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

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f McDonald the chancellor and soon thereafter he received the title of monsignor. In September 1963, Msgr. McDonald became pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church in Savannah, one of the large parishes in the city. After serving as pastor for nine years, and serving almost all his clerical life in and around Savannah, he fully expected to stay in his native diocese for the rest of his life, yet God would have other plans. Before becoming bishop, McDonald had only visited Arkansas twice, both times to visit Savannah seminarians at St. John Home Mission .Seminary. He arrived in Arkansas as the state's Catholic bishop the day after his consecration and was formally installed at the 42 James and Theresa McDonaM died before their 1 l th of 12 children was ordained a priest. Cathedral of St. Andrew in Little Rock on Sept. 7, 1972. With Archbishop Hannan there welcoming him to the New Orleans metropolitan province, together with Apostolic Delegate Archbishop Luigi Raimondi and Gov. Dale Bumpers in attendance, Bishop McDonald was quoted in the local paper as declaring that "With God's help, and the guid- ance of the Holy Spirit, I will live and, ff necessary, I will die to prove that I care, to prove that I love:' Two changes would take place in the diocese very soon after Bishop McDonald assumed his duties. By the end of the year, Pope Paul VI had placed the Diocese of Little Rock into the Oklahoma province, with Oklahoma City raised to an arch- diocese, and another diocese sit- uated at Tulsa. About a year later, Auxiliary Bishop Lawrence Graves was named bishop of Alexandria, La. Unfortunately, Arkansas' second native son to be named to the hier- archy had to resign after nine years due to ill health; he died in retire- ment in Alexandria, La. in 1994, just months short of his 78th birttl" day. Arkansas' first native Cath prelate, Bishop Albert L. Fletcher, went on to his eternal reward December 6, 1979. BishOP McDonald was there to condUCt his funeral five days later. Over the past 26 years, there have been a number of acti0 s by Bishop McDonald in different areas. These include areas of administration, ecumenism, st P" port for renewal movemeflts within the Church, concerti f0 the poor and the immigrants, concern for respect of human life, It is probably in these areas ttlat Bishop McDonald has left his greatest mark. In many areas of administra" tion there was both contiritJitY and change. For example, use of parish councils and tl Arkansas Cat'all'c!