Brooklyn attorney prays for church's continued 'aggiornamento'

Cody McCone

Cody McCone

Profession: Attorney

Age: 64

Lives in: Brooklyn

Sister Camille: Please tell us about the family into which you were born.

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McCone: My mother was a debate and forensic teacher and coach at Mother Theodore Guerin High School in River Grove, Ill. My father was a captain in the Chicago Fire Department. My sister, Alanna, is a fifth grade school teacher in Naperville, Ill. My brother Rory is a business man who resides in Park Ridge. My sister Deirdre is a representative with United Airlines. I have many nieces and nephews.

Where did you grow up?

We were reared in Chicago, near O'Hare Airport and attended St. Francis Borgia Grammar School. Our teachers were the devoted Sisters of Providence from St. Mary of the Woods, Ind.

I went to High School at St. Augustine Preparatory Seminary where I was a postulant in the Augustinian province of Our Mother of Good Counsel. I didn't go on to its novitiate but have kept my friendships with my classmates who continued in philosophy and theology. I remain a supporter of that order.

Where did your education continue?

I graduated from Loyola University of Chicago and during my junior year I studied in Rome. My next graduation was from John Marshall Law School in Cleveland, Ohio.

With so much education and so many teachers, can you name an outstanding role model?

My role model would be St. Thomas More.

How did you meet your wife?

When I was working as a new attorney, I connected with Rhea Mahar who was employed at a law firm in Syracuse, N.Y. After a few phone conversations, I went to her firm's Christmas party. The next October we were married in Immaculate Conception Cathedral.

I remember that one of your daughters a few years ago had a prominent role in Brooklyn's Great Irish Fair. How did that come about and what did that mean to her and the rest of your family?

Ciara was named Colleen Queen of the Fair. The fair committee chose her as representative of the students of Catholic secondary education and its commitment to social work and community service. Our family agrees that her selection was very important in her being accepted at many major universities and colleges.

For what are you particularly grateful?

I always thank God that I had no friends who died in a war, from cancer, none divorced, most in good health, and this gift of divine providence applies to family as well.

Do you have unfulfilled dreams?

Yes, I lost a special election for the 46th Assembly seat on Sept. 15 and the nominee who won is in the General Assembly today. I also failed in a bid for city council in 1997.

Cody, what I know of you makes me think that both the assembly and city council erred in their failure to elect you.

Are you involved in committees or other ways that benefit people who are poor or in need of assistance?

I serve on the Board of Heartshare St. Vincent, Inner City Handball Association, and the Emerald Isle Immigration Center. Most of the communities we serve are facing enormous challenges.

How and where do you pray?

Grace at home at dinner with my family every day is my favorite. I also attend services in several Brooklyn churches: Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Queen of All Saints, Holy Cross, Holy Cross, Cathedral of St. James, St. Savior, Good Shepherd, St. Brendan, St. Patrick, OLA, and my own St. Anselm are my favorites, though recently I have been using the chapel at St. Francis College. Immaculate Conception in Huntington, St. Theresa, and St. Sebastian in Queens and St. Barnabas in the Bronx are also favorites. St. Malachy, St. Andrew, and Our Lady of Victory, and old St. Patrick are my work day favorites. The manner in which I pray is described in the Memorare.

Cody, you certainly appreciate the presence of so many houses of worship in Brooklyn, which has long been known as "The City of Churches."

Do you have a favorite Gospel?

 Matthew 5: 1-12.

That passage begins: "How happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven. …" So you are drawn to the Beatitudes. Is there anything in our church you think would benefit from a change?

There are so many issues. I truly pray for a Third Vatican Council. The "change" in our liturgy five years ago leaves me perplexed and conflicted. Is this the change Jesus would render if he chose to appear among us again?

How did the visit of Pope Francis affect you?

It was uplifting. I pray for his holiness to lead us to the continued "aggiornamento" which our beloved John XXIII began with the Second Vatican Council.

How do you relax?

I read, travel, ice skate and play handball.

Do you have a favorite author, movie, TV program, actor?

The Jesuit scholar who was a friend, John Powell, S.J. and his series of books beginning with Are you running with me Jesus? My film is "A Man for All Seasons" starring Paul Scoffield.

Way down the line -- many years from now -- how would you like to be remembered?

That I attempted to help better the lives of working men and women.

Is there anything else you would like us to know?

I lose so many things, including elections. As a result, I have to pray frequently to Sts. Anthony and Jude.

I am most proud of the years I spent in Brazil. The Augustinian vicariate began under Bishop John McNabb and continued under Bishop Dan Turley. I marvel today at how the tiny mission in Chulucanas, Peru, has evolved into a large diocese in northern Peru. Grace at work.

A few years ago I visited the campus of school and health care for the poor children of Chulucanas. It remains very impressive and important.

For what are you particularly grateful?

I always thanked God that I had no friends who died in a war, from cancer, none divorced, most in good health, and this part of divine providence applies to family as well.

Are you involved in committees or other ways that benefit people who are poor or in need of assistance?

I serve on the Board of Heartshare St. Vincent, Inner City Handball Association, and the Emerald Isle Immigration Center. Most of the communities we serve are facing enormous challenges.

Way down the line -- many years from now -- how would you like to be remembered?

That I attempted to help better the lives of working men and women.

I am most proud of the years I spent in Brazil. The Augustinian vicariate began under Bishop John McNabb and continued under Bishop Dan Turley. I marvel today at how the tiny mission at Chulucanas, Peru has evolved into a large diocese in northern Peru. Grace at work.

Thank you, Cody, for sharing so much.

[Mercy Sr. Camille D'Arienzo, broadcaster and author, narrates Stories of Forgiveness, a book about people whose experiences have caused them to consider the possibilities of extending or accepting forgiveness. The audiobook, renamed Forgiveness: Stories of Redemptionis available from Now You Know Media.]

Editor's note: We can send you an email alert every time Sr. Camille's column, Conversations with Sr. Camille, is posted. Go to this page and follow directions: Email alert signup.


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