Tuesday, September 27, 2016

THE KNOTT AND CLARK EXPEDITION - PART #5 OF MISSION TRIP #5


TROPICAL STORM MATTHEW

Father Clark and I decided to fly over to Barbados this afternoon to be one step ahead of the storm. We think making connection to American Airlines will be much easier that trying to cut it too close with LIAT. We will stay with Bishop Gordon for two nights instead of one.


A PLACE WHERE PEOPLE ARE REALLY HELPED

STARTED BY THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE IN PARTNERSHIP WITH OTHER CHURCHES



Jeanie Ollivierre, Chair of the Board of Directors


Yesterday, Father Clark and I had the pleasure of visiting Marion House that houses many great social service programs: parenting skills for young parents, domestic violence help, counseling (individual, marital, family and chemical dependency) court referrals and preparation for job skills for at risk young people.


This is a typical class to prepare at risk youth to enter the job market. 


FIRST MEETING OF THE LOCAL COMMITTEE
of the
CATHOLIC SECOND WIND GUILD


Fergal Redmond, Father Knott, Cecile  DaSilva, Eardley Martin  and Desmond Telesfort,    
Father Mark DeSilva had to miss this meeting because of a  monthly priest meeting. 

Last night, the local Catholic Second Wind Guild Chapter held its first meeting. They will be the group who will implement the programs sponsored by the Guild. We are working hard on getting the Pastoral Centre prepared to receive clergy and other professional volunteers.

Monday, September 26, 2016

THE KNOTT AND CLARK EXPEDITION - PART #4 OF MISSION TRIP #5

THE TRIP UP TO GEORGETOWN
 SVG

On Saturday afternoon, Father Clark and I made a trip to Georgetown to visit two homes for children. It was very moving. We left sad both sad and happy. It is sad that these children are often abandoned by their parents and families for one reason or another. It is a happy place in the sense that three Carmelite Sisters are able to do so much with so little to help them.


ST. BENEDICT CHILDREN'S HOME
Sister Nyra Ann, O. Carm.



Sister Nyra Ann, a Carmelite Sister, top left, runs a home for neglected and abused infants and children. They gathered for a group photo. It was so moving to visit them and see what she is doing, at her age, for so many young people with so little.  Father Clark and I are standing in the back row.



I got to hold one of the two babies in cribs who were sleeping when we arrived. Look at those large, dark and beautiful eyes! It breaks your heart to realize what they have already been through and what their futures might hold.



Sister Nyra Ann and one of her charges.


Father Clark, Sister Nyra Ann and myself.


The little boy in the front frowned at us for the first half hour, but by the time we were leaving, he was following us around and hugging our legs. There is such sadness in their eyes for their ages!

BREAD IF LIFE COMMUNITY FOR CHILDREN WITH AIDS
Sister Zita, O. Carm. 



Sister Zita hated to be in photos, but she finally agreed.



A few of the resident children gathered outside for a few pictures. For the most part, these children have been abandoned by their families. Sister Zita basically runs this home by herself. 


This liitle boy was so fascinated with me. He kept wanting me to pick him up and hold him. He hugged my legs whenever I had to put him down.


A close-up of my little friend. He may not get the life saving AIDS drugs and medical care to save his life could be very short. He is so charming and out-going and desperately wanted to be held. Thank God Sister Zita is caring for him.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

THE KNOTT AND CLARK EXPEDITION - PART #3 OF MISSION TRIP #5

MISSIONARIES FROM KENTUCKY, PHILIPPINES AND IRELAND




Homily for My Three Masses at Cathedral of the Assumption
DIOCESE OF KINGSTOWN, SVG
“For What We Have Failed to Do”
Rev. Ronald Knott
September 25, 2016











Cathedral of the Assumption - Diocese of Kingstown SVG


   There was a rich man covered with  purple
and fine linen who dined sumptuously every day.
Lying at his gate was a poor man covered with
sores who longed for the rich man’s table scraps.
Luke 16
.
Did you know that “doing nothing” can actually be illegal. Many countries, but not the United States, have “Good Samaritan Laws” that legally require citizens to assist injured people and people in distress. Failure to offer assistance in France can be punished by up to 5 years in prison or 100,000 Euros. This is actually the case of the photographers at the scene of Princess Diana’s fatal car accident. They were investigated for violation of the French Good Samaritan Law, for their failure to offer assistance. 

Did you know that “doing nothing” is not only illegal in many places, it can also be sinful as well. This is actually the case in today’s beautiful gospel story about a very rich man and a very poor man. Before we look at the sin here, a sin of omission, let’s look at this wonderful story in detail because it is the details that are so stark and shocking.

The rich man has no name, even though he has traditionally been called “Dives,” meaning “rich” in Latin. Dives, in today’s language, lived in a gated mansion, ate gourmet food every day and dressed in Armani suits. Lazarus, we are told, oozing with open sores, was dumped in front of Dives’ mansion. From there, this poor man could see loads of food being carried in and out of the mansion, just inside the gates. Poor Lazarus did not hope to share in that food. He simply longed for the opportunity to eat from the big baskets of scraps being loaded into the dumpster - but they were not even offered to him. Rich people back then wiped their hands, not on napkins, but on chunks of bread that were simple thrown away. Too weak from hunger to fight them off, alley dogs came and licked Lazarus’ open sores. 

Dives was filthy rich, but that was not his sin. Dives ate gourmet food every day and dressed in Armani suits, but that was not his sin. Dives did not even order his security guards to have Lazarus removed from around the gate! Dives did not verbally or physically abuse poor Lazarus! There is no indication whatsoever that Dives was evil. He didn’t do anything harmful to Lazarus. But that seems to be the point of the whole parable: the rich man did nothing wrong, he simply did nothing. His sin is that he didn’t even see Lazarus, and because he didn’t even see him, he did nothing! He was complacent! He was so absorbed in living his own cushy life that he didn’t even see the suffering right in front of him. 

Dives is like “the complacent” in our first reading today, lying on ivory couches, eating lamb chops and tenderloin, drinking fine wines and dabbing themselves in expensive perfumes while the people around them starved. Those were the people that the Prophet Amos condemned in the first reading.

Let me be clear on one thing. This gospel is not condemning wealth, but people who are self-absorbed, people who will not look beyond the ends of their own noses. You don’t have to be rich to be self-absorbed and blind to the suffering of those around you. Jesus did not condemn wealth. He taught, rather, that “to whom much is given, much will be required.” The richer you are, the more responsibility you have, but that does not let those of us who are neither rich nor poor off the hook! We all have a responsibility to notice the suffering around us. The sin here then, is not wealth, but the blindness that goes with self-centeredness. 

The first step to helping those around us who suffer is to notice them. We cannot do something about the poor and suffering without compassion for the poor and suffering and we cannot have compassion for the poor and suffering without first noticing them. 

I recently retired from Bellarmine University after 17 years of being a campus chaplain. Most of the students are middle class people. They are not rich but many have never seen real poverty. We offered yearly opportunities to notice the poor and suffering up close. There are some who have had their eyes opened in a dramatic way on trips to Guatemala and Appalachia. For some these trips have been life changing. Others have volunteered to work in places like nursing homes for the very old and places like the Home the Innocents for the very young. We call them “consciousness raising” experiences. These experiences wake them up and help them take notice, something Dives was unable to do until after he died. There he met poor Lazarus whom he never even saw sitting at his gate and regretted his blindness after it was too late. 

Just as poor Lazarus longed to eat the leftovers from Dives table, but nobody made and effort to get them to him, there are some people and organizations in my home town who do make sure that our leftovers are not wasted. These efforts began with noticing. Kentucky Harvest was started by a man who noticed that grocery stores and bakeries were throwing away perfectly good though outdated food, while many were hungry. That organization has spread to other cities. On one trip to Florida, I helped a local man of some wealth pick up flawed oranges from a citrus grove to take to homeless shelters. The dining hall at our Cathedral of the Assumption, which was built when I was pastor there for 14 years, is staffed by many volunteers who have fed thousands and thousands over the years by collecting leftover food from restaurants and food companies. That whole operation began when a few people started noticing the poor and the waste and brought them together in a brilliant solution. When I go to Nord’s Bakery close to my house, the people from the Franciscan Shelter House pick up day-old doughnuts to feed the hungry. I have always been impressed by the generosity of the Nord family, as well as the generosity of those who come to pick up the day old doughnuts and serve them to the hungry. 

My friends, the message today is simple: true Christianity is not just about avoiding evil, but more about doing good. In the eyes of Jesus, failure to do good is often just as sinful and doing evil. At the beginning of Mass, we confessed to “what we have done” and “what we have failed to do.” In another passage, Jesus tells the parable of judgment when people stand before God and ask, “Lord, when did I see you hungry?” Jesus answers them, “As long as you failed to do it to one of these, you failed to do it to me.” 

Maybe our biggest sin is not the evil we do to others, but the good we fail to do for them. Before we can do that, we have to look beyond the ends of our own noses, beyond what’s going on in our own lives, and notice the people around us and what is going on in their lives. For anyone to die of hunger in a rich country like mine is a sin, a sin committed by those of us who don’t see! 

I am down here at the invitation of Bishop Gordon, your former bishop. I wanted something to do that would open my eyes to the needs of others, rather than look for ways to pamper myself. This is my fifth trip so far. 

On my trips down here, I have been able to do a few things for you, but I have been blessed even more by what you have done for me. Just a couple of years ago, I had not even heard of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Now you keep helping me to see beyond what I would see every day at home from a rocking chair on my own front porch. Since I retired, I have learned a lot about you, yes, but I am teaching even more people about you – and they are taking notice and they are getting more interested!


FATHER THOMAS R. CLARK TOOK MASSES 
at
St. John Church in Mesopotamia


and 
St. Therese Church in Gomae




A LITTLE SUNDAY NIGHT PARTY




After a hard day of volunteering - a pre-dinner drink on the balcony.
Father Rex Ramos (Philippines), Father Tom Clark (Kentucky), Mr, Fergal Redmond and Mr. Martin Folan (Ireland).



We treated ourselves to a nice dinner at the Beachcomber Restaurant on the beach.
Most of us had grillled whole Red Snapper - and a second drink.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

THE KNOTT AND CLARK EXPEDITION - PART #2 OF MISSION TRIP #5

THE KNOTT-CLARK EXPEDITION HAS LANDED

WE MADE IT HERE, FINALLY!

Father Clark and I finally made it! After leaving the house at 4:00 am, we finally got to Kingstown, SVG, at 10:00 pm.
The worst part of the trip was sitting in the Barbados airport for six hours because of LIAT AIRLINES missteps - as I predicted yesterday.



In the Barbados airport, Father Clark was asked to go across the street from the airport terminal to smoke a cigarette. He found some shade under a palm tree. He assures me that he is "not addicted" and that he can "quit any time." I must say,  he did go a long time without suffering too much.

A FUNNY SITUATION

While Father Clark was smoking at the Barbados airport, I hugged a woman whom I thought was Sister Clare from SVG. She looked puzzled as I grabbed her, but said "Will you be stopping by our place?" I said I would "depending on the schedule." I had to leave her, but waved again as I crossed the sidewalk. She waved back! When I got to SVG, I was told that it was NOT Sister Clare after all, but a total stranger!



I took a picture of the cover of the LIAT AIRLINES magazine in my seat pocket after being delayed yet again  on one of their flights. I think there is a misprint, It should say: SIXTY YEARS OF LIAT - SIXTY HORRIBLE CARIBBEAN EXPERIENCES.




A FLOCK OF VOLUNTEERS MEET FOR BREAKFAST

Father Clark, Martin Falon and Fergal  Redmond meet for their first breakfast.
Father Clark is from Kentucky (USA), Martin and Fergal from Ireland.



TWO FRIENDS STOP BY THE PASTORAL CENTRE
Matthew and Martin Young (sons of Maraika Young of the Diocesan Staff) stopped by so I fixed them up with a cap and sunglasses, Don't they look "cool?"

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP

I would like to thank all the generous people who supported this trip. I was able to bring down about $10,000 altogether. (about $5,000 from my column in The Record and about $5,000 from my recent speaking trips. We have made a big step toward getting the SECOND WIND GUILD headquarters set up to receive retired priests and lay professional volunteers. 

We have a long way to go, so it's still not too late to help. 

Make your checks out to:
St. Bartholomew Church - SVG Mission Fund
 send them to me at:
Rev. Ronald Knott
1271 Parkway Gardens Court
#106
Louisville, KY 40217 


THE USED LAPTOP COMPUTER APPEAL PAID OFF

Father Clark and I brough down four used laptops thanks to
Church of the Epiphany and Brown-Forman Cooperage.
They will be used by religion teachers on the outer islands and other church workers.


Gary Marvin of Church of the Epiphany delivered two Chrome Books donated by his parish to the Diocese of Kingstown, SVG


Ms. Teresa Campbell delivered two used DELL computers donated to the Diocese of Kingstown, SVG, by Brown-Forman Cooperage where she works.  

Thursday, September 22, 2016

THE KNOTT AND CLARK EXPEDITION - PART #1 OF MISSION TRIP #5

LEAVING IN THE MORNING


September 23-29, 2016

"Mission Trip Number Five" 
Diocese of Kingstown
St. Vincent and the Grenadines 





See St. Vincent & Grenadines and Barbados, bottom right, off the coast of South America.



I can't wait to see all my friends, but I dread facing the unpredictable LIAT Airlines of the Caribbean.







Don't think this!




Think this! 
Lewis Punnet Nursing Home




ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES
Wonderful People, Many Needs




Bishop, Priests and Deacons of the Diocese of Kingstown, SVG, at their recent retreat.

My "Encouraging Word" column in The Record
September 15, 2016

Ask and you will receive.
Matthew 7:7

It seems like I am spending a lot of time lately retiring from stuff. I officially retired from St. Meinrad Seminary two years ago. A couple of months ago, I officially retired from Bellarmine University. You would think that would leave with lots of time to learn how to play golf or something just as boring. Not true! I will continue writing for The Record for one more year, leading international priest retreats and filling in at the Cathedral as time permits.

All those things are hobbies. What is consuming more of my time is my volunteer work in the Caribbean countries of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (Diocese of Kingstown) and Barbados (Diocese of Bridgetown). I have tickets for going down again in September and November and a lot of priest retreats sprinkled throughout the fall to raise needed funds.

A few months back, The Record did a front page story about my new program for retired priests, bishops and lay professionals called Catholic Second Wind Guild. In the very first year, we have been able to buy two vans for parishes, purchase a boat motor for two young island priests to get to Mass, send seven youth to World Youth Day, buy recording equipment for Catholic TV evangelization throughout the Caribbean and pay for the new bishop’s car, among other things.

Father Tom Clark, retired priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville, is going down with me next Friday on my fifth trip. He will be the Catholic Second Wind Guild’s very first retired priest recruit. I will be going down to lead the annual priest retreat in Barbados in November. I hope to make a quick trip over to St. Vincent and take another retired priest, bishop or lay person with me.

The biggest need right now is getting the Pastoral Centre of the Diocese of Kingstown, SVG, fixed up to receive adult professional volunteers. Maintenance has been neglected for so long because of a lack of funds that I think many volunteer professionals from the United States would find it difficult staying there for any length of time. Our hope is to to make it simple, in working order and comfortable. 

I want to start with the new Catholic Second Wind Guild headquarters (bedroom/office and bathroom) and finish a larger new chapel at one end of a large underused living room in the Centre. From there, I want to move quickly to the eight guest rooms, then the kitchen and finally the rest of the building. After we get the place fixed up a bit, volunteer professionals will be able to tackle other island projects.

I have drawings of what I hope the areas will look like – simple, in working order and comfortable. I have been able to amass a few thousand dollars for the project from doing retreats and parish missions myself and accepting a few gifts from some friends, but I have a long way to go. If you want to help, let’s talk before Father Clark and I leave September 23. 1-502-303-4571



Father Thomas Clark, my first Catholic Second Wind Guild priest recruit.



Fellow volunteers from Ireland.
Fergal Redmond on the left and Martin Falon on the right.




A procession during a recent Pilgrimage sponsored by the Diocese of Kingstown to one of the islands in the diocese - the Island of Mayreau, August 1, 2016



I hope to get a report from the seven our organization, R J MISSION PROJECTS, sponsored for World Youth Day in Poland.



Our seven were part of a larger group from St. Vincent and the Grenadines who went to World Youth Day in Karkow, Poland. Here they proudly display the SVG flag. I actually teared up when I saw the group carrying their flag in front of the stand where Pope Francis was seated.  I am proud of them.



Almost everybody lives on the side of a hill. If they live on the out side of the volcano, they get to see a stunning view of the ocean. However, they are more susceptible to hurricanes. If they live on the in side of the volcano (the caldera), they get to see tropical greenness. However, if the volcano erupts again........????? Just my luck?



The volcano, La Soufriere (The Sulferer), violently erupted in 1718, 1812, 1902, 1971 and 1979. 



NEXT UP? BARBADOS!
November 13-19, 2016
Priest Retreat




Catholic Second Wind Guild has two Chapters,
one in St. Vincent and the Grenadines
and the other in Barbados.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

ANOTHER PROBLEM ON MY "AGGRAVATION LIST" SOLVED

THE "GREG COATS CARS AND TRUCKS" SOLUTION


A few weeks back, I made an "aggravation" list - a list of things that were regular aggravations. I stopped one day and said to myself, "Why are you doing this to yourself? If you are this busy in your retirement, you need to take action and get rid of some of these constant aggravations so you will have the calmness and peace of mind to do all those other things!"

Here is a short list of a longer list of "aggravations" that I am working through.
  • I had a taped-up garage door opener that worked part of the time. It drove me crazy. I finally found out where I could get another and ended up getting two! The salesmen even laughed at how old my old one was when I showed it to them. Problem solved! 
  • I had a black suit that did not fit me very well. I dreaded every time I had to get dressed up in my priest outfit. (It had obviously shrunk hanging in my closet? Anyway, I digress!) I went to Penny's and left with a $400 suit for $130 with all the sales and discounts. (I got the next larger size pants just in case of more shrinkage!) Problem solved! 
  • I had a four year old Ford C-Max (one of those hybrids). It was amazing as far as gas mileage, but battery problems had it in the shop for a total of four weeks this summer. The big battery had to be replaced last year. Thank God it was still under warranty! This summer there was something draining the small battery up front. It is fixed now, yes, but I was never for sure when I went to the garage whether it would start this time or that. It was an aggravation. I spoke to my friends at GREG COATS CAR AND TRUCKS on Preston and left with a two year old car (my third from them) without all the complications of a hybrid. Problem solved!


Some of the Coats Family - Some of the nicest people in the world! 







My "new" "problem free" two year-old Toyota Rav4


GET RID OF YOUR AGGRAVATION




Friends! If your old "ride" is driving you crazy and you can't afford a new car, may I suggest some people you can trust to help you get rid of that aggravation! 



GREG COATS CARS AND TRUCKS
5204 Preston Hwy
Louisville, KY 40213
502-434-6634
Open 9AM - 9PM


ASK FOR "BUREN" 


TELL HIM FATHER KNOTT SENT YOU