Sunday, June 12, 2016

I FEEL LIKE I AM ON DEATH ROW! WOULD SOMEONE CALL A PRIEST FOR THE "LAST RITES" PLEASE?

It is 5:08 AM as I type this last post from St. Joseph Church in Macon, Georgia. My car is almost completely packed.

I feel like I am dying or at least being pastor of St. Joseph Church in Macon is on death row. I need the Last Rites please, please, please.

I also hate the attention I am receiving for departing. I long for the good old days in pre-Vatican II times when someone left the seminary or convent--they were ushered out in the middle of the night and everyone the next morning wondered where they went--just think of the "Nun's Story" with Audrey Hepburn! 

I have the 7:45 AM Mass and the 9:30 AM Mass which is my "Last Supper." Following it will be my farewell reception in our social hall below the Church. When I came here in 2004 the church was being restored and was competly in scaffolds and Mass for the first two years was in the basement, the social hall. Mass wasn't too bad down there though. But it is better suited for receptions.

And literally I will walk from the reception to my car, get in, and drive off into the sunrise of the Eastern Coast of Georgia!

I think I have been in denial about my departure from here. It is surreal. I can't believe 12 years have passed. I feel as though I'm simply going on vacation. But I'm not! I am leaving my parish family whom I have come to know and love over the last 12 years.

When I departed my former parish in Augusta for Macon, I felt that I was committing adultery on them by becoming the new pastor here. But in my maturity today (some call it old age or dementia), I realize I am married to the Church of the Diocese of Savannah not any one particular congregation, so I don't think I will feel like an adulterer once I get to St. Anne's in Richmond Hill.

Please pray for me as I become the new pastor of St. Anne's, for Fr. Joseph Smith the departing pastor there and for Fr. Scott Winchel who is concluding his pastorate in Cordele and will become the new pastor here. Pray for all the parishes having to say good-bye and hello!

Life is a series of chapters and for me they have all been wildly interesting. God is good!

18 comments:

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Safe travel, Allan. Slow Down! See you in Savannah next week.

Anonymous said...

I know you'll do great things at your new parish, they are very lucky to have you!!!

Though I have since left Catholicism and converted to Orthodoxy, your blog is one of the very few Catholic ones I still read.

qwikness said...

The reception following Mass is for you but it is also for us, as we have our last chances to say goodbye to you. It's not not easy but something we have to accept. It also seems surreal. I can't believe your leaving. I can't believe today is the last day. Very sad for me and my family. Good Luck, God Bless, Good Health, and much Success to you.

Jan said...

Life is amazing how we step from one place to another and in a few days you'll feel as it you have been in the new parish forever! I am sure your parishioners at St Joseph's will do it hard for a while, though, even though the new pastor sounds as if he will be a good fit. Yes, I will keep you in my prayers. I don't know how people survive life's ups and downs without prayer and all the momentous times in life, such as a big move or change. It certainly calms the nerves to know that God is always there and unchanging even though everything else around us may be at sixes and sevens. He is the one, constant in our lives that keeps us afloat!

Vox Cantoris said...

When I grew up, here in Toronto, the Pastor in our parish, and the priest who baptised me, was here for 47 years. Father Michael J. Carroll was his name, he was ordained in 1919. He was a wonderful man, I remember him from my boyhood and serving at the Altar, he was elderly then and a few years later retired in the parish until he went to a priests retirement home.

I think that was better than seeing priests being ripped away from their many families.

God bless you Father and good luck in your new parish.

qwikness said...

I would like to add that I am sorry to see Father Kavanaugh leave also.

Anonymous said...

All the best Father in your new parish.

rcg said...

It is different, certainly, but I moved frequently in the military. You have the separation anxiety, but you focus on and immerse yourself in the new assignment and it works out well. You seem to have a strong aptitude for setting goals and 'dogging' them. That serves many purposes, besides the obvious: it also keeps you away from your old parish (a significant hazard with idle time and close proximity of the internet), and it keeps you engaged with those you serve.

I will offer one piece of advice that I expect you have heard before: never mention your previous wife, er, assignment. Even if done in the most benign manner ("she made a terrific bannana pudding!") it will be interpreted as an unfavourable comparison. A friend of mine has a saying, "where ever you are, be there."

You are an amazing and skilled priest. I offer my prayers for the fruits of the Holy Ghost in your work.

Stephen Conner said...

I've been sad all week and your departure has hit me hard today. It is going to be rough arriving for 5 p.m. Mass, this afternoon, knowing that your white SUV will not be returning Tuesday morning, like, what I call, normal. My family and I are praying for you and pray your new parishioners will soon realize what a gem they have in their new pastor. Please understand that your departure from St. Joseph is like a bad dream for many of us in the parish. We all know priests are reassigned every so often, depending on the Bishop's needs, but it is still rough for those of us who have grown to love you! God bless you, always, Father McDonald!

Dan said...

Thank you Father, for your years of service to the diocese of Savannah. Your new flock awaits-- grateful for that same service. As the number of priests are fewer, we laity value your commitment to us and to the Church. My prayers and well-wishes go with you!

John Nolan said...

I sincerely hope that the blog will continue and that Fr Kavanaugh will continue to contribute. I don't always see eye-to-eye with him but he often gives a useful corrective to what many of us, perhaps unthinkingly, take for granted.

Anonymous said...

May God bless you, Father.

Many years ago, a religious once told me that one of the brothers of his order was transferred at a moment's notice from one country to another (England to Ireland) and given five pence and an apple for the trip!

Catholics were tough back then.

The pastor of our parish just announced today that he is retiring in a couple weeks after 36 years. There are no priests available to replace him. Pray for him and us.

DJR

Anonymous said...

Safe travels Fr. McDonald. We joyfully await your arrival in Richmond Hill.

Mark Thomas said...

Peace be with you, Father McDonald. Thank you for your important service to Holy Mother Church.

Pax.

Mark Thomas

Anonymous said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDgT0a6hepg

Althea Gardner said...

I will miss your robust singing, your heartfelt homilies and your smiling face among many other things. So sorry that we never had you over to our house. Believe me, it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with our pets and pride. Good luck in Richmond Hill!! They have won the priest lottery! You are greatly loved and respected in Macon and we will miss you.

gob said...

Traditionalists like tradition. They like things to stay the same...like they're "supposed" to be...like they've "always been". That's not the way life is...not the way the world is...not the way churches are...

Pull up your big boy skivvies and get on with it. It's all gonna be fine...even without an altar rail...with a whole bunch of new people you don't know....Just be nice...you'll be OK....Peace...

Anonymous said...

gob said... Traditionalists like tradition. They like things to stay the same...like they're "supposed" to be...like they've "always been". That's not the way life is...not the way the world is...not the way churches are...

2 Thessalonians 2:14. "Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle."

DJR