Tuesday, December 4, 2018


Pope Benedict famously said, or it was reported by fake news that His Holiness said, that the Church of the future will be a smaller but more faithful Church.

It appears that the Province of Ontario in Canada is the future now. Pope Francis just merged two dioceses into one. Neither are large enough to be their own diocese any longer and in fact the two merged ones in one the the coldest regions of Canada is too small to be one diocese, but I digress.

One day, will it be back to the future for the east coast of the USA? At one time Atlanta was a part of the Diocese of Savannah until the seceded from the union and became their own archdiocese. Will they be merged back into the true Diocese of Savannah one day? And will Savannah be merged back into Charleston and then Charleston back into Baltimore.

Where will it all end. What was before Baltimore? I just don't know.

Pope FrancisPope Francis 

Pope Francis merges two Canadian Dioceses

The Dioceses of Hearst and Moosonee, both in the province of Ontario, in Canada, have been merged into a single ecclesiastical circumscription.
By Vatican News
Pope Francis has provided for the combination of the dioceses of Hearst and Moosonee, Canada, into a single Diocese, named Hearst-Moosonee, and belonging to the ecclesiastical province of Ottawa.
The Pope has appointed Bishop Robert O. Bourgon, who is currently serving as Bishop of Hearst and Apostolic Administrator of Moosonee, as Bishop of the new Diocese.
The new Diocese encompasses most of the northernmost part of the Canadian province of Ontario.
According to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, “the former Diocese of Moosonee has 14 parishes and missions, with a Catholic population of 3,830 served by five priests who are members of institutes of consecrated life. The former Diocese of Hearst has 18 parishes and missions, with a Catholic population of 20,045 served by 21 diocesan priests, two permanent deacons, and three religious Sisters.”


Mark Thomas said...

Cardinal Tobin said that we should not accept a smaller Church.


Archbishop Chaput said:

"Obviously we need to do everything we can to bring tepid Catholics back to active life in the Church.

"But we should never be afraid of a smaller, lighter Church if her members are also more faithful, more zealous, more missionary and more committed to holiness.

"Making sure that happens is the job of those of us who are bishops.

"Losing people who are members of the Church in name only is an imaginary loss. It may in fact be more honest for those who leave and healthier for those who stay.

"We should be focused on commitment, not numbers or institutional throw-weight. We have nothing to be afraid of as long as we act with faith and courage."


Mark Thomas

Dan said...

"Losing people who are members of the Church in name only is an imaginary loss. It may in fact be more honest for those who leave and healthier for those who stay."

Kind of shows me how much he cares for souls, and how oblivious he is to the possibility that the hierarchy might share some blame for creating so many CINO.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should ask instead, will Savannah be merged into the Archdiocese of Atlanta? The latter far outnumbers the former in terms of members, probably better than a 10-1 ratio. Including those who are not registered at a parish, there are an estimated million+ Catholics in the Atlanta Archdiocese, with a number of parishes exceeding 10,000 members. Or we could have a hyphenated diocese, call it Atlanta-Savannah instead of the reverse as it was til the mid 1950s.

I was not around in 1956, but I suspect the justification for splitting the state into two dioceses was geography---simply too large a land base to cover with one diocesan bishop, especially in the days with Bishop O'Hara was often gone for long periods overseas with his ambassadorial duties (which resulted in his resignation from the Savannah Diocese in late 1959, worn out from covering too much and dying less than 4 years later). In 1956, when the Catholic Diocese of Atlanta was formed, there was no interstate system of highways to get around the state (at that time, the extent of the expressway system in Georgia was limited to the Atlanta area, at it was not much in those days). The Atlanta diocese in 1956 had fewer than 25,000 souls---not sure what Savannah was in those days, but probably not much different.

Georgia's Episcopalians divided their state in 1907, with the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta including most of the state from Columbus and Macon areas north (a small part of northwest Georgia in the Diocese of East Tennessee), and the Savannah-based Episcopal Diocese of Georgia covering an area from Augusta south. But combined, the two dioceses have at most 70,000-odd members. Both dioceses are either stagnant or losing members---unlike the 2 Catholic dioceses in the state.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Of course my suggestions are tongue in cheek especially about Savannah-Atlanta. My family and I moved from Naples, Italy to Atlanta (East Point) in 1956. However, by the 1959-60 school year when I was in first grade our report card still read Savannah-Atlanta Diocese. That designation continued into the 1960-61 school year when we moved to Augusta and the report cards had the same designation. We were Amoris Laetitia before our time.

And I can remember attending the grand opening of Lenox Square in 1958 I think. And from East Point to Buckhead (although back then I am not sure that area was called that) it was a two lane road (Peach Tree) and I remember it being widened because of the traffic Lenox Square created. Yes, there were no interstates.

When we moved from Atlanta in 1960 was at a time when even as a 6 year old I knew something great was happening there with all the buildings going up Downtown and beyond. I-20 did not exist (which is the oldest Interstate in Atlanta).

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

And yes, we lived on the other side of the fence of Fort MacPherson and yes, that period in my life was wonderful, no worries whatsoever. Today, our apartment complex has been demolished and Ft. McPherson is closed and a movie studio and the Walking Dead is filmed there at the very places I played as a child and went to the movies!!!

TJM said...

The New Springtime from Vatican Disaster II. Celebrate it! Embrace it!!! The Francis Affect!

Anonymous said...

Our report cards in Atlanta also said Diocese of Savannah-Atlanta until 1956. I received Confirmation that year from the newly installed Bishop Hyland (in those days we were confirmed in third grade). We were all dreading the whack on the cheek that the older kids joked about, but it was such a gentle pat I wasn’t even sure it was “official”!
Atlanta was a different place in those days and it seemed to me that the Catholic community was pretty tightly knit. Things changed soon afterward, particularly after Archbishop Hallinan arrived.
Actually, Lenox Square opened in August of ‘59. 😉 I was there too!


Anonymous said...

Some polite corrections from 30327:
---Lenox Square opened in 1959, not 1958
---The first part of Atlanta's expressway system opened in 1951, a roughly two-mile stretch of today's Downtown Connector (75-85) from Williams Street near Tech to Brookwood Station. By 1957, you could take the expressway (85) to North Druid Hills Road just over the DeKalb line and to West Paces Ferry Road (75). The first part of I-20 opened anywhere in Georgia was in 196from the State Capitol area to Candler Road near present-day 285. I don't think 20 was finished between Atlanta and Augusta til 1971 or 1972 at the latest.
---I think "Buckhead" was called that back then, though it certainly was a shadow of itself in terms of commercial development. And unlike much of Georgia, it is not a heavily Baptist area. Buckhead includes the Catholic Cathedral of Christ the King (12,000+ members) and the Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip (7,000 or so). The nation's largest Presbyterian church (Peachtree Presbyterian) is about a mile and a half north of Christ the King.
----Was it an injustice that Atlanta, not Savannah, became an Archdiocese? I don't know...but in Alabama, Mobile is an archdioecese while Birmingham is not---even though Mobile is much smaller than Birmingham.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

1959 it is and I remember it was hot. We parked on the Rich’s side door parking lot. It was open air then, like what is being built now. How odd we were both there on that day.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

My sister and brother are older than me, so they were at the West End’s St. Anthony’ school beginning the 1956-57 school year, I began first grade there the 59-60 School year. Where did you go?

Henry said...

As I watched Bishop Morlino's funeral Mass today, I wondered whether the "smaller but more faithful Church" will look like this:

A dignified funeral Mass celebrated ad orientem in purple vestments–with Roman Canon and most receiving on the tongue while kneeling, with chanted Gospel and no sappy congregational hymns–was probably an eye-opener for many (if not most) EWTN viewers, at least in the U.S. where this kind of OF funeral Mass is uncommon.

Anonymous said...

I went to the newly opened Our Lady of the Assumption School in northeast Atlanta, now Brookhaven. The legendary Msgr. Joseph Moylan was the pastor and the school was staffed by the outstanding Sisters of Mercy. Wonderful memories....


Anonymous said...

30327 went to Marist in Atlanta, but then transferred to another school out of state with "loose" Episcopal ties---including use of the old time 1928 Book of Common Prayer that conservative Episcopalians prefer today.

The West End area you lived in 60 years ago is showing some signs of revitalization, with the Atlanta Beltline (old railroad tracks converted to bike lanes) spurring some redevelopment, but there are still some rough areas, occasional shootings. Interstate 20, built through there in the mid 1960s, probably contributed to the demise of the area. A lot of the city's crime occurs south of I-20, especially in southwest Atlanta.

Lenox area is still thriving today, of course the mall enclosed decades ago, but lots of apartments, condos and office buildings in the area (Buckhead).

Bishop O'Hara (1895-1963) showed a lot of foresight back in the mid 1930s when he came to Georgia, seeing Atlanta would be a large metropolis some day. About a year after he came down here, he got the diocese changed to Savannah-Atlanta. And in those days of an inadequate road system, he was a frequent traveler on the Central of Georgia Railroad connecting Atlanta, Macon and Savannah---of course no interstates when he came to Georgia.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

East Point in the late 50’s was quite sake especially where the post is. Apartments for the army immediately outside the post looked like projects but were very safe. We lived next to gate into the post off off Stanton Rosd. We actually lived on Patton Drive. Eventually this area became a slum and the area very unsafe. A few years ago most of the apartments built for GIs were demolished. Oddly enough a drugstore building now direlect still stands which was at the intersection of the post gate and Patton drive which we used.

This area was extremely safe for roaming children at play in the 1950’s and parents let us roam unsupervised!