Priests of God and of Christ

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Another item I received from the Philadelphia Archdiocesan Research Center was an excerpt from the parish history of St. Aloysius, which was the last pastorate of my great-uncle, Rev. Joseph McDonald.

Entitled “One Hundred Years of Service, Saint Aloysius’ Church, Pottstown, Pennsylvania, 1856-1956,” the book was written by Reverend Charles H. Pickar. Below are the paragraphs that pertain to Fr. Joseph:

“CHAPTER II ‘Priests of God and of Christ.. .’

“On March 4, 1936, Fr. O’Malley was appointed pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows Church, Phila., replacing Fr. Joseph A. McDonald who in turn succeeded Fr. O’Malley in Pottstown. . . .

“Upon becoming pastor of St. Aloysius’, Fr. McDonald embarked upon his new duties with much enthusiasm. A native of Phila., he attended Holy Trinity Parochial School and La Salle College before studying for the priesthood at St. Charles Seminary, Overbrook. He was ordained on May 14, 1910, and from 1930 to 1932 was diocesan Director of Chanties.

“From the beginning, Fr. McDonald won many friends in his new surroundings. During the eight years of his pastorate, Fr. McDonald became renowned as true shepherd of his flock; he was especially devoted to the children of the parochial school, and quite active in his interest among the youths of the parish. His conversation was voluble, a trait readily noticeable not only to his own people, but others of the town as well who often came into contact with him in civic matters.

“Fr. McDonald too had great plans for the parochial school, for he foresaw evidently its needs within the next few years. He realized also that the parish was constantly growing. But the outbreak of World War II postponed any fulfillment of his dreams and plans, while he increased the treasury of the Church considerably.

“Before the war ended, Fr. McDonald who had been in ailing health for two years, died August 26, 1944. His death was greatly lamented by the people of Pottstown, and as the press noted: ‘there will ever be a monument to his memory here in the good lives he fashioned of his parishioners who wended their way to the Church he loved so well that he devoted his entire life to it.’

“Fr. McDonald’s funeral was held August 31 in St. Aloysius’ Church. The Right Rev. Hugh Lamb, Auxiliary Bishop of Phila., presided; his chaplains were Fr. O’Malley and Fr. Charles B. McGinley who had been the first resident assistant pastor of St. Aloysius’ in 1915. The celebrant of the Mass was the Right Rev. Cornelius Brennan, Chaplain of All Saints, Phila. General Hospital, a post occupied by Fr. McDonald for several years. Fr. Edward Kelly of West Grove, Pa., was deacon of the Mass, and Fr. Joseph Collins, Our Mother of Sorrows, Phila., was subdeacon. A large number of priests, Sisters and the laity attended the obsequies.

“Fr. McDonald was laid to rest in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Phila. His death was indeed ‘a great loss’ to St. Aloysius’ Parish.”

I am so grateful for the little insights given about his personality, that he was devoted to the young people of the parish and his conversation was described as “voluble.” I looked up the meaning of the word: “talking a lot in an energetic and rapid way; talking easily, readily, and at length; characterized by a ready and continuous flow of words; fluent, glib, and talkative.”

This helps to form a picture in my mind.

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