Thursday, December 14, 2017



Des, Pastoral Centre Manager, and I went to a local barbershop so he could get a haircut for the party. 
The barber in the  back with the Santa hat and I had a
public discussion about American politics. He knows more than most Americans. He had the TV on to the news from the US. 

Des and I bought some Brown Forman products for the big party tonight at the local liquor store. 

"One person's loss is another person's gain?" 
St. Vincent is not a big cruise ship destination, but because some of the other islands were devastated by the hurricanes, they need new ports to visit. I think this is a British Cruise Line. 

Diocese of Kingstown Pastoral Centre

After having to delay it from September because of the hurricanes, we have finally arrived at the new dedication day that was set for December 14. It will be followed by a Christmas party for the priests, Sisters, Deacons and their wives and the Pastoral staff. 

Original artist's sketch by Tim Schoembachler

Original artist's sketch with doors opened for maximum seating overflowing into the living room.

First beam going in for the sliding glass doors to create a wall.

The Brown Forman chairs were a major addition to the chapel.

The chapel furniture when it was first being moved in.

All set up in the overflow configuration for the dedication crowd. Notice the small brass donor plaque on the left outside the doors. Many people named "James" and others made it possible. 

Bishop County opening the dedication Mass.

I was invited to preach. See homily below.

Bishop County, some of the deacons and some of the priests listening to the homily. 

Bishop County anoints the altar with oil. 

Bishop County blesses the incense on the altar.

Sitting under the icon of Saint James, Desmond Telsford, project manager and Pastoral Centre manager, was the one who "got it done" from construction through the celebration after the dedication. 

Notice some of the new Pastoral Centre renovation in the background
One of the tables at the dinner celebration. On the left is Father Rex and beside him is the Ambassador to St. Vincent from Brazil and his wife. Sister Clare is on the right.

(counter clockwise) Ewansie, Pam, Bernadette and Bishop County

At the party afterwards, we had some wonderful Caribbean music......

...which inspired Pam (Pastoral Centre housekeeper) and me to dance a bit outside the chapel! 

These two ladies, Tresena Vera and Pam Brown, do a Holy Hour every week in the chapel. 

Fergal, we missed you terribly, but your spirit was very much present!

"God Chooses the Weak"
Rev. Ronald Knott
December 14, 2017

We hold this treasure in fragile clay pots.

II Corinthians 4:7

If Jesus were to have been born in our day, instead of 2,000 years ago, he might have graduated from Bellarmine University’s W. Fielding Rubel School of Business. I recently retired from there after 17 years of weekend campus ministry. As a graduate, he might have used a management consultant to help him get his ministry off the ground and to help him choose his twelve apostles. If so, he may have submitted the resume' of would-be apostles to that consultant for feedback. Here is how that feedback might have sounded.

To: Jesus, Son of Joseph
% Woodcrafter Carpenter Shop

From: Jerusalem Management Consultants

Dear Jesus: 

Thank you for submitting the resumes of the twelve men you have recruited for management positions in the new church you want to found. All twelve of them have now taken our battery of tests; we have not only run the results through our computer, but also arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologists and vocational aptitude consultants. 

We regret to inform you that it is the staff’s opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in background, education and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the team concept. We recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability. 

Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has absolutely no leadership qualities. The two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, place personal interest above company loyalty. Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale. We feel that it is our duty to tell you that Matthew has been black-listed by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau. James, son of Alpheus, and Thaddaeus definitely have radical leanings, and they both registered a high score on the manic-depressive scale. 

One of your candidates, however, shows great potential - Judas Iscariot. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, has a keen business mind, and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious and responsible. We recommend this man as your controller and right-hand man.

We wish you every success in your new venture.

Sincerely yours, 

Hugh Mann, President

Jerusalem Management Consultants

This little fictitious "consultant report," in which Judas is picked as showing the most potential as an apostle makes a very important point. One of the most interesting things about God is that "God does not see as we see. We see people's externals, but God sees into their hearts." The more familiar you are with the Scriptures, the more you realize that God is always picking the weak, the incompetent, the unqualified, the least, the lost and the loser - and then makes them strong in carrying out his work. These choices are not isolated events. They happen, over and over, again. We have two of these "least likely to succeed personalities" in today's gospel – James and his brother John.

First, there is Isaiah. One day, while in the Temple of the Lord, he is overcome by an awareness of God's greatness and his own unworthiness! He is so overcome with his own unworthiness that he cries out, "Woe is me! Not only do I have a foul mouth, I come from a bunch of foul-mouthed people! I am surely doomed!" God's response was to send an angel, with a hot coal, to wash out his mouth out and clean up his lips for the preaching ministry he had chosen for him! What a choice!

Second, there is Paul! For years, Paul had been the lead bounty-hunter in tracking down Christians for execution. Smug with righteousness, he felt as if he was doing God a favor by ridding the world of these heretics who had no respect for the old-time religion. He had even held the coats of those who stoned Saint Stephen to death. One day, on his way to round up some more for execution, God knocked him off his proverbial high-horse and called him to make a complete u-turn in his thinking. Instead of persecuting Christianity, he was called to be its biggest promoter! What a choice!

Third, there is Peter! Peter is an uneducated, red-neckish, bumbling blow-hard of man with a big heart! He was a thick-headed, hard-headed and empty-headed clod who meant well! He would brag one minute and fall on face the next! When the chips were down, he pretended that he didn't even know Jesus - not once, not twice, but three times. This is the one that Jesus left in charge of his church at his death. What a choice!

Fourth, there is James, after whom this chapel is named, and his brother John. Like Peter and Andrew, they were fisherman. They were men of the sea. In the gospel today, we see James at his worst. In the Gospel of Mark, written earlier than the Gospel of Matthew, James and John ask Jesus for the best seats in his new kingdom. As time went by, the writers of the Gospels could not bring themselves to have such tacky and self-serving words coming out of the mouths of the exalted apostles, so Matthew changes the story and has the request coming out of their mother’s mouth. Blaming women has been a favorite technique of men since Adam blamed Eve!

The list goes on and on! Moses, who was charged with convincing the Israelites to leave Egypt and making a forty-year desert crossing, actually had a speech impediment. He stuttered so badly that they could still be in Egypt if he had not gotten someone else to do his speaking for him. What a choice!

Mary, when she was chosen to be the mother of the world's Savior, was probably still a teenager - and dirt poor at that! What a choice!

We see James at his worst in today’s gospel. He is a climber, an ambitious self-seeker and a sneak. Again, we see in his life that yet again “God choses the weak and makes them strong.” Jesus evidently saw something in him because he ends up in the inner circle. Along with Peter and John, he witnesses the Transfiguration, some of the miracles including the raising of Jarius’ daughter and the agony in the garden. Beheaded, James was the first the apostles to give his life. His death is the only biblical record we have of the death of one of the Apostles.

The list goes on and on, throughout Scripture and Church history, to this day! It seems that "God is always choosing the weak and making them strong in bearing witness to him!" My friend and former associate pastor, Father Bill Medley, was consecrated the new bishop of Owensboro a couple of years ago. He was shocked, and many of us were pleasantly surprised at this choice, because, in many ways, he is not the "type" to be selected. He has no advanced degree in theology. He is not a canon lawyer. He is not a career chancery official from Philadelphia or Detroit. He did not study in Rome. He is simply a good pastor from a small rural Kentucky town and yet it was he who was chosen for this important ministry! What a choice!

In my own experience, all throughout my priesthood and the years that led up to it, I have always felt like the "least likely to succeed." Looking back, I am amazed as I have seen this scrawny little boy from Rhodelia, painfully bashful, labeled a "hopeless case" by seminary officials, being led over the years by the hand of God to places like St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and through experiences that I never could have imagined when I first started this journey in the fall of 1958! What a choice! After 47 years of this, I want to believe that "the best is still yet to come!"

Let me speak directly to those of you who struggle with your self-image, with feelings of unworthiness, with thoughts of never being good enough and with being labeled, rejected or discriminated against. The world may be dealing you a bad hand today, you may have been passed over and put upon in the past, you may feel that you will never be good enough or can never measure up, but also know this: God may have his eye on you right now, he may have a mission for you that he is about to announce! He may be ready to take you to places you cannot even imagine. Your pain and suffering could be part of some grand plan! You may have been learning what you need to know for the job that God has always had in store for you!

My friends, as you sit in this chapel dedicated to St. James, pray for me, James Ronald, and my father James William. Pray for my many friends who have the name “James” and all our friends who gave generously to honor us and make this chapel a reality. As we James's pray back home, we’ll be thinking of you. The thing I am most proud of today is the fact that I have taught a whole lot of people back home about a little country many of them had barely heard of, called St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Let’s let our prayers flow both ways!

As you sit in this chapel and look out at the sea, think of James, John, Peter and Andrew fishing on the sea of Galilee. Think how God took them, in their weakness, and tuned them into powerful witnesses. Just as God took them, fragile clay pots as they were, and filled them with his great treasure, God has done, and can do, the same with you. When God calls you, don’t be afraid of your weaknesses, just be ready to answer, with Isaiah, "Here I am, Lord, send me!"

We hold this treasure in fragile clay pots.
II Corinthians 4:7



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