Saturday, May 7, 2016


The sixth photo is my family when we first moved to Atlanta, Georgia from my hometown of Naples, Italy in the summer of 1957. The one below it is at a ristorante in Napoli before our move, although the image is dark. Guess which one I am? By the way, my father is Canadian from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and my mother is Italian from Livorno. They met after the war in Livorno. My mother got a job at the American hospital established there working in the kitchen and my father was stationed there and the rest is history. They married on December 1, 1945. I was born in Naples in 1953 as my parents were stationed there from 1952 to 1957, so I was conceived there too and I have an affinity for things Italian and Napolatano! I identify more with my Italian side than Cape Breton side.

This is where we lived in Naples, actually a suburb above Naples named Vomero and I remember Mt. Vesuvius clearly as a two or three year old and this view of it in particular:
I have always loved the sea! My father lived by the Atlantic in Cape Breton, my mother by the Mediterranean in Livorno and I by the same sea in Napoli. The sea is in me! The second, third and fourth images of me is when I was a scuba diver, but no more.

This is fast forward to when I was stationed at the Cathedral and Master of Ceremonies for Bishop Lessard. This is around 1987 and at St. Joseph Church in Macon after a Confirmation Mass. This is the reception, I have no idea why this posts sideways:

And these (the first is as I looked when stationed at our Cathedral from 1985 to 91) and the second in the first grade at Saint Anthony School in Atlanta and the last one, I don't know who that is:

 This is how I look today, except since September I have lost 30 pounds by being on Weightwatchers--no 30 pound less photo with greyer hair available!

Since my liturgical views are well known on the internet, I suspect there could be some anxiety or joy depending on one's liturgical perspective for any parish in our diocese receiving me as their pastor.

Let me just say, I am not General Sherman when I move into a new parish burning down all that existed previously. I am not insecure about what happened before me and in fact believe wholeheartedly that what one priest sows another reaps. I am thrilled to build upon a parish's priestly legacy not destroy and start all over. There is no reason to reinvent the wheel!

And approaching my 63rd birthday at the end of December, I have become a mellow sort of person in by twilight years, a kindly, doting grandfatherly sort of priest. Would you like for me to sing you a lullaby?

So what will I do immediately at Saint Anne Catholic Church? Nothing radical! I will appreciate all the priests who preceded me and their legacy liturgical and otherwise. The first thing I want to do is to get the know my grandchildren, I mean, my parishioners. I suspect they are like any other Catholics throughout the world.

I want to get to know my staff. I want to know how things are done at St. Anne and I will follow what they do only tweaking this, that or the other slowly over the next 12 years when I retire at the age of 75.

I am a liturgical progressive. I love both forms of the one Latin Rite. Thus I won't change anything of what is being done liturgically at St. Anne and I won't foist my idiosyncrasies on anyone when it comes to the Liturgy.

I will respect the beautiful new church these parishioners have sacrificed so much to build. I will respect the older church building too and try to keep both of them well maintained.

With time, if there is a stable group that would appreciate the EF Mass, I might consider celebrating it at a unique time that doesn't interfere with any already scheduled Masses. The older church seems ideal for it. There are only two Sunday morning Masses so there is some wiggle room. But I am the only priest so I don't want to become a Mass machine. But I suspect with time a parochial vicar may be assigned or at least a part time priest. That would be great!

So, Saint Anne, don't worry. I am an older doting grandfatherly type now, moving slow due to age and loss of brain cells which act as a sort of mellowing agent in my life.


Rood Screen said...

On your blog, you've always shown yourself to be solidly central, rather than drifting to one extreme or the other. You've also been very tolerant of those to the right or the left, making them feel appreciated, however annoying their comments.

johnnyc said...

63 ain't least I hope it's not cause I'm 61 lol. I'm not too far away. Maybe I will make a pilgrimage to the Shrine of The Immaculate Conception in Atlanta and then visit your new parish. I will remember you and St Anne's during my Holy Hour today.

Mallen said...

Father, you will be in our prayers as you begin your new mission. St. Anne's is very fortunate to have you as their new pastor.

We have family in Savannah and Brunswick and visit there often. We'll have to make it a point to assist at Mass at St Anne's from time to time! :)

Mallen and Andrzej Zabinski

rcg said...

St Anne Parish, Fr McDonald is not telling the truth. He is coming to build a fire on the kindeling you have stacked for him. It will be glorious.

Anonymous said...

Flags, Vatican and American, to the narthex at once!

John Nolan said...

Actually, Father, the key to it all is music. I would hope that an expensive new church like this would have an organ. Secondly, there must be someone in the parish who knows something about Gregorian Chant, and can be co-opted to set up a schola, which doesn't need to be large (4-6 is ideal). Concentrate your musical resources on the principal Sunday Mass, and avoid padding it out with hymns (if people really want them, then corral them into an earlier Mass). Render unto Marty Haugen and other purveyors of wallpaper music the boot.

There is advantage in inheriting a tabula rasa. Take the opportunity of getting laywomen out of the sanctuary but allow them to read the lessons (it's been going on for fifty years, despite the fact that the little darlings are useless at it). Continue to sing (in English or Latin) those parts of the Mass which should be sung - this does more than anything else to restore dignity to the liturgy and the reformers actually acknowleged this (although I would wish a pox on most of them).

Above all have the courage of your convictions and if the over-mighty laity attempt to put you down, face up to them. You have my prayers and best wishes.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

All the music is done from the choir loft and there is an expensive electronic organ, but there are plans for the future, once the $5 million debt is paid down for a pipe organ and stain glass windows. But that is for the future.

I believe they have very capable musicians and a full time director of music. So I am very hopeful that things are well done there.

St. Anne Church has many soldiers from Fort Stewards which trains the Army Rangers, a very tough group of soldiers with their own army buzz cut. So I ain't moving the American Flag!

Anonymous said...

"So, Saint Anne, don't worry."

Sad that a priest must assuage the fears, real or imagined, of his next parish.....

gob said...

I wish I could post the nice plaque upon which this advice is written....(for John Nolan), but the text says "Nothing will bring you greater peace than minding your own business."

gob said...

I'm waiting for JN to tell me to follow my own advice....

Anonymous said...

Hey, Fr. McD - just keep in mind the Archdiocese of Chicago plans on closing St. Adalbert Catholic Church on the south side. The number of parishioners is dwindling, and the expenses are high, but there is a loyal group of parishioners who are trying to keep it open. Nevertheless, you might want to check out their incredibly beautiful stained glass windows.

Just a thought to keep in the back of your mind for the coming years, and in the interest of staying open to the possibilities.

(I don't know why I'm promoting this, except that I know about it, and it may be something in God's greater plan. Who knows?)

In any case, I know your greatest focus will be on the faith of your new flock, and will do everything in your power to minister to them so they reach heaven and bring about the Kingdom of God on earth.

God bless you.
Bee (OpenID not working.)

rcg said...

In that same vein of thought, our parish hosts an organization called SPORCH that owns a collection of Church art rescued from demolished or wreckovated parishes. The money made from purchases goes toward more rescue work.

Charles G said...

Good luck in your new parish, Pater!

Anonymous said...

Father, don't give in that easy, these people most likely and I think this to be the case have no idea what it is like to attend a Traditional Latin Mass according the Missal of 1962. Granted you don't want to march in like the destroyer that he was General Grant, but slowly inch by inch bring in Gregorian chant, Roman vestments even though you like Gothic I believe, talk about the F.S.S.P. Institute of Christ the King and invite their priests to offer the TLM and expose your new people to it. Invite young boys to become altar boys, set the altar up in the Benedictine arrangement, six tall candle sticks, large central crucifix and incense incense and bells, have the boys wear cassocks and black dress shoes and black socks, no Nike tennis shoes. At the entrance have a polite sign that says observe silence when entering the church for this is a place of God not a "social gathering" yes you will have some push back no doubt but only a handful of progressives but you will be doing a great service to your new flock. God bless you and please please in time offer the TLM.

Rood Screen said...

Isn't the lullaby reference slightly creepy?

TJM said...

Father McDonald, once people are exposed to true Catholic liturgy there is no going back to the pablum they've been fed by the lefties these past 50 years. I am certain you will be successful at your new parish. Brick by brick!

Joseph Johnson said...

As regards the possibility of the EF Mass at Richmond Hill---at least it's slightly closer to the inner hinterland Waycross area than Savannah is. Maybe it will be easier to find parking as well.

Anonymous said...

Dear Father,
Some of us at Saint Anne's do go down to the Cathedral for Mass in the EF form occassionaly. So yes, it is possible at some stage that you may find support for Mass in the EF form. Perhaps monthly? I can't speak for everyone at the parish and I'm sure there are those who anticipate your arrival with some trepidation. Change is always hard. But there are many who are excited, who love Father Joe dearly, but belive that we will come to love you dearly as well and all that you have to offer our growing parish community! Thank you for making time on your blog to introuduce yourself to us!

Victor said...

When I look at the picture of your new "burb" church I am alienated from the Church as I and so many were following the Council. Except for the corpus on the cross and the 2 statues at the sides, it is identical to a modern UCC church whether United Church of Christ or United Church of Canada (and it seems for the latter you no longer have to believe in God to be a member as long as you follow a social justice program). It is a town meeting hall, with flags and everything except for the gavel on the presider's table. This is not a locus for welcoming the creator of the universe or for offering sacrifice to a great majesty. Perhaps you were sent there for a noble purpose that follows upon your previous work of sanctification. I wish you the best in this new location.

Jenny said...

Fr., you AND Fr. Kavanaugh are going to be fine in your new parishes. I pray for that, and am sure God wills it. You are both going to be incredibly busy; Perhaps that preoccupation with God's work will mitigate some of the "back-and-forth" on this blog. If so, God-willing, we will all benefit in the long-run. May God richly bless all your efforts in His Name.

Anonymous said...

johnnyc said... 63 ain't least I hope it's not cause I'm 61 lol. I'm not too far away. Maybe I will make a pilgrimage to the Shrine of The Immaculate Conception in Atlanta and then visit your new parish.

Immaculate Conception Shrine in Atlanta is a cesspool of error and immorality. The people there openly promote sodomy, and have done so for years, with no rebuke from anyone in authority.

You would be better off staying home.

Taken from Lifesite News, dated 2014:

An example of the parish's "LGBT" outreach.

The diocese of Atlanta has confirmed to LifeSiteNews that an historic Atlanta Catholic parish recently took part in the city’s annual homosexual activist parade, and has done so “numerous” times in the past.

The Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception advertised the October 12 Atlanta Pride Parade in its bulletin, inviting parishioners to join in the march, and published a bulletin thank-you to those who took part, including pictures.

The shrine, which boasts of being the first Catholic Church built in Atlanta, is also listed as a parade participant on the Atlanta Pride website.

The bulletin announcement encouraging parishioners to participate in the gay pride parade.

The parish has an ongoing Pride Outreach, which maintains a booth at the homosexual festival each year. The parish also offers GLBT potluck socials to promote “a connectedness within the Shrine GLBT community,” and GLBT couples potluck socials, which are “for GLBT couples who are in committed relationships for couple support by providing a venue for socializing with other GLBT couples,” according to the parish website.

In a statement to LifeSiteNews the archdiocese said that the group did not need the archbishop’s approval to march in the parade.

“Members of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception have participated in the event for many years before Archbishop Gregory became the archbishop of Atlanta,” Patricia M. Chivers Director of Communications and Advocacy for the archdiocese told LifeSiteNews. “It was not necessary for the parish to have the Archbishop’s approval to participate since it is a local event.”