Friday, March 25, 2016


 A few comments on the photos below. I am wearing a gold chasuble and the deacons matching dalmatics that have been in the parish since the 1950's if not before. When I was a transitional deacon at St. Peter Claver Church here in Macon (historically African-American parish) from January of 1980 to August, I was asked by our then bishop, Bishop Raymond Lessard, (God rest his soul, he died in early February) to bring the gold chasuble and dalmatics from Saint Joseph to the Cathedral in Savannah for my ordination on June 7, 1980. Thus Bishop Lessard ordained three of us, Father John Lyons, Father Tom Campbell (RIP) and me as he wore this gold chasuble and the two deacons, Deacon Don McArdle and Deacon George White (RIP)wore the dalmatics.

So I decided to wear it last night to remember Bishop Raymond Lessard, his priesthood and mine and the other two. If not for Bishop Lessard bringing me to Savannah in 1985 and keeping me at the Cathedral as Associate pastor, Master of Ceremonies, Director of Liturgy and Vocation Director and mentoring me out of my more progressive, silly 1970's ways, I don't know who or where the hell I would be today!

Please note too my personal chalice, a gift from my parents but a very 1970's chalice. It has Jesus Christ surrounded by the 12 Apostles on it, all of whom have halos including Judas!!!!! And one knows it is Judas because he has the money sack in hand. Now you would think that the designer of the chalice who knew to place the money bag in his hand would have known not to place a halo! But deep down I pray that poor old Judas repented at the point of death and Jesus on Holy Saturday when He descended into hell released him along with Adam and Eve and the other Old Testament figures.

We washed 6 person's feet as a tribute to Bishop Lessard who would only wash six feet, men or women from the 1970's onward because he wanted to make clear they did not represent the Apostles or the first priests of the Church--a wonderful solution to the tension of washing the feet of 12 mixed gendered feet!

The Mass of wonderful as was the music! Apart from a festive English Gloria, the other parts were in Latin to include the "Per Ipsum" and "Ecce Agnus Dei!"

Thanks to Dr. Buck Melton who is so good at taking these!


TJM said...

Fr. McDonald the vestments are gorgeous and the Mass sounds wonderful. Question: I noticed you celebrated versus populum. Do you alternate between ad orientem and versus populum?

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I only celebrate ad orientem at our 12:10 PM Sunday Mass every Sunday. But for Masses that include people who normally don't attend our 12:10 PM Mass I celebrate facing the people. We have five Sunday Masses (one of those the Saturday vigil). So the majority attend Mass with the priest facing them, although we have the Benedictine altar arrangement.

TJM said...

Fr. McDonald what is your reluctance to do it the way the Missale Romanum's rubrics suggest for? Would people who have been properly catechized really object to the inveterate practice of ad orientem?

William Axton said...

Dear Fr. McDonald,

Lovely pics!

That said, you've probably received many requests similar to the following. Since there is a dearth of videos of beautiful celebrations of the Ordinary Form (ad orientem, Latin, Propers, etc.) on the internet, I would like to encourage you and to request from you more videos of Mass to be posted at YouTube or Vimeo. The Solemnity of St. Joseph video is a favourite. More of a good thing is definitely a good thing!

John Nolan said...

The chalice, though modern, appears to be very fine. We should not let the minimalist excesses of the 1960s turn us against modern artistic interpretations of the sacred. Check out the ceramic reliefs at the Carmelite Priory at Aylesford, Kent. They were done post-war by a Polish artist who had survived the Gulag. I have sung there on two occasions recently and find that their timeless beauty matches that of the chant.

It's the artistic integrity, allied with genius, which counts. That is why Sir James MacMillan's sacred music trumps that of the Haugen-Haas school. Art is not a matter of taste. When we abandon our critical faculties we are drowned in a sea of relativism, turn our backs on our cultural heritage, and become Calibans (or Talebans).