Saturday, September 6, 2014


Monsignor John Cuddy in September of 1997 as St. Joseph Church looked then with the original altar railing in the original position on the third step between the main pillars of the church:
Monsignor Cuddy's 60th Anniversary of ordination in May of 2013:
 Work on the restoration of the altar railing, new but to look as the old, and placed on the first step and running the complete width of the church. New brass/bronze gates similar to what was lost in the 1970's will be installed as well. We expect all work and installation to be completed by the end of the month (God willing!). 

If you look at the celebrant's chair, near the worker in green t-shirt, the original railing would have begun on the chair level, in the middle of the four columns behind it and run into the middle of the ambo's (pulpit) side--this truly constricted the original space of the sanctuary. The priest's chair was placed on the top step of the old high altar, prior to the 2006 renovation, thus hiding the altar and its Last Supper sculpture.  The sanctuary was raised one step, the altar railing removed and the sanctuary extended into the nave:

This morning's Telegraph has a tribute to Monsignor (Father) John Cuddy, pastor of Saint Joseph Church from 1974-2004. St. Joseph School dedicated the Monsignor John Cuddy Hall (Gym and three additional classrooms) in January. Mt. de Sales Academy will dedicate soon its new middle school building named the Fr. John Cuddy Hall. 

Apart from the article above, the accompanying photograph above was taken in September of 1997 shortly after Mother, now Blessed, Teresa of Calcutta had died on September 5th, 1997.  In fact her liturgical feast day was yesterday! What an odd coincidence!

But I digress, the photo of Monsignor Cuddy standing in St. Joseph Church shows the original position of the altar railing (up three steps, between the main pillars of the church and constricting the space of the actual sanctuary). What is not pictured is the other side of the church where the altar railing actually goes into the middle side of the ambo (pulpit). The gates were long gone by the time of this photo.

The new railing (and the floor is completed for its installation which should be within this month, God willing!) will look as the old although a new fabrication. Also newly fabricated will be the brass/bronze gates which will look like the original. There will be two gates at the center and one gate each directly in the middle front of each side chapel. 

The new railing will be on the first step leading up to the altar, rather than the third step as shown above and will be more expansive running the full width of the church outside the pillars. 

From Saturday's Macon Telegraph
 By ED GRISAMORE, September 6, 2014

Monsignor Cuddy's 60th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood last May, 2013:

When John Cuddy was in the second grade at St. Boniface School in New Haven, Connecticut, a little girl asked for his hand in marriage.

Although he was flattered, he politely declined the early wedding proposal.
“I am going to become a priest,” he told her.

At an age when few children understand the concept of God, he already embraced the idea of dedicating his life to serving God.

One of three sons born to Irish parents, Cuddy worked to help his family make ends meet and to put himself through college and seminary. His father was a policeman. The family did not own a car.
He was ordained at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hartford. And his spiritual path eventually led him to another St. Joseph’s Catholic Church at the top of Poplar Street in Macon, where he was appointed pastor in 1974.

Cuddy’s relationship with one of the city’s largest congregations -- as well as the students, faculty and alumni at Mount de Sales Academy and St. Joseph’s Catholic School -- has been special during the past 40 years.

In January, Bishop Gregory John Hartmayer, of the Diocese of Savannah, came to Macon to dedicate Monsignor John Cuddy Hall, the new gymnasium at St. Joseph’s elementary school.

On Sept. 19, Hartmayer will return for the official dedication of Father John Cuddy Hall, the new middle school that opened its doors this fall. There will be a Mass at St. Joseph Catholic Church at 11 a.m. The dedication at the school is at 1:30 p.m. and open to the public.

Cuddy will not be able to attend, though. He turned 86 in April and is in declining health. He lives at the memory care center at the Blair House in Macon.

Among those invited to the Sept. 19 dedication is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who was one of Cuddy’s students at St. John Vianney Minor Seminary on the Isle of Hope in Savannah in the mid-1960s.

Deacon Don Coates, the upper school campus minister at Mount de Sales, said the school has not received word on whether Thomas plans to attend.

The new middle school facility is 23,850 square feet and includes 11 classrooms, three science labs, a counseling center and administrative offices.

Coates said a photograph of Cuddy will be displayed in the lobby, along with his cassock, prayer books and other items.

Cuddy collected rocks and shells on his many trips to the Holy Land, where he “walked in the footsteps of Jesus.”

Toni Siebenmorgan, an art teacher at St. Joseph’s school, has arranged a collection of Cuddy’s rocks in the form of a Jerusalem cross.

While this year marked the 40th anniversary of Cuddy’s arrival in Macon, last year was the 60th anniversary of his ordination into the priesthood.

Although Cuddy has been bestowed the honorary title of “monsignor” by the pope -- a designation for priests who have rendered valuable service to the Catholic church -- Coates said Cuddy has always preferred to be addressed as “Father Cuddy.”


Phil McGoldrick and Joe Moran already had graduated from Mount de Sales by the time Cuddy came to Macon. But they watched his ministry prosper in the years that followed. They remembered him from their elementary school days at St. Joseph’s, when Cuddy would visit on “report card day” in his role as superintendent of schools for the diocese from 1957-68.

McGoldrick said Cuddy’s far-reaching impact was immediately recognized in the community after he began the traditional Thanksgiving interfaith service. He also started classes for those interested in learning about Catholicism, similar to what is now the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), during which candidates for conversion are introduced to Catholic beliefs and practices.

“He has always been caring and genuine,” Moran said. “Like that priest you see in the movies.”
Longtime St. Joseph’s member Connie Thuente said Cuddy came to St. Joseph’s at a time when there was some division in the church.

“He brought us together in his quiet, humble way,” she said.

She said her daughters, Macie and Tara, loved it whenever Cuddy visited the elementary school classrooms. They once saw him shopping at Kmart. He recognized their school uniforms and came over and spoke to them.

Cuddy also was a fixture on campus at Mount de Sales. He could regularly be seen in the hallways between classes, after school and during other activities. Coates said he rarely missed an athletic event.
Not only has Cuddy been known for the rock collection from his travels, he shared equal passion for Volkswagens. Thuente said although Cuddy has Irish roots, he grew up in a German neighborhood in Connecticut, which explains his devotion to VWs.

Coates said in recent years, when Cuddy has no longer been able to drive, the transportation duties have been handled by a group of volunteers who affectionately call themselves “Cuddy’s Cabbies.”
Before Cuddy was ordained in 1953, he attended St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Connecticut, then St. Mary’s in Baltimore. He studied theology at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., and obtained a master’s degree in education administration.

He was one of 17 men ordained on Ascension Thursday (May 14) in 1953. He was the only one who chose not to remain in Connecticut, heading south instead to join the Diocese of Savannah. His first parish was at Holy Family Church in Columbus for four years before being called to St. Michael on Tybee Island and St. James in Savannah.

As prescribed by canon law, Cuddy had to retire in 2003 when he reached the age of 75. He submitted his retirement letter to then-Bishop J. Kevin Boland, who “held the letter” and allowed Cuddy to serve another year as pastor in celebration of the church’s 100th anniversary in 2004.
That same year, Cuddy was named chaplain at Mount de Sales, although he had “unofficially” been in that role for 30 years.

Read more here:


Anonymous said...

Very nice article, glad to see the altar railing is coming along.

I had a question about the Mass, as a pretty recent convert. I love both the EF and the OF, with a preference of the EF. My question concerns the OF.

I have read in various places, as well as a book by Mike Aquilina, that the OF (when done correctly) looks more like the Mass that the early Christians would have celebrated, I think it was called antiquitarianism(?). Whether right or wrong, is this a correct statement that I have been reading from various sources about the OF?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

There was/is certainly an attempt to go back to the early Church sources on the Liturgy. The problem with this and yes, some would call it antiquarianism, is that it does not take into account the "organic" development that occurred in the Liturgy in both the East and the West although with different cultural and historical, theological trajectories.

So what ended up happening is that the Mass was simplified which certainly would have been a feature of early Church liturgies in "home churches" and ancient practices that were abandoned for good reason were returned, like receiving Holy Communion standing and on the palm of the hand.

However, more recent historical data indicates that ad orientem began quite early and perhaps even in home churches, especially in the period of the Church being an actual part of Judaism and not separate (first 100 years give or take. Jews to this day pray at least symbolically in the direction of Jerusalem or east.

The bigger problem with the revision of the Mass after Vatican II, what is called the OF is not so much the books, although there are some problems, but what rank and file bishops and priests did to this Mass when celebrating it showing a complete breach with the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

The Ordinary Form of the Mass can be celebrated ad orientem, with Gregorian Chant or chant in the vernacular, with a communion rail and the laity kneeling to receive. There is nothing anathema about this except in the minds of some liturgists, bishops and priests.

Anonymous said...

Do you think what you described in the last sentence will ever happen for the OF?
And do you think that there are more graces in the EF and the old rites than there are with the OF and the revised rites?
I've been struggling with this since converting and would love your opinion.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

All the graces are in both forms of the Mass. It depends on the person and his disposition to these graces as to what graces are received. For example a person who receives Holy Communion in either form with unforgiven mortal sin and thus not in a state of grace, does not receive the gift of salvation in Christ but rather condemnation.

One who is disengaged from the Mysteries in either form diminishes his reception of these graces.

The manner in which the Mass is celebrated, sloppily, casually, irreverently by priests or laity can do the same thing in either form.

For some people,the EF may be a stumbling block for graces because of the Latin and inability to comprehend. The Mass offers the graces, either form, but one's ability or disposition to receive the graces is diminished.

Pater Ignotus said...

One man's "organic development" is another man's "historical accretion."

One of the results of the study of the liturgy, of asking "Why do we do this in the liturgy?", was the examination of the ritual in depth. There are elements of the liturgy that are "divinely instituted" and, therefore, not subject to change. And there are also elements that are of merely human origin which can be changed.

Fr. Colin Donovan writes, "The Holy See had long encouraged the study of the nature of the liturgy and the historical origins of its parts. The findings of theologians such as Fr. Joseph Jungmann (The Mass of the Roman Rite, 3 vols., Christian Classics, 1950, 1986), clearly reveal the mutability of the Mass from the time of the earliest known Roman sacramentaries (5th and 6th century). Rather than being a static form, the Roman Rite had absorbed customs from other local Churches (e.g. Gaul), as well as developed it's own, an evolution that ended with Pius V and Trent. What had once been "novelties" when first adopted at Rome became fixed parts of the "immemorial Mass". The only constant being the authority of the Apostolic See to permit, order and even to impose them. Without judging the virtue of this change or that following Vatican II, on which there are legitimate arguments pro and con, the need for the reform of the Tridentine Mass was certainly accepted by all bishops and theologians."

Some of the changes to the liturgy were promulgated prior to Vatican II. The reform of the liturgies of Holy Week, implemented in 1955, is a prime example. One change of this reform was to move the celebration of the Easter Vigil from daylight hours to after sundown, when lighting the Easter fire would have far greater impact (Light In Darkness).

The OF contains all the elements of the mass that early Christians celebrated. So does the EF. The question that we continue to debate - and to live - is "What post-Apostolic changes in the liturgy best serve the purpose of the mass and should be maintained, and which post-Apostolic changes should be deleted or renewed?"

Anonymous said...

Thanks Father! and very insightful PI, thanks

So even though the new Mass was "constructed" and even my parents are older than the OF Mass, I still get the same graces which I would at the EF which is 1,700+ yrs old?

This is actually helping me a lot, btw, and I greatly appreciate it.

Cameron said...

PI I'm bringing the tater salad!

I'm sorry, but reading certain "liturgists" and experiencing certain Masses, you'd think the thrust of post-Conciliar thrust of Mass is to make it look like a barbeque with pita bread and stupid clothes...

I just don't get the whole "meal" thing. Of course I don't deny this aspect of the liturgy--certainly we truly consume--but "meal meal meal" is all you hear sometimes and it's just like, well damn, who's bringing the cole slaw? Or, that is to say, what's the point of harping on the meal business? Nobody can deny that this has overwhelmed the other aspects of Mass.

rcg said...

PI has a good point in that we need to know if the EF is a refinement of worship that more effectively improved the communication of Christian and Catholic understanding useing the lessons learned by earlier Christians, or if the OF is returning to aleph-null of our Liturgy and building an improved expression that is more transportable to other cultures. The alternative view is that the NO is reenacting all the wrong alternatives, heresies, and pagan ritual that was present in the converted cultures. I think morphologically, it is. Liturgically, it seems to demonstrate a stripped down alternative worship process but does not seem, in practice, to protect the congregation, clergy or laity, from error. The set that is the NO can contain elements in its expression that challenge or are even contrary to Church Doctrine, yet are allowable in the NO form. So how can it be useful? It does not carry with it the warnings and cautions of mistakes the earlier Christians experienced so it invites the same mistakes for modern users. I think as an introduction to Catholicism for Protestants or other Christian sects, or perhaps children, it is useful. Otherwise, I think it sets to bar too low and does not encourage growth of the Christian past past a relatively simple emotional state.

Just my opinion. It is still, of course, valid.

John Nolan said...

Pater Ignotus is quite right. The problem was that developments which should have taken decades, if not centuries, were rushed through in barely five years. Most people concentrate on the Mass, but the changes in the Ritual, which involves the Sacraments, were more serious and there was even less consultation. When the new rite of Ordination was promulgated in 1968 many of the English bishops were outraged. Cardinal Heenan applied to Rome for substantive changes but was given a flat 'no'.

Meanwhile Anglican and other Protestant spokesmen were congratulating Rome for its 'ecumenical' playing down of the sacrificial element and turning the priest into a 'presider' which was more in tune with Reformation theology.

Liturgical progressives still use the term 'presider' rather than 'celebrant'. It first appeared in Inter Oecumenici, the first authoritative document to come out of Bugnini's Consilium (1964).

Pater Ignotus said...

rcg - I don't know what your use of "aleph-null" means.

Which "wrong alternatives, heresies, and pagan ritual" is the NO reenacting?

Is protecting the clergy and laity from error a purpose of the liturgy?

What elements of the NO are contrary to doctrine?

John Nolan - I am not suggesting that changes in the liturgy were rushed, so don't say that I am "quite right" in saying so.

Cameron - To begin to understand this whole "meal thing," start by reading and meditating upon the Prayers after Communion.

2nd Sunday Ord Time: Pour on us, o Lord, the Spirit of your love, and in your kindness make those who have nourished by this one heavenly Bread one in mind and heart.

4th Sunday Ord Time: Nourished by these redeeming gifts, we pray, O Lord, that through this help to eternal salvation true faith my ever increase.

5th Sunday Ord Time: O God, who have willed that we be partakers in the one Bread and one Chalice...

6th Sunday Ord Time: Having fed upon these heavenly gifts...

8th Sunday Ord Time: Nourished by your savings gifts...

9th Sunday Ord Time: Govern by your Spirit, we pray, o Lord, those you feed with the Body and Blood of your Son...

12th Sunday Ord Time: Renewed and nourished by the Sacred Body and Precious Blood of your Son...

15th Sunday Ord Time: Having consumed these gifts, we pray, O Lord...

The essential truth of the Eucharist as both Sacrifice and Meal is expressed in these and other prayers.

In the Prayers over the Offerings, the "sacrificial" nature is expressed.

Anonymous said...

Just when I thought I had it figured out and was feeling comfortable with it, y'all pop up lol

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I think the term meal for Americans, Italians and the rest of the world is a sit down dinner, or food on the run or a snack, fast food, restaurant, what have you. So it is a loaded terms and when imposed on the Mass and Holy Communion creates a disconnect.

Why don't we just say that the Mass feeds us as we worship God and in the renewal of the One Sacrifice offered at the altar we are sustained unto life everlasting.

It is necessary for the priest to receive Holy Communion to complete the sacrifice, it is desirable that the laity do so, to receive Christ as Food, but let's not call it a meal, as most of understand it, let's call Jesus Food and Drink. And for those who can't receive Holy Communion because of some kind of impediment, they are not second class citizens and are still part of the Mass!

rcg said...

And also: May God Bless Monsignor (Fr.) Cuddy. We are grateful for his pastoral hand.

Cameron said...

PI, the word "meal" is essentially profane, or has been profanized. It sounds like ramen on a lonely Wednesday night or a Big Mac after work.

Like Fr. McDonald says, "meal" is a loaded term. It sounds gross when considered in a religious context. It's disconcerting.

The terms of the prayers you offer here are much more amenable imo to the conception of consuming the Body and Blood during Mass.

Furthermore, I think calling Mass a "meal" gives ammo to the people who would like to put dumb abstract blobs in random places and have felt banners everywhere as art. Typically they are also the ones who insist on the most poly-poncho of chasubles and breakable vessels and big grinny ars celebrandi.

"It's not Fr. Smith it's Uncle Bob and this is not Mass, it's Dinner with Jesus! Looky here at this terra cotta cup I made out back and its matching plate."

This aesthetic I shall call Rustic Dinner Style.

PI I understand and accept the two major aspects of What the Eucharist Is and Does and How We Take Part In It. But I think meal is an abused term. I am just incapable of considering "meal" in a religious context. Consume, sure, eat and drink even, yes, nourish, yes, but not meal. The connotation is just too... not... Mass-y.

Pater Ignotus said...

Cameron - Any word, including "meal," is made sacred or profane by the way in which it is used. Any term can sound "gross" in any given situation.

Scott Hahn has written "Eucharist, Holy Meal."

From the website of the Diocese of Adelaide comes, "This sacrament is the source of great graces that sanctify us and help us grow in the likeness of Jesus Christ. Catholics believe the Eucharist, or Communion, is both a sacrifice and a meal."

From the OCA website: "As with baptism, it must be noted that the eucharistic meal was not invented by Christ."

If "meal" is unacceptable, then I would presume "supper" is as profane, loaded, gross, or ramen-reminiscent...?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

As a meal it is symbolic or else the Mass would be in the context of an actual Seder meal as the Jews do annually. Too many liturgists become literalist with this concept. While we liter all receive our Risen Lord's glorified Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, the accidents that make this possible but more importantly palatable and not off-putting, the bread and wine are symbols of Christ being the sustenance of our soul's spiritus life, the Wine of healing of soul and eternal joy.

John Nolan said...

PI, do me the courtesy of reading me properly. You are 'quite right' in your understanding of the essential nature of the Mass. The rest of my comment is my own take on the situation and I am not suggesting that it is yours. I can find numerous authorities to support my view, and be assured that you are probably the last person I would resort to.

That said, I believe in giving credit where credit is due, and if I agree with you I am not ashamed to admit the fact.

Pater Ignotus said...

I think it is as truly a meal as it is a sacrifice...

Pater Ignotus said...

John Nolan - I accept your correction and appreciate your comments.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

PI in your 12:01 PM litany on 9/6 no where in any of those prayers is the word "meal" use. Nourishment several times, sustenance of course, feed, consumed, etc--not a mention of meal at all.

Keep in mind children below the age of reason and others with impediments who cannot receive Holy Communion (maybe broke the fast) are still nourished, fed and consume some aspect of the Mass without actually receiving Holy Communion. They may make a "spiritual communion" but no one calls that a "spiritual meal."

Thanks for making my case by your comment above.

Pater Ignotus said...

Good Father - Your reading skills are amazing! In eight passages where the word "meal" is not used, you did not find the word "meal"! I stand in awe of your literary ability and comprehension aptitude.

Now, if you would like to discuss what the word "meal" and the words "nourished,", "partakers," "fed," and "consumed," have in common with the word "meal," then we'd have something to talk about.

Or we could look at the Mass of the Lord's "Supper" and have a similar discussion.

Dr. Psycho F. Ant said...

On behalf of Barron Dr. Hans Blimple von Komprehend, We, the International Society of Forensic Lexicographers and Syntacticians (ISFLS), are pleased to present our annual prize for Grasping the Obvious to Fr. Allan Joseph McDonald, pastor of St. Joseph Church, Macon Georgia, for his amazing exhibition of NOT finding a word in sentences in which the word is NOT found.

Previous winners include Presbyterian Ian Paisley for discovering that the words "Catholic Church" are not found in the Bible, Lars Levi Laestadius for discovering that the word "Purgatory" is not found in the Bible, Peter Martyr Vermigli who discovered that the word "pope" is not found in the Bible, and Joseph Bates who discovered that nowhere in the Bible are Christians commanded to worship on Sundays.

Joining with us is Mrs. Gertrude Pfferschmutz, Fr. McDonald's second grade phonics teacher, who writes, "I knew that little Allan would achieve reading greatness one day. I just can't understand why it would take so long!"

The ISFLS is pleased to make this BOMBSHELL announcement on Sunday, 7 September 2014.

George said...

Pater Ignotus:

Come, come now. This morning, I visited the new Kolbe center in Macon which has an 'Open house'. today.
While I was there, I drank one cup of coffee and I "partook of," "fed","nourished" myself with, and "consumed" two small pieces of cake. I do not call this a meal.One can use the term meal in referring to the Eucharist if one wants, but in relation to how one normally uses that term, it is not a meal.One can even use the term Eucharistic banquet, but is is not a banquet. I prefer saying that one partakes of and consumes the Holy Eucharist or Holy Communion. Much more respectful. Especially since for many today, a meal is procured in a drive thru at a fast food establishment.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Thank you George and an excellent observation. Although I do feel more comfortable with Eucharistic Banquet when this refers to the entire Mass, for in that context it is and it doesn't necessarily mean food or drink only which meal normally has that connotation.

Many Catholics who have impediments that do not allow them to receive Holy Communion feel that the Mass isn't worth attending if one doesn't receive. This is very said and I think in large part due to the heavy emphasis on meal, eating and drinking.

Once again, only the priest must do this (sorry if this sounds like clericalism, but it is dogma) for the sacrificial aspect of the Mass to be completed.

The laity are invited to receive, consume, eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ, but it is not required to fulfill one's Mass obligation. They would have participated in the Sacrificial Sacred Banquet without having physically eaten or drunk anything.

They would have been spiritually nourished, sustained and fed by the Mass itself from beginning to end and would have eaten the Word of God simply by listening and digesting it.

And they could have made a spiritual communion at the time of Holy Communion that would have quite a bit of efficacy in and of itself.

George said...

Father McDonald:

You are correct. One purpose of the Mass is for our spiritual sustenance and one gets that whether or not one receives the Body and Blood. Not to the same degree to be sure. Given the plenitude of graces available to those attending Mass, the term Eucharistic Banquet (in the spiritual sense) would be appropriate .

Pater Ignotus said...

George - When I am fed, it is usually in the context of a meal. I take in nourishment, usually, at meals. I consume the bulk of what sustains me at meal time.

"Meal" as it pertains to the Eucharist is not being used in the common way. Neither is "banquet" or "feast" for that matter.

ALL of these words can apply to profane moments in our lives, but all of them can also apply to the Eucharist.

There is nothing "more respectful" in one or the other, since respect comes from the person using the word, not from the word itself.

If you think that's not true, consider how the word "mother" can be used in a respectful way when speaking of one's maternal parent, and in a most disrespectful way when it's being shouted by an irate driver...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this wonderful page on Father Cuddy. He is one of my most cherished teacher memories of high school.

I was thinking of him and just found this page through google. I am distressed to hear of his declining health.

At MDS in 1980:I was a non-Catholic privileged by the generosity of the church to attend Mt. de Sales. The Fr. Cuddy I knew there in the early 1980s embodies everything good I can imagine about priests. Whimsical, interesting, approachable, humble, comforting, wise, happy . . . at the risk of being over-dramatic I would say he was like a hologram of goodness; because you experienced all these things just being in his presence.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Thanks for the kind words! Msgr. Cuddy's 87th birthday is this Saturday! Say a prayer for him! God bless you.