've never seen that happen in all the years I've been in the military," he said.

Wimberly is not Catholic but he's a concerned Christian.

"We have a lot of Marine recruits over at Parris Island that can't go any place except to the base chapel for worship services. And right now, we probably have about 25% of all military personnel are Catholics and I think this is a very important religious issue," said Wimberly.

We contacted Parris Island but our calls were not returned.

Tuesday, MCAS issued this statement: "Unfortunately, contract renewals cannot currently be granted for catholic services aboard MCAS Beaufort at this time due to budget restraints. The MCAS Chapel will remain open and continue to provide assistance for all our service members regardless of their faith."

Wimberly says his biggest concern is that religious freedom is being compromised for our military.

"It's one of the primary principles our nation was founded on, it seems to me like it's being eroded quite a bit by not being able to worship onboard a military base," he said.

Wimberly says he has not contacted other Catholic priests in the area to see if they would provide free mass services to Parris Island and MCAS, but he says he isn't ruling it out either if it is an option.

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