This is from his blog, which you can access here: Labyrinthine Mind. Give him a bump in readership!
While I love traditional church architecture and art, as I have had for the past 31 years of my priesthood, I also love modern church architecture when it is done tastefully. The new Saint Anne Church in Richmond Hill, Georgia, a booming bedroom suburb of Savannah (downtown 20 miles away) is an example of the combination of contemporary and traditional that appeals to me. What also appeal to me as a pastor is that it is built of materials that need little or no maintenance like regular re-plastering and repainting on the inside. It is cruciform also and built with quality materials. The statues and art work are imported and quite beautiful and designed to be placed niches rather than just stuck on the wall.
I would love spending the rest of my active priesthood as a pastor there! Richmond Hill is near a federal nature preserve which is a part of Georgia's extremely important barrier islands--Ossabaw Island. Press here for a description of the island about 10 miles east of St. Anne's rectory and here is a picture of the uninhabited island which has a remarkable beach that is not open to the public and there is no road access:
I would love to be pastor of this Gilligan's Island only a stone's throw from St. Anne's Rectory in Richmond Hill, Georgia, but no road access! I'd have to get a barque!
Growth, New Church in the Bible BeltThis morning, Bishop Gregory Hartmayer, OFM Conv. dedicated the newest church in the Diocese of Savannah. In 1955, the Diocese purchased a small chapel built by Henry Ford in the 1930s in the town of Richmond Hill. This chapel held nondenominational services for workers of Ford Plantation, an enormous property owned by Ford which included farms and timber.
Saint Anne Parish has grown tremendously since 1955, especially in the last ten years during which Richmond Hill has experienced tremendous growth. The original five families have multiplied to over 900 registered households. This is due in part to a larger trend where northerners are moving to the South, and many of them are Catholic. This reality, along with immigration from Latin America, has increased the Catholic presence in South Georgia. Catholics have always been a minority in the Diocese of Savannah (currently less than 3% of the total population), and we are now facing the need to grow and to expand. Our faithful do not fit in our churches.
About one year ago, Bishop Hartmayer dedicated a new church for Saint Teresa of Avila Parish in Grovetown (near Augusta) that sits 1,200 and in two months, he will dedicate a new church in Ray city (near Valdosta) which will bring together three small missions into a centrally located, large, new church.
The parishioners of Saint Anne, along with their pastor, Father Joe Smith, sure are proud of their new magnificent church! As Bishop Hartmayer said in the homily, “Wisdom has built herself a house.”
These pictures are my own, all rights reserved.
Does the "move on" in your new blog title mean that you are now taking this blog in another direction?
Only insofar as I am the new pastor of the parish above effective June 22!
Congratulations and good luck! Hopefully the new pastor at St Joseph won't rip out the altar rail you installed and other traditional elements, like happened at Our Savior in NY after Fr Rutler left.
Trading your magnificent current Church for this relative "plain Jane" would depress me. Good luck trying to re-enchant this space
Well I too hope they don't rip out the altar rail you installed, and they keep the TLM in place. In regards to your new church, please install a communion rail, high altar with central crucifix, six candlesticks, central tabernacle, ALTAR BOYS only, Latin hymns, no female lectors, no altar girls, proper attire, mantillas, high pulpit, and of course most important the TRADITIONAL LATIN MASS, all of this is just a wish, but I do wish you the best of luck Father on your new endeavor. Should you meet resistance when you implement all of these wishes hold firm and stand tall, because they will push back!!!
The priest replacing me is Fr. Scott Winchel and I posted a video on him a couple below this one I think. Liturgically I think he my clone!!!! So there will be no backsliding by this priest and former Marine!
Fr.McDonald thanks for your assurances. I was worried the parish would slide back into the bad old days of the 60s and 70s
Bernard Fischer, Father Rutler's replacement must have been an evil, corrupt liberal
Good luck Father! Get the TLM going strong there, at least slowly and you never know they may love it, since they never had it. God bless
If you want a lot of vocations take the documents of Vatican II, throw them in the trash, and do your best to make your diocese as conservative and traditional as possible.
Father, on the right side of your banner picture are a group of men wearing red with black capes. They don't look like Knights of Columbus to me. Are they Knights of Malta?
Father McDonald, for starters, the little cranmer's table in the sanctuary needs to be tossed. It is not proportioned properly for the size of Church. A benedictine arrangement on a more imposing altar with an exquitise frontispiece would do the job.The sanctuary is also crying out for magnificent reredos and a prominent tabernacle. A beautifuly carved communion rail is a must. Right now, the Church resembles a court room in which Perry Mason might appear with Father K starring as Hamilton Burger
This is going to very interesting to watch. It will be a glimpse into AB Hartmayer's mind and an interesting litmus of the Yankee emegrants as well as the people of St. Joseph's and finally of Fr. Winchel. Is Bishop Hartmayer moving you to end your transition of St Joseph's or to spread it? Are new priests, such as Fr. Winchel, really as traditionally inclined as we think? Will he continue the transition you started or will he end it? Is the population of your new Parish mostly older people who seem, as a demographic, to support the spirit of Vatican II and will rebel against any orthodoxy you might introduce? That last part will be easy to detect: see who designed and approved the design of the church and what roll, if any, the parish played in it.
Father McDonald, I must say that we are saddened by the news of your new assignment. Just wanted the parishioners of St. Anne to know they are getting a remarkable pastor. I know for a fact when we visit the Savannah area we will attend Mass at St. Anne's.
On the other hand, we are not moving to Richmond Hill, so after watching the video of Fr. Winchel I do believe he will do a great job at St. Joseph's, and I urge all of my fellow parishioners to welcome and assist him in during his transition.
Bob & Louise
Where is the cross one would normally expect to see on the exterior of a Catholic Church(say, on top of the bell tower)?
Of course the church is a work in progress and I suspect I will play a huge part in planning for the eventual stain glass windows that will add a traditional look. The parish is primarily a young one. No school but about 500 kids in CCD.
Thanks Bob and Louise! If I had a choice in my successor, Fr. Winchel would be it! He is beyond thrilled to be going there! He loves the liturgy and is studying how to celebrate the EF Mass!
Congratulations on your new assignment, Father. I hope it suits you as well as St. Joseph has.
If either you or Fr. Winchel would like some formal training on the traditional Mass, the FSSP holds a program at their Nebraska seminary in May for that purpose. Here are the details.
Fr. McDonald, it sounds like you have been a positive influence on Fr. Winchel. You are a remarkable man, admitting you once drank the liberal kool-aid but then you grew spiritually and shifted gears. Maybe you were also a bit of a pragmatist who was willing to look at what was going on and possessed the humility to admit, that maybe, just maybe, the reform, as implemented, just wasn't working. Unfortunately my 70 year old plus pastor has the maturity level of a 15 year old and just hasn't grown up and moved beyond the 1960s. Kind of sad and pathetic
The coastal islands are great. Be sure to make friends with a fisherman (another fisherman??) and get out there to explore and enjoy. My uncle and aunt live on Edisto Island, SC. In that area the islands are so close you can almost, literally, hop across to thee next one. Many birds, fish and wildlife.
fr. Winchel seems to have retained a good deal of his "Babdist" upbringing.
Oops....Please don't read any evil intent into the lower case "f" for Fr. Winchel. It was totally a typo.
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