SimplyFredThis will be a very important and very interesting book: “Simply Fred. A Tribute to Frederick R. McManus” by Jack Shea, with Jerry Sigler, John Page, and Larry Madden. Msgr. McManus was active at Vatican II, ICEL, and the BCL (now the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship) of the US bishops’ conference.

I’ve been given a sneak peak, and I can’t resist sharing an excerpt from Horace Allen’s piece, “Msgr. Frederick R. McManus: An Ecumenical Remembrance.” Presbyterian Horace Allen labored much with Msgr. McManus on many ecumenical liturgical initiatives – back in the goldens days of increasing ecumenical collaboration and convergence, before Liturgiam authenticam. Allen shares this delightful anecdote:

There was a national liturgical gathering in Boston and a number of mutual friends were in town. Everyone wanted to take Fred to dinner – a far greater number of eager guests than there were days on which to dine – and so “a great supper” was planned, and I suggested one of Boston’s premier “vintage” restaurants – and a popular clerical venue, I might add – Anthony’s Pier 4 on Boston’s renowned waterfront. This classic establishment, whose owner, Anthony Athanas, was patriarch of one of Boston’s most prominent Greek families, features walls that are a veritable iconostasis of celebrities, including Boston’s clerical celebrities, most prominent among them the late Richard Cardinal Cushing whose gatherings at Anthony’s are still the stuff of legend – and about whom Fred had many wonderful anecdotes to share.
Knowing that a large table at Anthony’s on a Saturday night with short notice was as unlikely a find as “the pearl of great price,” I decided to be creative. Our party arrived – at least a dozen strong – and, just as we had anticipated, the multitude of those waiting for a table suggested that our chances of eating before closing time were slim indeed. Only one person among us was dressed in clerics: and, as always, Fred’s crisp black suit was crowned with that wide Roman collar. “Put our names in right away,” one of our party pleaded, “but we’re going to be waiting forever!”
Not quite! For someone on the restaurant’s staff had spied Fred’s Roman collar and had hurried into the kitchen, from which, momentarily, a beaming Mr. Anthony Athanas himself emerged. He came right over to our gathering, everyone but me stunned by this personal attention on the part of no less an authority than the restaurant’s owner. “And this must be the party from His Eminence, the Cardinal’s Residence,” Mr. Athanas exclaimed. Then, spying Fred’s collar, “And you must be Monsignor McManus of the Cardinal’s staff! Come right this way, Monsignor! You and your guests! Your table is ready! Monsignor, do give His Eminence my best regards and the greetings of all of us here at Anthony’s. Enjoy your meal!” After Fred thanked Mr. Athanas and assured him that his best wishes would be conveyed to the Cardinal (whom Fred was not likely to see anytime soon, by the way!), he turned to me and shook his head at me with mock indignation, “Horace, you are incorrigible!” And he smiled!
But not long after that enjoyable evening together, darker days dawned both for Fred’s health and for the future of what had been, for a quarter century or more, our life’s common work and our ministry’s shared endeavor. …

I wouldn’t want to divulge the name of the cardinal. But his initials are Bernard Francis Law.

From: Horace T. Allen, “Msgr. Frederick R. McManus: An Ecumenical Remembrance.”


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