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

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A Significant Reflections on 26 Years of Episcopal Ordination By Dr. James M. Woods n Sunday evening, June 11, 1972, Msgr. Andrew Joseph McDonald of Savannah received news would change his life. Gerald P. Frey of arrived at his rectory at Sacrament to give him a informing him that Pope VI had named him to be the shepherd for the Catholic of Arkansas. That date, June 11, was the of his father's death 1943. He was not allowed to the appointment public 4, the 32nd anniversary mother's death. Some two later, on Sept. 5, 1972, 49-year-old diocesan priest a member of the Catholic hierarchy, the native of Savannah to such honor. At the historic Savannah of St. John the Baptist, J. McDonald was conse- by Archbishop Thomas h of Louisville, Ky. with Archbishop Philip of New Orleans and Frey, Arkansas' two other bishops at that time, Bishop Albert L. Fletcher and his auxil- iary bishop, Lawrence P. Graves, were also in attendance. Arkansas' fifth Catholic prelate was the 1 lth of 12 chil- dren born to James Bernard McDonald and Theresa McGreal. While born in the United States, his parents were of Irish ancestry. That was a common link Bishop McDonald had with three of his four predecessors. Arkansas' first two bishops, Andrew Byrne and Edward M. Fitzgerald, were immigrants from Ireland, and John B. Morris, the third prelate, was the son of par- ents who had come from Ireland. Bishop McDonald's family was that of a devout Irish Catholic family, four of his sisters answered the call to a religious life, while the rest of his brothers and sisters had the vocation of a married life. Arkansas' future Catholic prelate received his early educa- tion at the cathedral parochial school in Savannah, where he served as an altar boy at the cathedral. After informing his par- ents of his desire to be a priest, and after an interview with the prelate of Savannah, young Andrew was sent to St. Charles Minor Seminary just outside of Baltimore when he was just a month short of the age of fourteen. The future bishop completed his seminary studies at St. Mary Seminary in Baltimore, and was ordained to the Catholic priest- hood for the Diocese of Savannah on May 8, 1948, at St. John Cathedral. After studying canon law at the Catholic University of America during the academic year, 1948-1949, his bishop sent him to study at the Lateran University in Rome for two years. McDonald returned to Savannah in August 1951, and for the next several years he served as assis- tant pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Port Wentworth near Savannah while working during the week in the marriage tribunal office at the chancery. Thomas McDonough arrived from Florida as auxiliary bishop to the aging prelate O'Hara in 1957, and he made Father 1998 41