Monday, July 5, 2021


This is an early 1940’s photo of St. Joseph Church in Macon with its original look which over the decades prior to this photo had evolved too:

 I arrived at St. Joseph, Macon, July 1, 2004. My first two years there were consumed with completing the renovation/restoration of our historic church, which I think is the most beautiful in the diocese. 

I discovered this first photo on the internet which I don’t recall ever seeing. It is the beginning of the renovation and the magnificent windows (all of them!) are removed for restoration in Atlanta and New York. 

Then there is the scaffolded church which I had the nerve to go up only once and once was enough at it swayed at the top! You can see the original location of the altar railing, and how the original altar was oriented with its three steps up to it and the ugly 1970’s altar plopped in front of it. The horrible freestanding altar took up the entire sanctuary space with the original placement of the altar railing causing a truncated look and feel to the space:

I had the railings removed for the completion and rededication of the church in 2006. The four steps up looked like coming down Mt. Everest and thus we had to add the horrible looking hand railings for safety!:

 But in 2013, a generous benefactor donated money for the restoration of the altar railing, which fortunately we had saved under another building on the property. More railing had to be fabricated. We had only one original bronze gate, thus three new ones were fabricated and there is no way to pick out the original gate, the new ones were so well done.

We extended the sanctuary into the nave of the church, elevated the floor and placed new marble tiles on the sanctuary floor, although the existing look remains below all the new stuff. We commissioned a new free standing altar which at first I had a love/hate relationship with. I asked that the altar be all white marble but when it arrived the red marble had been added which looked brown to me. Because it created contrast with all the white marble behind it, the brown/red look grew on me. I love the magnificent candlesticks that were donated by a generous benefactor as well. I think the renovation/restoration was very well done and the after/after restoration of the altar railings and gates was the final great touch!

POSTSCRIPT: Originally, we had lengthy discussions about slicing the altar away from the reredos to make it the free standing altar. I thought what was done at Most Holy Trinity in Augusta was a great solution. However, the structural engineer felt that doing so would destabilize the magnificent reredos and he counseled against it. If I had it to do all over again, I think we could have found a way to do the Most Holy Trinity thing at St. Joseph too, but that’s marble under the bridge. 


Fr Joseph Mack said...

Wow, brother! This is magnificent!

Victor said...

The first picture, the B&W one, is awesome. It looks like the beginning of a high Mass (the Missal is open) with the prayers at the foot of the altar. It appears that the church was filled with uniformed men. With everybody facing the cross on the altar, it is unmistakable that everyone is praying to God, why everyone is there. Introibo ad altarem Dei: one senses that something miraculous and cosmic is about to happen at the altar to which the priest will ascend, that the sacrificial Lamb will once again intimately come to his people in a physical form of Bread and Wine.

No matter what one does, one just cannot convey that same experience and impression of the cosmic with the priest facing the people as if it were an entertaining magic show, which is why the Apostles insisted that the Sacrifice and prayers to Him be ad Orientem, facing the Lord in anticipation of His return from the East at the end of all.

Wondering said...

"...the Apostles insisted that the Sacrifice and prayers to Him be ad Orientem,..."

And where might one find a record of this "insistence"?

ByzRus said...

I'm glad the integrity of the high altar has not been compromised. I suspect the only way to have separated the mensa would have been to add bracing behind the reredos. Nonetheless, it is together as it was designed/intended to be and ready to be used for its intended purpose.

That aside, St. Joseph is certainly elite class, renovation-wise. Well done, Fr.!

Love the photos from the dome. I don't know if I'd have the guts to climb up there. Terra firma is where it's at!

Anonymous said...

Oh "Wondering" such a Novus Ordo comment!!!

Michael A said...

I recall when you had the Communion Railing reinstalled. It is beautiful and I would have been astonished if I had been your parishioner. A Communion Rail is a taboo subject and in most parts the mere mention could get you 10 years of hard labor. Somehow you pulled it off and congrats to you. I just hope that it will be used and stands until the subject is no longer taboo, which could be until who knows when. If I outlive you maybe I'll submit you for canonization and when they ask "What miracles are attributed to Father McDonald?", I'll say, he got a Communion Railing reinstalled about the year 2016. They'll say, "OK, that's one we need one more."

Victor said...

'And where might one find a record of this "insistence"?'
Holy tradition through the ages, both East and West, until the liturgical movement came along.

Anonymous said...

Given Macon's population decline, maybe the 3 Catholic parishes in Bibb County (Macon) could be merged into 1 and St. Joseph's renamed...Holy Trinity?!?!?

Anonymous said...

Too bad they got rid of the old ambo. Looked amazing in there. The floors around the altar looked better then as well. I always felt the paintwork is a bit plain.

No Longer Wondering said...

Vic - "Holy tradition through the ages" is not an example of any "insistence" by the Apostles that the Eucharist be celebrated ad orientem.

It simply is not.

This is yet another bogus claim made in a feeble attempt to make something sound authoritative when, it fact, it is not.

Anonymous said...

I find the picture you have of Saint Joseph Church full of soldiers interesting in light of the following story on Chaplain and Servant of God Father Emil Kapaun who was awarded the Medal of Honor. The story below mentions that for a time during WW II he was stationed at Camp Wheeler just outside of Macon.

Father Emil Kapaun-Chaplain-Medal of Honor recipient-Servant of God

Victor said...

No Longer Wondering:
It was Ratzinger who suggested (in Spirit of the Liturgy) that ad orientem worship is of Apostolic origin. It is the only possible explanation for the rigid adherence over 2000 years both East and West of ad orientem worship. Its strict universality was more than a mere suggestion by the Apostles, but an insistence.

No Longer Wondering said...

Vic - Our E-N-T-I-R-E faith is of Apostolic origin. Are you next going to contend that requiring that candles used at Mass contain at least 51% beweswax is something insisted upon by the Apostles? Or that sacred vessels be made of precious metals? Or that the organ is the only proper instrument for use at Mass?

And now you JUMP 2000 years from what the Apostles "insisted" on to what Cardinal Ratzinger may or may not have "suggested."

Attempting to clothe with fake authenticity and equally fake apostolicity some element of our liturgical practice is easily disclosed as the silliness it is.

Pierre said...

No Longer Wondering,

Sounds like you are using another fake name, Father Kavanaugh.

No Longer Wondering said...

Paris Pete - Sounds like you are using another fake name, TJM.

Victor said...

No longer wondering:
You should be wondering why you do not distinguish between the appropriate manner of praying as thought by the Apostles and sacramentals which are many and varied over the ages.

John Nolan said...

The exchange at 5:14 and 8:18 is unintentionally amusing. Fr Kavanaugh replies to the accusation that he is using 'another false name' by using a 'tu quoque' argument but posts under the same 'false name' he is accused of using. What's more, he invents another 'false name' (Paris Pete) to identify a pseudonymous interlocutor who used to identify himself with initials but recently has taken to using 'Anonymous'. 'Pierre' has at least been consistent in his use of that pseudonym, whereas the correspondent at 8:18 makes up a new moniker for each thread. Not that he has anything new to say; it's the same old formula of crude sarcasm masquerading as irony, the attribution of arguments to others which they have not in fact made, and the usual scattering of inapt analogies.

It's puerile, but the real irony is that the writer obviously thinks he is being clever. We've all been there, but most of us have grown up. I cringe when I think of some of the things I wrote when I was sixteen.

No Longer Wondering said...

Mr. Nolan - And Tu Quoque to you, too.

That you choose certain posters here to criticize for behaviors you consider inappropriate or objectionable while ignoring the others who do the same is very telling. In other words, we see right through your failed attempt to remain above the fray when, all the while, you are happy to join in the spirited give and take that the Blog Owner revels in.

Your hands are as clean as Pilate's...

Victor said...

Readers probably caught the error, but in my last post at 10:33, I meant to say "...the appropriate manner of praying as taught by the Apostles,...". It had been a long and busy day.


John Nolan - you’re entering into the realm of paranoia, you are imagining conspiracies everywhere you look.

Might it not be possible, just possible, that there are more than one person contributing to this blog that shares the opinion of Fr K, at least sometimes? Do you really think that Fr K is the only one here that does not always agree with you or the blog host, or buying into alt-right pretend Catholicism?

Pierre said...

Father K’s in overdrive today churning out one false name after another. Comedy gold. He’s still no match for John Nolan

No Longer Wondering said...

Vic - And where might the Apostles have "taught" that ad orientem is "the appropriate manner of praying"?

Pierre said...

No Longer Wondering that this is Father K,

And where might the Apostles have "taught" that Communion in the Hand, Altargirls, shaking hands at the Pax, etc are appropriate? The apostles immediate successors celebrated Mass towards the East, not "facing the people."

John Nolan said...

No conspiracies to detect, as far as I am aware. Perhaps the pseudonymous contributor thinks that by using a multiplicity of sobriquets without changing style or content might fool the reader into thinking he is more than one person.

A bit like the demon in Mark 5:9 - Et interrogabat eum: Quod tibi nomen est? Et dicit ei: Legio mihi nomen est, quia multi sumus.

Expect his next nom de plume to be 'My name is Legion.'

The best way to deal with individuals like him is to send them up. The Lockean definition of 'argumentum ad hominem' is 'pressing a man with the conequences of his own concessions', and this individual gives us plenty to go on. People devoid of wit or humour can't deal with either. They resort to incoherent spluttering with little regard for grammar. Hence 'And Tu Quoque to you, too.' (ouch). ' 'There are more than one person ...' (wince). 'Alt-right pretend Catholicism'. (Qu'est-ce que c'est que cela?)

Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel? A fair comment, but Pope did answer his own question, and with Wimbledon and Euro 2021 dominating the airwaves I reckon I deserve some (comic) relief from 'bonk, bonk, thirteigh forteigh' and 'it's a goal!'.

No Longer Wondering said...

Paris Pete - The Apostles didn't teach that "Communion in the Hand, Altargirls, shaking hands at the Pax, etc are appropriate." And that is my point.

Also, I never said they did. While we do celebrate the same mysteries the the Apostles and their successors celebrated and ritualized, the liturgical form in which we do that is the product of human piety and understanding. That form we have altered, changed, and re-worked over the centuries.

Pierre said...

No Longer Wondering is Kavanaugh,

Well your OF is not working because less than half of the attendees believe in the Real Presence. I know you are invested in the liturgical failure, and unlike Father McDonald, you are stuck in the 1970s and have not matured in your liturgical practices. Are you still working on your response to John Nolan?

Victor said...

No longer wondering who should be wondering:

"And where might the Apostles have 'taught'..."
You clearly do not know what Holy Tradition of the Church is, nor the Scriptures:
"So then, brothers, stand firm, and cling to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter." 2 Thessalonians 2:15
The oral tradition existed before any written New Testament. Where would the European Enlightenment be without the written word?

"the liturgical the product of human piety and understanding."
Ah, a statement founded on Enlightenment critical thinking that the modernist liturgical movement and their Consilium would fully agree with. A 2000 year old liturgical tradition that directs the entire Body of Christ to worship, heart and mind, God the Father is a mere human fabrication that can be thrown into the wastebin of uncritical thinking.

John Nolan said...


Don't encourage him! I've had my fun for today, and one shouldn't mock the afflicted.

No Longer Wondering said...

Vic - I know well what Tradition and the Sacred Scriptures are. And, as importantly, I know what Tradition and Scripture are not.

Yes, the oral tradition existed before the written. Where, in either, do we find the Apostles insisting on ad orientem worship. The APOSTLES, not some later development.

I never said the worship of God is a "mere human fabrication." It most certainly is not.

What I said is that the rituals we use to woffer worship and praise to God are of human fabrication.

You are grasping at non-existent straws.

Pierre said...

John Nolan,

Well said!

Anonymous said...

No wondering is kavanaugh,

If you do indeed know what Tradition is, then your comments would more resemble the Magisterium than the New York Times talking points!

jen said...

We attend St. Joseph for TLM and went last month to the NO. During the NO mass, Fr. Winchel made an announcement and asked everyone to come to the alter rail to receive the Eucharist. If they didn't feel comfortable kneeling they could stand. My parents went two weeks ago and he made the same request. The only people who stood were elderly. Although most still received in their hands I feel he is planting seeds to try and increase reverence for the Most Holy Eucharist.