Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
October 24, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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October 24, 1998
 

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the Diocese of Little Rock for 26 of those years. He recounted a recent week- end where he racked up 730 miles on his car. He attended a concert in his honor at the Cathedral, blessed Stations of the Cross in BeUa Vista, celebrated Mass for the Charismatic Conference in Fort Smith, rededicated the church in Jenny Lind and ceIebrated the 100th anniversary of the Tontitown parish. "Part of it is variety," he said. "You have this big variety of things. To ordain priests, confirm young people. You do that in dif- ferent cities all the time. Again, it's a happy timeY For U.S. bishops, happy occa- sions are events to cherish amid the troubles. The biggest chal- lenges for him deal with the clergy, especially pastoral appointments. "Priests are generous, they are obedient, they do what I ask them to do," he said. "We never have enough priests. We never have enough talents within priests to match every situation. We have to ask priests to accept some respon- sibilities. They are generous and they do it. I'm aware that it is diffi- cult for them." It's also difficult for the bishop when priests request laicization and when priests die, he said. Since Vatican II, fewer priests have been ordained and the laity have emerged with a larger role in the Church. While the priest shortage is distressful to the bish- op, he said he is buoyed by the increase in lay involvement. "I lived in a time where there were no expectations on people. I guess that accounted for why sometimes there were three priests in the parish. So many things had to be done that the lay people were not allowed to do," he said. He said the changes involving the laity have allowed him "to see the depth of their faith:' "They want to do it," he said. "They are not grasping for power. This thing of taking Communion to the sick on Sundays is such a wonderful thing. When only the priest could touch the host, he would do that on First Friday. There were people who were going to daily Mass but now they are confined to their home and they just had to wait for a whole month. "I know of several lay people who take their children with theN. Children come and brighten up the sick person's day. The love for the faith and the love for the Lord really is a wonderful great asseV Bishop McDonald's tenure Little Rock has taken place in post-Vatican II Church. He overseen and guided the Church of Arkansas as it realizes the goals of the council. He said he under" stands the difficulties many older Catholics have in adjusting to the new way of worshiping. "I think we human beings have always lived in tension," he said. "It was minimal in the authoritative Church. After several hundred years of living in this fashion, which would be the fruits of the Council of Trent, people knew who they were, they knew their limitations, they knew what wotfld be offered to them. They were contented. 116 Arkansas Catt~oliC .dl ]~