Monday, September 13, 2010

The Monsignor's back but just call him Dan.

via Chicago Breaking News,
A clerical title rarely bestowed on Chicago priests since Vatican II has been revived and conferred on 20 priests in the Chicago Archdiocese, much to the dismay of some clergy who oppose the honorary distinction.

Earlier this year, Cardinal Francis George submitted the 20 priests to be named monsignors by Pope Benedict XVI after some priests reportedly cautioned him against the gesture.

Although the list includes priests serving in positions historically designated for monsignors -- the rector of Mundelein Seminary, the CEO of Chicago's Catholic Charities and the pastor of Holy Name Cathedral, the seat of the Chicago Archdiocese -- it also includes 11 retired priests from a wide spectrum of ministries, including one who has served in the archdiocese for 75 years.

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Also named recently is Monsignor Richard O'Donnell, the retired pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel parish (now Blessed Sacrament), who has served in five parishes under six archbishops. Ordained in 1935, he even recalls a time when monsignors were in vogue.

O'Donnell, who turns 100 next month, is almost positive he received the honor for his time in the pulpit: 75 years. He was pleasantly surprised to get the cardinal's call.

Mayall confesses that he initially declined the offer when the cardinal phoned him. When George argued that the pastor of Chicago's cathedral should be no different from the pastors of cathedrals in New York and Los Angeles -- both of whom hold the monsignor title -- Mayall was persuaded.

"He talked me into it because of his love for Holy Name Cathedral, and I can see that," he said. "People who belong to the cathedral think it's very just."

He also wrote a letter in the parish bulletin assuring parishioners who might get tongue-tied addressing him as "Monsignor Mayall" not to worry.

"I don't want people bowing at the ankles," he said. "Call me Dan."

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