Sunday, September 30, 2012


Some traditionalists are proposing that the Eucharistic fast be extended from a measly one hour before the actual reception of Holy Communion to the three hour fast before Mass that came about in 1957. The original fast was from midnight to the time of Mass, which obviously precluded having evening Masses and saw the proliferation of early morning Masses, such as the Midnight Mass of Christmas!

These traditionalists say that imposing the former three hour fast will help develop a more intentional preparation for Holy Communion and see reverence for the reception of Holy Communion increase.

It may also see fewer people receiving Holy Communion at Mass, even though they may well be in a state of grace otherwise.

I can remember as a child in the pre-Vatican II Church when the fast was three hours, that my father who would get us up at 4:30 AM for breakfast so we could have breakfast and then be able to receive Holy Communion at the 8:00 AM Low Mass or the night before he would ask us if we wanted to eat breakfast or go to Holy Communion.
Of course back then you had to fast not only from food but also from water and medicine!

I'm not sure about the three hour fast, for I fear people will either ignore it or we will see fewer people going to Holy Communion or missing Mass altogether if they can't receive Holy Communion.

From a symbolic point of view, we know from Sacred Scripture that it took the Lord three hours to die and three days to rise from the dead. Perhaps the number three could be viewed as dying with the Lord when we receive Holy Communion within the three hour fast or view the number three as the third day and rising with Him on Easter Sunday? Or is that stretching the symbolism?

I think I would prefer that the fast simply be one solid hour before Mass begins rather than before the reception of Holy Communion.

However, I wouldn't be opposed to the three hour fast for people 18 to 59 and for all others from the age of reason to 18 and from 60 on up it would be just the one hour fast before Mass. What about that? I'll be 60 in December of 2013 so this is very appealing to me.

And while we are at it, why not extend the abstinence from meat and poultry to every Friday of the year?

And why don't we recover the ember days of fasting? On an ember day, one observed the Catholic fast, meaning only one full meal and two smaller snacks that combined did not constitute a full meal and no eating between meals. If meat was allowed, it could only be eaten with the full meal.

Ember days (corruption from Lat. Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) for the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after 13 December (S. Lucia), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday, and after 14 September (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy.

From Catholic Culture:

Since man is both a spiritual and physical being, the Church provides for the needs of man in his everyday life. The Church's liturgy and feasts in many areas reflect the four seasons of the year (spring, summer, fall and winter). The months of August, September, October and November are part of the harvest season, and as Christians we recall God's constant protection over his people and give thanksgiving for the year's harvest.

The September Ember Days were particularly focused on the end of the harvest season and thanksgiving to God for the season. Ember Days were three days (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) set aside by the Church for prayer, fasting and almsgiving at the beginning of each of the four seasons of the year. The ember days fell after December 13, the feast of St. Lucy (winter), after the First Sunday of Lent (spring), after Pentecost Sunday (summer), and after September 14 , the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (fall). These weeks are known as the quattor tempora, the "four seasons."

Since the late 5th century, the Ember Days were also the preferred dates for ordination of priests. So during these times the Church had a threefold focus: (1) sanctifying each new season by turning to God through prayer, fasting and almsgiving; (2) giving thanks to God for the various harvests of each season; and (3) praying for the newly ordained and for future vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

And while we're at it, why not recover the pre-Vatican II Lenten discipline? It is as follows:

The Law of Abstinence forbids the use of flesh meat and the juice thereof (soup, etc.). Eggs, cheese, butter and seasonings of food are permitted.
The Law of Fasting forbids more than one full meal a day, but does not forbid a small amount of food in the morning and in the evening.
All Catholics seven years old and over are obliged to abstain. All Catholics from the completion of their twenty-first to the beginning of their sixtieth year, unless lawfully excused, are bound to fast.

As for the application of fasting and abstinence during Lent:

Fasting and abstinence are prescribed in the United States on the Fridays of Lent, Holy Saturday forenoon (on all other days of Lent except Sundays fasting is prescribed and meat is allowed once a day) . . . Whenever meat is permitted, fish may be taken at the same meal. A dispensation is granted to the laboring classes and their families on all days of fast and abstinence except Fridays, Ash Wednesday, Wednesday in Holy Week, Holy Saturday forenoon . . . When any member of such a family lawfully uses this privilege all the other members may avail themselves of it also; but those who fast may not eat meat more than once a day.

MY FINAL COMMENT: Would following a stricter regimen for fasting and abstinence create a stronger Catholic culture and unique Catholic identity? Would it draw Catholics closer to one another in Christ? And would it make us more conscious of moderation in life and the need to assist the needy?

I think it would increase our Catholic culture and identity and would never detract from the foundation of our Catholic Faith, the Most Holy Trinity and Jesus who shows us the Most Holy Trinity in a tangible way.

Saturday, September 29, 2012



My Comments first: One of the things I have consistently challenged on my blog is what I call neo-Protestantism and neo-schismatic attitudes about Vatican II, Church authority and fidelity to the Holy Father in the areas of faith, morals and canon law. This fidelity has to go beyond personal tastes and preferences in politics and religious practices.

For example it is perfectly acceptable to prefer a quiet Mass over Mass with music, which on Sunday is the norm according to the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. It is perfectly fine to prefer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to the Ordinary, normative Form of the Mass.

Where Catholics become neo-Protestant or neo-schismatic is when they think their personal tastes and perspectives on politics and religion trumps the Church, the Magisterium, the Holy Father and the normative experience of Catholicism.

For example, unless and until SSPX is regularized with the Magisterium and unity in the ministry of Peter, that of the Holy Father, they are what I call neo-schismatic even though they hold on to the faith that most Catholics practiced prior to the Second Vatican Council, with the major exception that most pre-VAtican II Catholics were extremely faithful to the pope, bishops and living Magisterium of the Church as well as canon law! But who in the name of God has set the SSPX up as the parallel Magisterium to keep the faith in tact? Who has made them the center of Church unity? Yes, their trajectory in rejecting large parts of an ecumenical council and direct disobedience to the Holy Father is very similar in attitude to that of Martin Luther and John Calvin except the latter two had heretical views that they foisted upon their followers who broke communion with Rome.

Perhaps we can say that Martin Luther and John Calvin did fit into God's plan for the Catholic Church to make the Magisterium address internal corruption and clarify doctrine and dogma in the Counter-Reformation and the Council of Trent. Maybe the neo-schismatic SSPX will help the Church do the same today, especially as it regards the Liturgy.

However, I do not believe that the 1962 Liturgy or any missal prior to that must be frozen in time, but what develops must be in continuity with our Tradition. The 2012 Missal in English can easily be celebrated in continuity with the 1962 missal with only minor tweaking and can at least look and sound like the 1962 without any radical adjustment, simply doing what is allowed when celebrated ad orientem and in Latin.

The Second Vatican Council is being interpreted correctly by the Magisterium. Other neo-schismatics in the corrupt, progressive "spirit" of Vatican II have hijacked the council and made it appear to be that which it really never was. Some of this was outright disobedience, others though sincerely thought they were doing the work of the council in their hermeneutic of discontinuity. Our Holy Father has the correct hermeneutic for interpreting the Council and Cardinal Levada below does too. Nothing can be done overnight to rectify the breach in Catholicism brought on by the wrong hermeneutic of interpretation, but a great deal of progress has been made since Pope John Paul II was elected in 1978 and more so since Pope Benedict's papacy. Patience is a virtue and not everything will be accomplished in one's lifetime. Union with the Holy Father and the Bishops in union with him is the only faithful position of any Catholic! And yes, that take humility which is the opposite of the deadly sin of pride.

Cardinal William Levada, until recently the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, delivered a 13-page keynote address at a Catholic University of America symposium on the Second Vatican Council.

“The truth of our faith has been safeguarded and illumined by the work of the councils, as promised by Jesus’ gift of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles,” Cardinal Levada said. “Today’s culture is often skeptical about claims to know the truth: so we get along by agreeing that one person’s opinion is as good as another’s, and that we must live by ‘our own truth’ … In my view, a renewed apologetics for our time should be placed among the unfinished tasks bequeathed to us by the Council, and an important project for every Catholic university.”

“It is true to say that Vatican II was by intention a ‘pastoral’ council,” he continued. “From this, however, one cannot infer that the Council’s teachings are not “doctrinal.” Teaching the Gospel of life and salvation is the chief ‘pastoral’ task of the Bishop; it is doctrinal in its principles and pastoral in its applications … The teachings of Vatican II, even if not infallibly proclaimed, must be taken as ‘normative’ (always in accord with their intention and purpose) by all of us Catholics today,” he added. “Rather than pastoral or doctrinal, we should say of the Council that it was pastoral and doctrinal.”

Cardinal Levada criticized the rejection of conciliar teaching by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and the “hermeneutic of discontinuity” that followed the council in some places. “The Council, like all of the Apostolic Tradition, finds its authentic, authoritative interpretation, not in the judgment of individuals or groups (such has been the origin of schisms from the Church), but rather in the judgment of the Church’s Magisterium, according to the promise of Christ to the Apostles,” he said, adding:

(My comment about the following two paragraphs--I was taught in the 1970's seminary that the following would be the future of the Church, but indeed it is heretical): About four years ago the Dominican Province in the Netherlands sent a letter to every parish in the country outlining their position on how to meet the shortage of priests that prevents people from having Mass offered in their own parish church every Sunday. They proposed not only the ordination of women and married men, but also advanced the theory that in the absence of an ordained priest, the worshipping assembly could designate its own presider who could lead them in a valid Eucharist.

It does not take an expert in theology to recognize such a view as heretical, since only a validly ordained priest can celebrate a valid Eucharist (cf. CCC n. 1411). Here is an example of the confusion caused by an attempted interpretation of Church doctrine that is “in discontinuity, even rupture” with the Tradition of the Church. In order to repair the scandal caused, the Master General of the Order required the Provincial to send to the same parishes an article prepared by the Dominican theologian Fr. LeGrand, OP, presenting the correct Catholic doctrine on each of the points raised by his Dutch confreres.

Friday, September 28, 2012


Pre-Vatican II nostalgia?

One of our aging retired diocesan priests, Fr. Timothy Ryan laments the return of some pre-Vatican II practices (which are practiced in many places in the post-Vatican II Church by the way) at St. Joseph Church. Fr. Ryan is a native of Ireland and came to the USA and our diocese in the early 1960's when I was but a baby and oddly enough to my very home parish in 1962 when I was but 9 years old and in pre-Vatican II bliss.

I reprint an email he sent that laments all things pre-Vatican II and his gratitude that he doesn't have to experience the horrors he experienced in pre-VAtican II Ireland. The Irish have never been known as liturgists and even to this day I think the Irish people still prefer a quick, spoken Mass as Mass with music or the singing of the Mass reminds them of the Anglican Church which took over their land and churches in centuries past and the Catholics had to worship hidden and quietly as it was outlawed to practice the Catholic faith. What a pity to carry that cross to this day!

His drivel gives us insight into why people of his generation, the generation that is now dying but valiantly tried to put into practice not only Vatican II but also its corrupted spirit of discontinuity after Vatican II are having such a hard time with something as benign as ad orientem, an irrational phobia if you will! It is best to pity them and pray for their easy passage unencumbered by the shackles they have from the past and present.

My final comment before you read is long drivel, is that he says he doesn't know my childhood. Well in fact he should know quite well my pre-Vatican II experience because I was a member of St. Joseph Church in Augusta from 1960 to 1976 where he in pre-Vatican II time with Fr. Nick Quinlan as pastor, was the assistant pastor for his first assignment. Much of my admiration for the Liturgy came from Fr. Quinlan's care in celebrating the pre-Vatican II Mass! What a small world.

He asks if I ever milked a cow or shoveled manure. Yes, I did at my father's farm in Cape Breton, NS and I worked at the Dairy Queen beginning in 1968 when I was 14 years old having been a paper boy for several years when I was in elementary school.

My mother grew up poor in Livorno, Italy, had what little they did have destroyed in World War II, had to find food where they could get it and had to deal with fascists, Nazis, Mussolini and other horrid types. In fact, Fr. Ryan's life compared to my mother or father's life was a fairy tale!

At any rate for your edification from Fr. Ryan:

Dear Friends:

OH for the Pre Vatican Council Days! The Good thing about them is THAT THEY ARE GONE AND THEY ARE NOT COMING BACK! The Mass in Latin or Fiddle Back Vestments or the Priest Facing the East is not going to bring the X Generation or the Millinium Generation back to Church in any great numbers.

From a recent Pastor's Comments on the Parish Bulletin, Saint Joseph's Church, Macon, Georgia, 16 September 2012, the Pastor FR Allan J. McDonald wrote and I quote.

"Next month, on October 13, marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council in 1962 by Blessed John XX111. Vatican 11 has been praised and blamed for the way the Church is today, some 50 years later.

" What is truly good about the Council is when it is properly interpreted and implemented. What has truly been dastardly is when the Council is interpreted and implemented according to the theory that Vatican 11 was a rupture with the church of the past and previous ecumenical councils and that a new " spirit " was ushered in contrary to what the Church was prior to the Council. This has had deleterious effects on the Church for the past 50 years and created a crisis of such magnitude that many Catholics have lost their Catholic identity and thus their relationship with almighty God, as Catholics have understood God and Church for almost 2000 years. No greater horrors the fact that in 1962 nearly 90% of all Catholics attended Mass every Sunday whereas today in many places it is as low as 20%. That is not good and it must be reversed, but only by emphasizing the true nature of Vatican 11 and our Catholic identity that we have inherited from 2000 years of Catholic Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church.

Pope Benedict XV1 has emphasized since the beginning of his papacy that Vatican 11 must be interpreted in light of all that preceded Vatican 11, and all of the various ecumenical councils down through the years, and this especially includes how the Mass prior to Vatican 11 and the Mass after Vatican 11 to make it look and sound like that the two are completely different. "

Now let me comment on the above. The Second Vatican Council was the First Global Ecumenical Council. The other previous councils were limited in scope and truly Roman Councils while the Council of Trent was a Hold That Line type of council and Vatican Council 1 was never concluded due to the outbreak of the First World War and many Bishops never made it to the council...

Priests and Ministers were Gods. The law was laid down and woe be tide any one who bucked the system. As times moved on and new generations grew up with greater options many things changed. The Bully Pulpit became the Abandoned and Ignored Pulpit. The Times They Are A Changing...

I grew up during the Second world War and in its aftermath. I had a spark for life and living but still grounded in reality. As a young man I enjoyed the new type of music and Rock and Roll. Our Bishops were condemning everything and anything. Archbishop John McQuaid came back from the Vatican Council and announced the " NOTHING HAPPENED IN ROME!" The President Eamon De Valera was squandering the National Treasury in trying to restore the Irish Language at a time 40,000-50,000 youth were emigrating to England each year at age 14 or 15. So I see the folly of listening too much or trusting Older People in Positions of Authority.

The younger generations have grown up in a different age. When the American POW's were coming back from Vietman I gave a few of them who were coming back to teenage children a book called We Were Never Their Age by James DiGiacomo, S.J. and Edward Waken. When Lt General LeRoy Manor saw a copy he called me in and told me to get 250 more copies of the book ASAP. We had the books in a few days. See, the POW's were coming home to a different America. Woodstock had happened and Martin Luther King had happened and Martin had had a DREAM.

I remember the hornets nest I opened when I read from The Cotton Patch Gospels by Clarence Jordon in Albany Georgia in 1968. I remember the letters written to the new Pastor in Columbus, GA when one Friday during Lent I used not the traditional prayers and reflections for the Stations of the Cross but I used a little book on the Stations written by a FR. Ton Luka which were based on the Social Gospels of the Day in 1967...

The world has changed and did not the Late Cardinal Martini, S.J. say before he died a few weeks ago, " the problem with the Church was that it was 200 years behind the times!" If he is right the Mass in Latin is not going to bring the Faithful back. The Present Church Authorities still live in a world that is long gone. If we are to bring the Teaching and Value systems of Jesus Christ to these new generations and hand on to them the Traditions of the Church for the past 2000 years it must be a Living Tradition not Dead Traditionalism!

The Blessed Pope John XX111 was a man of his time. He was in the Vatican Diplomatic Corp and the Papal Nuncio to Bulgaria, Turkey and Paris. While he was in Turkey, Francis Cardinal Spellman who was Archbishop of New York but also the Bishop of the Military Ordinariate went to Turkey to visit the Troops. Spellman met with the Papal Nuncio Roncalli and decided Roncalli was a Bliddering Old Fool.Roncalli gave Spellman an Antique Turkish Plate and Spellman took the plate back to New York, handed the plate to an aide and is reported to have said, " Put that someplace in the basement that silly Old Man in Turkey gave it to me...

While in Paris Roncalli as Papal Nuncio got rid of all the French Bishops who had cooperated with the Vichy Government during WW11 without any publicity. He also witnessed the Student Unrest and Student Uprisings. That is what inspired him to call a Global Ecumenical Council to not change the old but to have it grow and develop to meet the new needs of a post WW11 world sans Colonies, Global World. Like Christ he could well say, " I did not come to change the Law but I came that you may have life and have it to the full. The " Keep the Rule and the Rule will Keep you " philosophy was not working any more...

So many of the Schools in the Pre Vatican Schools were terrible places especially in Ireland. Read, Ireland My Ireland, Memories of an Irish Childhood by Arnold Meagher. Read about The Irish Christian Brother's Schools and Teachers. Read The Invisible Wall by Harry Bernstein about growing up and going to school in Manchester, England.

I was never beaten much in School myself as I had five older brothers who had cone to the Christian Brothers in Tipperary and my Late Brother Michael had told the Brother if they put a hand on one of us they would hear from him. Once when we got a bully I asked him if he knew my brother Michael? He said he did. Then I said. " I will be big like him some day and I will come back and take care of you." I never got " Six of the Best " after that.

Those Brothers had leather straps which they lined inside with Coins, Irish Pennies, and would beat the children with them. I saw many of my classmates beaten for not knowing their Catechism Lessons. With that type of athmosphere it was easy to get good attendance at Sunday Mass! I stole one of those straps once and we cut it open and kept the Pennies and used the two lengths of the strap to Donkeys Britches!

So when FR Allan McDonald and others like him rant about Mass attendance 50 years ago and the Correct Interpretation of the intent of the Second Vatican Council I feel they are talking through their Hat.

I know nothing about the youth of FR Allan McDonald but I doubt if he ever milked a cow or cleaned out a barn.

Now another Quote from FR. Allan McDonald's Pastor's Comments on the Saint Joseph Sunday Bulletin, 16 September 2012.

" One of the things we will do at our 12:10 Mass only beginning October 14, one day after the 50th anniversary of Vatican 11 is to celebrate this Mass more like the Mass prior to Vatican 11."

Well do I remember the Celebration of the Mass Prior to Vatican. I had 24 years of it. In my home Parish, Saint Michael's in Tipperary Town, the priest had his back to the people. During May and October another priest was in the Pulpit leading us in the Rosary. The Christian Brothers policed the aisles to see we boys were all behaving and if not they might give us a slap across the face. Rosary over Mass was pretty much over when the Mass was over too. Only the Priest received Holy Communion. Then most people went home.

Those who wished to receive Holy Communion would remain behind and the Priest would return to the Sacristy. That is after we had prayed for the Conversion of Russia. Prayed to sent Down to Hell Satan, Old Nick, and in dry weather prayed for Rain and most summers we prayed for Fine Weather. God was that Old Budda in the sky and unless you prayed for it you did not get it. God at all other times was a Talliban Chief with a computer Mind who would punish you for every failing or sin. Of course Most things were Sins!

The Priest without his chasuable and the other priests with Surplice, Cassooc, Stole and Biretta would come out and there would be another Penetential Rite as if the one in the Mass were not sufficient and then Holy Communion was Distributed. Those who received Holy Communion regularly were known as Holy Willies! My Saintly Father went once a year and My Saintly Mother made the First Fridays and followed up with the First Sunday. We boys went once a Month with the School Mass on Friday but it would be pushing it to go again the following Sunday. Besides, that took time.

Even to this day in most Parishes in Ireland the Sunday Mass lasts about 20-25 minutes. Then on sundays when there was or is a bih ball game like Tipperary and Cork the Mass could be knocked off in 15 minutes. It was always a great year If Tipperary beat Cork and the farmers got the Hay saved and in the Barn!

In Mableton, Ga there is Saint Francis de Sales Catholic Church. That community started about 17 years ago and the priest who belonged to the F.S.S.P Latin Mass Society is now the pastor in Jackson, GA without the F.S.S.P. and has been pastor there for about 3 years. There are two priests now in Mableton and they have two Massis in Latin each Sunday with about 400 People attending. Knowing the growth of the Catholic Population in the Archdiocese of Atlanta that does not look too impressive to me after 17 years.

In the United States there are over 2 Million persons in Jail. 7000 students drop out of High School each Day! I think if I was young enough to work in a parish or I had found a Bishop in the past who would risk me having a Parish I think I would offer the people something different than the Pre Vatican 11 Latin Mass. As our neighbor said one Sunday after one of our Local Curates gave Hell to the Farmers for working in the Meadows saving Hay on a Sunday. Bridge Herr said. " That makes sense to him. He will not have to feed the cattle in February or March and he will get 2 Pounds Sterling for singing a song, ( i.e. a Requiem Mass ) regardless of the weather! "

One final Quote from FR. Allan McDonald's Bulletin at Saint Joseph's Catholic Church Macon, 16 September.

" We are not like the 12 apostles at the Last Supper, rather this prayer reminds God of the Last Supper and that it anticipates how the Church will remember the Sacrifice of Good Friday."

I did never figure that God the Father could be that forgetful and in fact I could not see any father been that Forgetful after what had happened in the Garden at the Mount of Olives and on the Hill at Cavalry! But then, I may be wrong?

A Belated Happy Yom Kippur!

Lord G.


"Yes, Virginia, this is the Ordinary Form of the Roman Missal at St. Joseph Church in the Year of our Lord, 2012!"

Sometimes, Catholics, meaning clergy and laity, think we must bend over backwards to keep our young and not so young in the parish, when in fact, free will means we have to let them make their decisions for or against Christ and His Church when they come of age which also means that they have to accept the consequences, good or bad, for the decisions they make out of free will. Do they want salvation or damnation, grace or evil?

Ultimately, the priest can only remind parents of their grave responsibility to live up to the promises they made at the baptism of their child to rear them in the practice of the Faith. That means, the practice of the Faith as Holy Mother Church understands that and makes it explicit. The minimal requirement is to follow the precepts of the Church, the most important to attend Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation, and to follow the 10 commandments and support the Church. It really is quite simple isn't it?

Yet, when parents fail to come to Church and see to it that their children are properly formed in the practice of the faith and teach them that a sense of obligation and duty is required with our holy Faith when feelings and emotions dissipate, what do the authorities of the Church do? Well, sometimes we flagellate ourselves thinking if we were more modern and hip we'd have all the Catholics in the pews every Sunday. Then we start sinking to the lowest common denominator liturgically and otherwise and forsake our Catholic patrimony and identity as it concerns the faith, morals and discipline of the Church, not to mention our Catholic spirituality, liturgical sensibilities and grand tradition of solid sacred chant and Catholic singing, to keep everyone in the Church.

Is a smaller but purer Catholic Church something we should intentionally cultivate? Should we have a very high standard of practice for our Catholic faith and corporate identity,not to mention personal morality and spirituality, or do we water our Catholic Faith down and accept the most outrageous of faux spirituality thrust upon the Mass and parish life, not to mention immorality and immodesty?

I read somewhere recently, but cannot find the source now, that a South American town that had been nominally Catholic had a great number of converts to Evangelical Protestantism and in being converted to this denomination, the town's people had become more modest in dress and behavior. What does that say about how they were or were not living their Catholic faith which has a strong sense of modesty too? But how many in modern Catholicism hear homilies or teachings on modesty and immorality and the difference between salvation and damnation and that the latter two are what awaits every soul?

Most priests today would not touch these topics with a ten foot pole! Why? What are we afraid of? We're afraid of pushing the immodest out of the Church, that's what we are afraid of and also of being accused of sending them packing, that it is our fault that we didn't bend over backwards to keep them in by offering tacit approval of the most outrageous of behavior and fierce individualism.

But shouldn't we have high standards or not for Catholics and high expectations and simply say, Catholics don't do this, that or the other and when they do they are on the wide road that leads to eternal damnation?

At St. Joseph Church we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council as well as the Year of Faith, by making our 12:10 PM Sunday Mass more traditional in appearance, which simply means that the Liturgy of the Eucharist will be celebrated ad orientem but everything else about the Introductory Rite, the Liturgy of the Word and the Concluding Rite will remain as is currently as well as the current style of singing, music and English, except that on the third Sunday of the month, our men's schola will chant the Latin parts of the Mass including the Introit, Offertory and Communion Antiphons. But the congregation will be expected to join in singing the Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei.

We're doing this not to bring in the young or keep the old or to revolutionize the parish. We're doing it out of fidelity to the principle of the hermeneutic of continuity that Pope Benedict has been espousing and using the legitimate options for the Liturgy that the revised English Roman Missal of 2003 allows. It is simple as that. If that creates an appreciation for continuity and that Vatican II never intended to turn the apple cart upside down but simply desired the very robust Church of the late 1950's and early 60's to become even more robust, then so be it.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Dr. Kaye Hlavaty, principal, Fr. Allan J. McDonald, pastor, Fr. Daniel Firmin, Chancellor and former altar boy for Fr. McDonald!

Today, our elementary school broke ground for a $3.7 million parish/student life center, gym and three additional classrooms. The raw video is from WMAZ TV:


A first cousin from New York just emailed me this photo of my mom and me, which was taken a bit south of Naples in the vicinity of Sorrento, Italy.

The Funeral Mass for Isolina (Lina) Clara Sainati McDonald

At the entrance of the Church, the priest greets the family, and sprinkles the casket and the pall is placed on it. After the priest introduces the sprinkling and then as he actually sprinkles the casket and the pall is placed upon it, the schola chants in English in a simple tone:

“Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them. To Thee is due the hymn, O God, in Sion; and to Thee shall the vow be paid in Jerusalem. Oh, hear my prayer; unto thee all flesh shall come.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon them.”

Then the processional Hymn begins immediately after the chant:

Jesus, Lord, Have Mercy (Tune Adoro Te Devote, Chant V) accompanied by Organ

Jesus Lord, have mercy On the souls so blest, who in faith gone from us Now in death find rest. Here ‘mid stress and conflict toils can never cease; There the warfare ended Bid them rest in peace.

Sorely were they wounded in the deadly strife; Heal them, good Physician With the balm of life. Ev’ry taint of evil, Frailty and decay, Good and gracious Savior, Cleanse and purge away.

Grant them rest eternal After weary fight; Shed on them the radiance Of thy heavnly light. Lead them onward upward, To the holy place Where thy saints, made perfect, Gaze upon thy face.

At the chair the priest chants the opening Collect

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading: First Thessalonians, 4:13-18

Responsorial Psalm: “The Lord is my Shepherd”

Gospel Acclamation

Gospel: #14 John 11: 21-27 (short form)


Offertory: The Latin chanted version of the Offertory Antiphon chanted in simple tone:

Let perpetual light shine upon her, with your Saints for ever, for you are merciful. Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her with your Saints forever, for you are merciful.

This is followed by Schubert's Ave Maria instrumental

Sanctus (Latin)

Mystery of Faith: (in chant mode from the revised 2011 Roman Missal)
We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection
until you come again.

Great Amen: Danish

The Our Father, chanted in English

Agnus Dei: Latin, chanted

Communion: As soon as the priest begins to receive Holy Communion, the schola sings:

We await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our mortal bodies, to conform with his glorified body.

Then for the Holy Communion Procession of the laity as they are receiving Holy Communion:

O Living Bread from Heaven (Tune, “The Church’s One Foundation”)
By: Johann Rist

O Living Bread from heaven,
How well you feed your guest!
The gifts that you have given
Have filled my heart with rest.
Oh, wondrous food of blessing,
Oh, cup that heals our woes!
My heart, this gift possessing,
With praises overflows.

My Lord, you here have led me
Within your holiest place
And here yourself have fed me
With treasures of your grace;
For you have freely given
What earth could never buy,
The bread of life from heaven,
That now I shall not die.

You gave me all I wanted;
This food can death destroy.
And you have freely granted
The cup of endless joy.
My Lord, I do not merit
The favor you have shown,
And all my soul and spirit
Bow down before your throne.

Lord, grant me then, thus strengthened
With heavenly food, while here
My course on earth is lengthened,
To serve with holy fear.
And when you call my spirit
To leave this world below,
I enter, through your merit,
Where joys unmingled flow.

Once Holy Communion is completed, all singing and organ music concludes for a time of silent meditation.

Prayer after Communion

The Rite of Commendation:

Song of Farewell: “Saints of God” by Philip Duffey, with the congregation singing the refrain, cantor or choir sings the verses.

The Refrain:

“Receive her soul and present her to God the most high.”

Recessional: English Version of “In Paradisum” sung by schola as the casket it taken from the church.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


The following is from the National Catholic Reporter and it is about Germany where people must pay a state tax to support the Church, which I presume means they don't have an offertory collection as we do. Read on, what are your reactions?

UPDATE: German court: Catholics who don't pay religious tax must leave church
Sep. 25, 2012

By Jonathan Luxmoore, Catholic News Service

Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg, president of the German bishops' conference, presents a statement to the media at the opening of the bishops' fall meeting Monday in Fulda, Germany. (CNS/KNA-Bild)

WARSAW, Poland -- The German bishops' conference defended a controversial decree that said Catholics who stop paying a church membership tax cannot receive sacraments.

"There must be consequences for people who distance themselves from the church by a public act," said Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg, conference president, in defending the Sept. 20 decree.

"Clearly, someone withdrawing from the church can no longer take advantage of the system like someone who remains a member," he said at a news conference Monday as the bishops began a four-day meeting in Fulda. "We are grateful Rome has given completely clear approval to our stance."

The archbishop said each departure was "painful for the church," adding that bishops feared many Catholics were unaware of the consequences and would be "open to other solutions."

"The Catholic church is committed to seeking out every lost person," said Zollitsch, whose remarks were reported by Germany's Die Welt daily.

"At issue, however, is the credibility of the church's sacramental nature. One cannot be half a member or only partly a member. Either one belongs and commits, or one renounces this," Zollitsch said.

Catholics make up 30 percent of Germany's population of 82.3 million, about the same proportion as Protestants, with 2 percent belonging to Orthodox denominations, according to government figures.

Interest in the Catholic church revived after German-born Pope Benedict XVI's April 2005 election, but church baptisms and weddings continue to decline. Church statistics show that about 13 percent of Catholics attend Mass weekly, compared with 22 percent in 1989.

Germany's Catholic priesthood and religious orders also are declining in number, according to a bishops' statement in June, despite three homecoming visits by Pope Benedict since his election.

A total of 126,488 Catholics asked to stop paying the membership tax and be removed from registers in the 27 German dioceses during 2011, according to the bishops' conference. In 2010, some 180,000 Catholics took the same step.

German newspapers said the pope's native Bavaria region had suffered the worst losses. The dioceses of Augsburg, Bamberg, Eichstatt, Passau and Wurzburg reported a 70 percent increase in departures in 2010, the height of the clergy sexual abuse scandal.

Introduced in the 19th century, the membership tax earns the German church about $6 billion annually, making it one of the world's wealthiest.
National Catholic Reporter

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In its decree, the bishops' conference said the tax was designed to compensate for state seizures of church property. The decree said the right to a "civil law withdrawal" ensured "no one is led to church membership against their will."

"Conscious dissociation from the church by public act is a grave offense against the church community," the decree said.

"Whoever declares their withdrawal for whatever reason before the responsible civil authority always violates their duty to preserve a link with the church, as well as their duty to make a financial contribution so the church can fulfill its tasks."

The document added that departing Catholics could no longer receive the sacraments of penance, holy Communion, confirmation or anointing of the sick, other than when facing death, or exercise any church function, including belonging to parish councils or acting as godparents.

Marriages would granted only by a bishop's consent and unrepentant Catholics would be denied church funerals, the decree said.

A press release Sept. 20 said the decree had been approved in August by the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops. It added that parish priests would be asked to write to departing Catholics, inviting them to meet and explain their decision and have the consequences explained.

The Associated Press reported that the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig, Germany, ruled Wednesday that Catholics who opt out of paying religious taxes must automatically leave the church as well.

The bishops' decree was criticized by Germany's dissenting We are Church movement, which said in a statement Monday that a "pay to pray" policy sent "the totally wrong signal at the wrong time" when the German bishops were "laboriously trying to regain credibility" after a "decades-long cover-up of abuse scandals."

"Instead of considering the reasons why large numbers are leaving the church on the ground, this bishops' decree sends a threatening message," the statement said.

"This threatened exclusion from community life is a de facto excommunication. It contradicts the sacramental understanding of indelible church membership through baptism."

In his opening address Monday to the bishops' meeting, Zollitsch said the church needed "a long perspective, deep breath and patience" to cope with current challenges, as well as a capacity for dialogue with "social groups and circles alienated from the church."


The Holy Father teaches that "good Liturgy" is always oriented toward God!


Vatican City, 26 September 2012 (VIS) - The liturgy as a school of prayer, as a "special place in which God addresses each one of us ... and awaits our response", was the theme of Benedict XVI's catechesis during his general audience, held this morning (September 26, 2012) in St. Peter's Square.

The Pope explained how, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "we read that the word 'liturgy' originally meant a 'service in the name of/on behalf of the people'. If Christian theology took this word from the Greek, clearly it did so thinking of the new People of God, born of Christ Who opened His arms on the Cross to unite mankind in the one peace of God; 'service in the name of the people', a people which exists not of itself but which has come into being thanks to the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ".

"The Catechism also states that in Christian tradition, the word 'liturgy' means the participation of the People of God in the work of God". In this context Pope Benedict recalled how the document on the liturgy had been the first fruit of Vatican Council II. "By beginning with the issue of liturgy, light was very clearly thrown on the primacy of God, on His absolute precedence. ... Where the gaze on God is not decisive, everything becomes disoriented. The fundamental criterion for the liturgy is that it should be oriented towards God, in order to ensure we participate in His work.

"Yet, we might ask ourselves", the Holy Father added, "what is this work of God in which we are called to participate? ... And what makes the Mystery of the death and resurrection of Christ, Who brought salvation, real for me today? The answer is this: the action of Christ through the Church and the liturgy; in particular the Sacrament of the Eucharist which causes the sacrificial offer of the Son of God Who redeemed us to be present; the Sacrament of Penance in which we pass from the death induced by sin to new life; and the other Sacraments which sanctify us".

Quoting again from the Catechism of the Catholic Church the Pope affirmed that "a sacramental celebration is a meeting of God's children with their Father, in Christ and the Holy Spirit; this meeting takes the form of a dialogue, through actions and words'. Thus", he explained, "the first requirement for a good liturgical celebration is that it be prayer and dialogue with God, first listening then responding. ... Sacred liturgy offers us the words, it is up to us to enter into their meaning, absorb them, harmonize ourselves with them. ... One fundamental and primordial element of dialogue with God in the liturgy is concordance between what we say with our mouths and what we carry in our hearts", he said.

The Pope then referred to a particular moment in which the liturgy calls upon us and helps us to find such concordance: the celebrant's invitation before the Eucharistic prayer: "sursum corda", meaning "let us lift up our hearts"; lift them up, that is, "out of the mire of our concerns and desires, our worries and our distraction. Our hearts, the most intimate part of us, must open meekly to the Word of God and join the prayer of the Church, in order to be oriented towards God by the very words we hear and pronounce".

"We celebrate and experience the liturgy well", the Pope concluded, "only if we maintain an attitude of prayer, uniting ourselves to the mystery of Christ and to His dialogue of a Son with His Father. God Himself teaches us to pray. ... He has given us the right words with which to address Him, words we find in the Psalter, in the great prayers of sacred liturgy and in the Eucharistic celebration itself. Let us pray to the Lord that we may become increasingly aware of the fact that the liturgy is the action of God and of man; a prayer that arises from the Holy Spirit and from us; entirely addressed to the Father in union with the Son of God made man".


Celebrating both forms of the one Roman Rite as I do, causes me to reflect on both forms and why changes were made to the Roman Rite Mass following Vatican II.

As I've said, time and time before, the one change that I think was most widely approved was to the vernacular although initially Latin was not to be removed altogether. I think the mix of Latin and vernacular in the 1965 missal, which is still of the Order of the 1962 Roman Missal with all of its prayers in tact, was a good step that then went to far in the 1970 reformed Roman Missal.

What would be a good blend between the vernacular and Latin and make the Mass once again universal in language?

About two years before the revised English translation was official, at St. Joseph Church we jettisoned the old English greetings and returned to the Latin ones. By that I mean, "Dominus Vobiscum," the Preface Dialogue and "The Peace of the Lord..." with the Latin responses by the laity. At first there was a group that did not appreciate this change, but by the end of the first month, everyone was either singing or saying their Latin response with gusto and naturally. In fact, I was a bit depressed when we implemented the new English responses having to drop the Latin.

Why not make the Latin responses mandatory in the current missal?

Our parish also knows the Greek Kyrie and one version of the Latin Sanctus and the Agnus Dei. Many know the Latin Gloria we sing at the EF Mass along with the Credo.

Why not make the Kyrie (Greek of course)and the Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, Pater Noster, and Agnus Dei mandatory in Latin in our current Roman Missal?

I personally like all the Eucharistic prayers in the Roman Missal except for #4 which I seldom use. Besides the typical four that most hear, there are also two for Reconciliation which are quite beautiful and four others for special occasions all of which I think are quite befitting for worshiping God. Because of the variety that are possible during the Mass, I personally think that the vernacular is good for the Eucharistic Prayer although I'm not opposed to the Latin versions. Perhaps a good compromise would have been to make the Epiclesis as well as the words of consecration the same in all of the Eucharistic Prayers and that these alone be in Latin with a quiet or "low voice" or always chanted--that would be a wonderful adjustment, no?

Certainly all the changing parts of the Mass should be in the vernacular like the Introit, Collect, Prayer over the Gifts, Preface, Eucharistic Prayer, and Post Communion Prayer as well as the Offertory and Communion Antiphons. But there is no reason why these can't be in Latin as an option which is possible even now.

In other words, I recognize that the personal idiosyncrasies of priests and parishes could have a hybrid of Latin and English now or all Latin with the modern Roman Missal. But the Mass shouldn't be built upon idiosyncratic good intentions but upon universal principles that I suggest above for the use of Latin exclusively.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


The USCCB's Catholic News Service produced this video. In fact over the last several months several videos sympathetic to Latin and the EF Mass have been produced. This is curious to say the least and would lead some who think they are clairvoyant, but maybe not, to think that the USCCB is preparing the Church for some interesting changes to come in the Liturgy. I'm not saying, but just saying.

Monday, September 24, 2012


The Catholic Church has always believed cemeteries to be "sacramentals" of the mortal body awaiting the resurrection of the dead. Cemeteries are also great places for pilgrimage to visit our beloved faithful departed.

With so many people choosing cremation and then failing to give a proper entombment or Christian burial, I fear we may be losing the laudable tradition of visiting the dead at the cemetery and praying for the souls of the faithful departed. Cemeteries are a great place for a picnic too as one visits spiritually with one's deceased loved ones. The grave which is hallowed, is a point of contact with our beloved dead and again, a sacramental of their presence on earth.

My mother's fresh grave, next to my dad, at our family plot. My dad's marker has his date of birth as July 23, 1910 and date of death, December 25, 1987. My mom's will read October 18, 1919-September 18, 2012:

Westover Memorial Park is contiguous with the Augusta National Golf Course and the land has the same characteristics of contours as the course. In this photo beyond the hedge of trees, looking from my mom's grave is the Augusta Country Club's Golf Course which is right next and contiguous with the Augusta National, but is older than the Augusta National and has a storied history too.

Each Monday, when I am in Augusta on my day off at my mom's house, we normally have Chic-fil-A for lunch together at her house (carry-out). Today was no different! And what a glorious fall day for a picnic and prayers for mom and dad together again!


I want to thank everyone who wrote such nice comments concerning my mom's death. I deeply appreciate the kind words and your prayers for my mom and our family!

My mom at my 30th Anniversary Celebration at St. Joseph, Macon in June of 2010

I had told my mom over and over again that while I did celebrate my father's funeral Mass and preach the homily 25 years ago, that I didn't think I could celebrate her funeral Mass and preach the homily. She said "do what you want to do" over the years.

Well, somehow, and I asked many to pray for me to get through it, I was able to celebrate her funeral Mass and preach the homily. The only thing I asked the pastor of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Augusta to do was the Final Commendation (although I incensed my mom's body during the Song of Farewell), and to preside at the Rite of Committal at the graveside (which by the way is right next to the Augusta National, but actually overlooks the Augusta Country Club's golf course, the two courses contiguous with one another). Many people believe that the Augusta National is a bit of heaven! It was a beautiful last full day of Summer in Augusta which has weather very similar to Livorno, Italy.

I was able to preach this homily by using examples that I knew wouldn't trigger any unexpected cracking of the voice or actual tears, in other words, I knew my limits:

Introduction: You never never where you will end up when you marry an American Soldier! My mother was living far from an safe or ordinary life in Livorno, Italy, near Florence, a part of Tuscany, when at about age 22, World War II broke out in Italy and Livorno was first targeted by the Americans during the Nazi collaboration with Mussolini and then by the Nazi's during American occupation. In fact, her home town was bombed so much that Italy evacuated the civilians of Livorno to a safer area. My mom and her family lived in the caves near Siena!

Prior to that, during an American Air Raid, my mother and her family happened to be elsewhere. Residents usually took shelter in apartment building basements. My mother's family apartment was an 8 story building. During that air raid, her apartment took a direct hit and imploded into the basement killing everyone in it. Only by the grace of God was my mom and her parents and siblings elsewhere at the time and uninjured. In fact, the entire family escaped near death experiences several time and all survived the war. The only major tragedy took place shortly after the war in Livorno, where my mom's brother, Gianni, walked behind a U.S. Army truck and it unexpectedly back-up over him crushing him, and killing him instantly.

Toward the end of the war my mom was able to get a job in the kitchen of a US Army hospital and my father who was a American Soldier made his way from Cape Breton, Canada, to Detroit, MI to New York City and then on to fight during WWII in North African and then in southern Italy making his way up the boot to Livorno and the same Army Hospital kitchen my mom worked at and the rest is history, they married on Dec. 1st, 1945. Being married to my father enabled her to travel to places she never thought she would. My sister was born December 27, 1946 and they moved from Livorno in 1947 to the Bronx, New York. But that was short-lived as my mother absolutely hated The Bronx and completely missed Italy, so my father re-enlisted in the Army and was then back to Livorno where my brother was born on August 22, 1948. They were transferred to Trieste, Italy, near the Yugosalvia boarder. Then in 1951 they were transferred to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey for a year or so and then transferred back to Italy to live in Naples, Italy where I was born on December 21, 1953. Northern Italians look down on southern Italians, so I was considered the black sheep of the family! Then they we were transferred to Atlanta in the summer of 1956 and then on to Augusta on April Fool's Day, 1960 where we stayed. In all her travels in leaving her beloved homeland and Livorno with her large family of 7 brothers and sisters, and her mom and dad, she knew the pain of saying good-bye but also the joy of creating a new life. And if World War II didn't kill her, moving here and there wasn't going to either. She loved Augusta and told me after her last visit to Italy that Livorno was a nice place to visit but she preferred Augusta now. Of course in Augusta there was little Italy with all kinds of war brides coming in the 1950's and 60's. There were also German and French ones too. Some of her Italian friends were from her hometown of Livorno others from Verona, Trieste, Naples and Florence. In fact one friend she had growing up in Livorno also married a soldier and ended up living next door to us in Augusta in the late 1970's and early 80's! Small world.

Topic Statement: And now my mom is on another fearless journey to our true homeland, heaven, and we are assisting her with our prayers, like the ocean liner that assisted us in getting to Georgia in the summer of 1956.

1. Of course the Church Jesus founded is the ship that brings us to eternal life made possible by His life, death and resurrection.

A. I've always preached that it is a blessing, a special grace to be able to grieve when our grief is firmly placed on the ship of faith and immersed in the death and resurrection of our Lord. As Christians we see life as so precious that it is instinctual, implanted in our hearts and souls that there is more to life than what meets the eyes and that every precious human life, human soul continues forever. Our faith tells us that life is changed, not ended when our mortal bodies lie in death. How hard it must be for those who grieve but have no hope of life continuing on after this one concludes! Jesus of course is the reason for our hope in salvation, that the doors are flung wide open for the ship of faith to find save harbor and for an eternity with God and all the redeemed in Christ.

B. Paul's first Letter to the Thessalonians is filled with hope, not only about our eternal salvation that begins at the moment we are conceived, but about the whole world when Jesus will return at the end of time to complete the work of salvation first begun after Adam and Eve's original sin. Not only does Jesus save our souls, he will save our bodies and as from the clay of the earth God fashioned the body of Adam, so too will our bodies once they return to the earth be refashioned at the Second Coming of Jesus like the Glorified body of Jesus Christ in the resurrection of the dead. What a glorious hope our faith in Jesus gives us.

2. Yes, today we turn our thoughts to God and heaven and what heaven and God must be like.

A. My mom had been sleeping a lot this past year as she sat on the couch. When I visited her, she would fall into a light sleep and immediately begin to dream and would be speaking to people in the dream. In fact, she would be speaking out loud to them for me to hear, mostly in Italian but also English. There would be pauses for the other person to respond. It was like listening to someone on the phone and wondering what the other person was saying. She was visiting with her parents, her siblings, my father and others that had journeyed on to the other side of life. She also started seeing my father a lot here at home. He was hanging around the house even though he died 25 years ago and in another house. I've just gotten a new car, way too nice for me, and I told my mom that I had one. One Sunday night when I came in from Macon, she thought I was my dad. Trying to defend the fact that I was me and not him, I told her, Mama, I'm Allan, I just bought a new car. I'm a priest and I live in Macon. She was unconvinced, so I didn't push it any further, although the next morning she knew me and didn't bring up the night before. The next week when I came in on Sunday, much to my relief, she knew who I was. But then she said this to me in all seriousness, "Guess what, your father bought a new car too, he now lives in Macon and he is a priest!" In all of these dreams and visions, I think heaven was being experienced and the great reunion with God and all those redeemed in the Blood of Christ and it was happening on this side of life for her!

B. The salvation of our souls in heaven even now and the resurrection of the dead at the second coming are all made possible by Jesus Christ. Jesus tells Martha in today's Gospel, "I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if that person dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. My mom believed this and so do we! Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God who is in the world and our personal lives to save us. Yes, we still grieve because life is changed, but it is not ended, so our grief is hope-filled grief of believers, not despair-filled grief on the unbelievers.

Conclusion: As we continue this Mass, let us give thanks to God for the re-presentation of the One Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross at this altar and may our worthy reception of Christ's Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity be the fuel that sustains our voyage on the ship to eternal life.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


My mom died on Tuesday, September 18, 2012, one month shy of her 93 birthday on October 18 at about 4:50 PM with my sister Elizabeth and me at her bedside something I had dreaded for my entire life. It was a two week roller coaster. On Saturday, September 1st, my sister noticed my mother's breathing was labored and there had been a great deal of fluid buildup. Home health care came and recommended she be brought to the hospital. Up until that my mom had been living on her own in her townhouse and with her monster cat, Kitty, himself about 16 years old. She moved into her townhouse in July of 1991. This was her last day there and the last time she saw her beloved cat.

At the hospital she was in good spirits and was released on Wednesday, September 5th to go to a nursing home rehab center where we had hoped she would then return home. But on Thursday morning, we could not awake her and her breathing became more distressed and so she was sent to the hospital again. Once in the emergency room, she awoke and was very alert, talkative and with her normal sense of humor. She stayed awake until well past 10:00 PM when she got a room at the hospital.

She continued to have the deep sleep problems but moments of great alertness and never lost her appetite when awake! Thursday, September 13 she was sent back to the rehab center, but again on Friday, September 14 she was non-responsive. In the evening we kept a "death watch" as it appeared close. However at about 9:00 PM she unexpectedly awoke, was alert, and ate two small pudding cups and drank water. On Saturday morning, she was sitting up eating on her own a large breakfast of eggs, bacon, grits, bread, orange juice and coffee. She was alert all day. The next day, Sunday, September 16, she remained alert had visitors and her great grandchild, 2 year old Bailey Jo McDonald visiting and great pictures were taken late Saturday, September 15:

I came back from Macon, on Sunday night and went immediately to see Mama. She was awake, alert and fighting with her nurse whom she felt wasn't quick enough in getting her to the bathroom, but the nurse had gotten her out of bed and to the toilet and back to bed and she felt better. I gave her what would be her Last Holy Communion, Viatcum for the arduous journey from death to eternal life although I didn't realize that it would be her Last Holy Communion! I kissed her good night and she told me to feed her cat!

On Monday, September 17, she could not be aroused and by the late afternoon it was obvious she was in a semi-conscious state, occasionally but briefly opening her eyes and acknowledging me and then out again.

Monday evening the doctor told us that she was very critical.

Tuesday, September 18th, we remained all day with Mama. Her breathing was only labored once but then remained consistently shallow but steady. My sister, her husband and two children and two of her grandson's wives were present a good part of the day. Most departed around 4:00 PM except for me and my sister. Earlier I had offered my mom the "Last Rites."

The nurses came in to give my mom something for a fever that had developed and then turned her to her side and that was all it took, she took her last breath! My sister and I couldn't believe it had come to such a relatively easy passage although it was unexpected at that particular moment. I think both of us really thought she would come to again and we would eventually get her home again, but exceedingly sadly it was not to be. This was about 4:50 PM, Tuesday, September 18, 2012, born to eternal life.

Loosing your mom, especially your Italian mom, is a hard one. Italian sons and mothers are an interesting study in family life and cultural expectations! I won't be posting any new posts for a while and may be a bit slow in posting comments, but keep them coming! God bless.

The following obituary is in our The Augusta Chronicle and Macon Telegraph this morning:

AUGUSTA, Ga. - Entered into rest Tuesday, September 18, 2012, Mrs. Isolina (Lina) Clara Sainati McDonald, 92, loving wife of 45 years to the late Donald Joseph McDonald. Mrs. McDonald was a native of Livorno, Italy but then moved to Georgia from Italy in July of 1956 with her husband and three children. She was a member of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity. Mrs. McDonald worked for the Richmond County School System and was a volunteer for St. Joseph Hospice. Family members include daughter: Mary Elizabeth McDonald Smith and husband Robert G. III; sons: Johnny McDonald and wife Deborah, Fr. Allan Joseph McDonald; grandchildren: David Joseph Smith and wife Jennifer, Rebecca Ann Smith, Johnny McDonald, Jr. and wife Patty, Scott McDonald, Lauren McDonald; great grandchildren: Maxwell Smith, Nicholas Smith, and Bailey Jo McDonald and her cat, Kitty. A Funeral Mass will be held Friday, September 21, 2012 at 12:15 P.M. at the Church of the Most Holy Trinity with Fr. Allan McDonald and Fr. Jacek Szuster celebrants. Burial will follow in Westover Memorial Park. Memorial contributions may be made to Church of the Most Holy Trinity, 720 Telfair St., Augusta, GA 30901. A vigil service will be Thursday evening beginning at 6:00 P.M. and the family will receive friends until 8:00 P.M. at Thomas Poteet & Son Funeral Directors, 214 Davis Rd., Augusta, GA 30907 (706) 364-8484. Please sign the guestbook at

Published in The Augusta Chronicle on September 20, 2012


I have a very good memory about details, especially when I was young. Of course, my memory is very parochial, not a worldwide experience but isolated to three parishes that I attended prior to Vatican II, the Post Chapel at Fort McPherson, GA from 1956-60, St. Anthony Church in the West End of Atlanta during the same period and St. Joseph Church, Augusta, GA from 1960 to 1965 when changes that Vatican II envision trickled down to us, especially actual participation.

This is what I remember about Pre-Vatican II actual participation in the Mass during that brief and early period of my life:

1. Participation in Mass was highly individualized and personal. The only communal aspect was simply being gathered together. However, all eyes had to be fixed on the sanctuary, there was very little or no interaction amongst those present.

2. The Holy Rosary seem to be the prayer of choice during the liturgy by the vast majority of people. I was taught by my parents to hold the Rosary during Mass and even pray it during Mass.

3. However, I was given a St. Joseph Missal and asked to bring it to Mass to follow the Mass and many people brought both their rosaries and missals to Mass--missalettes or worship aids were not provided by the parish, except a hymnal of some kind.

4. The laity remained quiet, and only the altar servers spoke during the Mass or the choir if there was one--my experience during pre-Vatican II times was mostly the Low Mass at the early Sunday morning time slot.

After Vatican II and when the liturgy changes were being first implemented, the thrust of the priests who were telling us what was desired by Vatican II was active participation and two things would facilitate this, the turning of the priest to face the congregation during the Mass to make the Mass more "intelligible" more vernacular to make the Mass more easily understandable and the actual participation of the laity in the responses and chants of the Mass that up until that time were reserved to the altar boys and/or choir.

This also included the laity reading the Scriptures of the Mass and eventually Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, but the latter occurred in the 1970's. The inclusion of women/girls in these ministries was also a fruit of Vatican II we were taught so that women, especially as the 20th century saw great advances in the education of women, their right to vote, their work ethic during World War II in taking jobs normally reserved to men who were absent because of the war and a number of other developments which the Church for the most part found positive.

So no one can tell me that "actual participation" as Vatican II and post Vatican II developments did not hinge on building upon what was good prior to Vatican II but also addressing what wasn't good, meaning passivity and letting others do for them what they should be doing themselves, like singing, speaking and actively engaged in the liturgy both internally and externally and the external being a symbol of internal participation and a fruit of it.

By the 1980's and at the behest the liturgist Father Eugene Walsh, active participation was being defined in the following way:

1. hospitality
2. creating silence for private prayer, listening to the Scriptures and meditating on them and listening actively to the prayers that are prayed and not using worship aids and following these in a book, but looking and listening with eyes, ears, body and soul.
3. Actively participating and energetically in all spoken and sung parts
4. Departing Mass recommitted to bringing Christ to our homes, play and work.

The clericalism part of this was priests in the late 60's and 70's trying to enforce this post Vatican II vision and by facing the people during the entire Mass, acting like supervisors of their participation and sometime belittling people who were slow or unwilling to change from their pre-Vatican II practices. This clericalism might well explain why so many who did not like being supervised during Mass may well have dropped out of Mass altogether, especially if they were felt to be second class citizens by maintaining their pre-Vatican II worship practices.

With the priest facing the congregation and acting like a judge on the laity's participation, there also created the teacher/student relationship and those in the congregation doing what the teacher expected and doing it for the teacher to see so that the student would be considered the teacher's pet.

Monday, September 17, 2012


The Mass after Vatican II and the Mass before Vatican II one with Pope Beneidict and the other with Pope John XXIII, is this what Vatican II desired in looks?

I suspect at the time the documents of Vatican II were written, the way the Church was in the USA compared to Church in Europe or other parts of the world was very different. I suspect that the USA, as today, even then had a higher rate of religious practice than some other countries. So to get the high percentage of Catholics at that time to be more active in the Mass and more active as Catholics in their parishes and in their everyday lives was certainly well advised.

In terms of Christian unity, a major emphasis of Vatican II, certainly fostering it has been a blessing and much development has occurred in unexpected ways, especially for those of us who as Catholics are minorities in our cities and towns and thus even apart from institutional concerns, have to be ecumenical at home, work and play if we are going to be a part of our towns and cities.

About 90% of our marriages are ecumenical in Macon and all of the Diocese of Savannah. Up until the early 1950′s Catholics who married Protestants in my parish, many still alive and in the parish today, had to marry in the rectory, they weren’t allowed a church wedding. That was liberalized in the 1950′s when mixed marriages were allowed in the church but the ceremony had to take place outside the altar railing. Could you imagine going back to that today and Catholics acquiescing?

Could anyone have imagined during the Council, that the reformed liturgy and in the vernacular would open the way to an “Anglican Use” (and subsequently the Ordinariate) liturgy,which I would see as positive in terms of authentic Christian unity under the full communion of the Catholic Church, i.e. the pope, bishops in union with him and the Church's Magisterium?

On the negative side, could Council Fathers in the USA imagined that the up to 90% attendance of Catholics at the “non-participative” Latin Mass of that period, would lead to only 20% of Catholic participating in the “active-participative” vernacular, simplified Mass today? If they had a crystal ball back then, what would they have written differently?

Or more to the point, since my contention is that the problems of today aren't related to the Council documents which are quite conservative in nature and reflect decades of theological thought leading up to the Council, but rather the problem is the hermeneutic of rupture with the Church's past and ill-advised post-Vatican II documents that have created so many of the problems that still affect us today.

Studying the documents of Vatican II today, and especially the document on the liturgy, is quite important. But the critique, and strong critiques, that are needed shouldn't be directed toward the Council itself, but the post-Vatican II documents that implemented the council. I suspect we need to read those too and perhaps blast those documents out of the water where necessary rather than blaming Vatican II on all the bastardized ways subsequent documents implemented Vatican II's noble vision!

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Disclaimer, that's not my title and not my article, but the headline and article in this morning's Atlanta Journal Constitution! Read on!

Bad church music is a sin

By Lorraine V. Murray

For the AJC

My husband and I once attended Mass at a church that had the most gorgeous pipe organ. We were all set to enjoy some fine sacred music, but the hymns – or should I say pop songs? — were accompanied by the tawdry tinkling of a piano.

Pianos are fine in secular settings, but when it comes to church, give me the majestic tones of the organ any day. As for guitars and tambourines, they’re just dandy at rock concerts, but using them at church is like wearing tattered jeans to a big meeting with the boss.

People go to church to worship God, and the instruments and lyrics should reflect this goal.

In “Holy God We Praise Thy Name!” the words emphasize God’s everlasting power. The images in “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy” remind us of divine compassion.

Unfortunately, these hymns are giving way to folksy, feel-good songs with lyrics that often shine the spotlight on people, rather than God.

One particularly heinous song has the congregation proclaiming, “We are the light of the world,” even though this biblical description applies to Christ. The lyrics of “We Are Called” are liberally peppered with self-congratulatory references to the people in the pews.

In my book, bad church music is a sin. It can annoy people and make them angry, which is never a good thing. It also drives some people to avoid Sunday services altogether.

Traditionally, sacred music in the Western church has meant the sonorous tones of the organ and hymns composed by the likes of Bach, Mozart and Ralph Vaughn Williams. Today, though, sacred and secular are being sadly confused.

Some music directors seem unaware that “sacred” means something holy, and quite different from the everyday. This is one reason churches have stained glass and uplifting works of art.

Yes, it’s possible to worship God in a dingy auditorium, but a soul-stirring sanctuary and truly sacred music give us a little glimpse of heaven.

Eating a gourmet meal on china plates is radically different from gobbling down burgers housed in Styrofoam. And to me, that’s the difference between traditional church music and the feel-good ditties played in many churches today.

And I’m not alone. A Facebook page called “I’m Fed Up with Bad Church Music” has nearly 4,000 members, including evangelical Christians, Anglicans and Catholics.

There’s a vast treasury of traditional sacred hymns, which are prayers put to music —so why not sing them at church? If you like folk music, you can enjoy it on your back porch.

But when it comes to church, let’s have music that offers a foretaste of heaven.

After all, the choirs of heavenly hosts surely are not strumming banjos and singing “Gather Us In” and “We Are Many Parts.” At least I hope not.

Lorraine writes about the deadly effects of insipid church music in her mystery “Death of a Liturgist” (St. Benedict Press). Her email is

Saturday, September 15, 2012


And of course this was an interview I did 35 years ago when I entered the seminary :)
(I pray he makes it!)


Whispers in the Logia reports on Lincoln, Nebraska's new bishop who succeeds Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz.

In the first Stateside appointment of the new "Vatican year," at Roman Noon today the Pope named Bishop James Conley – since 2008, the lone auxiliary of Denver – as bishop of Lincoln.

This is a portion of what Rocco Palmo writes:

In the southern Nebraska diocese of 100,000, the 57 year-old prelate – a longtime staffer at the Congregation for Bishops with a notable global cult following – succeeds the oldest active American prelate, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, whose retirement comes a week after his 77th birthday, two years past the canonical age. (The duo are shown above this morning at the local announcement.)

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz the "godfather" of a cadre of outspoken bishops who've firmly shifted the US hierarchy's center of gravity rightward over the last two decades, the Milwaukee native led the Lincoln church since 1992.

Aided by the departing ordinary's flair for the combative, under Bruskewitz the church in Cornhusker Country has become widely known in the Catholic world as a lodestar of an unabashed theological conservatism whose results have sometimes flown in the face of wider trends. Not only did a sudden bumper crop of priestly vocations prod the diocese to open its own minor seminary early in his tenure, but since 1998, Lincoln has likewise been home to the nation's lone formation house for the traditionalist Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP), whose apostolates make exclusive use of the 1962 ritual books. (According to its website, the diocese currently has 44 seminarians, a figure on a par with several of the nation's largest Catholic outposts.)

Conversely, however, what arguably remains Bruskewitz's emblematic act in the spotlight – a 1996 decree excommunicating those of his faithful who, with "contumacious persistence," belonged to any of 12 groups whose purposes he deemed as running afoul of church teaching, including Planned Parenthood, the Masons, Call to Action and Catholics for a Free Choice – likewise saw the same sanctions levied against local adherents of the Society of St Pius X and another traditionalist chapel.

Years later, the Holy See upheld the controversial move. The Lincoln prelate has likewise taken significant heat for his refusal to fully implement the US bishops' Dallas Norms on clergy sex-abuse cases, which Rome has confirmed as particular law for the American church.

I cannot name any diocese in this country or anywhere else that is center or left of center that is in any way doing as well as Lincoln, Nebraska. Keep in mind that this diocese only has 100,000 people and has 44 seminarians, yes, 44!

Shouldn't the hierarchy of the Catholic Church wake up and smell the coffee and recognize that the progressive meme that so many dioceses have embarked, and this means not only the bishop, but his personnel, both clergy and laity, has had a deleterious effect on conserving the Catholic Faith and conversely, Catholic identity?

Our new Bishop, Bishop Gregory Hartmayer recognizes that one of the biggest deficits in our diocese concerning the conservation of the Catholic Faith is poor catechesis from parents on down to children. He is right!

But that is not the only problem. We have in too many places a sloppy, casual liturgy sometimes improvised with sloppy, poor liturgical music and a lack of adherence to scrupulously following the rubrics of the Church and the General Instruction of the Roman Missal. There is also often a failure to even follow canon law in minor and major ways.

Cathechesis is only one piece of the pie to re-establishing Catholic identity and I believe the smaller piece of the pie. The larger piece of the pie is authentic Catholic spirituality and morality.

It is true that under the umbrella of Catholic Spirituality are many "smaller" spiritualities. But these should all be Catholic, profoundly so and flow from the Sacraments and doctrines of the Catholic Church. Tied into this is also appropriate use of traditional devotional practices, the premier of which should be the recitation of the Holy Rosary.

But also a bigger piece of the Catholic identity pie is Catholic morality and there is no room for a left-leaning approach to that as the left leaning approach is immorality at worse or amorality at least. Think of Catholics for Choice--what an oxymoron!

If only more priests and laity in our diocese desired the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and the spiritualities of a strong Catholic identity that flows from it, I think all the other problems with conserving the Catholic faith would dissipate and there would be a very strong gravitation pull on the Ordinary Form of things in the Catholic Church making them more extraordinary. We would have strong Catholic families, leading to strong Catholic parishes, where Catholic families see children as a gift from God to be embraced not contracepted and we will see more social justice and caring for the poor and the promotion of the culture of life. We will see more vocations to the priesthood and religious life and there will be a need for more seminaries and houses of formation for religious. Are you on board?