Saturday, April 30, 2016



I am happy to announce the launching of a new retirement initiative that I have been working on for the last several years. It is not for everybody, but I think it will appeal to some. Some priests and lay people may be able to  travel to actual locations. Others may be able to participate from their homes. 


The Pastoral Centre holds the bishop's residence, the diocesan Chancery Office, several diocesan offices and meeting spaces, as well as about eight guest rooms. It is solid building in serious need of renovation and updating, which I hope will be the Catholic Second Wind Guild's first project. We need a place out of which Second Wind Guild volunteers can operate. From here teams can go out to create strategies to address targeted projects in the diocese. 

This is what I hope the door to my headquarters looks like once the space is renovated. 

A partnership of the local bishop, retired U.S. priests, 
retired/active executive level business leaders and their associates 
who want to share their time, talents, resources and connections 
doing shared ministry in creative new ways 
that are both life-giving for them in their retirement years 
and beneficial to the mission of the Church 
by tackling targeted mission needs and projects.

A SECOND WIND - a phenomenon in distance running whereby an athlete who is too out of breath and tired to continue suddenly finds the strength to press on at top performance. 

A GUILD –  Traditionally, a guild was a group of artisans and craftsmen engaged in the same occupation who would associate themselves together for protection, mutual aid and service. These guilds performed other services for their members as well as the community at large. Medieval guilds:
  • provided funeral expenses for poorer members and aid to survivors;
  • provided dowries for poor girls;
  • covered members with a type of health insurance and provisions for care of the sick;
  • built chapels;
  • donated windows to local churches or cathedrals;
  • frequently helped in the actual construction of the churches;
  • watched over the morals of the members;
  • were important for their contribution to emergence of lay education.

  • … would be headquartered in the R C Pastoral Centre of the Diocese of Kingstown, SVG, the renovation of which being its first project.
  • … would require that the Pastoral Centre be renovated so that The Second Wind Guild would have a workable and comfortable headquarters from which to plan and implement its future projects.
  • … would, to this end, unleash a team of retired specialists to design a new layout and implementation plan based on present uses and identified new uses for the future to present to the bishop for approval and implementation. Special attention would be given to plumbing, electricity, cooling systems, kitchen lay-out, chapel, furniture and bedding. Once the Centre is renovated, it would be a simple, attractive, useful, workable, efficient, clean and comfortable diocesan headquarters for the chancery, bishop’s residence, guest rooms, diocesan meeting spaces for ministry development and spiritual retreats.
  • … would be coordinated initially by Father Ronald Knott, retired priest of Louisville, Kentucky, under the leadership of Bishop County. In the renovation, the director of the Catholic Second Wind Guild would be designated a small office/room in the renovated Pastoral Centre out of which to operate. Even though designated for this purpose, it could serve as the bishop’s guestroom when not in use.
  • … could be a source of part-time ministry by specific retired priests and bishops looking for such opportunities. After initial contact with The Second Wind Guild and a preliminary screening, retired priests or bishops willing to volunteer would be introduced to the bishop for further screening and assignment by the Bishop of Kingstown. They could serve as formation specialists, relief for priests needing vacations or time off, temporal pastoral assignments, retreat masters and the like. The Catholic Second Wind Guild could organize an orientation program for volunteers to better help them understand and acclimate to island culture. These orientation programs would be conducted by the Bishop and local clergy in the newly renovated Pastoral Centre itself. The Second Wind Guild could also arrange periodic support meetings, short retreats or prayer days for volunteer and local clergy.
  • … would consider targeted projects identified by Bishop County and his advisors for exploration, feasibility and possible implementation. After studying the feasibility, assembling the right team, raising the resources and being accepted by the Catholic Second Wind Guild, the implementation could start under the auspices of Bishop County and in partnership with local personnel.
  • … would move slowly but deliberately from one project to the next. Each project could possibly require assembling a different Second Wind Guild team, depending on its nature and scope. Nothing would prevent two small projects from being worked on at the same time.
  • … could, in the future, include the “soup kitchen project,” away from the Cathedral, on property already purchased or even the big project of a Community Center, previously imagined by the Diocese of Kingstown. Success breeds confidence and more success.
  • … would not be a legal entity or hold accounts of its own. All gifts would go directly to the Diocese of Kingstown through St. Bartholomew Church in Florida or any other arrangement made by the Diocese of Kingstown for receiving tax-deductible gifts.
  • … would, with the approval of Bishop County, begin immediately recruiting a team of experts to come down together to do a study of the Pastoral Centre and its needs, as well as a study of the availability of local talent and resources to implement such a renovation. Once a study has been completed, the team would come down again to make a presentation to the Diocese of Kingstown that could lead to implementation.
  • … could, in the future if this model is successful, pick and train other retired leaders and experts to start additional Chapters of the Catholic Second Wind Guild in other dioceses recommended by the Antilles Episcopal Conference.

If you are interested in knowing more, or know someone who is, contact me at:

                                  THEIR PATRON SAINT, ST. VINCENT, THE DEACON


to read more

History and Ethnic Relations
Emergence of the Nation. Saint Vincent was one of the last Caribbean islands to be colonized by Europeans. The aboriginal Caribs existed there in sufficient force to hold off European incursions until the eighteenth century. In the early seventeenth century, the Black Caribs—a population composed of the descendants of Caribs and African maroons from other islands—emerged on Saint Vincent.
In 1763, the Treaty of Paris granted Saint Vincent to the British who quickly set up plantations with large numbers of slaves. The Carib lands in the northern part of the island had been excluded from expropriation by the British, but the promise of profitable sugar cultivation led to encroachment by planters and eventually to two Carib wars. After the Second Carib War (1793–1795), the Black Caribs were removed to Central America. The "Red" Caribs, whose descendants still live in Saint Vincent, were allowed to stay.
By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the British colony had settled into a sugar plantation economy maintained by the importation of slaves. Slavery ended on 1 August 1834.
The importation of Africans by Europeans established the basic Afro-European foundation of Vincentian society. The labor shortage created by emancipation occasioned the immigration of East Indians, Portuguese, and Barbadian whites. Many of the freed slaves were turned into agricultural wage earners, but most became peasants. A combination of peasant and plantation agriculture remains the character of Saint Vincent in modern times.
In the latter half of the twentieth century, Vincentians gradually came to have more control over their own political life. Universal suffrage granted by the British Crown in 1951 gave common people a measure of power that was formerly possessed by the planters. Independence was granted in 1979. Due to the reliance on an export economy of bananas, Saint Vincent remains dependent on the trade policies of the United States, Great Britain, and the European Union.
National Identity. The poor people in Saint Vincent, whether of African, European, Native American, or Asian descent, derive a strong sense of identity from the history of the resistance activities of the Caribs in the eighteenth century, while the wealthier Vincentians identify with English or North American models of behavior. More than that, the environmental features of Saint Vincent unify the country. The national anthem emphasizes the natural beauty of the islands.
Ethnic Relations. The population of the nation at the 1991 census was 106,499, with over 82,000 describing themselves as African/Negro/Black (77.1 percent), 17,501 as mixed (16.4 percent), 3,341 as Amerindian/Carib (3.1 percent), 1,477 as East Indian (1.4 percent), 511 as Portuguese (0.5 percent), 982 as white (0.9 percent), and 140 describing themselves as "other."
Each of the ethnic minorities has been successfully integrated into the nation state and a Vincentian identity. All ethnicities intermarry with the black majority, although the Barbados-descended local whites of Dorsetshire Hill are said to be more reclusive.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is primarily rural. Most of the population lives in small villages of 100 to 500 people. The only large town in the country is the capital, Kingstown.
Saint Vincent has a reliable electric supply to the entire island, along with telephone service and safe drinking water. Many people cannot afford utilities in their homes, and the government has supplied most villages with public showers and water taps. Most buildings are made of cinder block or wood frames, painted white or the pastel colors common to the Caribbean.

Food and Economy
Food in Daily Life. The daily dish of most Vincentians is pilau, a preparation of rice and pigeon peas to which is added any meat or fish available. Locally grown vegetables, "ground provision," include yams and sweet potatoes, dasheens, eddoes, tannies, and cassava. Among the island's abundant fruits are bananas, mangos, breadfruit, guavas, plumrose, coconuts, passion fruits, and pineapples.
The main meal is usually eaten in the early evening when the heat of the day has dissipated. A light lunch or snacks of fruit make up the midday meal. Breakfast is normally a hearty affair, typically consisting of fried salt fish with onions and peppers, bread, and a pot of cocoa or coffee.
Fish of all kinds are caught by the local fishermen. Cetaceans also are hunted and eaten, the most common being porpoises, killer whales, and pilot whales. Fishsellers travel to the villages in pickup trucks when a catch is in, blowing conch shells to announce that fish are for sale. On holidays, it is common for everyone to fish for crawfish in the mountain streams or to catch land crabs to add to the evening meal.
Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Whenever guests are invited for a meal, they must be fed until they are satisfied. Rum is drunk before or after a special meal, or even during a break in the day. Strong rum (70 percent alcohol) is the Vincentian drink and is offered to all male guests. Women may have beer, but usually they do not drink strong alcohol. Sea moss—a mixture of milk, seaweed, and spices—is considered an aphrodisiac and appears at Christmas and other special occasions. For birthdays and other celebrations cakes are usually eaten.
Basic Economy. Bananas and tourism are the main forces in the Vincentian economy: bananas on the mainland, tourism in the Grenadines. Plantations continued to exist after the end of slavery and remained powerful, but small farming employed more people in contemporary times. Few households can subsist entirely from their farming, and most have some members engaged in wage labor. Remittances from abroad have become an essential part of the Vincentian economy.
Land Tenure and Property. The current pattern of land distribution and use began during slavery, and a few families own most of the land. Agricultural land may be owned outright, rented or sharecropped. Land may also be held jointly by a number of siblings and their heirs—a uniquely Caribbean form of land tenure known as "family land." All who have a share in the land have a right to its produce.
Commercial Activities. The economy is a mixture of subsistence and plantation agriculture. In the capital, Kingstown, a market square is occupied on most days by women selling "ground provision," produce from their gardens. Women also sell their produce in neighboring countries. A separate market in the capital is set up for fishermen. Funded by Japan, it is called "Little Tokyo." Whales, caught on the western side of Saint Vincent, are butchered and sold out of the town of Barroullie. All fish products are produced for local consumption.
On Saint Vincent, there is a cigarette factory, a plastics factory, a various food processing facilities directed to the local market. Occasionally, European and American investments provide jobs, including a tennis racket factory, clothing manufacture, and a marina.
On Canouan, a traditional boat-building industry continues to employ a few people.
On the other islands, subsistence agriculture and tourism are the primary factors in the economy.
Major Industries. Apart from agriculture, and tourism in the Grenadines, there is no major industry. Saint Vincent is a major world producer of arrowroot.
Trade. The main trade partners are the United States, other CARICOM (Caribbean common market) countries, the United Kingdom, and the European Economic Community. Saint Vincent has very little manufacturing, so most of the trade is in bananas, arrowroot, and other agricultural produce. In spite of the peasant economy, all of the food staples used daily by Vincentians—flour, rice, sugar, salt cod—are imported.
Division of Labor. Unemployment ranged from 20 to 50 percent throughout the twentieth century, with the highest rates coming in the 1990s. These figures are misleading, as nearly everyone is engaged in some subsistence activity. Most Vincentians engage in multiple economic activities.

Social Stratification
Classes and Castes. Vincentian society consists of a small elite composed of foreign-educated black Vincentians and the white planter families, a small middle class of government employees and business professionals, and a large class of poor people. The Caribs, whose villages flank the volcano, are the poorest people on the island. A community of foreign expatriates who have taken Vincentian citizenship live in the southeast section of the main island. Foreign whites control Mustique, Petit Saint Vincent, and Palm Island.
Symbols of Social Stratification. A sharp difference is visible between the very small local elite and the activities of the poor who make up the majority of the Vincentian population. The middle class differentiate themselves from the poorer people by their use of standard English speech, private automobiles, and expensive dress, as well as lodge memberships and such activities as beauty contests.

Political Life
Government. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a constitutional monarchy with Elizabeth II as head of state in 2000. Her representative on the island then was Governor-General David Jack.
Leadership and Political Officials. Power is divided between the Unity Labor Party (social democrat) and the New Democracy Party (conservative), with the conservatives holding the balance for most of the years since independence. Sir James Mitchell has been prime minister since 1984. Ralph Gonsalves, a scholar and lawyer, was the minority leader in 2000.
Social Problems and Control. Unemployment, underemployment, and the drug trade are the main problems Saint Vincent has had to face in modern times. The Grenadines, with their many uninhabited islets, are a transhipment point for illicit drugs from South America to the United States.
Military Activity. The country has no formal military. The duties of a military have been taken over by the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Royal Police Force. The U.S. military has a training and advisory role.

Social Welfare and Change Programs
The U.S. Peace Corps and Canadian Crossroads organizations maintain a presence in Saint Vincent. Scandinavian, Taiwanese, and Japanese aid agencies all have active projects in the islands. The World Health Organization had some success in an AIDS awareness campaign, with the result that Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has one of the highest rates of condom use in the world near the end of the 1990s.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations
Churches organize many activities, but secular clubs are plentiful. These include drama groups, lodges, nature organizations, the girl and boy scouts, and domino playing, soccer, and cricket clubs.

Gender Roles and Statuses
Division of Labor by Gender. Men and women work together on many activities, but typically men do the farming, women do the gardening, and men work at sea. Traditionally, only women sell produce in the market square; only men sell fish. Women are paid less than men at service jobs.
The Relative Status of Women and Men. Although women have more economic power than in many peasant economies and are often heads of households, men have a higher status. Relationships between men and women are placed overtly in a context of monetary/sexual favor exchange.

Marriage, Family, and Kinship
Marriage. Three forms of conjugal relationship are recognized: "visiting" (the couple reside separately), "keeping" (cohabitation), and legal marriage. Among the majority of the population, the tendency is to marry later in life, usually after a couple has had several children together. It is common for women and men to have a number of children by different partners.
Domestic Unit. Households in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines may be composed of extended families, nuclear families, or individuals. The matrifocal, multigeneration family is typical. Overall, the composition of the household is flexible. In times of need, children are "lent" or "shifted" to the households of kin to lighten the subsistence needs of a household.
Inheritance. Inheritance is bilateral according to British law. Family land is always inherited jointly and cannot be broken up.
Kin Groups. People recognize kin of any degree and will go out of their way to be especially courteous and generous to them, but there are no kin groupings larger than the extended family.

Infant Care. For most Vincentians, the umbilicus or "navel string" is planted under a fruit-bearing tree shortly after birth, so that the child will have a healthy and productive life. The child is not given a name until about four weeks after birth. Meanwhile, the infant is coddled and cuddled and played with by all in the household. Care is taken not to become too attached to the infant unless it should sicken and die from too much love—a condition known as love maljo.

Child Rearing and Education. Children are raised by everyone in the household and in the extended family. Children early develop a sense of security about their place in society. At the age of five or six, the child may begin to attend school. Education is free but not compulsory up to about eight years of age. After that, tuition must be paid. Many families cannot afford to send their children to school at any age, and their children work on the farms as soon as they are able. Literacy is in excess of 80 percent, and given their occupational opportunities, Vincentians are over educated on the whole. People often must have several O-levels (equivalent to one or two years of American college) to be hired as a clerk in a store.
Higher Education. Saint Vincent has a small teacher's college, a nursing school, and a medical college on the main island. The medical college is geared to foreign students, only admitting one or two Vincentians on scholarship per class. A University of West Indies Extension office offers some classes but no degrees.

Generosity is the main feature of Vincentian conduct. Vincentians give of themselves and their resources to an extraordinary degree. Two customs that may strike the visitor as unusual are that it is a serious breach of etiquette to call someone's name in public and that the use of cameras by foreigners is likely to elicit an angry or violent response.

Almost everyone in Saint Vincent is a Christian, and most Christian denominations are represented. A native religion, a combination of African rituals and Christian liturgy, has formed on Saint Vincent. Its followers are known as the Converted, or Spiritual Baptists. Believed by the rest of the population to have a particular facility with spirits, they are utilized by most Vincentians to conduct rituals at wakes and at other times of spiritual unrest. The local "pointer," the Converted ritual specialist, may also be consulted for illness or psychological unease. Rastafarians also have a presence in Saint Vincent.
Religious Beliefs. Saint Vincent is a Christian country, although a few Bahai can be found. Main denominations are Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, and Pentecostal. About 10 percent of the population belongs to the local "Converted" religion (also known as "Spiritual Baptist"), a combination of African and Christian rituals. Several hundred Vincentians are Rastafarians.
Among a large portion of the Vincentian population, dreams are interpreted as real spiritual events and many ordinary Vincentians fear dreams, as they may predict misfortune. "Jumbies" (evil spirits), "Rounces" (spirit-animals that produce night terrors), "Ghosts" (the spirits of lie people seeking their graves), "Diablesses" (demon temptresses), "Haggs" (vampire-like creatures), and other supernatural beings inhabit Saint Vincent and many small ritual actions are required to protect one from them. These include keeping a bottle of hot pepper sauce by one's bed, placing a jar of urine in one's yard, and spinning around before entering one's home. Some young people scoff at these practices.
Religious Practitioners. The ordinary Christian denominations have ministers, priests, and bishops as they are found in other Christian countries. The Rastafarians have elders, who do not conduct any special rituals but instead are respected interpreters of scripture (the Bible). The Converted have a host of religious practitioners, the most important of which is the office of "pointer." The local pointer is the person to whom most Vincentians will turn in times of spiritual trouble. Although the Converted are persecuted socially and their religion was actually illegal until 1965, they are still revered and feared for their powers. The Converted say, "They curse us in the day, but they seek us out at night."
Rituals and Holy Places. There are no pilgrimage locations on Saint Vincent. Church buildings themselves are the only permanently holy places. Rituals by the Converted temporarily sanctify specific locations—a house, the market square, a crossroads, a beach—for services they hold there.
Traditionally the Converted conduct a wake for a family (regardless of the denomination) on any one of the third-, ninth-, fortieth-night, or six-month or one-year anniversary of the death—but the "nine nights" and the "forty days" are the most important. The Converted receive a ritual payment of hot cross buns and cocoa tea.
The celebrations of Carnival (originally before Lent) and Nine Mornings (before Christmas) began as religious rituals, but now are primarily secular in nature.
Death and the Afterlife. The dead in Saint Vincent are remarkably mobile. On All Saint's Eve (31 October) and on All Soul's Eve (1 November), souls of the deceased are believed to leave the grave and to wander about Saint Vincent visiting their favorite places. Lighted candles are placed on the graves of departed family members to guide the souls back to their resting places.
The dead also roam on the third, ninth, and fortieth days after death, and on the six-month and one-year anniversary of the death. The Converted traditionally are called to conduct rituals in the home of the deceased on any of these days.

Medicine and Health Care
Health care is accessible to people in all parts of the island. Basic health care is free or low cost to all, but any special services and all surgery are expensive. Many of the poor forgo operations that would be considered necessary in other countries.

Secular Celebrations
The two most important events in the Vincentian calendar are Christmas and Carnival. There are, besides, twelve national holidays throughout the year: New Year's Day, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Day (22 January, celebrating the discovery of the islands by Columbus), Good Friday, Easter Monday, Labor Day (1 May, also known locally as "Fisherman's Day"), Whit Monday, CARICOM Day (celebrating the Caribbean common market), Carnival Tuesday, August Monday (1 August, Emancipation Day), Independence Day (27 October), Christmas Day, and Boxing Day (26 December).
Christmas includes three segments: Nine Mornings, Christmas Day, and "the two days following Christmas." Following a custom begun during slavery, on the Nine Mornings Vincentians hold parties each day in the pre-dawn hours, then go to work, and party again the next day for each of the nine days. In Kingstown, large sections of the town are taken over by the party goers. Christmas Day is spent with one's family. Boxing Day and the day after are spent visiting neighbors. The Christmas season coincides with a cooling "Christmas breeze" and is looked forward to for the temporary relief from the tropical heat as much as for the celebrations.
Carnival celebrations, with their attendant calypso and costume contests, are sponsored by the government.

The Arts and Humanities
Support for the Arts. The visual arts are not highly elaborated on Saint Vincent. Several musical groups do support themselves, although mainly by tours and record sales off the island. The government sponsors the Carnival celebration which formerly was held according to the religious calendar, but was moved to July to encourage tourism.
Literature. There is almost no written literature produced by Vincentians themselves. Myths, folktales, and other stories are rarely passed down in any formal way. However, Vincentians place great value on the ability to create good stories, jokes, and riddles and to present them in a convincing and entertaining way. Impromptu speaking contests and joke contests may be arranged in any gathering. Moonlit nights in the rural villages are especially noted as a time for these performances.
Graphic Arts. There is little in the way of graphic arts in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Occasionally an individual self-taught artist will gain attention.
Performance Arts. Calypso, Soka, Reggae, and Gospel are the main forms of music heard in Saint Vincent. Competitive caroling groups also perform at Christmas time.
Dramatic presentations are held by school and church groups throughout the islands as fund-raising events. The most important of these are "concerts," variety shows featuring short plays, jokes, and singing for which a small entrance fee is charged.

The State of the Physical and Social Sciences
Local development of the sciences is negligible; however, the islands themselves are the focus of much scientific activity. Scientists from around the world are attracted by Saint Vincent's volcano and its endemic wildlife. Dozens of sociologists and anthropologists have conducted major research on aspects of Vincentian society.

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Vincent spent most of his life in the city of Saragossa, where he was educated and ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Valerius of Saragossa, who commissioned Vincent to preach throughout the diocese.[1] Because Valerius suffered from a speech impediment, Vincent acted as his spokesman.
The earliest account of Vincent's martyrdom is in a carmen (lyric poem) written by the poet Prudentius,[2] who wrote a series of lyric poems, Peristephanon ("Crowns of Martyrdom"), on Hispanic and Roman martyrs. When the Roman Emperor Diocletian began persecuting Christians in Spain, both were brought before the Roman governor, Dacian in Valencia. Vincent and his bishop Valerius were confined to the prison of Valencia. Though he was finally offered release if he would consign Scripture to the fire, Vincent refused. Speaking on behalf of his bishop, informed the judge that they were ready to suffer everything for their faith, and that they could pay no heed either to threats or promises.[3]
His outspoken manner so angered the governor that Vincent was inflicted every sort of torture on him. He was stretched on the rack and his flesh torn with iron hooks. Then his wounds were rubbed with salt and he was burned alive upon a red-hot gridiron. Finally he was cast into prison and laid on a floor scattered with broken pottery, where he died. During his martyrdom he preserved such peace and tranquillity that it astonished his jailer, who repented from his sins and was converted. Vincent's dead body was thrown into the sea in a sack, but was later recovered by the Christians and his veneration immediately spread throughout the Church.[3] The aged bishop Valerius was exiled. 
According to legend, after being martyred, ravens protected St. Vincent's body from being devoured by vultures, until his followers could recover the body. His body was taken to what is now known as Cape St. Vincent; a shrine was erected over his grave, which continued to be guarded by flocks of ravens. In the time of Muslim rule in the Iberian Peninsula, the Arab geographer Al-Idrisi noted this constant guard by ravens, for which the place was named by him كنيسة الغراب "Kanīsah al-Ghurāb" (Church of the Raven). King Afonso I of Portugal (1139–1185) had the body of the saint exhumed in 1173 and brought it by ship to the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora in Lisbon. This transfer of the relics is depicted on the coat of arms of Lisbon.[4]

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