Friday, March 24, 2017


and his gospel music group
are going down to

for a three-night parish mission




Rev. Ronald Knott
March 26-27, 2017

If you were blind,  that would not be  a  sin. But
since you say you can see, when you are actually
blind, you remain in your sin.
JOHN 9:41

Tyler Perry is a successful African-American playwright, actor and screenwriter. Perry attributes his success to what he calls “spiritual progress,” especially the “spiritual progress” that resulted in making peace with his own father.  One of his profound insights was around learning that “parents do what they know how.” He finally realized that he could not change his history with his father, but he could change the way he wanted to remember it! “My life changed,” he said, “once things changed in me!”

I, too, had to learn how resentment can keep you stuck and how you can free yourself by choosing to “see in a new way.” “Choosing to see in a new way” is like letting yourself out of prison, cutting your own chains, throwing off a heavy load. Like Tyler Perry, it was only when I chose to “see my past in a new way” that I was no longer a victim of it.

We cannot do anything about our pasts, but we can choose whether we want to be victims of it. Once I began to understand that my Dad “did what he knew how,” I was able to move from anger to compassion. I thank God that I was able to bury all that resentment, even before I buried him!

“Seeing in a new way” is exactly the conclusion Jesus came to in his search for clarity during his forty days in the desert.  Coming out of the desert, he began to preach “conversion.” “Metanoiete” means “change the way you see!” Change the way you look at things and heaven will open up to you!   Once things change in you, things around you will look very different.”  The devil tried to get Jesus to change external things. Jesus resisted that temptation. Instead, Jesus called for an internal change within people, believing that if people would change inside, things outside them would also change.

Today we have a wonderful story about a bunch of blind people: one who can’t see and others who won’t see. All of them need Jesus in order to be able to “see in a new way.”  In this wonderful story, Jesus uses the occasion of healing physical blindness to tell us something about the healing of spiritual blindness, the inability to “see in a new way.”

The man born blind, not only regains his physical sight, but step-by-step he begins to see Jesus in a new way. At first, he says he tells people he doesn’t know who this Jesus is who healed him. As the story unfolds, he calls Jesus a “prophet” and finally “Lord.”

The Pharisees and his parents can see physically, but they are spiritually blind and refuse “to see in a new way.” The Pharisees are blinded by their own rigid religious structures. They can’t see the beauty of this great healing, a blind man getting his sight. All they can see is that the healing took place on the Sabbath day and healing was illegal on the Sabbath day. The parents are blinded by their fear of being ostracized by neighbors, friends and organized religion if they admitted to this healing.  They conveniently choose not to know and not to see. “Ask him,” they say, “he is old enough to speak for himself.” Both Pharisees and parents are afraid of “seeing in a new way” because it would mean their cozy little routines would be disrupted. It was convenient for them not to see and so remain stuck in their chosen blindness.

I am amazed when I talk to stuck people. I believe that most people who are stuck are basically people who are blinded by their inability to “see in a new way.” They whine and cry and wait to be rescued, but they cannot change their minds and look at their situations from a new angle. They can’t “let go” of their old way of thinking and seeing, and so remain stuck in their blindness. They are like the monkeys I read about several years ago. To catch these monkeys for the zoo, people would cut a hole in a tree, just small enough for a monkey to his hand into. Then they fill it with peanuts. When the money sticks his hand into the hole and grabs the peanuts, he can not pull his hand back out. Instead of letting go of the peanuts, they howl and cry till someone comes and hauls them off to the zoo. All they had to do was to let go of the peanuts. People are a lot like that: they cannot let go of the way they see things and so remain trapped, whining and crying all the while.

Some people simply cannot “let go” of the way they see things. They clutch at beliefs like: life ought to be fair, parents ought to be perfect, spouses should not let each other down, the church ought to be perfect, things ought to make sense and people ought to respect you, love you and meet your needs. And, of course, when life isn’t fair, when parents and churches aren’t perfect, when spouses let them down, when things don’t make sense and when people do not meet their needs, they fall apart and remain stuck in their belief that if they just don’t like it enough, it will go away. All they would have to do to free themselves is to “let go” of their old beliefs and “see things in a new way.”

Jesus was right, “If you were physically blind, there is no sin in that, but when you choose to be blind, your sin remains, you keep your own suffering going.”  Tyler Perry is right, too, when he says, “My life changed once things changed in me.”

What about you? What situations do you need to “look at” in a new way? What people do you need to “look at” in a new way? Is the way you have been “looking at” these situations and people still causing you pain? If so, ask God for healing! Ask God for a new set of eyes! Once things change in you, life will change for the better for you! 

This week, I will be here Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday night with my gospel music group, REFLECTIONS,  to present a Parish Mission called SENT TO SHINE. I hope to challenge you to look at a few things in a new way, with new eyes. I know you will love the gospel music because it will be different, energizing and just plain fun to sing. We did a four-parish, county-wide, parish mission up at the Meade County Fairgrounds last year. It was a great success!   Come yourself! Invite Catholics who have drifted away! Bring your Protestant friends! Bring those who don’t go to any church! I think it will make you proud to be Catholic and I think your friends will leave looking at Catholics in a new way! In any regard, we are going to have a great time together!


Thursday, March 23, 2017


photos by Ms. Yenlys Hernandez and Fr. Ronald Knott

8:30 Monday morning Mass entrance procession with Father Orsi presiding and me concelebrating. 

Father Orsi, an Italian priest, celebrated Mass on the Feast of St. Joseph.
St. Joseph is a favorite of the Italian community. Part of the prayers were in Italian. We had special cookies and cakes after Mass and the morning conference.

Preaching the first conference at the 8:30 Morning Mass on Monday

Both Monday and Tuesday morning Dennis and Angie Shaw, former Louisville Cathedral parishoners, showed up! It was so good to see several parishioners  from there down here.

Every Tuesday after morning Mass,  the parish serves a nice breakfast with an omelette station and lots of other things. Here is a satisfied table of parishioners lingering after breakfast.


Sunday I had brunch with some more former Cathedral parishioners: Bert Paradis (and Jo Ann), Ja Paradis, Kris Paradis and Rory Paradis. I was so excited about seeing all of them that I forgvot to take a picture.


Tuesday night, the second Parish Mission conference was integrated into a Penance Service. About 25 priests showed up to help with the great number of Confessions. Most of them came for an early dinner at a nearby Italian restaurant before time.


On Wednesday, I had lunch with Jim and Jamie Broome and Bob and Ann Allison, all former Cathedral parishioners in Louisville. I forgot to take the picture until they left!!!!

My cousin Joyce (Smith) and her husband Richard Bruder attended all three nights.

Judy and Ed Hardesty also attended. I grew up with Ed Hardesty in Rhiodelia, Kentucky. He was in the grade ahead of me. He was fun and loved adventure.

Wednesday night crowd, typically of each morning and evening.

Preaching my heart out!

Saying thanks to the great pastor, Father Bob Kantor.

Shaking hands with my cousin, Joyce, on my way out at the close of the Parish Mission.

I hated to turn my SMART car back to Cecilia and Jeff. I had gotten used to it. I am very grateful for their wonderful generosity. Because I did not have to rent a car, I had more funds going to the mission projects.

Thanks to Dr. Cecilia Anzures and her husband Jeff Antle for their wonderful hospitality.
They picked me up at the airport and took me back, let me use their guesthouse and their SMART car.  They have a home in Naples and Louisville and share so graciously with me and monks from St. Meinrad Archabbey where they are Oblates.

Monday, March 20, 2017


Part of the Saint Agnes Parish Staff at Lunch

Robert, Youth Minister and Ivy, my help organizing the Parish Mission. 

Dr. Cecilia Anzures and Mr. Jeff Antle let me use their Smart Car while I am in Naples. 
Good thing it doesn't take a smart person to use it!

Cecilia and Jeff were former parishioners at the Cathedral. They are also letting me use their guesthouse for two night before the St. Agnes Parish Mission and two night afterwards. Jeff taxis me from and to the airport.

I preached at five weekend Masses to prepare people for the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
Parish Mission.

Starting Monday morning and ending Wednesday evening, I will give a conference in the morning and repeat it in the evening for all three days.
In Part Two I will have some pictures from the conferences themselves so stay tuned.

All stipends will be going to my island mission projects. 



 Mayapple was the first thing I remember coming to life in the woods where we played. It was followed by Redbud trees blossoming and then Dogwoods. The woods was a fascinating place to play, especially in the spring when things were coming to life and it was still light under the trees.

Farmers burned their tobacco beds. Usually a huge pile of wood and branches was assembled and set on fire. The fire killed the weed seeds in the ground and the ashes provided nutrients for the tobacco seeds. The farmer would sprinkle tobacco seeds in the "bed" and cover them with a canvass to protect them from the cold until the plants were ready to transplant.

Once the tender plants were big enough, they would be "pulled" and  transplanted in the field.

Everyone in the country where I grew up had a vegetable garden. It was necessary to feed the family in the summer and provide food for canning to hold them over during the winter. My mother had a huge garden and she canned well over a 100 jars of fruits and vegetables each summer.  Working in the garden was my mother's "quiet time." She was out there almost every evening in the spring and early summer.

I learned how to plant and tend a garden from my grandmother. She had the time to spend with me and she gave me my very own plot to plant and tend at the end of her large garden. I was always so proud to take vegetables home to my mother from "my garden."

Sunday, March 19, 2017


Saint Agnes Parish in Naples has about 4500 families.
I preached at 6 of the 8 Masses of the weekend. I did not do the Spanish or Latin Masses.

On Saturday night the parish held a Tenth Anniversary Gala. I attended and sat at the table as a guest of the pastor Father Bob Kantor.

On my left is a monsignor who decided to wear some pretty nice formal wear.

Looking at the rear of the church from the Parish Offices.

People gathering for one of the Sunday morning Masses. All the Masses were full.

Gathering in front oif the church before Mass. That's Father Orsi in the cassock.
He is a charming priest from Italy and one oif the three associate pastors of St. Agnes.

Some of the many sacristans getting things ready for Mass. All the readings and hymns, as well as many announcements, are projected onto four huge screens throughout the church. The responses are also projected so there is very little need for hymn books and printed materials. The weekly bulletin to take home is about 24 pages.

Ladies selliung already prepared Easter Baskets for one of the many organizations in the parish.

Teenagers preparing on a Sunday afternoon for the Good Friday Passion play they will offer during Holy Week.