Monday, December 10, 2018

BEFORE YOU GET TANGLED UP IN THE HOLIDAYS,

DON'T FORGET TO...



...MAKE A GIFT TO THE CHURCH IN THE MISSIONS

Choose From the Following Options

I would like to give the priests, nuns and pastoral staff workers down in the islands a little personal spending money for Christmas. The average priest's salary is about $187.00 a month in US dollars! God only knows how little the nuns make! The average professional staff salary at the Diocesan Pastoral Centre is around $500.00 a month in US dollars. The average salary of the non-professional workers is about $335.00 a month in US dollars. (How would you like to support a family on that kind of money?) A small bonus at Christmas time would go a long way down there! It would make life a bit easier for them and their families over the holidays - and it wouldn't hurt us! All we have to do is cut out a little wasteful spending.
You can send a young girl or boy, with absent parents being raised by their struggling grandparents or other relatives, to Catholic School for a whole year for only $200.00 in US dollars!
You can donate some money to our "travel fund." I pay my own way, but I am trying to recruit volunteers to go with me. They will work for nothing, but they can't all pay their total way down and back. Help me sponsor them!
You can give us your used, but still in good shape, laptops and ipads for this coming summer's Kids Computer Camp. Last year's camp was a huge success! We have three volunteers going down this coming summer so we can expand the number of kids we can invite. You know Christmas is a good time to replace your old laptops and ipads even though they are still in descent shape! Don't trade them in! Give them to us!
We hope to have a "Field Day" of games, a cook-out and prizes for the kids in Saint Benedict Home for Children and Bread of Life Home for Children - the two orphanages. It will be a day they will never forget!

HOTEL TOILETRIES

If you travel a lot, you can donate your unused hotel toiletries to the Guadalupe Home for Girls (teenage girls who are at risk). I have been collecting them for years because I take my own when I travel. I put the small bottles and soap bars in my suitcase each day. I have sent several bags down over the years!

My latest shipment of Christmas goodies for the kids and Pastoral Centre staff has arrived! This is Santa's sorting room. I have already heard that we are going to have a big impact this Christmas. I am hoping for a second shipment around the first week of December. I hope to have some great photos for you right after Christmas.


Santa's Helpers - Kimberley and Dennika - sorting toys and gifts to be distributed this Christmas! They are in one of our newly renovated guest rooms at the Pastoral Centre. 


It costs quite a bit to ship things down to the islands. We always need funds to cover shipping costs of even free donated items. Contribution to our SHIPPING FUND is very much needed. It recently cost me $790.00 to send down 7 very large boxes of toys, food for the orphanage, chapel furnishings and various other new and used items. It has to go by air or else it would take months to get there, if it got there at all! Even free stuff costs money to ship!
We still need used ball point pens, school supplies and school snacks for kids. Here at some second graders in Saint Mary's School with their crayons, pencils, rulers, pocket calculators and swim goggles (They were on sale at a local DOLLAR TREE! I couldn't resist! Hey, if you live on a beach, you need swim goggles.)
Just two of the several small parishes
The church in Rosebank, SVG


The church in Sandy Bay SVG
Several of the small churches in very poor areas could use uplifts. We have gathered used church furnishings, paper back hymnals and surplus sanctuary items. Some could badly use a paint job. Again, it takes money to get even free things down there. I have secured 100 free church chairs, wooden statues, a large wooden wall crucifix, a monstrance, a chalice and paten, an electric sanctuary lamp (they can't afford the constant cost of burning real candles) and quite a few usable hardback hymnals. Now I have to get them down there.

We hope to do something for the Church on Saint Vincent island this Christmas. Then we hope to do something for the Church on Bequia, Mayreau, Canouan and Union islands this coming Easter.

I am always amazed at their singing at Mass when I go down there. They put us to shame with their responses and enthusiasm. Many of them have to walk to church. They still dress up in their Sunday best to go to Mass!

The needs list could go on and on, but...
...TELL ME WHERE YOU WANT YOUR GIFT TO GO AND MAKE YOUR CHECKS OUT TO:

Saint Bartholomew Church - SVG Mission Fund

Send your checks to me!
I will make sure they get to the right place.
I will make sure they are used wisely!

Rev. Ronald Knott
1271 Parkway Gardens Court #106
Louisville, Kentucky 40217

FOR QUESTIONS, CALL ME:
1-502-303-4571

 I'LL PERSONALLY SEE TO IT THAT YOUR GIFT IS PROTECTED AND USED WELL! 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

A GOOD LAUGH FOR CHRISTMAS



No homily this Sunday - Father Michael Wimsatt, pastor, preaching at all Cathedral Masses

THIRD BOOK THIS YEAR

You can get a lot done if you are an obsessive-compulsive like me! 


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Available for pick-up at Tonini's after Christmas!



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Available now for Lent 2019

Thursday, December 6, 2018

FROM SAINT NICHOLAS TO SANTA CLAUS


   SAINT NICHOLAS EDGED OUT BY SANTA CLAUS
  Feast of Saint Nicholas
December 6
(reprinted again this year) 

 
                              
 


Ever since St. Nicholas was bumped by Santa Claus, he has been going downhill fast. How did he sink so far?
Nicholas started off as a rich young man from Turkey who ended up a becoming a kindly bishop. Dressed in a red cope, mitre and crosier, he was known for his love of children and his determination to use his inheritance doing anonymous works of charity.

Probably “too Catholic,” 17th century Dutch Protestants helped turn him into a married ex-priest living at the North Pole. Instead of being a holy bishop presiding over a diocese, he ended up presiding over a gang of workaholic elves. Obviously, he married without being “laicized.” Why else would he have been banished to such a God-forsaken place as the North Pole? Since there are no churches at the north pole, Santa probably quit going to church a long time ago! Unlike Saint Nicholas, he is the "patron saint" of those who claim to be "spiritual, but not religious."

It must have been a traumatic career-change. He ended up with a serious eating disorder and a possible drinking problem that turned him into a rotund bag of cholesterol with a bad case of “rosacea.” 
Just when you thought he could not sink any lower, a couple of years ago he stared in a new “adult” movie with an R rating called “Bad Santa.” For those who think foul-mouthed drunks and vulgar rudeness are funny, this movie was a huge hit, followed by at least one sequel. The reviews use words like, “demented, twisted, gloriously rude, rancid, vulgar and unreasonably funny.”

So far, no one has raised any serious questions about his obsession with children, his enslaving of small animals to carry loads heavier than any UPS jet or his penchant for “breaking and entering” homes all over the world. Of course, there is always next year.

St. Nicholas, the compassionate bishop, is not the only one to lose at this time of year. Even Jesus is being nudged out by Santa Claus, elves, reindeer and kittens in Christmas stockings.

Instead of Jesus’ birth being central, Christmas has become a frenzy of buying: buying things they don’t need, for people they don’t like, with money they don’t have. Every year there are reports of a mob of shoppers, rushing like a herd of charging elephants for a sale, trampling people in line, knocking them unconscious. No wonder so many are left disappointed and in debt and the suicide rate spikes right after Christmas.

Before you dismiss me as a grinch, let me assure you that I love Christmas. My point is that it takes a lot of imagination and determination these days to “keep Christ in Christmas.” Since I am single and my life is so different than that of many people, I am reluctant to give practical suggestions, but here is one. Keep it simple. Do less, not more. Take a little of the time you saved and go on a one-hour retreat. Take a long walk by yourself, visit to an empty church or take a long soak in your hot tub and try to remember what Christmas is really all about.
For all intents and purposes, St. Nicholas has been taken out of Christmas! Don't let Christ be taken out of your Christmas!

If I could have chosen my own name, it would have been "Nicholas," but of course the name "Nick Knott" would have brought a lot of teasing down on my head as a child!
My Two Icons of Saint Nicholas

               
Painted by my friend Christopher Miller on a board from the basement of our Cathedral of the Assumption before the 1990s renovation.

A wood carved image of Saint Nicholas that I bought in Rome, just down the street from Saint Peter Basilica, while on a back-packing trip to Taize in the 1970s.


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A POWERFUL QUOTE FOR OUR TIMES



Carlo Corretto was an Italian religious author of the
congregation of the Little Brothers of the Gospel.
Born: April 2, 1910
Died" October 4, 1988
How much I must criticize you, my Church, and yet how much I love you! How you have made me suffer and yet how much I owe you. I should like to see you destroyed and yet I need your presence.
You have given me so much scandal and yet you have made me understand holiness. Never in the world have I seen anything more obscurantist, more compromised, more false yet never have I touched anything more pure, more generous or more beautiful. 
How often I have felt like slamming the door of my soul in your face - and how often I have prayed that I might die in your arms! No, I cannot be free of you, for I am one with you, even though not completely you. 
Then, too - where should I go? To build another? But I cannot build another without the same defects, for they are my own defects I bear within me. And again, if I build one, it will be my Church, and no longer Christ's. 
Carlo Corretto


Sunday, December 2, 2018

YOUR ATTENTION, PLEASE!






“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
and the anxieties of daily life catch you by 
surprise. Be vigilant at all times. and pray that you
will have the strength to stand before the Son of Man "
Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Harold and Maude is an old film about an eccentric young man who is fascinated with death and an eccentric old woman who is fascinated with life. They meet by accident while doing what they both enjoy doing - attending the funerals of total strangers. 

     Maude, the eccentric old woman, is a serious student of life.  She teaches young Harold how to wake up and savor every delicious moment of life. In what has to be the most crucial line of the movie, Maude says to Harold: "You know, Harold, there are a lot of people who enjoy being dead!" Her point is this - a lot of us are "dead" inside a long time before we're buried. Someone else puts it this way, "Humans, unlike insects, start out as butterflies and end up in cocoons!"

Why do so many of us choose to go through life half-asleep? Obviously, because a wide-awake life is so often scary and painful! Do we not say that "ignorance is bliss?" and "what you don't know won't hurt you?" Waking up is the riskiest business on earth. We endanger the status quo, the way things are! When we really wake up, we disturb our comfort. If we don't have the guts to deal with the ensuing problems and chaos that come to light, we endanger our very sanity. 

       We spend a lot of time making sure we don't wake up: sleeping too much, the over use of drugs, too much work or an excess of entertainment. On the other hand, we spend millions of dollars on therapists to help us wake up. We spend millions of hours in self-help groups so that we can become more aware of what's going on around us and within us..

We often use the words "religion" and "spirituality" interchangeably. Religion is about performing certain external acts. It is something that happens outside us. Spirituality is about waking up. It is something that happens inside us. Jesus said we needed both religion and spirituality, but warned of the dangers of mere external religious acts that are done without any inner conversion of the person doing them. 

       The work of spiritual growth is about resisting the temptation to deliberately go to sleep, the temptation to avoid pain, the temptation to go through life deliberately dull and unaware. The work of spiritual growth involves standing up to our own cowardice in the face of life; resisting that part of us that does not want to know. Most people resist this work because they fear finding the worst about themselves when in reality, if they actually take a good look, if they take their whole being apart and examine it, they will find that there is much good and genuine about who they are!

     I have just published a new book about that very thing. It is called "Between Courage and Cowardice: Choosing to Do Hard Things for Your Own Good." We all live in a world between the poles of courage and cowardice. From there we make decisions about personal growth or personal stagnation. My book traces the hard decisions that I have made personally, from age six to the present, that have contributed to the kind of person that I have become. I believe with all my heart that we actually create the persons we have become. Our lives, as we experience them, are a result of how many times we have chosen courage over cowardice, the road less traveled over the road most taken. Aristotle was right, "Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives - choice, not chance, determines your destiny. 

Today's text is part of a larger discourse. Some would have us believe these passages are about "the Second Coming." These words refer to the Destruction of Jerusalem which took place in 70 A.D. and, by extension, to all the waiting and watching Christians would do until the Second Coming, whenever it does happen. The "watching and waiting" is not about trying to predict anything, but on "waiting and watching in joyful hope" and "living lives of preparedness" whenever it does happen!

The best way to prepare for death is not to focus on dying, or predicting the end, but on living; not on the future, but on the present. It's not a tragedy to die. It's a tragedy to get to the end of your life and realize that you never really lived. The tragedy is to look back and realize you took the path of cowardice to protect yourself, to look back and realize you spent the whole time spinning a cocoon to protect yourself.

In such a cocoon, we can remain comfortable and live in a coma-like state. We spin that cocoon because the real world is too much trouble, too much work. We prefer to go back to sleep. 

      Maude was right -"A lot of people enjoy being dead." They prefer comfort over challenge, safety over growth, invisibility over visibility. The ideal set of circumstances for them is a womb-like environment: warm, safe, secure, with all their needs met. They spend their lives backing away from what would really make life, life! It takes guts to stay awake, be alert and be on guard. For many, that's just too much trouble!

Jesus did not put us here to wait for death, to predict and wait for the end, but to live fully! To live fully, we must cultivate a "mindfulness" about life. We must learn the discipline of staying awake, keeping a sharp eye out, looking around us and being constantly on the watch. From the title of my new book, we must "choose to do hard things for our own good" and resist "the road most traveled." To the extent that we accept our own call to be all we can be, the mission and purpose of our own lives, we will work against anything, within or without, that would hold us back!

      The urge to go to sleep is powerful. We are called to resist it! We must live "on purpose" and "with purpose." We must choose courage and reject cowardice. In the words of Jesus, we "must be vigilant at all times!" 













Saturday, December 1, 2018

FOUNDATION DAY


CONGRATULATIONS

Sisters of Charity of Nazareth



Betsey Wells and Teresa Carrico arrived on Dec. 1, 1812, to begin the foundation of what became the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in frontier Kentucky. They were joined by Catherine Spalding on Jan. 21, 1813, and Mary Beaven, Harriet Gardiner, and Sarah Sims in April and May of 1813. Together these six women sought to build community and meet the needs of their time.


                                    

Mother Catherine Spalding, SCN