Saturday, April 16, 2016



I grew this beard at Taize on my first trip. I shaved it down to a Van Dyke style beard on the 25th anniversary of my ordination in 1995. I shaved it all off when I retired.


I was fortunate enough to have made five trips to Taize with young adults, mostly non-Catholic, from Somerset, Kentucky, when I was assigned to St. Mildred Church. During those years, I volunteered to work at Somerset Community College as a volunteer ecumenical campus minister. I thought a trip to Taize, being an ecumenical monastery that welcomed young people from all over the world, would be something Catholic and non-Catholic  students could share. 

All I knew about Taize was from a four or five line clipping from the newspaper. On my first trip, I landed in Paris with five young adults in backpacks on Bastille Day (France's biggest holiday) without reservations, without a map of the city and without local currency.  We sat in a city park for several hours totally overwhelmed. Looking back, I don't know how we made it for a month camping in France,  Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. I lost 18 pounds on my first trip. The stop at Taize was our primary goal. We stayed there for a week on each trip in a retreat like setting. 

The Taizé Community is an ecumenical monastic order in TaizéSaône-et-LoireBurgundyFrance. It is composed of more than one hundred brothers, from Catholic and Protestant traditions, who originate from about thirty countries across the world. It was founded in 1940 by Brother Roger Schütz, a Reformed Protestant. Guidelines for the community’s life are contained in The Rule of Taizé written by Brother Roger and first published in French in 1954.
The community has become one of the world's most important sites of Christian pilgrimage. Over 100,000 young people from around the world make pilgrimages to Taizé each year for prayer, Bible study, sharing, and communal work. Through the community's ecumenical outlook, they are encouraged to live in the spirit of kindness, simplicity and reconciliation.


The Taizé Community was founded by Brother Roger in 1940. He pondered what it really meant to live a life according to the Scriptures and began a quest for a different expression of the Christian life. A year after this decision, Schütz reflected:
The defeat of France awoke powerful sympathy. If a house could be found there, of the kind I had dreamed of, it would offer a possible way of assisting some of those most discouraged, those deprived of a livelihood; and it could become a place of silence and work.
Because his native Switzerland was neutral and thus less affected by the war, Schütz felt as if France would be ideal for his vision, seeing it as a “land of poverty, a land of wartime suffering, but a land of inner freedom.” He eventually settled in Taizé, which was a small desolate village just north of Cluny, the site of a historically influential Christian monastic foundation.
In September 1940, Schütz purchased a small house that would eventually become the home of the Taizé Community. Only miles south of the demarcation line that separated Vichy France and the Zone occupée, Brother Roger’s home became a sanctuary to countless war refugees seeking shelter. On November 11, 1942, the Gestapo occupied Roger’s house while he was in Switzerland collecting funds to aid in his refuge ministry. Roger was not able to return to his home in Taizé until the autumn of 1944, when France was liberated.
In 1941, Brother Roger had published a few small brochures outlining several facets of a Christ-centred communal life together. These brochures prompted two young men to apply, soon followed by a third. They all lived in Switzerland in a flat owned by Roger’s family until after the war when they began a new life together in the French countryside. Over the next few years several other men would join the community. On Easter Sunday 1949, seven brothers committed themselves to a life following Christ in simplicity, celibacy and community.

Growth and current situation

In the years that followed, others joined. In 1969, a young Belgian doctor became the first Catholic to pledge his life to the Taizé Community. More brothers from Reformed, Anglican and Catholic backgrounds joined the community. Soon the Brothers of Taizé were making trips to take aid to people in both rural and urban areas. They began forming “fraternities” of brothers in other cities that sought to be “signs of the presence of Christ among men, and bearers of joy”. Since 1951, the brothers have lived, for longer or shorter periods, in small fraternities among the poor in India (chiefly in Calcutta), Bangladesh, the PhilippinesAlgeriaBrazilKenyaSenegal, and the United States (chiefly in the Hell’s Kitchen section of ManhattanNew York City).
In August 2005 Brother Roger, aged 90, was killed in a knife attack by a mentally ill woman. At his funeral, Brother Roger had an ecumenical dream fulfilled. The presider at his funeral was the president of the Vatican's council for the unity of Christians, CardinalWalter Kasper. Anglican bishop Nigel McCulloch of Manchester, England, who represented Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, read the first reading in English. The second reading was read in French by the Rev. Jean-Arnold de Clermont, president of the Conference of European Churches, and in German by Bishop Wolfgang Huber, head of the Evangelical Church in Germany. Cardinals and archbishops, Orthodox, Anglican and other religious leaders and international politicians joined ordinary Christians in prayer during the funeral, including the President of Germany, Horst Köhler, and the retired Archbishop of Paris, Jean-Marie Lustiger. His funeral was attended by approximately 10,000 people.

Brother Roger Schutz founded the Taize Community in 1940.

The tiny village of Taize is doubled by tents and buildings serving the youth who visit. 

The tiny village of Taize is perched on a hill overlooking  some of the vineyards of Burgundy. 
This is what I first saw when I arrived by bus in 1971. 

This is the Catholic parish church of Taize. The monastic church is the Church of the Reconciliation. 

This is the reception area for the hundreds of youth who come to Taize, especially during the summer. In the years I was there, there were over 3,500 youth from 70 countries arriving every week. 

There are no seats in the Church of the Reconciliation. Both monks and visiting youth sit on the floor.

The monks sit in the middle of the crowd on the floor. 

Brother Roger in his senior years.

That is me as a newly ordained priest in one of the English speaking discussion and prayer groups. I grew my first full beard in 1971 and kept it till 1995 when I saved in down to a Van Dyke. 

This is a common sight as the visiting youth are getting ready for church or for meals. 

This is Pol and Anne Coppin from Belgium. They were dating at the time. They since married and had three boys. We have stayed in touch ever since.  They have visited me here in the US several times. I have visited them in Rome and Belgium.  Forty to forty-five years later, I am still in contact with a few people I met during those trips. 

This is a typical evening in one of the campgrounds.

These are a couple of members of my discussion/prayer group visiting my tent. - from England and Italy, I believe.

A few of our Somerset, Kentucky, group outside my poor pathetic tent. 

I have sat on this very spot many times  engaging in long discussions with young people from all over the world. This happens to be an English speaking group. Many young people who speak English as a second language or third language liked to practice their English by joining an English speaking group.  

This was another one of my discussion/prayer  groups. We were assigned to groups and the group strayed together for  the entire week. We discussed, prayed, sang and ate together.

This looks so familiar!

In August 2005 Brother Roger, founder of the community of monks, aged 90, was killed in the church by a mentally ill woman. She came up behind him during prayer time and  attacked him with a knife.  Below are photos of his wake and funeral. I met him at least twice. I also met the famous Vatican II theologian, Yves Congar, on one of my trips to Taize. It was near the end of his life. He was visiting in a wheel chair.  (See very bottom photo).

Frere Roger (Brother Roger) is buried in a simple grave near the monastery he founded. 

Father Yves Congar, OP was made a Cardinal in 1994 towards the end of his life by Pope John Paul II.

Friday, April 15, 2016


"Hello, my name is Ron and I am a Rehab Addict!"

One of my very favorite TV shows is "Rehab Addict," staring Nicole Curtis. It is a favorite because one of my hobbies has been renovating houses. I have renovated three houses, and my present condo, on the same street I now live on. I even bought the house next door, sold mine, moved into it and "rehabbed" it! I have "rehabbed" houses in Wayne County and Meade County (see below). This does not count three churches, two rectories and an old school. I have sworn off "rehabbing" for now, but that does not mean that I am not tempted almost monthly. I even thought about buying the condo next door when it came open, but went to "counseling" to "get over it." There are few old houses I don't feel sorry for! I should start a recovery program for rehab addicts. 

Rehab Addict

Nicole Curtis is an addict, but she certainly doesn't see it as a problem. Curtis' passion lies in the home-restoration business, specifically historic structures in Michigan and Minnesota that have been neglected for years. Curtis buys the properties and brings them back to life, or more accurately, back to their former life, taking pains to restore the homes' original appearances. And the hands-on Curtis doesn't just sit back and watch contractors do all the work -- "Rehab Addict" follows the do-it-yourselfer as she takes on much of the manual labor herself, with a goal to salvage and restore as much as possible.

Lumber and building materials are in my DNA. My grandfather was a logger, my father started a building supply business which my youngest brother now owns. This brother is an addict too. He has expanded  the business a hundred times over at least. My other brother bought and sold logs and worked in lumber his whole life. He is an addict too. He keeps leaving retirement and going back into it. We can't help ourselves. We are powerless over lumber! 


I will give you only one example of my work. The old 1852 home, not far from where I grew up, was scheduled to be torn down by my brother when he bought the farm several years back. When I heard that, I asked if I could buy it. He told me he would give it to me if I bought six acres around it. With the help of some wonder Mennonite carpenters, we saved the building by putting a foundation under it, gutting it, replacing the windows, wiring, plumbing and adding a new heating system. I added a huge deck on the back, dug a pond and planted trees. Like other projects, I got bored with it once it was done and sold it. 


AFTER (almost done)


My brother remodeled the old bar across the road. It, too, was about to fall down. 

The reason I wanted to save this old house was that it was part of an old apple and peach brandy distillery operation before "prohibition." Another reason the distillery ceased operation was the boiler exploded killing and hurting some people. The old house was used as a hospital for those who survived. The Rhodes family who owned it, would also take in neighbors temporarily in times of disaster. It was too much part of local history to be torn down! 

This is the first small house that I "rehabbed" for a place to house youth volunteers when I was in Wayne County, Kentucky, 1975-1980. It was called Vreden House. I bought this house and six acres of ground for $7,500. 

I sold that house when I  left Wayne County and moved to Marion County. A friend of mine and I built this house on Hurricane Lake near Boston, Kentucky back in the early 1980s. There were several priests with cabins on the same lake. We would meet on our day off every Tuesday for years. 

We sold that house on the lake and I bought this house and "rehabbed" it when I first moved to Louisville. It was the first of three houses and a condo I have "rehabbed" on Eastern Parkway in Louisville. 

This house came up for sale for less than I paid for the previous house which was much smaller. I sold the smaller house, bought this house next door and  I "rehabbed" it. I added a full basement apartment.

939 EASTERN PKWY , Louisville, KY

I sold that big red brick house above because it was too big and put me into too much debt so I sold it (at a profit, of course) and bought this smaller one, "rehabbed" it and built on. When I started working at St. Meinrad, I came home every week-end to mow grass and rake leaves (and I was also broken into once when I was not there), so I sold it and bought my present condo just down the street. 

I now live in this condo complex which works out just fine for now. I don't have to do outside maintenance, I can lock the door and leave it in safety and it is convenient located to Bellarmine, downtown, the airport and all the major interstate highways. 

"Rehabbing" has been a great outlet for my creative energy, kept me in touch with my roots in the building material business, but most of all, made it possible for me to own my own place in my old age by cleverly buying bargains, fixing them up and then selling them for a profit over a forty-year span. 

If you can't be rich, be clever! 


Wednesday, April 13, 2016


From  St. Vincent, to Trinidad, to Miami and then on to Louisville

I went to give what I've got! 
I came home realizing that I got what they had to give!

What one word describes how I feel at the end of mission trip four?

... and now, after three days of rest,  on to the bishop and priests of Scranton, Pennsylvania!
What an exciting "retirement!"

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


St. John Vianney and the Ugandan Martyrs Seminary
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

Since I had a whole day before my time to address the bishops this afternoon, Monday night I volunteered to go to the regional seminary downtown to spend an evening with the seminarians. 
They picked me up at 4:30 so I could join them for dinner. I shared with them some of the insights I have gained working with seminarians, priests and bishops over the last several years. I gave them a short form of a talk I gave at  the Canon Law Convention last Fall in Pittsburgh and one I will give the Bishops of the Antilles this afternoon. 
The seminary is actually located in a parish with the parish rectory connected to the seminary.  The old seminary building was just too big for such a small group. The old seminary is used for retreats, bishops' meetings and local archdiocesan functions. Above the old seminary, higher up on the mountain, is a large Benedictine monastery with only 9 or 10 monks. 

The whole seminary fits in one room.  The Rector had a diocesan meeting so he could not be there. 

Getting the chicken, rice and vegetables out and ready for the microwave.  The dinner was quite good, especially the chicken. 

The kitchen was a bit crowded, so some set the table on the porch and prepared the drinks. I had Sprite with ice!!!!! It was sooooo good! 

We ate outside on the porch. After dinner, we had two types of ice cream in flavors I had never experienced. Quite good!

The whole evening was a great experience, I think, from both sides! I know for sure I enjoyed it and it made me realize how much I miss working at the seminary. I was so inspired by their dedication, motivation and heroic generosity. 
We laughed a lot. 

This event and  all the costs associated with it was sponsored by R J Mission Projects, a charity established by me and a good friend of mine.


Port of Spain 
Trinidad and Tobago
April 12, 2016

What I Have Learned in My Seventeen Years of  Work Teaching and Implementing Canon 245
Rev. J. Ronald Knott

AEC logo

The English, French and Dutch territories of the Caribbean, with the exception of Haïti, constitute the geographical area entrusted to the pastoral care of the Bishops of the Antilles Episcopal Conference.
The Catholic Church within these territories comprises five Provinces, consisting of five archdioceses, fourteen dioceses and two Independent Missions, i.e., twenty-one ecclesiastical units in all. Politically, within the five Provinces there are thirteen independent nations (Belize, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, Guyana, Suriname, The Bahamas, St. Kitts-Nevis, three Departments of France (Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Martinique), two parts of the Kingdom of the Netherlands having complete internal autonomy (Curacao + and Aruba ), and six British colonies (Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat and Turks and Caicos Islands). In addition, one United States Dependency, St Thomas, enjoys observer status.This conference of bishops serve about 2,145,000 Catholics. 

A view of the city of Port of Spain from where we are meeting. 

We are meeting in the closed regional seminary, now retreat house and meeting spaces. 

Since it was a regional seminary, many of the bishops went to the seminary here. 

Above the seminary, higher up on Mount of St. Benedict is the Benedictine monastery called Our Lady of Exile Abbey. It is a very large building with about 9-10 monks left. They make and sell yogurt. St. Meinrad Archabbey is blessed to be thriving so well even in these days. 

A typical scene at Morning Prayer and Mass. On this particular day, Bishop Karel Choennie, Bishop of Paramaribo, Suriname, was celebrant (hidden from view). The bishop immediately to the right, closest to the camera, is Bishop Burchell McPherson of Montego Bay, Jamaica. In the middle is Archbishop Robert Rivas, OP, Archbishop of Castries, St. Lucia.
We sang "What a Friend We Have in Jesus" as the closing song - with a strong Caribbean beat and a steel drum sound on the synthesizer.  Marvelous!


I did my presentation to the bishops this afternoon at 3:30 pm. I talked about an hour, using Power Point and they were given time to ask questions. They were very engaged and very appreciative of the topic. Some wanted to know how to order my books. 

I think they were a bit amazed by the "neglect" of presbyterates, presbyteral theology and issues related to the presbyterate.  As one Archbishop mused out loud, "After all we have been through since Vatican II, how did we let this neglect happen?" He seemed a bit stunned by the information presented - maybe by how obvious it all is? I felt very, very good by the reception I received - and to believe that I was crippled by bashfulness in situations like this when I was in the seminary! I never could have imagined then what I have just done! 

What I thought would happen, happened. The invitations are flowing in to come to their dioceses to speak to their priests: St. Lucia, Barbados, Belize, Dominica and so on! I have my work cut out for me until I am 80! 

Belly up to the bar, bishops!

After a long day of meetings, a drink before dinner! 

Lunch was heavy! A light dinner of soup and sandwiches was served - with ice cream! Anything cold, please!!!!! A couple of times during afternoon siesta time, I took my pillow and the bedspread and took a nap on the floor of the computer room. It has air-conditioning! I may do it tonight at least until it cools down. I have to get up at 3:00 am and be ready to go to the airport at 4:00 am to catch the 7:00 am flight to Miami and then home to Louisville. 


My participation in this event for the bishops and  all the costs associated with it was sponsored by R J Mission Projects, a charity established by me and a good friend of mine.

Monday, April 11, 2016


The Antilles Episcopal Conference Meeting
April 10-13, 2016

Last night, riding on the bus full of bishops from the seminary to the Cathedral for the opening Mass.

Suiting up for the opening Mass at the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. 

A group shot of the bishops of the Antilles Episcopal Conference right before Mass.

I met a lot of these Sisters going through immigration at the airport coming into Trinidad.

We recognized each other at Mass. I asked to take a picture with them. They are, of course, Missionaries of Charity, the order founded by Blessed Mother Teresa, soon to be a saint.

After Mass, the bus took us to the Vatican Embassy and headquarters of the Papal Nuncio. We had hors d'ouvres, drinks and a nice dinner. At dinner, I sat between the  Papal Nuncio (below) and Archbishop Pindar of Nassau,  The Bahamas. It was great to hear the Papal Nuncio share some of his close encounters with Pope Francis. The Nuncio gave me a rosary blessed by Pope Francis.  The Papal Nuncio is very much an extrovert who loves to mix with people and talk with them, He is a dynamic and energetic preacher who really "gets into" liturgical celebrations. He actually physically "leans into" them. 

One of the things he has introduced is opening the Apostolic Nunciature to visitors. Some bishops had not been inside for years. He even allows school children to take tours certain days of the week. 
He is a wonderful, warm man, with a strong Italian accent and a boisterous, booming Italian voice. The bishops love him and what he is doing for the church in these island nations. He obviously loves his work here, as well. 

Archbishop Nicola Girasoli, Apostolic Delegate to the Antilles.

The living room of the Vatican Embassy and Apostolic Nunciature. 

I got to have a nice conversation with Cardinal Felix. He is a warm and welcoming person who enjoys being a Cardinal in his retirement years.
Kelvin Edward Cardinal Felix (born 15 February 1933) is the Roman Catholic Archbishop emeritus of Castries. He was born in Roseau, Dominica, on 15 February 1933. He became a cardinal at the papal consistory held on 22 February 2014.
Another group shot of the Cardinal, Archbishops and Bishops of the Antilles Episcopal Conference in the living room of the Apostolic Nunciature.

In the back row, left and in white, is a French-speaking Dominican Bishop (like our own Archbishop Kelly). To the right of him is the bishop of Mandeville, Jamaica, an American-born Passionist from New York, who knows some of our Newburg Road Passionists at St. Agnes in Louisville. There is an American-born Auxiliary bishop, Bishop Dorick Wright, in Belize who is a good friend of our own Sisters of Charity of Nazareth who minister in Belize. Another bishop is Polish born, Bishop Wieslaw Spiewak C.R. Bishop of Hamilton, Bermuda. There is also a Benedictine bishop, a couple of Spiritan bishops, two or three more Dominicans and a Resurrectionist to name a few.

Sunday, April 10, 2016





R J Mission Projects Expands Its Reach

An Opportunity to Address Twenty-One Caribbean Bishops 
The Antilles Episcopal Conference Meeting
April 10-13, 2016

This afternoon, I flew from Kingstown, SVG, to Port of Spain, TRINIDAD, on an airline that I have come to dread to give an address to this Caribbean Bishops Conference on Tuesday afternoon, April 12.  Tomorrow on Monday, April 11, I volunteered to offer a class at the local regional seminary on presbyteral theology (priests working together with the bishop as a team). 



The English, French and Dutch territories of the Caribbean, with the exception of Haïti, constitute the geographical area entrusted to the pastoral care of the Bishops of the Antilles Episcopal Conference.

The Catholic Church within these territories comprises five Provinces, consisting of five archdioceses, fourteen dioceses and two Independent Missions, i.e., twenty-one ecclesiastical units in all. Politically, within the five Provinces there are thirteen independent nations (Belize, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia, Grenada, Dominica, Guyana, Suriname, The Bahamas, St. Kitts-Nevis, three Departments of France (Guadeloupe, French Guyana, Martinique), two parts of the Kingdom of the Netherlands having complete internal autonomy (Curacao + and Aruba ), and six British colonies (Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Montserrat and Turks and Caicos Islands). In addition, one United States Dependency, St Thomas, enjoys observer status.

Archbishop Patrick Pindar of Nassau is the President of the Conference 

The Permanent Board

The officers of the Conference are the President, the Vice-President and the Treasurer. They are elected every three years. The current officers are:

President: Archbishop Patrick Pinder, Archbishop of Nassau, the Bahamas
Vice-President: Bishop Francis Alleyne, Bishop of Georgetown, Guyana
Treasurer: Bishop Neil Tiedemann, Bishop of Mandeville, Jamaica

The Permanent Board continues the work of the AEC between Plenary Sessions. It is composed of : 
the President (Archbishop Patrick Pinder) 
the Vice–President (Bishop Francis Alleyne) 
the Treasurer (Bishop Neil Tiedemann) 
the Metropolitans (Archbishops Joseph Harris (Port of Spain-Trinidad), Michel Méranville (Fort de France- Martinique), Robert Rivas (Castries-St.Lucia) and Charles Dufour (Kingston-Jamaica) 
two elected members (Bishops Emmanuel Lafont (Cayenne) and Luis Secco (Willemstad-Curacao). 

Archbishop Nicola Girasoli 
Apostolic Nuncio - Ambassador - from the Holy See
Vatican Embassy, Port of Spain, Trinidad