Saturday, June 25, 2016


Dear parishioners,

I am thrilled that Bishop Gregory Hartmayer has appointed me to be your new pastor. I want to thank him for that from the bottom of my heart. I want to thank Father Joseph Smith who has heroically served this parish in good health and bad for the past 14 years. He has certainly left a legacy of faith, hope and love not to mention a revived parish with new parish facilities to include Holy Family Hall, this magnificent new church, as well as, quite a lovely new rectory and what a rectory it is! Thank you Father Joe!!!!! He and I are good friends. I got to know him when he was a lay person when I was the Associate Pastor of the Cathedral from 1985 to ’91. He sang in the Cathedral’s men’s choir. I was also vocation director and assisted him into the seminary and priesthood. 

When I first read the Gospel to prepare for this letter which I am writing in Macon on June 11th, I wondered if it was an omen for me as I prepared to arrive in Richmond Hill: “On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for Jesus’ reception there, but they would not welcome him.”

I thought to myself, “Okay Lord, what are you trying to tell me?” He whispered back, “don’t worry, you aren’t entering a Samaritan town and you aren’t Jesus! They are Catholic and they will welcome you!” What a relief!

I know it is difficult to say goodbye to a pastor you have come to know so well and love. You don’t know who I am or what I will do. While I am a different person, I am still a Catholic and a priest. I will try to cultivate what has been planted and sow some of my own seeds as well. 

While I am certainly an orthodox Catholic priest, I am pastorally sensitive to the difficulties that all Catholics face be they clergy or laity. So I preach perfection but offer medicine for wounds especially in the Sacrament of Confession. There are many people injured out there by their own sins and the sins of others. We aren’t perfect yet and I know that very well. I’d say I am on the same page as Pope Francis in this regard. 

I look forward to getting to know you. I treasure your welcome. I have a very dry sense of humor so be prepared. God bless you.

Your pastor,

Father Allan Joseph McDonald 


Anonymous said...

What a positive and upbeat letter. I wish you all the luck with your new flock.
You do not need luck. You are a very talented and holy man. They will treasure
your words. Have a wonderful first Sunday.
God Bless

Stephen Conner said...

Praying that your new parishioners welcome you with open arms. I am sure they have no idea, yet, just how blessed they are! Beverly, the kids and I will have to come visit your new parish one weekend soon. God bless you, Father. We meet Father Winchell tomorrow for the first time.

Anonymous said...

A good letter but a sign of the times I suppose when a Catholic priest has to say he is orthodox. I am sure your first Mass will go off very well and that "newbie" feeling will soon pass!

rcg said...

So how did it go? Lots of nice people or did it turn into a torchlight vigil?

Marc said...

Father, I hope your first Sunday at your new parish went well. I'm sure it's an awkward situation for priest and parishioners alike. You're in our prayers, as always.

Stephen Conner said...

Father Winchel seemed to be well-received at this evening's 5 p.m. Mass. Father Vernon celebrated and Father Winchel delivered an introduction homily. Very well done! Praying all parishes with new pastors welcome them with open arms. By the way Father, your "priestess" "friend" was roaming the parking lot after Mass. Thankfully for Father Winchel, he was able to espace back into the rectory before an encounter. I wonder if Father Winchel has been introduced?! Yikes!!

Seeker said...

Wonderful first words to your parishioners. I will miss them on Sunday, but check back here often. Planing a visit too! Hope you have a Blessed time. Praying unceasingly.