Thursday, June 30, 2016


This is from Houston, Texas:

And I don't know where this before and after came from but can you tell the subtle difference? By the way when the pastor polled the daily Mass goers on Tuesday if they would appreciate this subtle change, everyone was unanimous in making it. And when they saw the subtle change on Wednesday, the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul and the homilist during the homily indicated if Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Son of God, should He not be enthroned in the most conspicuous place possible in the sanctuary, in the most noble and honorable location, all applauded!

What do you think of the first set of photos. The church in Houston definitely needed some help as the before photo is very cluttered although there was an attempt to make the altar look more traditional looking. But the traditional set-up of the altar in the after photo hides the tabernacle which is more prominent in the before photo.

I like the restoration of the use of the altar railing, but in this small church (the one in Houston, an altar railing a little less imposing than what they chose might have been a better choice, something more delicate. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


This is Old Saint Anne Church as of February of this year. It is also known by the name Henry Ford gave it after he built it, the Martha/Mary Chapel, named after his mother and mother-in-law. I am sure they are named after the biblical figures, no?

I took all these photos after our daily Mass. On Tuesdays there is Solemn Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament until 4 PM in the old church.


New Saint Anne which is positioned in the photo above behind the church and the building to the right, where the clump of pine trees are--the building to the right is also of the Henry Ford era, but is a funeral home now, not belonging to us unfortunately.
 lovely narthex with numerous restrooms for both sexes!

Stations of the Cross are from Denmark and are 150 years old and painted on metal!

 Tabernacle is from Europe and over 200 years old!

 Statues are wood carved and painted, just lovely. These include the Sacred Heart, Blessed Mother, Saint Joseph and St. Michael. At the back of the Church are Saints Peter and Paul!



Vatican II in its pure form was not a Requiem for the priesthood or the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and other sacraments of the Church!
 So how and why in the Holy Name of God and all that is Holy, did this happen to the priesthood and liturgy after Vatican II?

Cardinal Mueller's excellent analysis of what has happened to priestly identity since the Second Vatican Council makes me wonder how this happened when the documents of the Second Vatican Council actually sought to strengthen priestly identity.

Perhaps the lesser and non-essential, non dogmatic documents on ecumenism derailed so much of the good that Vatican II could have accomplished but didn't. Dogmatic documents were ignored and twisted or expanded in ways that the fathers of Vatican II never envisioned.

In this regard, one can understand completely why the SSPX reject the Council's theology (not doctrine, and certainly not dogma) on ecumenism, religious freedom and interfaith dialogue and dialogue with the world. 

Intimately linked to the priesthood, of course, is cultic worship. We know how Vatican II's document on the liturgy was ignored and something else instituted that caused a  liturgical and spiritual crisis in the Church and a loss of Catholic liturgical identity in favor of a Protestantized vision. So too with the priesthood--a protestant version substituted the true Catholic one and caused the crisis in the priesthood and her liturgical life we have today.

Here is Cardinal Muller's article reprinted from the Chiesa blog:

Catholic priesthood and Protestant temptation
by Gerhard Cardinal Müller

Vatican Council II sought to reopen a new path to the authentic understanding of the identity of the priesthood. So why in the world did there come, just after the Council, a crisis in its identity comparable historically only to the consequences of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century?

I am thinking of the crisis in the teaching of the priesthood that took place during the Protestant Reformation, a crisis on the dogmatic level, by which the priest was reduced to a mere representative of the community, through an elimination of the essential difference between the ordained priesthood and the common one of all the faithful. And then of the existential and spiritual crisis that took place in the second half of the 20th century, which in chronological terms exploded after Vatican Council II - but certainly not because of the Council - the consequences of which we are still suffering from today.

Joseph Ratzinger highlights with great acumen that, wherever the dogmatic foundation of the Catholic priesthood declines, not only does there dry up that spring from which one can in fact drink of a life of following after Christ, but there also disappears the motivation that introduces both a reasonable comprehension of the resignation of marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (cf. Mt 19:12), and of celibacy as an eschatological sign of the world of God that is to come, a sign to be lived with the power of the Holy Spirit, in gladness and certainty.

If the symbolic relationship that belongs to the nature of the priesthood is obscured, priestly celibacy becomes the wreckage of a past hostile to corporeality and is singled out and fought as the only cause of the shortage of priests. Not last, there also disappears the obviousness of the fact that, for the magisterium and the practice of the Church, the sacrament of Orders must be administered only to men. An office conceived of in functional terms, in the Church, is exposed to the suspicion of legitimizing a dominion when instead it should be founded and limited in a democratic sense.

The crisis of the priesthood in the Western world, in recent decades, is also the result of a radical disorientation of Christian identity in the face of a philosophy that transfers to inside the world the deepest meaning and ultimate end of history and of every human existence, thus depriving it of the transcendent horizon and of the eschatological perspective.

Waiting for everything to come from God and founding all of one’s life on God, who has given us all in Christ: this and only this can be the logic of a choice of life that, in the complete donation of self, sets out on the path of following after Jesus, participating in his mission as Savior of the world, a mission that he carries out in suffering and in the cross, and that He unavoidably revealed through his Resurrection from the dead.

But at the root of this crisis in the priesthood there are also intra-ecclesial factors that must be emphasized. As he shows in his first statements, Joseph Ratzinger possesses right from the beginning a lively sensitivity in perceiving immediately those tremors with which the earthquake was announced: and this above all in the openness, on the part of many Catholic circles, to the Protestant exegesis in vogue during the 1950’s and ’60’s.

Often, on the Catholic side, there was no realization of the biased views underlying the exegesis unleashed by the Reformation. And so on the Catholic (and Orthodox) Church there fell the fury of criticism of the ministerial priesthood, on the presumption that this does not have a biblical foundation.

The sacramental priesthood, entirely centered on the Eucharistic sacrifice - as had been affirmed at the Council of Trent - at first glance did not seem to be biblically based, either from the terminological point of view or from that which concerns the particular prerogatives of the priest with respect to the laity, especially when it comes to the power to consecrate. The radical critique of worship - and with it the overcoming, which was the aim, of a priesthood limited to the claimed function of mediation - seemed to reduce the scope of priestly mediation in the Church.

The Reformation attacked the sacramental priesthood because, it was maintained, this would bring into question the unicity of the high priesthood of Christ (on the basis of the Letter to the Hebrews) and would marginalize the universal priesthood of all the faithful (according to 1 Pt 2:5). To this critique was added, finally, the modern idea of the autonomy of the subject, with the individualistic practice that results from it, which looks with suspicion upon any exercise of authority.

What theological vision did this unleash?
On the one hand it can be observed that Jesus, from a sociological-religious point of view, was not a priest with ceremonial functions and therefore - to use an anachronistic formulation - he was a layman.

On the other hand, on the basis of the fact that in the New Testament, for the services and ministers, no sacred terminology is adopted but rather designations that are maintained to be profane, it seemed that one could consider demonstrated as inadequate the transformation - in the early Church, starting in the 3rd century - of those who carried out mere “functions” within the community into the improper holders of a new ceremonial priesthood.

Joseph Ratzinger subjects to detailed critical examination, in its turn, the historical criticism imprinted on Protestant theology and does so by distinguishing philosophical and theological prejudices from the use of the historical method. In this way, he succeeds in demonstrating that with the accomplishments of modern biblical exegesis and a precise analysis of historical-dogmatic development one can arrive in a very well-founded way at the dogmatic statements produced above all at the Councils of Florence, Trent, and Vatican II.

That which Jesus means for the relationship of all men and of the whole of creation with God - therefore the recognition of Christ as Redeemer and universal Mediator of salvation, developed in the Letter to the Hebrews by means of the category of “High Priest” (Archiereus) - is never made to depend, as a condition, on his belonging to the Levitical priesthood.

The foundation of the being and mission of Jesus resides instead in his coming from the Father, from that house and that temple in which he dwells and must be (cf. Lk 2:49). It is the divinity of the Word that makes Jesus, in the human nature that he assumed, the one true Teacher, Shepherd, Priest, Mediator, and Redeemer.

He makes participants in this consecration and mission of his through the call of the Twelve. From them arises the circle of the apostles who found the mission of the Church in history as a dimension essential to the ecclesial nature. They transmit their power to the heads and pastors of the universal and particular Church, who operate on the local and supra-local level.


English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.

Monday, June 27, 2016


My comments first:  Pope Francis apologizes to those the Church (meaning members of the Church) have offended or marginalized. There are many public sinners out there as well as others who are more discreet in their sinning. A mortal sin is a mortal sin and the Church's remedy for mortal sin is the Sacrament of Confession which is normally preceded by the grace of repentance and a firm purpose of amendment although many of us backslide on both.

Homosexuals have been villainized for their mortal sins over the centuries more so than the heterosexuals who commit the same kinds of sins with each other. I am not sure why that is. Mortal sin is mortal sin and we are all sinners.

The Church should welcome sinners not by condoning our sins but offering a remedy for them in a safe environment.

Pope Francis also reiterated that women can't be ordained to Holy Orders to include the diaconate which is integral to becoming a priest. He lamented the press and blogs who distort his words.

His Holiness also stated that there are not two popes at this time, but that he is the pope and Pope Emeritus Benedict isn't the pope now, or something like that. 

From John Allen at CRUX:

Pope backs apology to gays, but says it’s not just them

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE - Pope Francis on Sunday essentially backed a cardinal’s suggestion that Christians owe LGBT persons an apology for past mistreatment or neglect, but suggested apologies are probably in order to other constituencies as well, including the poor, exploited women and divorced families.

Francis was speaking in response to a question that linked the call for an LGBT apology to the recent massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub.

The pontiff said gay persons must not be discriminated against, conceding that there are “some traditions and cultures that have a different mentality,” and said apologies are in order whenever there are “people we could have defended and we didn’t.”

The suggestion for a mea culpa came from German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who in a recent speech in Ireland said that both Church and society have treated gay persons poorly and that the Church should say it’s sorry.

On other matters, Pope Francis said on Sunday:
  • Despite a senior Vatican official’s recent suggestion that retired Pope Benedict XVI might be part of an “expanded papacy,” in fact “there’s only one pope,” while praising his predecessor’s “courage” and “intelligence.”
  • On the recent Brexit result, while not directly criticizing the U.K.’s decision to withdraw from the EU, Francis did insist that “brotherhood is better than being enemies or distant” and that “bridges are better than walls.”
  • The pope denied that his recent agreement to create a study commission on women deacons means the Church has “opened the door” to the idea, and said that more important than the “functions” women hold is the Church’s determination to hear their voice.
  • He said that he felt that he used the term “genocide” to describe massacres of Armenians by Turks in 1915 because it’s the term widely used in Argentina, and since he’s used it before, it would be “very strange” not to have done so in Armenia.
Francis made the remarks during a roughly hour-long news conference on the plane flying back to Rome Sunday after a June 24-26 trip to Armenia.

During the trip, Francis earned strong applause from Armenians and swift blowback from Turkish officials for using the word “genocide” to describe the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians, in what they claim was a deliberate campaign and Turkey sees as the fallout of a broader war.
“In Argentina, when you speak of the extermination of the Armenians, you say genocide,” Francis said. “I came to Rome with this word.”

The pontiff insisted, however, that he doesn’t use it with “offensive intent” but rather “objectively.”
The idea of an expanded papacy came from German Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the personal aide of Benedict XVI, who recently suggested that the papal ministry now includes both an “active” and a “contemplative” dimension in Francis and Benedict.

Insisting “there is only one pope,” Francis said that Benedict had promised to be obedient to his successor and “he’s done it.”

Laughing, Francis then said he’s heard, without being absolutely sure if it’s true, that some people have gone to Benedict to try to complain about his own leadership, “and in great Bavarian style, he kicked them out!”

Noting that he plans to take part in a small event on June 28 marking the 65th anniversary of Benedict’s ordination as a priest, Francis called him a “man of prayer,” “courageous” and “intelligent.”

On Brexit, Francis had spoken briefly about the results at the outset of his Armenia trip on Friday, saying only that they reflected the “will of the people” and represented a call to “great responsibility” to work for both the good of the U.K. and the coexistence of European peoples.

On Sunday Francis went further, making a distinction between the sort of decolonization that occurred in Latin America and Africa earlier in the century and secessionist movements in Europe today, such as those in Catalonia and Scotland, suggesting that the latter risks becoming a kind of “Balkanization.”

While saying he doesn’t know “what the reasons are for which the U.K. wanted to make this choice,” he said that in general he believes “bridges are better than walls.”

Francis also said the outcome represents a challenge to the EU to become “more creative and flexible,” including by allowing greater independence to its individual members, and also overcoming problems such as widespread youth unemployment.

On women deacons, Francis expressed surprise at the magnitude of the reaction to his decision to create a commission to study the question after a recent meeting with the superiors of women’s religious orders from around the world.

“The next day, it was as if the Church had opened the door to women deacons, but that’s not true,” he said, saying its primary role will be to ascertain the role of female deacons in the early Church.

“I believe this theme has been studied a lot, and it won’t be difficult to shed light,” the pope said.
More important, Francis said, is making sure the voices of women are heard in the decision-making process.

“Women think in a different way than us men, and you can’t make a good or correct decision without hearing women,” he said.

The pontiff said he’s committed to trying to boost the role of women theologians in the Vatican, but that effort is presently on hold awaiting the absorption of the Pontifical Council for the Laity into a new, larger department dedicated to laity, the family and life.

On Marx’s suggestion of an apology to gays, Francis offered a slightly revised version of his famous sound-bite from July 2013: “If a person who has that condition [being gay] has good will and is seeking God, who are we to judge?”

Francis said there are plenty of other groups out there who probably also deserve an apology - while also insisting on a distinction between the Church, “which is holy,” and individual Christians, “who are sinners.”

“[The Church] shouldn’t just apologize to a gay person whom it has offended,” he said.

“It should ask forgiveness also from the poor, from exploited women, from children exploited as laborers. It has to ask forgiveness for having blessed so many weapons … Christians should ask forgiveness for not having accompanied so many persons, many families.”

“All of us are saints, because we all have the Holy Spirit inside us, but we’re all also sinners,” the pope said, saying that even more than saying “sorry,” people need to recover a sense of their need for forgiveness.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Dear parishioners,

I am thrilled that Bishop Gregory Hartmayer has appointed me to be your new pastor. I want to thank him for that from the bottom of my heart. I want to thank Father Joseph Smith who has heroically served this parish in good health and bad for the past 14 years. He has certainly left a legacy of faith, hope and love not to mention a revived parish with new parish facilities to include Holy Family Hall, this magnificent new church, as well as, quite a lovely new rectory and what a rectory it is! Thank you Father Joe!!!!! He and I are good friends. I got to know him when he was a lay person when I was the Associate Pastor of the Cathedral from 1985 to ’91. He sang in the Cathedral’s men’s choir. I was also vocation director and assisted him into the seminary and priesthood. 

When I first read the Gospel to prepare for this letter which I am writing in Macon on June 11th, I wondered if it was an omen for me as I prepared to arrive in Richmond Hill: “On the way they entered a Samaritan village to prepare for Jesus’ reception there, but they would not welcome him.”

I thought to myself, “Okay Lord, what are you trying to tell me?” He whispered back, “don’t worry, you aren’t entering a Samaritan town and you aren’t Jesus! They are Catholic and they will welcome you!” What a relief!

I know it is difficult to say goodbye to a pastor you have come to know so well and love. You don’t know who I am or what I will do. While I am a different person, I am still a Catholic and a priest. I will try to cultivate what has been planted and sow some of my own seeds as well. 

While I am certainly an orthodox Catholic priest, I am pastorally sensitive to the difficulties that all Catholics face be they clergy or laity. So I preach perfection but offer medicine for wounds especially in the Sacrament of Confession. There are many people injured out there by their own sins and the sins of others. We aren’t perfect yet and I know that very well. I’d say I am on the same page as Pope Francis in this regard. 

I look forward to getting to know you. I treasure your welcome. I have a very dry sense of humor so be prepared. God bless you.

Your pastor,

Father Allan Joseph McDonald 


I haven't been posting for the past couple of days because I have been getting my new rectory in order and unpacking my personal effects there. I want to thank some of my new parishioners, Knights of Columbus, who came and moved some very heavy furniture in the rectory to new locations, a humongous bedroom set from downstairs to upstairs. Thank you.

I have also been unpacking my office stuff and have not completed it yet, but getting there. Plus I have had to prepare my first homily for this weekend. I am so excited about meeting my new parishioners.

I am physically and mentally exhausted from leaving Macon, selling my mom's town house in a day and trying to settle into a new assignment. But I am up to the task unless it kills me. Thank God I am in good physical health. But the heat and humidity of the Savannah area isn't helping. Today the heat index as well as the humidity index will be 110!

I haven't said Mass in our beautiful new church yet, tonight will be the first time at the Vigil at 5:30 PM. I can't wait. However I have been saying daily Mass since Wednesday in our old church built by Henry Ford. It seats about two hundred. It is great for daily Mass. Eventually I will post photos of the interior of it as well as of the new church. The new church has very beautiful statuary and Stations of the Cross. The tabernacle there is over 200 years old. It is beautiful.

I actually was laughing out loud the other day when I returned to the rectory, nine miles from the church and out in the middle of a tidal marsh and rivers, when I saw about 20 vultures (what we call in the south buzzards) in the backyard. I was a bit shocked to see them as I would never had seen such a thing for the past 31 years in the downtown parishes I have been assigned. They were eating a dead armadillo in the yard. Yuck, but thanks for cleaning it up.

So I took the photos above with my iPhone and of course these huge birds flew away as I got closer and I could feel wind from their huge wings flapping.  They then landed on top of my rectory! About 20 buzzards at the peak of my rectory! YIKES!

It was like a scene out of a Alfred Hitchcock movie. I wondered what my neighbors thought with these vultures on the top of the rectory's roof! What kind of omen might this be? It was a great scene from some horror movie. Again, I was laughing out loud and I wonder if any of my neighbors saw or heard me!

As I type this I can heard these doggone birds outside again and they are back there again finishing off the armadillo or something else that has died back there. This is scary!  These birds are huge and if they decided to act as a team, they could eat me alive!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016



I became pastor of Saint Joseph Church in Macon on July 1st, 2004. Although I had my farewell Mass a week ago and have departed Macon, canonically I am still pastor of St. Joseph's Church until 11:59 PM tonight, Tuesday, June 21st.

The same is true of Father Joseph Smith who is the pastor of Saint Anne Church in Richmond Hill. He is pastor until 11:59 PM tonight.

At 12 Midnight, June 22, I cease to be pastor of St. Joseph Church in Macon and Fr. Joseph Smith ceases to be pastor of St. Anne in Richmond Hill. I become pastor of Saint Anne. It is a canonical thing.

I have great memories of Saint Joseph Church and all the wonderful parishioners there. Especially I want to remember all the faithful departed since 2004 and there have been a slew of them, almost 400. Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

I want to remember in prayer in a special way all those whom I baptized or received into the full communion of the Church.

May God's blessings come upon all those couples whose marriages I witnessed or con-validated.

And all those who received their First Holy Communion and Last Holy Communion from me, may God grant them happiness and a place at the eternal banquet in heaven.

There were good times and bad, sickness and health. Thank you Saint Joseph Church and God love you. God bless your new pastor, Father Scott Winchel. 

Monday, June 20, 2016


I am on a sort of vacation between assignment. St. Anne's current pastor until midnight tomorrow has been gracious enough to allow me to use St. Anne's rectory as a base for my going here and there and getting settled into the rectory before June 22nd, Wednesday. Thank you Father Joe.

I spent Saturday and Sunday on Hilton Head Island. To me it is paradise. What a relaxing, people friendly, family friendly island. I could live there!

I attended Mass at Holy Family Church one of two large parishes on the Island. Catholic tourists fill the church each Sunday. Hilton Head, 60 miles from Richmond Hill, sees 6 million visitors annually.

Lagoons are to be found everywhere. The lagoon where I photographed the Heron above and he was statuesque is the same lagoon that I saw a small alligator the night before. The sidewalk is right there at the lagoon. After I photographed the alligator a mother and several small children came walking toward it and I warned them to watch out.   One should never feed alligators as they then associate people with food, one way or another!

The photo of Holy Family Church is from the vantage point of where I was sitting. I dislike churches in the simi-round. My natural sight of vision was not the side of the altar or the side of the ambo, but the wall directly in front of me containing the wonderful stain glass window. On top of that I was distracted by the fact I could see people's faces, the good, bad and ugly.

There is something to be said about a straight line of pews facing directly forward. I endorse this model completely.