Saturday, January 21, 2017

Friday, January 20, 2017


Teach me, my Lord, to be sweet and gentle in all the events of life, in disappointments, in the thoughtlessness of those I trusted, in the unfaithfulness of those on whom I relied. Let me put myself aside, to think of the happiness of others, to hide my little pains and heartaches, so that I may be the only one to suffer from them. Teach me to profit by the suffering that comes across my path. Let me so use it that it may make me patient, not irritable. That it may make me broad in my forgiveness, not narrow, haughty and overbearing. May no one be less good for having come within my influence. No one less pure, less true, less kind, less noble for having been a fellow traveler in our journey toward Eternal Life. As I go my rounds from one distraction to another, let me whisper from time to time, a word of love to Thee. May my life be lived in the supernatural, full of power for good, and strong in its purpose of sanctity.
Cardinal John Henry Newman
priest, founder of a religious community, theologian, 1801 - 1890

Tuesday, January 17, 2017



Our dream for 2017 is to finish getting the DIOCESE OF KINGSTOWN PASTORAL CENTRE ready to receive CATHOLIC SECOND WIND GUILD volunteers. 

We made great progress in 2016, but I need a lot of people's help to make this year's goal a reality. Remember, getting the Centre fixed up is a first step. Once done, it will allow us to unleash a lot of time, talent and treasure addressing many of the pressing needs of the Diocese of Kingstown. 


Click on the link in the top menu bar: ST. VINCENT - GUILD PROJECTS and take a look!



Monday, January 16, 2017



One thing we can do about it is
offer some of them something new and exciting to do, part-time, that will be good for them personally and the strengthen the work of small dioceses in the Caribbean missions

Today, I had the honor of making a presentation at the local Serra Club (religious vocation promotion, not Sierra Club, which is about conservation) meeting. 

I spoke about the opportunities for retired priests, bishops and professional lay persons in my new mission volunteer program called the


Sunday, January 15, 2017



A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me.
The reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel.
John 1:29-34
Some people just don’t know when to quit! And I’m not talking about Elvis’ last concert!  I’m talking about that part of all of us that doesn’t know when to call it quits, even when it’s time. Knowing when to quit after you have done your job is called the "Cincinnatus Factor." It is named after a famous and very successful Roman General who quit at the top of his game to return to obscurity.

I went through that during my last years here at the Cathedral. My ten year term came and went and I was still here. I had worked hard, I was proud of all that we accomplished together during those years and I was not eager to let it go so easily. Because it was such an exceptional assignment, the Archbishop left it up to me when to blow the whistle. A big part of me wanted to hold on, but after 14 years I knew it was time to move on so I asked him if I could resign.  I did not want to be one of those people who doesn't know when to quit and who attempts to stay so long that things begin to unravel and the people who used to love them get to the point they want to run them off!  Even though my heart wanted to hang on, I knew in my gut it was time to let go.

Parents go through this all the time. After doing a great job of raising their children, after sacrificing to send them to college, there comes a day when it is time for those children to leave and start a life of their own. Instead of letting go, instead of not knowing when to quit, some parents meddle in their children’s lives even after they leave home and start a life of their own.  If they cannot keep controlling their children’s decisions, they begin down a path of emotional terrorism. It’s like the New Yorker cartoon a few years ago. A woman is sitting on the couch, a child is playing on the floor and the man is talking on the phone. The caption below read: “They say we can go there for Thanksgiving or they can cut us out of the will. Our choice.” Instead of focusing on living their own lives, those children end up focusing on their parents - always reacting to, or avoiding, them. Soon resentment becomes the norm. Those parents probably did a great job, but they didn’t know when to quit. When they didn’t know when to quit, they actually began undoing their own good work.

Some people, however, do know when to quit....and I’m not talking about Evil Keneeval’s retirement. I’m talking about this strange bird, this wild, bug-eating preacher, named John the Baptist. He knew his role. He did it passionately and moved out of the way when the time came. As popular as he was, he understood his role, he knew the fine art of being number two. He pointed to the light and left the stage.

On this Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, we are asked by the church to share his role as a “messenger.” Paul used the word "ambassador." Paul called us “ambassadors of Christ.” Ambassadors do not speak on their own, they represent someone in authority. Paul also called us “earthenware jars that hold a great treasure.” We are the fragile containers. We are not the treasure. We are, in the words of today’s gospel, “witnesses to the light,” not the light itself. How many times have we, as a church, forgotten that distinction!

Every arrogant clergy person, every fired-up religious fanatic needs to have this message tattooed to the inside of his or her eyelids. There is a temptation and a trap that always seems to come with being a highly visible, highly successful, religious leader. The bigger the success, the bigger the temptation and the bigger the trap. Just look at all the fallen Jim Bakers of the last several years. They all had one thing in common: they started out pointing to God, but ended up acting like little gods themselves. Instead of pointing to the light, they ended up thinking they were the light.

I do know of one notable exception - our very own Bishop Charles Maloney. He was auxiliary bishop to three Archbishops here in Louisville. He was always an example of how to reflect the light onto someone else. Through thick and thin, he was always a humble, prayerful, honest, and faithful man, in spite of the powerful position he had held in the Church. He never let the trappings of his position become a trap for him personally. He, like John, lived a simple life, did his work well and got out of the way when the time came!

John the Baptist is an example to all of us! He understood his vocation, his mission. He did not draw attention to himself, but reflected attention onto another, onto Jesus.  He was a person who was sent to prepare the way for another - for Jesus.

(1) It was made clear to me from the beginning that, as a priest, I am sent “to serve, not to be served.” Priesthood is not my personal possession, it’s not about me, it is about being of service to you, the baptized members of the church. Pope John Paul II put it this way. “The priesthood is “for” the laity, not "above" the laity and precisely for this reason, it is a ministry “of service.”

(2) Most of you are called to married life.  Marriage, like priesthood, is directed toward the salvation of others. In spite of the fact that our culture teaches people that they marry for what it can do for them personally, marriage is for the benefit of their partners, their children and their communities. People who marry mainly to “be loved,” miss the main point of marriage. The main point of marriage is not turned inward, but outward. It is not so much about “being loved,” as it is about “giving love.” It is in giving that they receive. Like John the Baptist, a married person does not seek to draw attention to himself, but projects his attention onto others.

(3) Parents, teachers, doctors and social workers are called to service as well. The role of parents is to mentor children into adulthood. The role of a teacher is to empower others for effective living. The role of a doctor is to offer others healing guidance. Social workers are called to help others get their lives back together in times of crisis.  Like John the Baptist, the whole purpose of parents, teachers, doctors and social workers is not to be served, but to serve.

(4) Those of you involved here in the various liturgical ministries of the parish need to remember the role of John the Baptist, be you priest, musicians, readers, hospitality ministers, altar servers or Eucharistic ministers. You do not perform your ministries to be admired or to impress people. The attention must always go to the assembly. At the end of the day, the only question worth consideration is this. "Have we helped the members of the congregation pray, move closer to God, understand the Scriptures and have new insights into themselves? We are not here to show off or impress people with what we can do. We are catalysts. We are conduits. We are here for others. It’s not about us! It’s about those we are trying to serve!

My friends, in a world where being number one, being on top, being first, being the winner, being the survivor, John the Baptist has a different message, a challenging message, a counter cultural message. Yes, there are times when we are called to “be all we can be,” but there are also times when we are called to empower others to “be all that they can be.” John the Baptist reminds us of the world’s best kept secret - the more we put ourselves in the center, the more unhappy we become. As I used to tell the Bellarmine students, "Beware of those who tell you that happiness consists of grabbing enough power to insulate yourself from having to deal with ordinary people."  It is a popular thought these days, but it's a trap. The great Albert Schweitzer nailed the truth when he said, “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”