Vol. 39, No. 21
Is The Bridge
AN EASTER MEDITATION
By Rev. Gerard S. Sloyan,
Dept, of Religious Education, the Catholic University of America)
During the Easter Vigil first the new fire is blessed, and then
the Easter-Candle is blessed and lighted from it. This waxen sym
bol of Christ goes forward in solemn procession through the Church,
dispelling darkness. It is set in a place of honor in the sanctuary,
incensed, and then praised in song. This pillar of beeswax aflame
is none other than the risen Lord. His light is our light, as we are
reminded when the church is turned into a sea of flame from the
The deacon or priest bids the hosts of heaven and all the min
isters of God rejoice (“Exsultet”), for He has wrought salvation.
Darkness has everywhere been overcome by the brightness of the
eternal King. The Church our Mother is adorned with Christ’s
radiance, and we gather around hirn in the figure of a flame to
thank the almighty God for His great mercy.
There is a key phrase .which comes near the end of this Easter
Song—after we have discovered in the Resurrection a fulfillment
of the biblical signs of the slain lamb and the dry-shod progress of
Israel through the Dead Sea. That phrase is the one in which the
night is described as “truly blessed” when “Egypt was dispoiled
and Israel enriched.” In .that night—which is recalled here to illus
trate the more glorious night of Christ’s rising from the dead—
“heaven is wedded to earth and God to man.”
There could not be a clearer declaration of the meaning of
the Paschal Mystery. It is either the consummation of a loving
union between Creator and creature, or it is nothing' at all. Christ,
in this conception is the great link between God and man. He makes
the holy nuptials possible.
The big question of our day is not so much whether God is,
as whether He cares for us. For if He is, and does not care for us,
being somehow lost in the swirling galaxies of space, then we are
in a desperate condition. The heavens were a safe enough place
when they were thought to be the abode of the Lord of the
heavens, but now that they have become chilly wastes of weight
lessness,"'and sunspots are recognized for the raging storms on the
fiery globe that they are, the heavens have become terrifying
In Galileo’s time the problem was even more intense. The
Incarnation had been comprehensible in a tiny Ptolemaic cosmos
which had the earth as its center.
Why should not the central event of Providential design have
taken place on the central body of the Lord’s creation, men asked,
and why should it not have happened to the uniquely intellectual
visible species man? Surely God could love His creatures that
much, mysterious though the awful condescension was.
But with Copernicus’ identification of the sun as central, the
faith of some was weakened. That strikes us as strange, but it was
so. With the subsequent identification of our planet as a minor
member of a third or fourth-rate solar system, the modern un
believer finds comfort in his view that the claim of a special
Providence is so much human dreaming.
The Christian position is unchanged. It will never be changed.
Deeper insight into the power of God heightens the mystery of
the Incarnation. It does not destroy the mystery. In a sense we need
all the information we can gather on how high God is above us.
Then and only then will we realize why we need an intermediary
for Him to come close to us. God needs to approach us, and we
need to go to Him through someone who will act as a bridge.
WHY WE NEED CHRIST
We already know what man is. We need to know what God is.
The better we know what He is, the more we will realize why
we need Christ to close the limitless gulf of difference between
God and us.
To be a Christian means to believe in the Incarnation. To be
lieve in God is not enough: Jews, Moslems, and half a world be
sides do that. Even to believe in Christ is not enough.
Let us go back to the Easter Song for a moment. “Heaven is
wedded to earth, and God is wedded to man,” it says. Now there
is no such thing as a successful wedding except of two who bear
a resemblance. The Latin proverb says, “Love finds, or makes, two
alike.” Men marry women and are happy in building a lifelong love
with them because by nature men and women are alike. In any
couple there are differences of taste and temperament and skill.
But basically they are the same kind of creature, these two who
have the same thoughts and desires.
God can be wedded to man only if He is like him. But man
is made in God’s image and likeness, we say. There must be some
deeper similarity than this effected on Easter eve, or else the
(Continued on Page 2)
SAVANNAH — Their Excellencies Archbishop Gerald P.
O’Hara, and Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. McDonough lake
this occasion Io extend to Ihe priests, religious and faithful of
the Diocese of Savannah devoted greetings and blessings on
the feast of the Resurrection of our Divine Saviour.
DIOCESE OF SAVANNAH EDITION
Published By The
Ass'n of Georgia
OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER OF THE DIOCESE OF SAVANNAH
MONROE, GEORGIA, SATURDAY, MARCH 21, 1959
10c Per Copy — $3 a Year
Day Of Recollection
For Savannah Priests
SAVANNAH — Priests of the
Savannah Deanery attended a
Day of Recollection on Wednes
day, March 18th at the Cathed
ral of St. John the Baptist. The
exercises were under the direc
tion of the Rev. Louis Wheeler,
S.J., who-also conducted the Re
treat for Savannah Diocesan
Priests iq September, 1958.
The attending priests also
heard a sermon by His Excel
lency, Bishop Thomas J. Mc
Donough, Auxiliary Bishop of
Savannah. The Day of Recollec
tion ended with Benediction of
the Most Blessed Sacrament in
MACON—Requiem Mass was
offered at Tenafly, N. J. for the
Rev. Charles Canavan, S.M.A.,
former pastor of St. Peter Cla-
ver Church, here.
Father Canavan, who was
pastor of the Macon church
from 1947 to 1955 died in Phil
adelphia. A requiqm mass was
offered for Father Canavan at
St. Peter’s on March 6th.
“And His sweat became as drops of blood,
trickling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:44)
This stained glass window of the Agony of Christ in the Garden is one of a set in Blessed Sacrament
Church in Kansas City, Kansas. It shows Christ’s disciples in modern dress asleep, with one dozing
oyer a newspaper, while our Lord bears His agony alone. Above the disciples the mushroom
cloud of an atom bomb is shown against a background of modern buildings.
HOLY WEEK AT CATHEDRAL
TO BE MARKED BY SOLEMN
SAVANNAH — Solemn Pon
tifical Ceremonies will highlight
Holy Week observances at the
Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
On Holy Thursday morning at
10:00 a. m. His Excellency, Bish
op Thomas J. McDonough will
be celebrant at the Mass of the
Chrism and will be assisted by
the clergy of the Diocese. At
this Mass are consecrated the
Sacred Oils used in the solemn
administration of the Sacra
ments of Baptism, Confirmation,
Holy Orders and Extreme Unc
Bishop McDonough will also
Pontificate at the Liturgical Ac
tion, Veneration of the Cross
O God, hear our prayer
and lot our cry come unto
Bless our Diocese of Sav
annah with many priestly
Give the young men You
call, the light to understand
Your gift and the love io
follow always in Ihe foot
steps of Your Priestly Son.
—Indulgence of seven years
Mary, Queen of Ihe Clergy,
pray for us.
St. John Vianney, pray for
+Thomas J. McDonough
and Holy Communion on Good
Friday. Assisting Bishop Mc
Donough on Good Friday will
be Monsignor T. James McNa
mara, Rector of the Cathedral
as Assistant Priest; Father Rob
ert Teoli, Deacon; a priest of the
Benedictine Community as Sub
deacon; Monsignor Andrew J.
McDonald, Master of Ceremon
ies and Father Herbert Well-
meier, Assistant Master of Cere
The 10:00 Mass ori Easter Sun
day will be a Solemn Pontifical
Mass at which Bishop McDon
ough will be celebrant, assisted
by the Cathedral Clergy.
Tenebrae Services will be held
On Wednesday and Friday eve
nings of Holy Week at 8:00 p.
m. The sermon on these two oc
casions will be delivered by
Rev. Louis A. Wheeler, S.J.
In addition to the Pontifical
Ceremonies of this most solemn
week of the Church year, Bishop
McDonough will also conduct
the Stations of the Cross in the
upper Church of the Cathedral
at 3:00 p. m. Good Friday after
On Holy Thursday the Holy
Oils to be used throughout the
coming year will be consecrat
ed. Bishop McDonough will be
assisted by the following Clergy
of the Diocese:
Assistant Priest, Rt. Rev.
Msgr. T. James McNamara.
Deacons of Honor, Very Rev.
Bede Lightner, O.S.B., Very
Rev. John D. Toomey.
Deacon of Mass, Rev. Felix
Subdeacon of Mass, Rev.
Subdeacon of Cross, Rev. Bar
tholomew Keohane, S.M.A..
Subdeacon of Balsam, Subdea
con of Oil of Sick, Rev. William
Deacon of Oil of Catechumens,
Rev. Edward Frank.
Deacon of Chrism, Rev. Fran
Priests of the Sacred Oils,
(Continued on Page 8)
The Priest And People
Rev. Felix Donnelly
One of the most remarkable accidental effects of the priest
hood in the world today, is that the priest stands as the most promi
nent person in whatever society he finds himself. He does not seek
this prominence, but the very fact that he shuns worldly ambition
for himself, makes him stand out from his fellowmen. Because he
is not interested in personal gain, his advice is sought by people of
every station in life. Because he has spent many years in study and
prayer, his guidance is of great value to those highly skilled in their
calling, as well as those of more modest learning. Because he repre
sents Christ he is the center not only of religious life, but of every
noble phase of life. The more be rejects self interest and the things
of the world, the more he is made the center of the little world
HOLY THURSDAY: CONSECRATION OF OILS
A part of the solemn climax of Lent, is the Consecration of the Holy Oils of Chrism, Catechumens, and Infirm, on Holy Thurs-'
day, by the Bishop. Upper left photo shows presentation of the urn of oil to the Bishop by the subdeacon; upper right, the Bishop
blesses the oil. The small vessel contains the balsam to be mixed with the oil of the infirm. Lower left photo shows anointing of
the hands of a deacon being ordained to the Priesthood, as the ordaining Bishop uses the oil of catechumens; lower center, shows
anointing with chrism of the forehead as Bishop administers Confirmation. Lower right, Sacrament of Extreme Unction adminis
tered by priest using oil of the infirm (sick).—(NC Photos).
within which he moves. No one is more amazed than the priest
himself, at the quiet tenderness and high esteem with which people
honor him. He strangely realizes that no one who seeks such promi
nence would gain it. This is left for the one who entirely disclaims
personal ambition. He realizes that, though this may mean much
to the world, he comes like Christ, “to do the will of Him Who
sent me.” His supreme interest must be to accomplish this Will of
God—To restore all things in Christ.
As Christ stood in the temple before beginning His public
ministry, to read a message of His life, so the priest of today, His
representative, reads the same words:
The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed
me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal
the contrite of heart: To preach deliverance to the captives,
sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are bruised, to
preach the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of salvation.”
In the same sense the priest has been anointed by God, to be
the instrument of the Redemption in the world today, and though
he is mindful of the position in which the world holds him, he has
no real concern for this prominence. His concern is that he ramain
a worthy instrument in the hands of God, continuing the flow of the
graces of the Redemption.
The priest begins his day with the offering of the Sacrifice of
the Holy Mass, in which he renews the Sacrifice of Christ Himself,
to atone for sin, to convert others, to apply to individual souls the
merits of the Saving Death of Christ. He prays for his people in
this Mass, and at least on Sunday offers the Mass for the people
under his care. The priest brings spiritual life to his people in this
way. In serving as the instrument in all the Sacraments, the priest
either brings grace anew to the soul, or brings an increase in God’s
grace. He becomes in this way a spiritual Father, bringing the life
of God to men. So there is set up in this way a real spiritual re
lationship between the priest and the souls he serves. He brings
new spiritual life through Baptism, returns the soul to God through
Confession, and brings the very “Food of Life” at Holy Communion,
with the prayer, “May the Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ preserve
our soul unto life everlasting.” Even at the end of life he is the
spiritual Father, giving the gentle command, “Go forth Christian
soul, upon thy journey, in the name of God the Father who
created Thee, in the name of God The Son, Who redeemed thee, in
the name of God the Holy Spirit, Who sanctified thee.” The prayer
of the priest follows the soul into the after-life, especially through
the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. He is one relative who never for
sakes us, always ready with help given him by God.
As we share this spiritual relationship with the priest, we should
pray for him, that God may keep him entirely dedicated as an in
strument in His hands, applying the Redemption of Christ to the
souls of men. The priest needs the help of all his spiritual relatives.
He has been given work that is more exalted than that given the
Angels, and yet he is of the earth. He must be a bridge from God
to men, and yet he remains a man. In this he needs your prayers
to accompany the purification of his actions and his intentions in
the service of God and his fellowmen. Lacordaire described
the life of the Priest with his people:
“To live in the midst of the world without wishing its
To be a member of each family, yet belonging to none;
To share all sufferings, to penetrate all secrets, to heal all
To go from men to God and offer Him their prayers;
To return from God to men bringing hope and pardon;
To have a heart of fire for Charity and a heart of bronze
To teach and to pardon, console and bless. What a glo
It is yours O Priest of Jesus Christ.