Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Archdiocese of Vancouver Priest Retreat
Group Two
May 22 - 26, 2017
Westminster Abbey
A Benedictine Abbey of the Swiss American Congregation - like Saint Meinrad Archabbey.
Westminster Abbey was founded by the monks of Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon

The stipends for these retreats will be used in my ministry in the island missions of the Caribbean. It is part of the needed funds to send a 40'  shipping container of surplus medical supplies, used laptops for two computer camps, a dozen office chairs for the diocesan chancery, sixty stacking chairs for the new chapel that we are building and some wonderful brass liturgical furnishings for that new chapel. 

Archbishop Michael Miller CSB and myself.

Preparing the gifts for the daily concelebrated retreat Mass in the Abbey Church

Preparing to go out for daily Mass

In the two weeks I presented these retreats, I preached eight times and delivered twenty presentations. This was definitely the most talking  have done in any of the hundred plus  priest retreats/convocations.
Only a crazy person would even attempt it! The priests at home would have killed me!

On a couple of evenings, some of us went down to the bottom of the hill to a pub for wings and beers.

A view from the monastery over the Fraser River valley.

A prayerful path up to the lookout over the river.

Week Two - Left Side

Week Two - Right Side

You've heard of the BACK STREET BOYS? These are the BACK SEAT BOYS!

Part of the week two group lining up for Mass in the Abbey Church

Driving back into Vancouver from  the retreat. 

Monday, May 22, 2017



I was invited to lunch to see first hand a very interesting new, growing ( in some places controversial - see * below) Catholic community called the "Neo-Catechuminal Way."

I was invited to a very hospitable lunch at the  seminary of the Neo-Catechumenal way in Toronto -  one of several in the us, Canada and many Latin countries and around the world. It was located across the street from one of their parishes. There are seminaries located in Toronto, Denver and Philadelphia for example.

They go out as missionaries with the help of missionary families. Members are typically from all over the world. Founded after the council, they do not use the latin mass. They have interactive homilies, liturgical practices and live in small communities like the early church, their most desired places to do missionary work is in large urban areas, rather than small towns.

I led their annual seminarian retreat at their redemptoris mater seminary in toronto three years ago  when they joined the seminarians of St. Augustine, the diocesan seminary of Toronto, for their seminary retreat.

Their seminarians are mostly young and  full of passion for ministry.

The Neocatechumenal Way

In the primitive church, when the world was pagan, those that wanted to become Christian had to begin a "catechumenate," an itinerary of formation in preparation for Baptism. Today the process of secularization had brought many people to abandon the faith and the church: because of this there is a necessity for an itinerary of Christian formation.

The Neocatechumenal Way is not a movement or an association, but an instrument in the parishes at the service of the bishop to return to faith many of those who abandoned it.

The Way began in the early 60's in one of the slums of Madrid, by Kiko ArgĂșello and Carmen Hernandez, and was endorsed by the then Archbishop of Madrid, Casimiro Morcillo, who noted in that first community a true rediscovery of the Word of God and the implementation of the liturgical renewal proposed in that time by the Council.

Having seen the positive experience in the church of Madrid, in 1974 the Congregation for Divine Worship chose the name Neocatechumenal Way for this experience.

It is a way of conversion through which the richness of the gospel can be rediscovered.

In these years the Way has diffused itself to over 900 dioceses, in 105 nations, with over 20 thousand communities in six thousand parishes.

In 1987 the first international missionary seminary "Redemptoris Mater" was opened in Rome. The seminary hosts youth that have discovered and matured their vocation in a Neocatechumenal Community and have answered the call to go and announce the Good News in the whole world. Many Bishops have successively followed the experience of Rome and today in the world there are over 70 diocesan missionary seminaries "Redemptoris Mater," where over two thousand seminarians are being formed.

Recently as an answer to the Pope's call for a New Evangelization, many families that have lived this experience have offered themselves to help the mission of the church going to the most secularized and dechristianized places in the world, preparing for the birth of new missionary parishes.

Immersion baptism, a part of an intense catechumenate, is important enough to have the font right in front of the altar and in the midst of the people.

*In many places this movement is very controversial as this site elaborates.


On Saturday evening I was invited to the cathedral to celebrate the 50th anniversary of priesthood of a local priest who is also the recently retired bishop of Kamloops. I led his priest a couple of years ago so I knew him. We gathered at the Italian Cultural Center for a banquet where over a hundred guests gathered to pay tribute.

Archbishop Miller of Vancouver, Bishop Monroe retired bishop of Kamloops and Archbishop Exeter retired bishop of Vancouver.

My table.

Another table of Bishop Monroe's priest friends.

Sunday Night Dinner

After preaching at the Sunday night mass at the cathedral, one of the young men acolytes invited me to dinner to have food typical of north China. He, however, is from Hong Kong.

We had a very fascinating conversation. He was very interested in the parts of the United States outside its big cities and very, very knowledgeable of U.S. History.

Vancouver is a very expensive city so, like many young adults, he has several jobs - a full time and two part time jobs. He has made time, however, to volunteer as an altar server at the cathedral.

Roger Tse from Hong Kong

Sculpture of a homeless person in front of the Cathedral of the Holy Rosary

The homeless person, of course, is Jesus.
Notice the wounds in his feet. 


This morning, after talking to a married deacon from the Philippines over coffee in the Cathedral Rectory about his seminary days, his leaving, his marriage and now his being ordained a permanent deacon, I am amazed at how fortunate I am to have such conversations and have such similar experiences wherever I have been in nine countries.

I came from a town of about twenty-seven people. I was too bashful to read in front of the seminarians in the seminary. Now I get to meet, and address for hours, people from all over the world, thousands of priests from many countries, hundreds of bishops and even a few Cardinals.

By the time this week is over, I will have given 20 hour-long retreat conferences and delivered 9 homilies here in Vancouver, Canada, alone. This coming week will be my nineteenth priest retreat in Canada all together - from one end to the other: from Victoria and Vancouver in the west, all across the center, to Labrador and Newfoundland in the east. I have spoken in at least four Canadian parishes and attended at least ten celebrations with the laity.

My world seems to be expanding, not shrinking, in retirement. I am amazed and I am very grateful.

Sunday, May 21, 2017



Given at Holy Rosary Cathedral in Vancouver, BC
Sunday May 21, 2017

       I will not leave you orphaned.
            John 14:18

God has always been portrayed in Scripture as having a soft spot in his heart for the orphan and the widow. Jesus and Mary, who probably lost Joseph when Jesus was young, knew first-hand what it was like to be an orphan and a widow.  It is not surprising, then, that one of the things that Jesus promised his disciples at the Last Supper, overcome with fear of being abandoned, was not to leave them orphaned, but to send them the Holy Spirit as a Comforter.  

Many people over the years have been “orphaned” in the literal sense of the word, either through abandonment, kidnapping or death. I cannot begin to imagine how traumatic that would be for any child, especially those old enough to know what is going on.

Even more people have been “orphaned” in a figurative sense. They have been divorced by their spouses, left as widows and widowers by untimely deaths, jilted by fiancĂ©s or dumped by close friends or “significant others.”

Having had no choice in what happened, they are left traumatized.  They carry those hollow feelings in the pit of their stomachs.  Their hearts ache. Their minds bounce between denial, bargaining and anger. Their obsessive thinking about it nearly drives them crazy as they try to make their way to acceptance. Some never recover from their feelings of being abandoned. 

Abandonment issues are very powerful issues in the lives of many, many people. It’s the fear of being alone and fear of not being able to handle what life throws at them. As social beings, created for interconnection, fear of losing those connections run deep. Genesis tells us that the very first sin ever committed involved a denial of that simple fact.

We are social beings, but what can we do when we have to face a major severing of the connection between our self and a loved one?  Some people go for years believing that if they just don’t like it enough, they will earn a reversal of that fact. When that doesn’t happen, they end up carry an oozing sore of bitterness for years and years – sometimes to their graves.

One of the most moving outreaches to these people that I have ever been involved in are the “Blue Christmas Masses” that I used to offer at Bellarmine University during the Christmas holidays when the loss, grief and loneliness of many come into sharp relief. .      

Prayer is sometimes about the only lifeline many people have during these traumatic times. For some, prayer helps about as much as anything, especially the kind of prayer that asks for a reconciliation with reality. But isn’t that the best kind of prayer – the kind that asks God to help us accept his will, instead of asking God to change his will? Mary, the Sorrowful Mother, who herself was left widowed and childless, is a perfect model for those who feel abandoned by those they love.

We may feel abandoned, but the truth of the matter we are never really abandoned. One of God’s name is Emmanuel, which mean “God with us!”

Thursday, May 18, 2017


Archdiocese of Vancouver Priest Retreat
Group One
May 15- 19, 2017
Westminster Abbey

A Benedictine Abbey of the Swiss American Congregation - like Saint Meinrad Archabbey.

Westminster Abbey was founded by the monks of Mount Angel Abbey in Oregon

Priests of this Archdiocese are from places like Nigeria, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Philippines,
Portugal, Slovakia, India, Peru, Holland, England, United States, Poland, Mexico and Spain. 
Some of the local priests come into the priesthood as widowers, fathers, grandfathers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, engineers and farmers. Some have come in as converts -  Mennonites, Anglicans, and several evangelical groups. It makes for a wonderful learning week and very good time. You really feel that the church is becoming more and more "Catholic," more and more universal.


It's almost time to begin another conference.

Getting ready for one of the confrences - three times a day.

Meal time.

Meal time.

Daily Mass in the Abbey Church

Evening Prayer and Benediction

Everything is lush and green because it rains in a mist a lot of the time. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


Copy of my original ordination invitation.

Minutes before the ordination started. 

My First Mass

My mother and I after my First Mass wearing the vestment she made for me. I'll take the blame for the design. 

Celebrating twenty-five years in 1995. Seems like yesterday! 

I am so very grateful for the gift of God that keeps on giving. When I read down all that has happened to me in the last thirty-seven years, I am almost overcome with gratitude. I never could have imagined it when I started this journey.


Rev. J. Ronald Knott is a priest of the Archdiocese of  Louisville, "retired" now, he is the founding director of the Saint Meinrad School of Theology Institute for Priests and Presbyterates. Father Knott is the author of Intentional Presbyterates: Claiming Our Common Sense of Purpose, a book about preparing seminarians to enter presbyterates and about how priests can mentor them into their presbyterates after ordination, as well as From Seminarian to Diocesan Priest: Managing a Successful Transition; The Spiritual Leadership of a Parish Priest:  On Being Good and Good At It and Intentional Presbyterates: The Workbook. In late Spring, 2011, A Bishop and His Priests Together: Resources for Building More Intentional Presbyterates, was published. 
After graduating from the Saint Meinrad School of Theology with a Master of Divinity Degree, Father Knott was ordained for the Archdiocese of Louisville in 1970. After ordination, he earned a Doctor of Ministry degree in the area of parish revitalization from McCormick (Presbyterian) Seminary in Chicago. He earned this degree while working in the “home mission” of his diocese. His major project paper was entitled “Strangers in Town: How One Roman Catholic Mission Church Dealt Assertively with its Environments (anti-Catholic hostility from the community and weak Catholic identity within the community).  Father Knott used this degree to establish two Catholic mission churches in an area where Catholics had never been, to revitalize an inner city cathedral in Louisville (the parish went from 110 members to well over 2100 members) by specializing in outreach to fallen-away Catholics and to the interfaith community of downtown Louisville. 

In his present work with presbyterates, Father Knott has conducted over 100 priest convocations, retreats and study days in the US, Canada, Ireland, Wales, England, The Bahamas, St. Vincent and the Grenadines,  Barbados and Saint Lucia. He has addressed United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Florida, the Antilles Bishops' Conference in Trinidad, the Canon Law Society of America in Pittsburg, the National Federation of Priest Councils of England and Wales, the National Federation of Priests Councils of Canada and The US National Federation of Priests Councils on his work with presbyterates. 

He has conducted over 75 Parish Missions, a work he continues in retirement. 

Father Knott has served his diocese as a home missionary, country pastor, cathedral rector, and vocation director.  Besides being the former director of the Institute for Priests and Presbyterates and a weekend campus minister at Bellarmine University in Louisville for seventeen years, he has been writing a weekly column for The Record for fifteen years.. He has published three collections of homilies and fourteen collections of his weekly columns. He has published articles in America, Church, Seminary Journal, The Priest, Origins and Pastoral Review. He served two terms on the J. Graham Brown Foundation Board. He was awarded The Louisville Forum's 1995 Fleur-de-lis Award for outstanding community service, the National Conference of Christians and Jews Award 2001 for inter-faith work in Louisville, the National Federation of Priest Council's Touchstone Award in 2008, St. Meinrad School of Theology's Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2010. He received the Catholic Education Foundation’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015. Bellarmine University awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2016.

Officially "retired," he continues many of the things mentioned above, but on a part-time basis. He recently founded the Catholic Second Wind Guild for retired priests, bishops and lay professionals to offer assistance to the church in the Caribbean missions where he volunteers.