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

Friday, April 29, 2016



When I quit dying my goatee right before I retired, it turned pure white. When someone said I looked like Colonel Sanders, I went into the bathroom immediately and shaved it off! 
I thought I was out from his spell, but "no!"

No matter where I go in the world, he follows me. 
Here he is looking at me in the Miami Airport.


  When the cook could not come in to fix lunch for my deacon discernment retreat down in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, they sent out for some local fast food. What did they come back with two days in a row? You guessed it!   KFC! 

There are three locations in Kingstown, SVG. Here are photos of the three of them.

On my last trip, I gave the girls at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Home for Girls enough money for a group outing to KFC. I think the above location is the nearest to them.

Even when I flew to Port of Spain, Trinidad, to speak to the twenty-one Caribbean Bishops at their annual meeting April 12, I could not escape! In fact, as we drove by it, I was told that it is the "busiest KFC location in the world."  (see below)

Nobody in the islands seemed to know where Kentucky was when I introduced myself, but when I asked if they knew about Kentucky Fried Chicken, they lit up! "Well, then," I would say, "I'm from Kentucky!"
KFC is even more known than the Kentucky Derby, Muhammad Ali, Kentucky Bourbon or Thomas Merton. It makes one proud to be "finger lickin' good!"


Maybe somebody reading this blog knows the people in power at the KFC headquarters here is Louisville. Maybe they would help me see if they would be willing to help me with some of the needs down in the very islands where their product is so popular? I would be willing to continue being a real live, on scene, spokesman for KFC. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016


Father Who? 
Father Not? 
No, Father Knott! 

At 72, God gives you a very special birthday gift!
It's called "denial!" 


Thanks, Mom! We both almost died when I was born, but we both made it! You may have died in 1976 with breast cancer when you were only fifty-eight and I was thirty-two - forty years ago - but today I want you to know again, on my seventy-second birthday, what a wonderful mother and a good friend you were to me! Who knew when this picture was taken at my First Mass in 1970 that you would be gone six years later? I still feel the loss, but I have no regrets. We both have the certain knowledge that we loved each other the best we could all our lives.
Thank you! Thank you!


This is a shot of the latest goose family on the pond in front of my house. Pictured are four of the seven new goslings this year.

They are cute till the grow up. Once grown, they start honking about 4:30 in the morning and honk on and off most of the day. They are loud and dirty. Thank God we don't usually walk on the grass on that side of the condo complex.
Even though they used to migrate back to Canada in the summer, because of climate change they seem to stay all year. I was corrected when I was in Canada. They are not "Canadian geese." They are "Canada geese."

Tuesday, April 26, 2016




Father Rex Ramos
This is not what we typically think of when we think of a priest headed to celebrate Sunday Mass at one of his parishes, but this is Father Rex Ramos headed to one of his three islands to celebrate Sunday Mass with his three parish communities on three different islands.

Father Rex is a thirty-five year old priest from the Philippines volunteering for a second term in the missions of the Diocese of Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Here is his story and his need. 

On November 8th 2013, I arrived on the shores of St Vincent and the Grenadines. St Vincent and the Grenadines is a multi-island state which is comprised of 32 islands and cays, with the main island St Vincent in the north and the Grenadines strung out to the southwest of it. Only five of the 32 islands are inhabited, with an overall population of 110,000 persons, of which 6 percent are baptized Catholic and 1 percent practicing Catholic. The early settlers on the island were the Amerindians, who are now referred to as indigenous people. The first Europeans to occupy the country were French, followed by the British up until the time of independence in 1979. Most residents, over 70 percent, are descendants of African slaves. The other residents are mainly mixed race and indigenous people. There are also very few whites, Portuguese and Asians. 
The Diocese of Kingstown is the lone Diocese in the country. It is comprised of seven parishes, five on mainland St. Vincent and two in the Grenadines. Each parish is assigned one parish priest except for the largest parish, that is the Cathedral parish. Besides the cathedral parish, each parish, on average, has three missions or communities to be served by the single parish priest and a married deacon who is not always available to assist. It is difficult for the few priests to minister to the faithful on a regular basis, sometimes, in the parish I serve, the people have to settle for a service done by a lay leader for the entire weekend. The Diocese of Kingstown has only nine priests, four of whom are missionary priests (2 Nigerian and 2 Filipino). 
I am assigned as Parish Priest in the Southern Grenadines, in a beautiful parish referred to as the Holy Family Parish. There are about 105 families in my parish, stretched across the three islands (Canouan, Mayreau and Union Island), which are approximately 10 nautical miles apart. The main mode of transportation between these islands is by a ferry, however, at times it is necessary for the priest to travel on a ‘speed-boat’ or ‘water taxi’ (a small fishing boat) to serve the communities more efficiently. On average, 20 to 30 persons attend mass weekly, because of the shortage of priest this number dwindles from time to time. At Easter, Christmas and New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day, a large number of residents attend church, partly because at these times, the residents are sure that a priest is available for Mass.

Generally, the people on the islands (which is called the Grenadines) are lower to middle class in status and their main sources of income are tourism, fishing and setting up small shops and businesses. Some of the families find great difficulty in meeting basic requirements for survival; most of these families are single female-headed families.

I travel from island to island not only to conduct weekly masses, but also for weddings, funerals and baptisms. As the parish priest, I also minister to the troubled, homebound and the sick, I offer last rites to dying parishioners and officiate at happy occasions such as blessings of new homes and at community events. 
It is difficult to service three islands. First the ferry/boat and flight service is not always reliable. It is expensive and tiring to travel between the islands to conduct Sunday mass and other ministry work. For example, with one priest serving the parish, one church may not have a mass for up to two weekends, which has adverse impact on the members of the Catholic community, resulting in a steady decline in the number of practicing Catholics.

Although there have been many challenges, I have grown tremendously over my two-year stay in the Grenadines. I was able to see my priestly vocation with new eyes, thanks to the challenges that I have experienced. Living as a priest means, not only living the sacraments, but also trying to draw closer to the model of Jesus, who has lived for the people and with the people, especially the poor. I understand that a priest can grow in his vocation, accepting the challenge of the mission in an environment different from his own.

Coming from the Philippines, I had an instant culture shock. But, over time I have been able to understand the people and their culture. The experience over the past two years has proved to be very enlightening and rewarding. The people have embraced me and while I am able to share the word of God and influence positive change, I’ve also had the opportunity to meet a number of wonderful people and learn from them. This being my first mission, I must mention that I love and enjoy missionary work very much.

(TOP) Father Rex sitting in front of one of the decorated altars of his churches.

(BOTTOM) Father Rex and his team of altar servers lined up for Mass at one of his three island churches.

Father Rex fishes as a hobby, but also to help feed himself on a very modest salary. Any surplus is shared with families and friends. 

Father Rex on the right and Father Edmundo on the left taking the new Bishop Gerard County (center) on his first visit to the most southern islands of the Grenadines. There are 23 islands in his diocese, but only a few are inhabited.




Sunday, April 24, 2016

HOMILY 4-24-16


As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you
have love for one another.
John 13

There was an old television commercial that I found very funny. I don’t even know what they are advertising, but it shows a pathetic couple being married in one of those hideously tacky Las Vegas wedding chapels while two old ladies look on. They both oooh and aaah before looking at each other and saying, “They don’t have a clue!” 

When it comes to choosing between Hollywood and Jesus, most people in our culture choose Hollywood when it comes to defining “love.” No wonder! Hollywood says it is about “having strong feeling of attraction for someone” and Jesus says it is about “laying down one’s life for another.”

Hollywood love is about “feeling good.” Jesus love is about “doing good.” Hollywood love is about “getting love.” Jesus love is about “giving love.” Hollywood says love is some kind of magic “feel good” spell that you fall into and when you fall into it, you have no other choice than to have sex or get married. When you fall out of it, the only thing you can do, of course, is get a divorce. 

George Bernard Shaw said this about people who get married simply because they have strong physical attraction for each other. “When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal and exhaustive condition continuously until death do them part.” 

Dr. Scott Peck says that the experience of “falling in love” is an illusion which in no way constitutes real love. As a psychiatrist, he says that he weeps in his heart almost daily for the ghastly confusion and suffering this myth fosters. He says that millions of people waste vast amounts of energy desperately and futilely attempting to make the reality of their lives conform to the unreality of this myth. 

Hollywood says that “love” is “having strong feelings of attraction toward” and “getting your needs met.” Jesus says that love is not a feeling, but a decision. Jesus says that love is not about getting, but giving. Jesus says basically that “love hurts,” because it is about self-sacrifice for the good of another, regardless of what is given back. Hollywood love is “toyota love.” Toyota’s slogan is “I love what you do for me.” Jesus’s slogan is “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Since many young people get more Hollywood than Jesus, it’s no wonder preparations for sacramental marriages in the Catholic Church is such a knock “down-drag out” collision of perspectives. Most weddings in our culture reflect Hollywood’s notion of romantic love more than they do Jesus’ notion of decisive, unconditional, self-giving love. 

When I talk to young couples preparing for marriage, I try to get them to take their focus off what their partners-to-be have to offer and ask themselves if they have what it takes to love that person unconditionally, off what they will get out of the marriage and onto what they have to bring to the marriage. Asking “what you have to give” is more important than “how do you feel.” Physical and emotional attraction are important, but they are not enough to sustain a marriage. 

In my own case, I was attracted to priesthood for many reason, one of them is that it made me feel good and respected, but hopefully mainly because I love Jesus and believe that the world needs his “good news.” Feeling good and being respected are not the most important things. What is really important is: can I still be an effective priest when I don’t feel good, when things don’t go well, when I don’t feel like I am making a difference, when my profession is disgraced? A crisis like the one we are going through certainly purifies motives. As I tell our seminarians, if you want to know what kind of priest you are, look at your self when the honeymoon wears off, at those times when it isn’t fun, on those days when you are not the center of the universe! If you are a priest these days for what you get out of it, you will surely be in crisis. But if you are a priest because of what you have to give to others, you will not be disappointed. 

It might seem odd for some of you to hear me compare marriage and priesthood. The new catechism of the Catholic Church does just that! Five of the seven sacraments are geared to our salvation as individuals. The other two, marriage and priesthood, are geared toward the salvation of others. We enter these two sacraments, not for our own good, but for the good of others. We become priests and we become marriage partners, not for what it can do for us, but because of what we can do for others. Both are about laying down our lives for the good of others. Both are about love, being love givers. Couples marry to focus their love on their partners and their children. Priests are celibate, so as to give their love to a community of people, rather than one person. Either way, it’s about being love givers, about laying down one’s life for others.

Our confusion about love comes, I believe, from a failure to understand God and God’s love. Many religious people believe that God loves us when we are good, quits loving us when we are bad and starts loving us again when we shape up. We believe that, not because it is true, but because that is how we love. We project our beliefs about love onto God, rather than loving each other as God loves us. God loves without condition, no matter what we have done or fail to do. We are called to do the same. We are called to be love givers to everyone, even our enemies, even when we don’t feel like it and they don’t deserve it. Anything else is not “Christian.”