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

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Bishop McDonald blesses the con- gregation after his ordination, Archbishops McDonough and Hannan follow. time was 8:40. Several friends started to leave around 8:50. I said, "Oh no, sit down; don't rush off:' They were really puzzled. Papa's watch was in my hands. It was now minutes and seconds. The span of 23 days with its ten- sions, its "lies," its sorrows, its secrecy, gave me some idea of "timeless eternity:' The hour of 9 a.m. arrived. I "calmly" tapped on my cup to get the attention of the crowd. "You have been brought here under false pretenses. The Holy Father wants me to be a bishop and he wants me to be the Bishop of Little Rock in Arkansas" At first, stunned silence, then applause, then bedlam. Of course, I remained very "calm:' On sched- ule, the phone began to ring as my brothers and sisters began to call from other parts of the coun- try for "the family reunion" As soon as possible, I called my good friend, Msgr. Lyness. I knew he was leaving the rectory in Cumberland for the day. I caught him in time and gave him the news. Throughout the day, well wishers, friends, parishioners came by the rectory. Calls, 32 telegrams and letters poured in from all parts of the country. I slipped away from the rectory to visit the sick in the hospital, espe- cially my good friend, Father Hurley. He was beside himself with joy. Throughout the summer months, plans were laid for depar- ture. As requested, I visited the apostolic delegate in Washington. Msgr. Lyness met me at the air- port, stayed with me until the appointed hour, then delivered me to the delegation. The now dence. No meeting could be more cordial and heart-warming' Because of their gentleness kindness, I felt at home immedi" ately. I spent the night in Fletcher Hall. The next day, I visited the chancery and the staff, St. Andre Cathedral and rectory. BishOP Graves took me for a brief tour of the city. I boarded the plane J returned to Savannah. Upon his return from vaCa" tion, Archbishop McDonOUg called me. My cable to ireland never caught up with him. fie Luigi Cardinal Raimondi was was totally gracious in exteladi most cordial and warm. He spoke his best wishes and blessixags. I of the qualities of a good bishop, then boarded a plane for of the genera/ condition of the Louisville. The visit was persOlaal, Church and beautifully of the joyful and rewarding. He gave roe retired, Bishop Fletcher. After a ring and a crosier. In 1967, when lunch, he continued along the he left Savannah, the priests gave same vein. In the afternoon, I took a flight to Little Rock. Although it was to be a private visit, anyone at the airport would know something was up. To meet me were two dis- tinguished bishops - Bishop Fletcher and Bishop Graves. Rings, pectoral crosses, black hats him the gift of a ring. I was c0" missioned to make the purchase' This same ring was his gift to roe, An embarrassing moment: witla no adjustment, the ring fit. I wept to Tonini, the religious goOdl store and ordered all of the othe items which would be needel With joy overflowing, I returoeC and cigars were much in evi- to Savannah. Arkanga~ catholIi'